Exploring Dualities by Tipping the Scale

Something interesting happened yesterday… so many things came into alignment and clarity as I was searching for answers – and it all came through after a big frustration in my art journal.

For the past two weeks I’ve been working on paintings of body parts for Connie Solera’s #21embody challenge. At first, I used photos as a reference, making sure each piece accurately represented the body part I was focusing on in terms of line, shape, perspective, and shadow. (Perhaps this was my way of proving to myself that I still knew everything I learned back in art school.) As my series progressed, and I felt more confident in knowing I could do realistic work, I began to loosen up.

I stopped relying so heavily on reference photos, letting it be more playful than rigid. I started to move quicker and quicker with each piece… until yesterday, when I moved so quickly that I lost all control to create a recognizable image. I was so frustrated, not knowing why it wasn’t working and being angry that it wasn’t "good enough" – that I painted over it with white.

Later, as I was reflecting about the classes I teach and the community I’ve been dreaming up (more on that soon!!), I realized that much of my work in this world is all about tipping scales into the opposite extreme, so that it may bounce back and find balance. And it came as such an "Ah Ha!" moment when I saw that this is what had happened in my art journal – it was just me tipping another scale. I had to see where too much was too much. Where the balance between creating something recognizable and letting it be a free expression becomes unstable.

Creativity always has a way of awakening me to deeper truths. It’s always a mirror for what I need to see or learn. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that what I was working on in "real life" would show up in my journal. And so, instead of starting over or trying again, I decided to write "Play with the Balance" over the top to help me remember this lesson.

This idea of tipping the scale to find a balance can be seen and used in so many areas of our lives. (Perhaps unintentional tipping could be called “going overboard” or “hitting rock bottom”?)

When something doesn’t feel in alignment, perhaps you’re tipped too far in one direction and it’s time to explore that duality.

For example, I have come to the realization that my class Creative Soul Roots is all about tipping the scale of perfectionism all the way over to messy play. We shift our focus from the inner critical thoughts, toward our wise intuitive voice. We let loose and make big messes to break through the barriers that hold us back in our journals, in creativity, and in life. And it’s not that playing and making a mess is necessarily the end goal overall – it’s just a catalyst to move out of perfectionism and stuckness, in order to find our balance. We use the mess as a way to experience what it’s like on the other side.

There are two sides to everything. Life is full of dualities: day/night, waking/sleeping, black/white, sorrow/joy, male/female, past/future, ocean/shore, work/play, movement/stillness, all/nothing, life/death… and one cannot exist without the other. We cannot know easy without first knowing hard. We cannot honor beauty without the ugly. We cannot appreciate our joy without knowing the depths of our pain.

The dualities of life can be shifted heavily to one side, or we can find a rhythm to allow both to exist in harmony. We are both light and dark. We are both tender and fierce. We are both fearful and courageous.

If you’re working to shift something in your life, what would the opposite extreme be?

(Of course, it’s not always safe to actually act out these extremes, but it gets your mind thinking if you explore that idea in your journal!)

Much love to you!!

The Fight to Return to Creativity

I had always liked to think that society didn’t play a big role in how I lived my life.

My parents were pretty open minded about what I chose to do, and my mom was always marveling at the way I never seemed to care about what other people thought of me.

But now, as I become more and more awakened to all the different parts of me within, I can see, I wasn’t that much different than all the other flocks of sheep.

Somehow it was ingrained in me that logic should always be valued more than intuition. That being in control was the smartest way to live. That if you want it done right, you gotta do it yourself. That sexuality is to be hidden. That play is only for children. That if you’re hurt, you should suck it up.

If you asked my parents about these beliefs, they probably would have dubbed them untrue (except maybe the do it yourself one!).

And yet, these beliefs formed deep within me as I grew. There was no escaping society’s carefully structured system. And this masculine, “left brain” way of thinking began to wear me down.

It was like a seed that began to grow within, taking hold, then quietly strangling my creative, intuitive, emotional side.

I found myself grasping for control in every part of my life… I was only able to fill my car’s gas tank if my usual pump at my favorite station was open. I would rearrange the dishwasher if someone else loaded it. I would shut down all of my emotions to keep my actions in check. My art became automatic and formulaic. And I even came close to ruining my best friend’s wedding because I wanted it done “my way”.

My internal dualities were shifted way to the left, and I was struggling to keep hold. I felt like I was fighting upstream just to keep afloat.

Then depression hit.

And I got mad.

What right did I have to be depressed? I had a wonderful, loving husband. Two (at the time) healthy, amazing kids. And I even had my “dream job” of selling my art. And yet, there I was… feeling empty, lost, and depressed.

At the time, I had no idea what was wrong. All I knew was that there was something more. Something I was missing.

Looking back, I can now clearly see that I was suffering from imbalance. I had completely shut down my “right-brain” way of thinking – the part of me that is intuitive, emotional, feminine, and oh so creative.

I was only living from half of who I truly was.

And this is how the majority of us learned how to live in this world. It was necessary to survive. For many years, society has only honored the masculine, logical side of us. It’s the only side that’s allowed to shine through.

But we are lucky enough to see the day where all of this is finally starting to shift.

Creativity is becoming more appreciated. It’s becoming more acceptable to talk about our emotions. Spiritual healers are coming out of hiding. Play is finally getting encouraged! (Have you seen all of those adult coloring books and summer camps and activity centers!?)

And as the world fights to shift out of our old patriarchal system, we too must stand for a balance within ourselves.

We must reawaken our innate creativity, our intuition, our feminine essence. And embrace the mysterious dualities within our selves.

Because yes we are strong, but we are also vulnerable and emotional.

Yes, we are logical, but we’re also intuitive.

Yes, we know how to take control, but we can also let go with grace.

We are rational AND we are creative.

It’s time we reclaim all parts of our selves. And creativity? Is the perfect way in.

paint

I know you know all of this. Whether consciously or not. You found your way here, didn’t you? Creativity is calling you. But perhaps you’re feeling stuck. Perhaps just learning art techniques isn’t enough.

Perhaps you’re having trouble shifting gears and fully awakening that “right-brain”, creative side of you. That’s where I can help.

I walked this path so I can know it deeply. I know what it’s like to be stuck in perfectionism and control. So, as I continue to awaken my own creative side, and find my own inner balance, it’s become a passion of mine to help others reclaim their creative selves as well. Because I know just how painful it is to be shut down. I know our society is far from healing this imbalance as a whole.

And I know, with all my heart, that you ARE creative, and you were meant to live your life in full expression of ALL parts of you.

We must step forth and reclaim our own balance. Reclaim the side of us that has been shut down by society. And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing together in my 7-week guided journey: Creative Soul Roots. If all of this has sounded a little too familiar, then I hope you join us in the online classroom for support in awakening your creative side.

But for today, what small step can you take to honor that neglected, creative, intuitive, emotional side of you?

Leave a comment below to share your story or claim your next step!

Much love to you!!

Soul Circle CommunityP.S. If you’re ready to dig deeper and truly reconnect with all of the hidden parts of yourself, then I invite you to join us in the Soul Circle Community. Our circle is a monthly sisterhood to support each other in exploring the beautiful depths of who we truly are through creativity, playfulness, and connection. To be clear, this isn’t about learning more or doing more… It’s a loving container to inspire and remind you to be the curious explorer of your inner world, and to nurture your relationship to yourself. Because in this fast-paced world of today, it’s too easy to get caught up in the to-do lists and constant forward movement; we need reminders to slow down and reconnect. CLICK HERE to learn more and to join us!!