The name of this painting is "As Within, So Without." I never paid much attention to this idea, until the last couple of years.
The two years after my divorce (one of which was 2020, so that year doesn't really count for anyone, right?) I felt really stuck. A dear friend of mine "gifted" me a personal coach in mid-2018 to help with the massive life changes that were coming with my divorce and cross-country move (what a wonderful gift, and even better friend!). I used to tell my coach, just about every time that we spoke, that I just felt like I was stuck in quicksand. I couldn't go back to my old life, but I didn't feel like I was moving forward at all. Just, stuck in a quagmire of fear, sadness, anxiety - super fun (not). What a low vibration to exist in. No wonder I had no inspiration to paint and felt like there was a door shut firmly in my face separating me from my painting, from my dreams, from my future.
I eventually realized that it was, in part, a time of deep grieving for all the things I'd lost - the dream of what our marriage and life would be. The fact that I'd never have a 50th wedding anniversary. Living in our family home, which would always be our kids home - the home they come back to when they visit. So many little things that are the fallout of divorce. I had to get through all that in order to move forward - when we experience big, difficult changes, I think we all go through what's been called the dark night of the soul. It's only when we realize that's what it is that we can work ourselves through it.
At one point in early 2021, I was just beyond sick of feeling this way every day. I was so overwhelmed with anger at myself for being stuck in this worry-fear-anxiety loop that I literally screamed and screamed (good thing there were no guests in my brother's Airbnb haha!). I was so sick of feeling stuck, sick of feeling like I was wasting time, sick of being afraid of everything - my financial situation, my future - anything I could worry about, sick of my life.
Really, not a fun way to be.
After my screamfest, I started reading a lot of books about all sorts of subjects - healing trauma, mindset, manifestation, positive thinking, self love, quantum physics, trees, the environment. And one detail kept popping up in so many of them - what we think, how we feel, and what we believe all have a tendency to manifest in our life. Our life is a reflection of what's going on inside us.
If we think we're always going to be lonely - or poor, or unsuccessful, whatever - chances are, we will. Our thoughts and emotions create a vibration ... what vibration do you want to be sending out to the universe? I know I want to send out a high vibration, not an anxious, fearful one.
Whether it's true or not that the universe sends back to you the vibration you radiate, it feels true to me. Because when I was in that negative space back in 2019-2020, I was on quite a loop, like a broken record, that just made me more and more stuck. I think the day I got so mad at myself was a breakthrough. It felt like my brain literally snapped, and I just decided I wasn't going to be worried, or afraid, or anxious, anymore.
Since then? I've made new and dear friends in New Mexico. I've picked up more work to support myself as I continue to work towards being a full-time painter. I get into my studio to work more and I'm creating an actual studio practice. I've begun to create what I feel like is my own style - one that feels right and makes me happy. I push myself to do things that make me uncomfortable - like getting up in front of a crowd at the local coffee shop for open mic - because I know so well now that growth doesn't happen in comfort zones. I also deeply understand that fear is a liar that will keep you stuck in place - whether that place is really where you should be or not, it's known, and safe, and comfortable, and that's where our lizard brain wants us to stay. And when that's our vibration, we won't get free from it unless we pay close attention.
Now, I live in a state of gratitude, and what a beautiful vibration that is. Every day, I see everything that's good and beautiful in my life, from simple things like the perfect blue sky or a beautiful breeze, to bigger things like spending time with my kids or friends, or selling a painting. It's amazing how the sound of the breeze through the trees can create such happiness and expansion when you live in a state of gratitude and awareness (not that it's all puppies and roses, but it is most of the time and when it's not, I more quickly catch myself).
The thought that now stays foremost in my mind is "As Within, So Without." What are my thoughts? How am I feeling? What state am I in? It's a reminder and a entreaty to stay in a state of positive vibration - recognizing all the good that's already in my life and receptive to good and beautiful things coming into my life - staying in the vibration that supports my dreams and my future. It serves as a wake up call for those times when I slip back into anxiety and fear, when my self talk takes a negative turn.
This painting is a physical representation of this journey. It's a reminder to pay close attention to our thoughts, to our inner dialogue (because so much of our self talk is negative - when you start paying attention, it can really get ridiculous!). Is my outer life where and what I want it to be? Is it moving in the right direction? Are my thoughts holding me back? What am I reflecting?
What we think comes back to us. Even quantum physics says our thoughts or consciousness can create reality. How powerful our thoughts are! And isn't that amazing, the power we have within us to create the life we dream of?!
This is what I’ve always dreamed for my work - that it resonates with people in context to their own lives and experiences, and that people find comfort, joy, peace, beauty - any of these, or if I’m super lucky, all of these - in my work.