Yesterday, when I stepped into the sheltering welcome of my studio, the muse whispered a tantalizing thought “He gave her words.”
Curious, I followed her lead.
I tore a page from an old book I keep on hand for just such occasions. I pulled out my GelliPad (a rubbery mat used for mono printing) and laid some colour down. Using the round end of a paintbrush, I drew a vase and flowers, laid the book page down and pulled a print.
The words on the page showed through. Cool. I kept going.
Pulled out a piece of deli paper, laid some more paint down (mostly darks), made more marks and pulled another print.
On the canvas paper page of my art journal, I collaged strips of paper from an old dictionary onto the page. The words defined on the torn strips all had to do with flowers. I collaged the deli paper printed page and then the printed book page onto the background and set to work creating a cohesiveness to the piece with paint pens, markers and fingerpainting – I had decided, somewhere in the process, that I wouldn’t use any brushes on this page. So I didn’t.
When I was finished, I placed my hands on the page, took a breath, closed my eyes and asked, “What words do you yearn to release?”
And the poem below came into being.
I am sharing my ‘process’ because it is, in so many ways, a reflection of life. We start with a desire to live life as best we can. We set goals. Follow dreams. Discover and use our talents. We gain knowledge. Expertise. Experiences. We layer on wounds. Scars. Cracks. They form the stories we tell ourselves about why or how we can or can’t do something. Those stories, made up of all the words we use to tell them to ourselves, again and again, create pathways, ruts, habits. Sometimes, we question their existence. Often, we accept them as natural limitations.
And then, one day, if we’re lucky or if we’ve hit such a devastating patch we cannot fathom how we will go on, we have no other choice but to start questioning the stories we’ve told ourselves about how we got to this dark and foreboding place. In our questioning, we start to unravel the words that formed those limiting beliefs that trapped us in believing this, this place where we feel so lost and alone and hopeless, is really all there is. Isn’t there more?
And then, if we’re really, really quiet, if we’re really, really still, we hear that voice deep within calling us to awaken. To open our eyes and heart and arms to the infinite mystery of who we are when we stop questioning our right to live wild and free and outrageously ourselves.
That’s when we begin the journey back to our truth. To the stories we tell ourselves, not of our limitations but of our limitless capacity to live wild and free and outrageously ourselves.
Yesterday, I stepped into the studio and the muse whispered, “He gave her words.”
I did not question, “What does that mean?”
I did not ask myself, “How on earth am I going to create something around ‘that’.”
Instead, I dove in. I let my intuition, my inner knowing guide me, unquestioning, into the creative expression of the muse’s invitation. I allowed ‘whatever yearns to appear’ to appear as I expressed myself without limiting my expression of my intuition by listening to all I tell myself I know about words and making sense of them or art and all I know about making it happen.
I stepped into the studio yesterday. I let go of ‘knowing’ and allowed myself to be present to the process of unveiling the mystery of what was seeking to be revealed.
And in the end, isn’t that what life is? A journey of exploration? A great mystery to be revealed with every step we take in its unfolding? Wild and free and outrageously ourselves.
He Gave Her Words by Louise Gallagher He gave her words ripe and plump full of plundered promises plucked from the strings of memory playing a melody he vowed would never die with the turning of each season. He gave her flowers colourful and bright full of tomorrows never-ending cast upon indolent days spent languishing beneath a summer sun burning hot against her skin. He gave her promises vanishing like flowers wilting beneath autumn’s kisses bleeding colours dry fallen upon the frozen ground of winter’s ice-cold breath. He gave her words. She gave her heart. His words faded. Plucked dry. Her heart beats. Fierce and free of his words.