At some point, while painting yesterday afternoon, I discovered I could make my brushstrokes look like they were interwoven, and there was this sort of "Aha!" feeling. At last, I liked something my brush was doing. And, at the same time, something I was painting was giving voice to something inside me.
It's actually sort of a variation on the boundaries issue I mentioned on Saturday, and also relates indirectly to a couple of things in my Mothers' Day list, and it has to do the Declaration of Independence as well: it's all about equality, and about equal value.
If we take seriously the proposition that all people are created equal, then differences of opinion don't need to become divisions, and certainly don't merit contempt; they simply become opportunities to listen, another chance to explore how we might move from "us vs. them" to "we," to move beyond "light is good and dark is bad" to "we need both light and dark; how can we weave our differing visions together to find a balance?" How can we build a whole out of disparate parts?
The actual picture I painted was not quite as successful as the one you see here. The ingredients were all there, but the proportions were a little off -- to my eye, at least. But it was fun to start with a photo of the painting and see where it had gone wrong, to play with the ingredients of it to achieve something that more fully articulated this thing my heart and brush were longing to communicate.
This week in Jack Kornfield's The Wise Heart we are reading about the compass of the heart and the importance of setting intentions. That word -- intentions -- has come up in several other books I've been reading as well. So I thought about it: what exactly IS my intention? For now, at least, it seems to be about allowing the spirit to communicate through (and infuse) my work. So I was heartened to see a little of that happening -- even if I'm the only one who can understand what is being communicated! Here, by the way, is the original image: to me it just seems a little... well... tipsy!