When ‘The Great Isolation’ began last year I slipped inside my little home studio in bewilderment many times. I gazed longingly at my waiting paints. I slowly retreated, puzzled and hurt. I beat myself with the conviction that the forced seclusion was the perfect time to paint but was incapable of sitting alone with so much social and communal anxiety vibrating through the floor, the walls, the air and into my bones. I sought solace in the sunshine and buried my hands in soil and sawdust. I had to keep busy; busy enough not to think.
I have been comfortable with solitude much of my life, but not at that time.
The summer of 2019, before Covid rampaged through the ordinary every day, I had connected online with a small group of writers and lightworkers. I wanted to paint but unable to find the teacher I longed to find, I settled for writing instead, with a teacher I trusted.
The penultimate assignment on the course had been to do a short, silent meditation before writing.
I did what I often do. I jumped in to the project with my whole being. The rabbit hole opened and I was Alice. The last two assignments never did get written. Instead I reconnected with an abandoned meditation practice and threw myself into silence. Deep silence and infinite space. Space.
Space into which a second small group arrived. I joined them as winter descended. It was perfect timing. The virus reached closer as our bond deepened. I was not painting. I was healing.
The pandemic struck. I was not painting. My writing came to a halt. My journal languished abandoned in our inaccessible holiday home.
Alone but not lonely. My two online groups held no agenda save mutual support. I stopped struggling to paint and surrendered to the garden. I forgave myself for not writing and dusted off my sewing machine. I had help online as the bonds with my beloved lightworkers strengthened. Enforced confinement connected me back to my blood family across Europe. I was healing my relationship with my world. I felt as if I was coming home to myself. By the time I collected my exiled journal I was determined to paint ‘just for me. To deepen my experience of life, of living.’ I was resolute in my desire to paint.
So I didn’t. I sat in the studio and wept in confusion and frustration.
That’s what happens when I hustle.
I wasn’t ready.
It was a year into my meditative sojourn before I was motivated to pick up my brushes. I painted; not for myself but in gratitude for the Beloveds in my healing circle. Something deep within me had moved. One of the great blocks shifted enough for me to squeeze past. Through trusting my Beloveds I was learning to trust myself again. Self-reliance is my natural state. Independence is my homeland. To trust, to move out of my familiar ruts, required the help of others.
A hero answers a call to personal transformation through conquering an adversary, according to myth and Joseph Campbell. Sheroes begin from alienation and journey through the Wasteland towards community, collective belonging and becoming guardians of the Earth together. It’s a new narrative into the depths of ourselves within the landscape, the world. Generative, imaginative, creative…with integrity; the Eco-heroine’s journey.
My paintbrush began to paint me back to life. It’s a roller coaster. Ecstasy and tears come hand-in-hand. I am being stirred from deep within. It is new and unfamiliar territory.
Now, however, it is time to take matters in hand and to share my virtual studio space.
Now I am ready to support as I have been held and helped. I am calling you to the hearth in the studio. Painting is soul food: slow cooked, fermented and infused with beauty. Food for the soul is more satisfying, enriching and joyful shared.
You are still reading this. A web of connection links us.
You are called to my cosmic cauldron. Will you join me?
The arts are predicated on human connection across space and time.
Zoom also works with paint and poetry.
Something magical is brewing. Each of us has a unique ingredient to share in the cosmic infusion. Are you thirsty for creative expression? Are you hungry for circle-space?
Bring your pens and pencils, crayons and pastels. Find pages or sketchbooks to receive your marks. We will play with meditations and invocations that move across your pages and into your consciousness. Words can tie us to reason and judgement. Let’s explore a vision quest. Community is transformative. A small group may work wonders. Love and integrity amplify our messages.
This is not about talent or technique. You don’t have to be able to paint. The materials will lead you to explore your inner landscape. Are you ready for a small, safe, free adventure?
Come on over to sistasymbol on Instagram.