In preparation for teaching Intuitive Guided Art: Trusting Your Intuition, co-creator Dan and I took ourselves through the workshop process. This workshop is an eight part series during which students will practice using their intuition as they paint their way through different emotions. Here is my account of the experience, shared in eight parts that will each highlight a different session or layer/emotion that I worked on. To read about Part 1 click here.
JOY!! Joy was chosen for the fourth emotion to work through. Paired with a bright primary blue and an X as the symbol I was very excited for this combination to go onto the canvas. Immediately I knew that this needed to cover the whole canvas so I began with an X that spanned from corner to corner. As I finished painting the second huge X I stopped suddenly. WHY did I think that joy needed to cover the entire canvas–because I felt that much joy or because I felt like I was supposed to always feel joy? Turns out a little of both. The societal programming of “being expected to always be happy/joyful” made up about half of what I thought was actual joy. Once I realized that, before I added another symbol of joy to my painting I asked myself “Do I feel this joy or is this an outer expectation I am trying to live up to?” If the answer was option number two, I used the energy clearing techniques that will be taught in class to clear that expectation and then chose a different spot for my next mark of joy on my canvas. This created an opportunity to release a huge amount of old programming and expectations, leaving me feeling even more joyful at the end of the painting session.
Over the next few days I continued to release the programming. Memories of forcing happiness from throughout my life kept surfacing. I took this chance to look at the times I had faked being joyful because I thought that that was what was expected of me. There were quite a lot of times to look at! Looking at these different situations gave me a better understanding of what true, free-flowing joy really feels like. To me it feels bright and effervescent, like a bubbling glass of ginger ale. This also led me to explore why I was trying to live up to others’ expectations so often. I like to think of myself as independent and a “I do what I want to” type of person–which I am, but not as fully as I thought I was.
Since this painting session, I have intentionally been working on owning my joy as fully mine and asking myself if doing ___________ will bring me joy first or give the appearance of faked joy. This has caused some disappointment to others, when I’ve said no to plans or commitments. I have had to remind myself many times that the feelings of disappointment are NOT MINE; if me honoring myself triggers disappointment in someone else, those are their feelings to deal with and not mine. We are so programmed to put others first that when we do finally put ourselves first we are labeled as “selfish”. I do not subscribe to this programming at all, but I still find myself thinking that at times and wondering if I’m being brash and heartless. That is when my Spirit steps in to remind me that honoring your own needs first is HEALTHY and 100% ACCEPTABLE. Looks like I have more releasing to do around all of this programming…
Halfway done! Here are the first four layers all together; I sure love how this painting is coming together. More details and a full workshop description can be found here.