When I had the dream that called me back to art I had forgotten I was an artist. I did not think of myself as an artist and had not for many years. I made gifts for people on holidays and birthdays. But I can count on my fingers and toes the number of things I created in the past 30 years.
AS a child my love had been creativity of all kinds, with a special love of theater which my mother shared with me through her playwriting, song writing, and directing. In my teens, visual art became more comfortable when I encountered a painful emotional event which cast me into depression. Art became a safe way to create, out of the public eye. When it came time for me to go to college, I entered as an art major and enjoyed pottery, photography, painting and drawing.
But the emotional drama that brought me to art had not healed, and my depression became severe. I was unable to eat and had terrible insomnia. I had reached a crisis of the soul. I was so out of touch with my true self, my inner voice, that I did not see the purpose in living. I did not actively have thoughts of ending my life, but my being was in such pain that insomnia and an inability to eat were causing my physical health to deteriorate. I left college and returned home to Maine to heal. And so ended my art pursuits. When I returned to college 3 years later, “reason” had taken over and decided that an art degree was impractical. I also had not discovered the power of art as a way of connecting to my soul. I still associated art with the pain from my past.
30+ years later, in January of 2017, after several months of listening, asking, listening again to my inner self, my soul answered my prayer for understanding my path forward with this dream.
I am visiting an old friend. We have not seen or spoken to one another for many years. and in the time since I last saw her, she has been widowed and raised her 2 girls alone. To cope with her grief she took up painting. And she had a cult following because her paintings often depicted future events. She learned her craft from someone who was as much a spiritual teacher as a painter. She paints every day. She sits down at her easel to paint and I sit beside her. I watch as she paints a photo-realistic image of a field. As I look from the canvas to her face and see her eyes are closed.
This dream told me:
- Practice art religiously
- Art is a way of visioning and creating the future
- Art is a way to know yourself
I also understand now, 8 months later as I revisit this post, that the old friend is my artistic self. And that the dead spouse is the part of me which abandoned my artistic self all those years ago. Dreams, like the art I now create, continue to speak to us long after we first receive their inspiration.
Using Art to Walk my Soul Path
Since that dream in January 2017, I have been enveloped in a creative current that has taken me on a path of rediscovery of myself, my passion, and my purpose. I have been guided gently back to my soul path through art, dreams, and symbols. This is what I call soul path art.
One of my greatest joys in this process has been the community of family and friends who are walking it with me. We provide each other with love, support, inspiration, guidance, and wisdom, and keep each other honest to ourselves and our goals.
Welcome to the tribe.
With special thanks
Thank you Ana Sofia and Whitney Freya for the insights you provided when I shared this dream with you. Special thanks to Frances Holliday Alford, who generously opened her heart, home, and studio to me; and to the artists who were there at the beginning of this journey: Ivy Demos, Encyclopedia Brown, and Libby Williamson.