Today I completed an abstract piece that I call "Christed Love". My very recent venture into abstract art has been quite an interesting journey which brought me to an entirely new layer of awareness today.
In the creative process that I teach, which applies not only to art, but to business creation, life design, and any other thing that falls within the realm of "creating", it is critical to UNLEARN. One of my favorite quotes is "Technique is a trap, style is a prison" by Wong Jack Man, one of the most revered Shaolin warriors to have existed. The quote, expressing the idea that once you settle into a technique or a style...in anything...you are unlikely to remain open. But whether you surrender into this creative process (which is actually more of a non-process), or you use mind-ideas-muse-thinking- and reference points for your art, depends on one key question:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? And by here, I mean, on planet earth.
If you are here to perfect a technique, to show off your skills, and to be a technical expert, then you would certainly want to invest a lot of time learning those things. If you are here on earth to find a niche, and call yourself some "thing" specific - you know - either an abstract artist, a visionary artist, a surrealist, a watercolor landscape painter, or any other number of narrow niches, it would be important to learn as much as you can about those niches and spend a lot of time becoming immersed inside there.
If you have concluded in your mind that your path is to be an __________ (fill in the blanks with anything), then this non-process probably isn't your cup of tea. Because with constant surrender, you may have concluded that your path is to be an artist, a doctor, a teacher, but then on your first day on the job, God may redirect you. You just can't remain stuck or attached to anything. Especially anything that has come from the mind.
My path is to lead people to love. Love for themselves and love for all other beings. Unconditional love. On the path of love, the one crucial element is the element of surrender. Surrender is walking away from a lucrative and prestigious career, leaving behind decades of education. Surrender is leaping aimlessly into the abyss from New York City to the middle of the Pacific Ocean with ZERO plan in mind. Surrender is daily, weekly, monthly, changing, adapting, and being entirely flexible in EVERYTHING I do. And, it never fails...the minute I being to think I am in the groove, that I am "there", God moves me in yet another direction. The shaman's path truly has no end, no goal, no "I'm There".
When I first received powerful guidance to begin painting, I did not question it. I had never before painted but I know better than to question divine directives. I surrendered, I began painting and channeling what was coming through me. Powerful energies moved through me onto the canvas with no idea from me of what would come. Often things would appear such as people, animals, or other objects, and soon, within days, those things would be completely gone. I remained unattached. In that early part of my journey, powerful energies of healing, feminine empowerment, animal totems, and love were moving through me. Some paintings were done soon after a deep journey, and they held their own very powerful medicine. Other pieces were started and then put away for a while because their journey required me to take other detours in the meantime. Some pieces like my "Effortless Ganesha", came in like an intense wind, moving through me so fast that I could barely take a break from painting and the piece was done in a short period of time.
After a few months of those experiences, I felt like I was in a groove. You know what I mean. I felt like, I know what to expect, even though I have no idea what to expect. I felt comfortable with being the channel, shutting my brain off, not thinking about anything, just feeling my way through the paints as images appeared. I was always excited, curious, and looking forward to seeing what would emerge. It was kind of like Christmas for me, every painting was a white wrapped canvas, and the colors would swirl and flow until the white wrapping was gone and the gift inside was presented to me. I was filled with immense gratitude and love for each of the powerful medicine pieces that arrived in my studio one by one by one.
When my sister in law heard I was painting, she told me about a great online art mentoring school that offered incredible courses in different techniques. I had a visceral cringe reaction to even the IDEA of cramming things into my mind related to art. My shamanic path has been a challenging journey of UNLEARNING the vast amount of education I have amassed, along with significant ego obliteration. The very last thing I wanted to do was start cramming things in my mind, I knew I had to just surrender to the Universe, and to the canvas, and to the colors, get out of my own way and just go with the flow.
Once you truly surrender everything (because there is no such thing as partial surrender), the Divine opens doors and creates pathways. Then you put in some effort to co-operate with the Divine. God provides the GPS settings on your roadtrip but you hold the wheel, and you fill up the gas tank. The very first piece I painted was Lemurian Queen, and I had no intention of showing anyone. I was overjoyed and in love with her and couldn't wait to hang her on my wall. But I was shown that her medicine wasn't to be hoarded by me. I had to share her on my Facebook page. So I reluctantly cooperated. I say reluctantly because I'm forever reluctant in these acts of surrender because they are almost always pushing me out of my comfort zone. I prayed over it. I kept saying, I'm doing this for me. The more I repeated those mantras the more I realized how ridiculous I was. I don't want to share? IT'S MEDICINE and if you are a medicine maker, you don't get to decide WHO gets the medicine....if you are on a path of service to life and to love,and offered your gifts of authenticity, your role is to:
2. Participate in the Process
over and over and over and over again.
So I shared. It had a powerful effect on many people, and within days I had a number of people asking if they could buy it. Now I had to look at ways for that to happen. How does one even do that? I definitely wasn't selling the original. After posing the question to the Universe, I ended up running into an old friend at a fundraiser, who is an amazing photographer that I had not seen in a LONG time, and I asked her if she photographs art. She said yes, and that she had actually been doing a lot of that lately. God opened that door. Very quickly. We set up an appointment, and by then I had a total of 11 paintings. She photographed them all outside in natural light. I wanted the colors as completely real and natural as possible with no editing. In the mean time, I checked online for how to get these originals into prints with super high quality without me having to go to the post office to mail things.
I found Fine Art America. Awesome. I uploaded the pics and added them onto my existing website at lianashanti.com Ok done and done. Many people have now purchased my art, and that is a beautiful wonderful amazing thing. But it hasn't been and still isn't a motivation for me. I felt like I had done my part in "participating" and "releasing" so now I could get back to my groove...painting, homeschooling my kids, my clients, ... my regularly scheduled life.
But then seemingly out of the blue, a friend and I had a discussion about abstract art. I wasn't a fan. I have been an art collector for so long, and never had I been emotionally moved or inspired by abstract. And in full transparency, there was some underlying judgment too. I had always surmised that abstract art is done by people who probably didn't have the fine motor skills to do other types of art. You know, "actual" art. But there was more, there was a limiting belief that the Divine was bringing forth...the belief that "difficult and challenging and detailed" was more meaningful than "blobs on a page" (my old description of abstract art). Oh I had seen TONS of abstract art. I have been a frequent visitor of art galleries and museums all over the world since I was a small child. And to be honest, it didn't help that as a kid I spent a fair amount of time around my graduate degreed grandmother, a friend of Joseph Campbell's at Sarah Lawrence College, and my classically trained pianist great aunt who was a contemporary and neighbor of Jackson Pollack in East Hampton. I too played classical piano and we would play Mozart and Rachmaninoff and talk about Walden and other really inspiring books I was discovering. In that environment, I heard a few lively discussions about the merits of abstract art. Let's just say that neither Grandma or Aunt Elizabeth were fans of Pollack the man, or his work.
I am for sure convinced that seeped into the ethers of my mind, creating formations of judgment.
I had concluded that "challenging and detailed" and at the very least symbolic, had more meaning than...well...blobs on a canvas.
Recently, over the summer, we went to Washington DC and spent a lot of time at all the art galleries and museums. DC is a mecca for great art between the Museum of Women in the Arts, The National Gallery, and my personal favorite in Dupont Circle - the Phillips Collection Gallery. I practically swooned in front of Renoir's Boating Party. I could FEEL it...it wasn't quite the swoon I had in the Rodin Sculpture Garden in Paris, or the overwhelming awe staring up at Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel, but it was, nonetheless, magnificent...it was sublime, happy, carefree, and made me want to jump right in and join the fun. I imagined the conversations being had, the tastes of the food being eaten, the breeze in the air.
And then I went to the Rothko room. A dedicated space with four of abstract expressionist Mark Rothko's works. The collector, Duncan Phillips, has said that he had a deep connection to the emotional impact of color. So I expected to FEEL. People have described Rothko's work as "vibrational", even "religious" in experience.
I began reading about him, in the gallery, on the spot. To see what I might be missing. I learned that Rothko was a tortured alcoholic. He was tormented and depressed. Severely depressed. I didn't have any resonance with his work. Nothing in his energy field resonated with me. At all. As a shaman I live in the world of energy, I work in the world of energy, I look daily into the Akashic records of clients and students, and I read the neutrino field for my weekly Illuminations Messages. So for me there was no resonance or connected frequency. But I did gain a clear comprehension of how people would resonate with this work. I gained a different appreciation. I could feel deep waves of emotion.
After the discussion with my friend on how I had never been drawn to abstract art, after I had made my case for why it's just not my thing, within days I woke up and painted my first abstract art. Not just one piece, but four actually. Two sold right away. Before I even listed them. I think I was more shocked than anything. Shocked that I surrendered to this form of painting, surrendered to something I had an aversion to. I laughed so hard at myself. That's how the Divine works... the very second I draw a conclusion, I'm stretched to the limits and asked to surrender and release. Again.
But then I quietly went back to ...you know...my "thing". Participating in the art that showed up as people, Goddesses, earth elements, animals. Until abstract energy came again. And again. And this time, the medicine was getting stronger. The first few abstracts were fun, light, whimsical to a degree. But now, the energy was INTENSE. Medicine was streaming through me, and it had no intention of becoming an object, a person, an animal, a totem, an ANYTHING. It was PURE unadulterated energy medicine. I painted "Good Things Coming", and my energy shifted once again. I feel the resistance forming in my mind...the "no, let's not do that". But then again, today, the purple.
This morning I woke up and felt the immense love of Christ. Immersed, inundated, poured upon, tremendous love...and...it was purple. I went to the canvas and the energy was more powerful than anything I had experienced, but in a different way. It was energetic, it was loving, it was protective, it was supportive, it was joy...definitely joy. And it was ABSTRACT. It could not be contained in a shape, a form, a reference point. I surrendered. It became "Christed Love".
And here I am on the fully surrendered path of teaching and being LOVE.