The Soulful Artist

Life. Art. Transcendence.

Since I began posting my art on Instagram and sometimes on FaceBook, I get a lot of sponsored advertisements on my pages. Most times I mark them as spam or as inappropriate because I despise advertisements. But every once in awhile I’ll get one that’s worth taking a look at and this one was from an artist named Whitney Freya.

Whitney was advertising for a course called the 21 Day Painting Meditation Challenge. She advertised it as using watercolors and playing with the colors along with some meditative music, something that would only take about 5-10 minutes daily for 21 days and in the end I will have achieved a connection to my own inner energy and inspiration and wisdom. During the invitation she said that at the end of the 21 days I would be free and happy while painting, and that I would create neurons or new neural pathways in my mind that would help me to be more present in my every day life. What could it hurt, right? I needed a challenge and a distraction so, of course I signed up for it!

It took me awhile to get started. I purchased the course in August and planned to start then after purchasing my supplies, but shortly after is when the chaos of losing my friends hit. I wanted to be sure that the course was accessible forever so when I contacted the instructor she assured me that it was so it got put on hold until recently. Here I was, still fresh with my grief of losing my very best friends, and I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I had waited long enough so I jumped in. What follows are my paintings and my musings for the challenge.

Day 1 was to paint with the color red, the color of the first chakra. Red speaks to our primal needs and the passion we were born with – our life’s joy. So here are my Day 1 and Day 1.5. There are two paintings and I can’t really tell you why. I enjoyed Day 1, but I didn’t pay attention to the instructions so I thought I’d do a “do over,” hence Day 1.5. I felt that experience was fun and I believe that with practice I would get better. I thought of my friend, Fernisa, and how she loved painting with watercolors and how she would encourage me and tell me to get out of my head.

Day 2 is about Orange, the color of the second chakra. The second chakra is the sacral chakra, our creative center, the womb, where our “gut instincts” come from. My painting is reminiscent of a henna tattoo that my friend Tara had done for me. One that my friend, Noriko, had described as looking like a mirror. I feel as if it’s almost showing me the Queen that I am and to remember who I am.

Day 3.

Day 3, 3rd chakra and the color yellow. The color of personal will, and confidence that you know who you are and what you do. By this day of the painting meditation challenge I’m finding myself getting lost in the process and enjoying it. I’m slowly figuring out watercolor paint. I like how today’s paint was BRIGHT. Yellow. Yellow was my Dad’s favorite color. I think of him when I see yellow roses. such a happy color. Did it remind me of my personal power? I didn’t know while I was painting it, but as I mused it reminded me of my inner finer and to stoke it, purify it, burn it away … I wondered if I was doing that. Then remembered that by doing the challenge that I was doing just that … rekindling my own fire as I remember who I am.

Day 4.

Day 4, green, the color of the 4th chakra, the heart chakra. Feeding energy within us and empowering our relationships, moving us from a place of love and compassion and to inspire us to share our gifts to the world from our heart. For me, I felt an opening of my heart. Peaceful. Calming. I felt my own heart radiating and expanding. I know that I have so much love to give and receive, but for so long I’ve been contracted, unloved, unfeeling. I felt so unsafe for so long as a child. I know that it was a long time ago, but I feel it as if it were yesterday and I know that my guardedness stems from that. I know that I built a high wall around myself, around my heart. I know that I’m loved and safe as an adult, but it still hurt to open up, to be vulnerable. Showing my art is a start.

Day 5.

Day 5, turquoise blue, 5th chakra, the throat chakra. I always thought that my throat chakra was blocked. You see, I keep things that I “should” say pushed down. I don’t always say what I need to say. Sometimes it’s just not worth it to talk, for me. You see, I don’t feel that what I have to say is important or has worth. When I was a child, I was constantly told to shut up, that I was stupid. So I learned to keep my thoughts to myself. I’ve always said that if I ever lose a sense, I hope it’s my ability to speak because I don’t talk much anyway. A lot of what I want to say gets lost in translation. I’m more of a writer, happiest to let my feelings and thoughts be expressed through the end of a pen and allowing the ink to flow it all on paper. So my painting is bubbling … like that of a carbonated drink, the kind that tickles your nose and bubbles in your throat when you drink it. I’m getting better at speaking. I asked the Universe to show me at the beginning of the year how I could do this, and it certainly provided me the opportunity by allowing me to speak at Michael and Fern’s Celebration of Life. What an honor! So does that mean my throat chakra is blocked still? Nah, I think I’m good.

Day 6.

Day 6, indigo, 6th chakra, the 3rd eye chakra. I love this color. From my meditation I got that “I Am Clear. I Can See.” I also got that “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change,” Wayne Dyer. I have spent so much time looking for me, when all I have to do is look within because what I seek is seeking me. When all is said and done, I realize now that I never had to look very far to see what I need to see or to find what I was looking for. I was just blind to the visions that were being shown to me. I saw them, but I didn’t see them if that makes any sense. I am thankful that my vision has cleared up and that I am allowed to see what I am meant to see. I am thankful that I understand now.

Day 7.

Day 7, magenta, crown chakra the 7th chakra. I am happy to have made it through the first week of the challenge. One week of painting with watercolors. I’m still learning about the process and about myself. So, crown chakra, magenta for today. It’s interesting that my painting reminds me oof a mermaid’s tail, of my friends lost at sea. I think of how my grief has transformed my paintings. It’s so bittersweet to think of them and how my heart aches as I paint. I know that there is healing in my creativity. I only wish that it did not hurt as much as it does. I am understanding the saying that there is strength in being vulnerable. I remember how where I once pulled strength from Michael and Fern, that they still continue to love me from afar and still continue to give me strength. It’s also interesting that someone commented that my painting reminded them of an Aztec headpiece. I resonate with that as I believe that I have a connection to the Aztec people. I need to look into that connection.

Day 8.

We’ve moved into a new week and into sacred symbolism. It’s day 8 now, and today’s symbol is “Om” or peace, for the 7th chakra. I am finding the peace that I seek as I paint. I am enjoying the process of meditative painting, of finding myself as the paint flows, finding my peace as the brush moves. It was also the first time for me to use the masking fluid and I found that it was not as easy nor did I like it. I’ll practice with it but for now I’ll try to find my peace. Say it with me … “Ohmmmmmmm …”

Day 9.

Day 9, and today’s symbol is the West African Adinkra symbol for “Strength of Heart.” It’s said to help when needing to make a tough decision, to literally follow your heart. My painting reminded me of a butterfly. Transformation. Recreation. It takes courage to paint and to put your work out there, just as it takes courage to follow your heart. I’m becoming bolder and feel more courageous. I feel less afraid these days as I learn that I have nothing to fear.

Day 10, the lotus. I wasn’t feeling it today. The first time I started painting the lotus, I didn’t like what I came up with (the painting on the right). I wasn’t in the meditation 100% and you can tell that I’m in my head thinking too much. When I redid my painting, I started painting spirals to reset myself. I like it but I think I’ll try to re-do the lotus meditation at another time. I know that my gut says that this is how the painting wanted to reveal itself to me, but in my logical mind I’m so hyper critical of my work and I just want to try again.

Day 11.

Day 11 is the West African Adinkra symbol for Mother Earth. Today’s painting was super interesting for me in more than just one way. First, let me tell you that I was totally in FLOW. No thinking, just painting. I thought maybe I’d just kind of mimic the way Whitney painted in the meditation video and that is how I initially began. Next thing I knew I had trees and a fiery sunset sky and I didn’t know how they had gotten there. Second, the vision that I have for my life, the dreams that I constantly dream of includes trees and the outdoors with my feet up on the porch railing and hot coffee in hand watching sunsets and sunrises. No joke. For years I’ve envisioned this so I know its coming to fruition soon especially if its subconsciously making its way into my creations. Thirdly, look at my trees! I was thinking that my trees look like arrows. I had asked Whitney Freya in a post comment for a personal “symbol” and low and behold she answered me! And … guess what symbol she envisioned/received for me?! Yep, the ARROW! How is that for synchronicity?!?

Whitney said that the arrow is the call to declare what I want out our so that ALL of my helpers can go out and make it happen! The arrow calls you to really focus on that most important thing and to take careful aim … and then let go.

Day 12.

Day 12, Triskelion or triple spirals from the Celtic tradition. The triple spiral is a symbol you can use to strengthen your intuition. Do you know how much I want to strengthen my intuition? To know? I am finding that when I go into something with an intention that it comes forth. When I write, I ask what my soul wants me to know and it flows. So now when I paint, I am asking my soul what it wants me to know … and I am learning to trust that what comes out, what flows is my answer!

Day 13.

Day 13, Sun Yantra, the symbol for self-love. I really love the orange-red colors, but for a long time I did not like or enjoy the color red or orange until someone asked me why I was rejecting success as orange is the color of success, and another person stated that I would look good in this color. This painting was fun, but let me tell you that I had to turn it to get a different perspective, to find a perspective that fit ME. Sometimes in life that happens. You don’t fit in the molds made for someone else, you have to find your place, your fit. I do like who I’ve become and I am more excited for who it is I Am Becoming!

Day 14.

Day 14 and now into week 2 of the challenge. We’re now working with the elements and today is Air! I love that Whitney teaches us that the element of air is associated with thought, mental power, communication, travel, intellect, abstract thinking, teaching, divination, freedom, happiness, laughter, beginning, and the direction of the East. For me, it’s sunrise, new days, blank canvases. For me, my painting reminds me of dendrites … you know, those things at the end of nerve cells that receive impulses from other cells. I feel like this right now, a dendrite taking in all the impulses and energy and transmuting it out into the Universe.

Day 15.

Day 15 of 21, last week of the Painting Meditation Challenge. Reading the instructions, I was supposed to start with a “sacred spark” in the middle and let it “burn” as I painted. Hmmmm … I think my “sacred spark” is awesome. It’s something I never would’ve painted. It started as a star and as it burns itself out it’s flames, sun-like, takes over.

The Sun, in astronomy, is also a star, just a really huge one. Reminds me of me … I am the star and as I cast my own light, I see that I shine as bright as the sun because I am also a sun star. I don’t know my own light and I am now being illuminated!

WHOA! What a revelation. I shine as brightly as the Sun because even though I see myself as “only” a mere star, I am also the Sun! It doesn’t matter if this makes sense to anyone else except me because I just had a freakin’ 💡lightbulb moment!

Day 17 (Yes, I know that Day 16 is missing.)

Day 17 of 21. Today’s prompt was Earth Energy: grounding, manifesting, rich, nurturing, fertile, layered, roots, Mother Earth.

My painting didn’t look like Whitney’s. It’s not supposed to look like anything else except MY own painting. I’m always surprised at what evolves. My painting had my beloved evergreen trees. I finally looked up the symbolism of my evergreen trees today and what I found was so reassuring and so revelatory. Strength, stoicism, invincibility. They are a symbol of survival, a symbol for eternal life. They are a symbol of strength during times of hardship, and they are a symbol of goodness in a chaotic world. It’s no wonder why I’m drawn to them, why I’ve been drawn to them since I was a small child. It all makes sense now. Wow!

When I was a small child, I was frequently punished and I would retreat into my room. I had (have) a pretty crazy imagination that’s vivid and that has protected me from the harsh realities of my life. Always – ALWAYS – in my imaginations I ran amongst the trees, I hid within them, they protected me and shielded me … I understand now. So much “Whoa!” I am so grateful.

Day 18.

Day 18 of 21. Today’s element is Metal. I’m not sure what I feel about metal energy. Metal energy, according to the Vitality Test, is associated with: Efficiency, clarity, simplicity, controlling waste, detachment, distance, objectivity, isolation, alone, cut off, independent, recognition, systems, perfection, precise, accurate, measuring, monitoring, evaluating, automation, repeatable, completing, searching, saving, value, finding, missing, quality, clean, minimalistic, valuable, precious and rare. The big questions is, “What’s missing?” or “What’s incomplete?” And I don’t feel that there’s anything missing, nor do I feel incomplete.

The mountains are of metal energy and I do feel as I’m being called to them. I kind of see them with my trees. Maybe that’s it … the calling. In any case, I did enjoy this meditation. I loved the reflection. I just have to see what evolves.

Day 19 take 2.
Day 19 take 1.

Day 19 of 21. Today’s element is Wood. I’m so much an Earth element and you know me and my trees. I tried to do just the rings (2nd pic), but it really didn’t resonate with me. It didn’t settle right. So I did another painting (1st pic) with just one color rings, but even that didn’t sit quite right. But as I looked at to more I saw branches. But my branches look like little trees. Ah well. I love it anyway! It can’t just be about the trunk because even though the trunk is the base, it gives life, produces oxygen, holds the water, bears fruit, branches out, holds the leaves and then lets them go …

Day 20.

Day 20 of 21. This was a good one and interesting in so many ways, but I’ll hit the highlights and keep it short and sweet.

I was late to do this meditation. It should have been done yesterday, but as I work night shift, I woke up too late to do the painting. While I was on break, I perused the meditation so see what I missed and saw that that element was Ether! What?! Seriously, not 10 minutes before I perused the video, I met a woman named … Ether!!! NO JOKE! I was commenting on her name and how cool I thought it was and then … BAM! Wow! Lots of synchronicities have been happening for me in the last few months. I’ve been keeping myself open to the possibilities of the Universe and I’ve been grateful for every thing! It’s been so nice!

The meditation today was Ether. Thinking about ourselves outside of our physical body. As I was painting, I thought I’d end up with a nebula, but what I ended up with amazed me … it looks so simple when you look at it, but … BUT … for me, it’s a MIRROR! A mirror! Why? Because I am ether. I was told that I am MORE than what I see in my physical mirror. I am to look deeper and to remember that I am more than this physical body, this shell. What is happening to me?!! I’m am beyond grateful for all these realizations! They have been amazing! One more day!

Day 21! Last Day!

Day P.M. 21 of 21. For the last 21 days I have left myself open to the magic of what MY SOUL desired to express. There are days when I did more thinking instead of just allowing. I have definitely felt an expansion and a shift and it’s been incredible.

“Allowing” is something that I have struggled with – always wanting to do it myself, never asking for help even when I was drowning, expecting a certain outcome and trying to force it, then being disappointed when it didn’t come to fruition or happen the way I wanted it to. I’ve lived a life too long struggling with this mentality. I can say that I’ve been blessed with some incredible Spiritual mentors who have been a light for me, and who have guided and directed me to my own Soul. I’ve learned to release the white knuckled grip I’ve had on the illusion I’ve had control. The truth is I’ve never been or had control. I’ve led this incredible life following the trail breadcrumbs as it’s led me from one thing to the next, one adventure to the next, one teacher to the next … every encounter building me, teaching me, expanding me, getting me to where I am today.

Whoops! Day 16! My most *favorite* of all!

Day 16 of 21! I realized as I was going through my meditations that I totally missed Day 16! 🤦🏻‍♀️ I believe I know why, too.

Day 16 was the element of Water. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the ocean. LOVE. I was born on Oahu, I grew up on the beach wearing a bikini, and to the dismay of my mother I’m 33% Polynesian. Surprisingly, I’m also hydrophobic. I’m afraid of deep water. I panic when my feet can’t touch the bottom while my head is above water. And recently 5 of my friends, 2 of which were my VERY BEST friends perished while sleeping in a dive boat. My friends, especially Michael, LOVED the ocean and they were on their annual diving trip celebrating him. My heart aches every time I think of them, especially MQ.

I know I saw the prompt. I remember reading about it so I’m not sure how I missed it. I believe that My Soul wasn’t ready. The tragedy of their accident is too soon – it only happened 2.5 months ago. I miss them. I miss Fern. She loved watercolors and we were supposed to do a painting class together. I miss MQ and his deep voice and “grumpy” disposition. My heart aches for the girls whose lives were taken way too soon. I love the ocean, but My Soul knew that it probably wasn’t the right day to paint it. So I paint this for my friends. It’s still hard, and there’s a piece of my heart that’s raw …

I have so much gratitude for ALL of my experiences – the good, the not so good, the lessons that took me awhile to understand, the lessons that have expanded and shifted me, for the lessons and experiences that are yet to come, and for My Soul’s willingness to express itself thru little ole me! Thank you Whitney Freya for being my guide in this part of my journey. It’s been an amazing experience!

If you’re interested in experiencing this painting meditation series, check it out here.

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