414: Beyond Dreaming

Last week when I paused a movie, it was paused on accident at 11.11.11

11:11:11 means total recall, creative expression of who you are, and kindness/positive outlook. I just found out. Makes sense to me now. Statistically I wonder what those odds are at stopping a movie randomly at that precise number? That has been happening to me a lot with numbers. Many 3:33, 2:22, 1:11 patterns.

Last night I painted in attempt to process emotions. I was frustrated, sad, and in a (hormonal) angry state.
A figure kept popping up in the center that felt like my mother-in-law’s spirit. She recently passed. I focused on trying to release more and more energy as I painted, but was feeling a lot of energy blockage.

Here is the painting last night:

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Here is the painting today. Called ‘Beyond Dreaming’

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Like my writing, in the last few months, I have to paint. I don’t have a choice. So much energy is surging through me. A fire and burning passion. I cannot remove it as hard as I try. On my new blog: Belly of a Star, I have been writing some of the words I hear during my times of reflection.

When I woke up this morning, I had to change the original painting I did last night, and express what was in me. The challenge is I don’t see things like the typical person. I can’t hold the shape of faces in my mind, nor the ways bodies change as they move. For instant, how a nose looks sideways, or how a neckline appears. I often paint and paint, and all I see are flaws; until I see something I like, and then after a bit, I don’t like it. So, I paint. I erase. I paint. I become one with the process. And eventually the canvas starts to speak to me.

It is an excruciating process. I seem to go through much confidence, then fear, then doubt, then anger, then sadness and grief, and then after all the emotions, I am able to break free and create. This last piece took six hours. I am exhausted, yet, very much cleansed. I am also happy that this painting reflects the inner state of my being, currently.

I was told months ago, in prayer, before I ever started painting, that I would paint healing works, and that in taking photographs I would see energetic/spiritual images. I see one in the bottom of the canvas, for certain. And I find much healing in staring at this painting.

In looking back at the progression of my paintings, I notice a definite transition of spirit. From shapeless forms, to almost formed bodies, to people with no faces, to people with simple drawn lines for faces, to simple faces, to more complex faces. It’s as if my paintings followed my spiritual journey. Lately, I see that most of my paintings, beginning with the bear and the girl, are two people connected. Their body language usually conveys my spiritual state as well.

This series of works in chronological order shows a bit of the transition of my spirit reflected in art.

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The Shift

I think art therapy would benefit many people with Aspergers. It is more therapeutic than anything I have tried thus far.

368: Dream a Dream

Photo on 4-11-13 at 9.24 AM

I sometimes dream of the maroon Mazda GLC (Great Little Car) compact car I drove when I had just graduated high school—the very first vehicle I owned. Last night the car appeared, all dressed in his muted reddish-tones, still working, and still pulling me through my subconscious. We arrived in a mall parking lot, him looking auspicious, but me thinking he was running on empty, or at the very least stripped, undesirable, old, and worn out. He took no note of my emotions; like an unattached vessel he was used to getting me from here to there. I found a spot in the crowded parking lot at the side of the mall. It was mid-afternoon, with the sun in the air, but a sense of evening setting soon. I don’t remember saying goodbye to the car, or even where I parked; only that suddenly I was entering through the tall glass doors of the shopping center. I hadn’t given a second thought to the car or where’d I left it, or how long it would be there; I was too focused on my destination and some purpose that led me on like a star dancing just out of reach.

Inside the mall, I walked a short distance before turning left. My gait was at ease, my mind relaxed. There wasn’t need to rush or plan, or even focus. I approached a room and found myself inside a banquet hall full of graduates, mostly, perhaps fresh out of college or graduate school. I was part of the celebration, but entirely separate, not really seen or noticed, but included nonetheless. People were smiling, chatting, even planning. I was more of the observer: both invisible but present.

I left the gathering with a sensation inside of me that indicated I period of completion; I had attended the celebration not because I had to or had wanted to, but because I was drawn to. I hadn’t remembered being invited or previously being aware there was such a banquet. The crowd dissipated and I was neither left alone or isolated—I just was.

I walked on, inside this gigantic mall, the ceilings quite high and filled with shops and the airport above on the second-level. There was noise, people moving about, a few handsome men I can recall, and me thinking: If I bump into him on accident we can connect. Why didn’t I ever think to bump into people before? Why do I still feel the need to be noticed?

I continued on the main floor and glanced down at a watch, which was somewhere and nowhere, existing without existing; it was a little past four in the afternoon, and on reflecting on the time, I thought: Good, just enough time to get upstairs to the airport to fly to New York. And then, as soon as I’d thought that, an inner voice chimed in: Wow, that was cutting it close, maybe you should have allowed for more time, with your flight being at 4:45 and all.

I smiled and headed toward the airport terminal; until, after a few steps later, I realized I’d come empty-handed—I’d forgotten my suitcase. I turned then, searching the mall for the exit and walked swiftly towards the doors. My mind began to race, but I reassured myself, while calculating the time, that even with a quick stop outside to retrieve my luggage, I would make the flight.

Once outside I scanned the parking lot. I saw the line of trees that appeared to be the same line of trees near where I had originally parked. I scanned the rows, some five or six thick, with multiple rows in far-reaching directions leading out parallel and perpendicular. I knew my car was parked in a similar place, something like this at least, but I had no indication of where to walk. I knew to the right was too far, the place beyond the trees sparse, with the lot partially empty. I knew the place to my left to be too far the other direction, as I’d not walked that far to the mall door. I moved briskly down the five or six rows, not yet nervous, but with a burning gnawing sensation building up inside. Soon, the first element of doubt was born and my mind began the race, as if on seeing my own self lost the first shot had been fired. I worried now, the tension building, and the time seemingly building itself as a pressure upon my shoulders. How would I make my flight, if I couldn’t remember where I left my vehicle and retrieve my luggage?

Down the end of one row, on the left, was a car that matched mine almost exactly, only it shined more and appeared newer; I was almost certain I’d left my car facing the opposite direction. I approached, peered inside, and noted the interior was different, some papers, almost like a map sprawled out on one of the chairs, the inside cleaner and crisper. I opened the front passenger-side door anyway, hoping by some chance this car was my car, even though I knew this to be an impossibility. Upon swinging the door out, a bell chimed and a masculine computer voice spoke. The words indicated I didn’t belong to this car and to proceed onward. The voice made no indication of judgment, but even so there seemed to be an underlying, unspoken echo of laughter. Perhaps a chuckle of forbidden-knowing, like a parent watching a toddler open yet again the drawer he ought not touch.

I realized then, as I walked away from the car that I was in the wrong place. That I had no idea where my car was, and that it was a strong possibility I would miss my flight. I panicked some, and searched frantically for the place I’d last seen my car, and with no luck in finding what I was seeking, I hunched my shoulders and pattered back toward the mall, feeling both sorry for myself and angry at myself, and very much alone. A few older ladies, white-haired and plump, were entering their own car; as I approached the end of the aisle, most of the cars behind me, they asked: Why are you so upset? And I tried to explain. They instantly expressed no concern, and found my dilemma rather ridiculous. For here I was planning a trip and they had their own worries that were much more pertinent and important than some destination of flight. Why did my silly trip matter when so much was happening in their own lives?

I shrugged and carried myself onward, feeling heavy and burdened in thought. Entering the mall I approached a man and asked where to go to find the banquet room. I figured if I could find the banquet room where the mall journey first began, I could find the original exist I entered through, which would lead me back to the parking lot and my car. The gentleman pointed to the left, and so I turned, finding only more stores and no banquet room. I returned to the main part of the mall, knowing there was a good chance I would never make my flight, calculating the time, the cost, the potential outcomes of missing the trip. Another person gave me directions. This time I was told to: Turn right and then turn left and go down to the first floor. I looked at him bewildered: But this is the first floor, I thought. He took no notice of my concern and just guided me with his eyes and pointing hand. It’s to the right and then down to your left, I am certain, he offered. I followed his instructions and sure enough there was a room, but I knew instantly it was the wrong room. The space was marked “Theater”—it was a stage for performers, a place I had left long ago and had no desire to return to. I couldn’t see the stairs leading down, and so I assumed the stage itself must descend.

I thought to myself: how silly to have even parked in the mall parking lot, and to leave my vehicle unattended for so long. Would it not be abandoned and alone when the night came to pass and the rest drove home. Would it not just stick out then to be found by robbers and thieves?

I mourned over the loss of my car, as thoughts of failure and further isolation submerged, most of the iceberg of wounded self now surging upward through the icy-cold waters of forsaken.

I left now, completely beside myself, close to hysteria, and found myself sobbing on an outside stairwell. Someone approached and handed me a phone. On the other end of the line there was a guiding voice—albeit an unattached, very much removed guiding voice. I explained my predicament, my fear of missing my flight, my incapacity to find my luggage, the consequences of my circumstance. The voice on the other end listened. And he answered without much pretense or concern: Why not take the flight and purchase new garments when you arrive?

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In reviewing this dream, I know the car was the “old” me, the way I chose to move through the world. I recognize I mourn this part of me; even though the vehicle was older and perhaps sluggish, and lacking luster, it was still my mode of transportation. The car holds the luggage I carried with me, the necessities I think I need—my cloaks/costumes, my way of being, what is familiar and known. In searching for the car, I have lost the car, primarily because the car no longer exists and really never existed. I am worried of what will become of myself.

The gathering in the banquet room and the people in the mall are all symbolic of the other travelers in life that I see around me but feel disconnected with. I love them, I admire them, I even want to bump into them, if not for connection than for direction. I am searching for myself in others, searching for guidance, and understanding. And although no one shuns me or judges me, I am in essence invisible, there but not, moving through the world unnoticed.

The only moments I do connect are when I am in my state of sorrow and panic; here in my sadness about taking flight and finding my way out of being lost strangers will listen, but they will not understand or take interest. They are focused on their own life. No one feels what I am feeling, and whether outside the mall or inside the mall, I am lost. I am surrounded by everyone and no one. The stage is symbolic of where I used to be. The place I acted and performed. This is no longer my destination; neither is the banquet room of celebration. I have moved beyond celebration and pretending, and I am ready to journey onward. However, I think I must find the old me and follow the old ways to move forward. I am lost both inside the mall and outside the mall, in a place of limbo, searching everywhere and ending up nowhere; by entering a stairwell, I am at my last stop, not in the parking lot and not in the mall. Here in a place that doesn’t belong to either world, I realize that the answers are not found in the ways of the old or the ways of the new.

The only answers are to be found in letting go of my past ways and letting go of my search. By risking flight without the answers, I shall find the answers.

Day 123: Returned to Me

Maui Lavender Gardens 2012

This is the song I used to sing and imitate…when I was like ten. As I’ve said, I didn’t carry a barometer for appropriate behavior. I loved this song. I loved Natalie Wood. In my mind, this was a perfect song to sing in middle school in the cafeteria, while swaying my hips about and tossing my hair. Trouble started when I didn’t outgrow my delight in life—this innocence to dance and sing, and just be. Big trouble, as I approached high school, while still a ten year old in my mind.

I got downright cute and sexy approaching freshman year in high school, but didn’t know it. Once I turned fourteen, I always thought I was ugly. I was entirely clueless why the boys gawked and the girls jeered. Why the boys wanted my number and the girls shunned me. To me, I was still some scrawny kid inside. I didn’t see my sexy, my curves, my short shorts, my passionate eyes. I didn’t see what the others saw. As I matured into pretty, in my mind, I was still a little twiggy girl with buckteeth, a chipped front tooth, stringy hair, high-water hand-me-down jeans, and a flat chest. I had no idea I’d blossomed.

This was the other song I sang loudly in the middle school cafeteria

I used the moves and all.  I was special. I was confident. I was damn awesome!

Before I turned fourteen, I was engorged with passion, full of life, energy, and the feeling I could conquer the world. At the end of eighth grade, Mother plucked me from the coast of California and moved me to Massachusetts to live with her longtime lover. All at once, I knew no one, was loved by no one, and knew not who I was.

This was a time of unmentionables. I transformed from wild stallion to fearful doe. I hid. I stayed in dark rooms. I pretended not to exist—this after being driven down a long country road by our twenty-something neighbor who was married to the flat-chested lady I babysat for the next door over. A scene, I blurred and blanched  out of memory, that sucked out my passion, that transported the little girl I had been to a frightened woman, terrified of life, terrified to live.

I stopped living at the age of fourteen. I just stopped. My daily laughter turned to daily tears. I no longer danced. I no longer sang. I just existed.  It was then I began to see my past, to compare what I’d been through to what my peers had been through. I recognized all at once how different I was, how damaged, how hopeless.

I stopped living because I finally saw my mother. I saw who she was and how she never was who I longed for her to be. I stopped living because I was ostracized at school, made fun of for my “California” looks, for my clothes, for my curves. I stopped living because when I looked in the mirror I was something horrible, unrecognizable. I wasn’t me anymore. The spirit of me, the joy, the lover of life, had been siphoned out of me. I was staring at a stranger in my skin. My eyes dulled. My heart numbed. And my entire view of life grey.

I no longer trusted the world or anyone in it. And I didn’t know where to go, how to be, and knew not enough to tell a soul of my agony. I angst perpetually from want, desire, and deafening loneliness.  I ached for companionship, for people, for someone to shout out they loved me, for someone to see me—for someone to find me, wherever I’d gone.

I dreamt of ending my life. I dreamt of my prince, my twin flame, my soul mate, and would spend hours with him, in some enchanted place my spirit held. I imagined wherever he was, he would know the heart of me, that his heart would match mine, that he would be holding my heart, and would someday find me. I wept and wept and wept for him as much as I wept for the lost me.

I walked emptied.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that my spirit returned. I don’t know how, or why, it just did.

I have ever changed. This joy-filled, spirit of light has once again turned on, filling me with child-like glee. I have a plethora of things I want to do. A list that keeps growing and a spirit that keeps yearning and celebrating. I’m dancing inside. I’m walking on air. I’m not caring how silly I look. I’m loving me. I’m embracing my beauty, the beauty I lost thirty years ago.

Only in waking, some three decades later, I am finding myself in a strange land somewhat, surrounded by strange people I almost don’t recognize. Questioning my place, my role, my purpose. Wondering who I was for the last thirty years. Who I’d become. What choices I’ve made. How I’d let myself suffer. How I’d numbed my life.

I’m not recognizing photos of me from a month ago. Not understanding where I’ve been and who was inside of me for so very long. I can’t explain this transformation. I just can’t.

But looking into my eyes, I can see that the little girl who danced passionately without fear in the cafeteria, swinging her hips back and forth and tossing her hair about, is back.  The lovely happy girl who played beside nature, climbed the trees, sang and dance, cuddled with puppies, held hands, and skipped and skipped long after sundown across paths of gold, rainbows, unicorns, and her forever friends, has returned to me. And I am embracing her fully, and never letting her go.

Maui Lavender Gardens 2012