Praying in color 10-30-13

praying in color 10-30-13

I asked God, How do I know I’m on the right path? He said – as long as you are seeking me, you are on the right path.

Sometimes I’d like it if the pictures come out awesome. But it isn’t about the pictures. The drawing is a vehicle. It is a way of distracting my mind so I can get to the heart of God. It is kind of like when I take large pills. Sometimes I have a hard time swallowing them, and I’ll wiggle my hand off to the side. I do that to distract myself, so I can think about that instead of the fact that I think I’m going to choke.

Drawing distracts me, so I don’t really think about what I normally think about. It gives my hands something to do. If “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, keeping them busy means that God can get in and work, right?

There is something about drawing that just lets me know that this time isn’t like any other time, and it is time to open myself up. I set an intention and see what happens. Meanwhile, I draw whatever shapes and colors come to me to draw.

Sometimes it is about just showing up. I present myself and I try. I think God is there all the time, but I’m not always ready to receive. I find I have to make a space for God. It isn’t really a space for God, but a space for me to be available to God.

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Praying in color 9-23-13

I’m not able to do this every day. Or, to be more honest, I don’t make time to do this every day. But here’s what I got recently. It is kind of like a fishing trip. Sometimes I get something, and sometimes I don’t.

For those of you who don’t know, “Praying in Color” isn’t my idea. I got the idea from a book of the same name. The idea is that you take out your pens or colored pencils and you doodle. You pray beforehand, with a specific prayer intention. It can be a prayer for a friend who needs it, or something for the world, or a specific question that you have that you need help with. While doodling, answers or feelings come back.

As for me, I write down my intention at the bottom on the back, and the answers above that. I’ll get answers throughout the process. I use watercolor pencils, and I’ll “paint” the finished piece afterwards if I feel like it. This is a good medium for me because it is quick – I can get something in about ten minutes. It is simply a way of accessing a different part of your brain so that God can get in.

I drew this piece on 9-23-13 after my second visit to the chiropractor. That is when I found out I have scoliosis, and a lot more visits (and a lot more expense) in my future. This is what I prayed about. How can I afford this? How do I deal with the pain? I feel like I never get ahead – that the moment I gain, something comes up and I go back again.

pray 9-23-13

The answers –
We hold on to the shore because we are afraid.
Even if you have nothing, you still have something.
This teaches us that good (art) can come out of bad situations.
“How many reminders do you need to know that I am with you?”

Sometimes the answers are just feelings, and sometimes they are direct words. Sometimes I write more than this, but I always know when it is over and time to stop. Here are my reflections on the answers:

Change is frightening to us, but if we don’t let go of the shore we’ll never learn how to swim. We are funny creatures – we hate change, but we also get bored easily so really we want change. We are never happy.

There is always something to be thankful for. Find it. Celebrate it. Even if you are without a house, you still have your life and your mind. If you aren’t thankful for what you have, how will you be thankful for anything else? Be thankful, and everything opens up.

Good comes out of bad. Pain is a great teacher. It focuses us. It limits us and forces us to decide what is important. Bad childhoods can result in careers where we choose to serve others, because we understand their pain. If everything stayed even all the time, we’d never have to grow or stretch or get stronger.

The last one says it all. God is constantly with us, and we constantly forget. God will never forsake us.

These are for sale if you are interested. Please comment with your information if so. They are about 4.5 inches by 6 inches, on watercolor paper. The price is whatever you would like to offer.

Praying in color 9-7-13 “Brown”

WP pic 9-7-13

Praying in color isn’t about drawing, so much as opening yourself up to Spirit. It is giving your hands something to do to open up your heart to God. Sometimes you end up with a pretty picture in the meantime, but the point is to gain an insight or an understanding.

Today I picked up a brown pencil. I’d recently reorganized my pencils and sorted this box into yellows, red/pink/orange, and neutrals. This one was in the neutrals and I wondered why.

Then I started to think about how arbitrary sorting and defining is. When we name things we limit them. We start to apply other limits to them.

When I had some mauve beads, I found out that if I put them next to blue beads they looked more purple. If I put them near red beads they looked more pink.

Either way, I wasn’t letting the beads just be what they were. I was subtly altering them

I feel that I do this all the time with people. I put them in boxes. She’s in the married person box. He’s in the addict box. They are in the stoner box. I stop being able to see how people can be both and more. I stop being able to see a person’s full potential. What you are now isn’t what you are going to become. Who could ever imagine a huge mustard tree coming from a tiny mustard seed?

When I define, I limit. I draw a line around it and say this is where it stops. But not everything can be defined. Some things are multiple. The funny thing is that is the very quality I admire. I have tattoos that look Celtic but are Buddhist. I like seeing things blend. I like mixing things up so you have to open your eyes. I like questioning “Why?” So I’m amused that I still feel a need to define, to limit.

The moment we define we stop looking. We know what is coming next. We don’t need to look anymore, learn any more. But nothing is ever that easy. Nothing ever fits firmly in a box.

I like eating pot roast with Indian lime pickle sauce. I’m pretty sure that is a violation of some rule – eating cow with an Indian condiment. I don’t tell my Hindu friends. But it tastes awesome. I like eating empanadas with hummus. Latin America meets Middle East. Why not?

When we expand our definitions, we start seeing things for what they really are. When we stop putting things and people in boxes we can start to really see.

Is brown a neutral, or does it go with the yellows, or oranges? It is us who divide and limit, and thus not see what is.

Watercolor shaman

I was drawing this morning. I’m trying to get into the habit of drawing a little every morning. Be careful – I have watercolor pencils and I know how to use them.

Well, sort of. I know how they work. I’m not quite patient enough to draw real things. I make up excuses for myself, saying that the real things are there, and I can’t improve upon them. Why draw them, when I could just take a picture? But I know that is a cop-out. I know that is me trying to not do the work required to learn how to translate something three-dimensional into something two-dimensional.

There is something to drawing what is there. It slows you down. You have to really look at things if you are going to draw them. Does this angle go straight up, or slightly to the right? Oh, look, there’s a crack there. I thought that spot was flawless.

Sometimes I learn things when I’m drawing. I’ve learned that figs aren’t just purple. There is a little green in the skin too. And they have really interesting spots, tiny ones. But sometimes what I learn isn’t right in front of me. I learn things while I’m drawing that have to do with how I draw, and have to do with where my head is at the time.

I’m trying a technique called “Praying in Color”. I saw this book by Sybil MacBeth at the library and have decided to incorporate its ideas into my morning routine. I like to draw, and I like to pray – and I don’t have a lot of spare time. So why not do both at the same time? I’m not sure that I do it exactly the way it is in the book. I think I have put my own spin on it. I offer this idea to you, if you are trying to find a new way to pray.

What I do is take a piece of paper and I write today’s date and my prayer intention on the back of it, towards the bottom. Then I turn it over and start drawing. I doodle. I pick up whatever color that comes to mind, and I draw whatever shape that I’m feeling at the moment. I think that is important. I’m not trying to draw what is there. Then, while I’m in that space where I’m not controlling what is happening, I get answers to my prayer intention. Quite often it isn’t what I thought it would be, and I’m surprised.

It is a bit like being a shaman, but using watercolor pencils.