What does it mean to be open to the mystery of the universe?
This is a question I’ve been contemplating since a while. And as usual, when I have a question that requires deep contemplation, I take it to my art table. Through writing, throwing down layers of paint, playing with stencils and different mediums without any end goal in mind, I work through the question in my mind.
My answer comes through the marks I make on the page.
I don’t always have words in answer to my questions. In fact, often times, until the page is done, I don’t quite know the answer myself. Like this painting. I wish I had taken photographs along the way so I could show you the process. But trust me when I say, it was a hot, ugly mess of random circles and triangles; of a hodge-podge of colors and disjointed marks. If you look closely, you’ll see the orange triangle below the blue of the girl’s dress. There was a white and ocher circle over this triangle with a honeycomb design – you can still see a hint of it in the girl’s face.
This stage of the painting was reflective of the mess in my head. I don’t know about you, but when I am looking for answers, my efficiently logical brain takes me on a merry go round of seeking information. “You just need to research the hell out of this question,” it says. “Let’s look for books on the subject, for the perfect article, seek out a teacher or authority in this area, because of course, you know nothing!”
And off I can go, spinning around in circles, frustrated, feeling like Jon Snow.
What I forget is that if I do some research and then let it marinate, my inner wise self will lead me to the answer.
And that is what I found with this painting. I would follow my inner promptings while I was at the painty table. But the minute I stepped back, my inner critic, Prissy Missy, would go, “Yeah, that looks like poop. What the hell are you doing? You may as well just tear this up and throw it away!”
So I did the only thing I could – I walked away from the painting for a few days. I just stuck it in a drawer and went on to doing different things. And when I had all but forgotten about that hot mess lying in my drawer, I stumbled onto an article on combining two media that I’ve never combined before.
Excited, I decided to experiment with it. And without thinking, I grabbed that ugly ass painting, and started playing with my supplies.
And lo and behold, I was open to the mystery of the universe!
As I layered watercolor pencils over oil pastels in the circle above that orange triangle, I suddenly realized – that’s a face! And the triangle is her dress! And in all of 30 minutes, that hot, ugly mess came together into this painting that I adore!
So, what does it mean to be open to the mystery of the universe?
I think what it means is to trust that the answers will come. Instead of obsessing about a particular outcome, it asks us to listen to and heed the signs that we are sent, and to trust that the answer may bubble up when we least expect it. And the best way to make this happen, is to feed your subconscious. Read wide and deep. Allow what you read to percolate within. Write down any insights that arise. And approach everything with a sense of play!
How do you find the answers to your deepest questions?