The beat of your heart.
How to hear your true heart's message
I’m a very down to earth person. I say what I mean, I need things to be concrete and I live off of planning. Yet, here I am trying to show others the intangible benefits of creating art for self-exploration and healing. What I love about art is that I don’t have to find my way through the words to get to the heart of what I need. The message finds me in my art. The guidance, hope and fulfillment follow the brush and I’m left with the sense of peace that I know exactly what I needed.
I want to help you find this sense of guidance and path straight to the heart of who you are. The place in you that knows exactly what you want, how you feel and how to get there. The place in you that can give you healing and support. It is a map to your heart.
What do you get out of knowing your heart? You find your own voice, you trust your own judgement, you feel your damn feelings and know what they are trying to tell you. You start living a life for yourself and start dropping your old stories of who you are supposed to be, what you have to do or how you need to feel.
For me to say that art will guide you back to your heart feels abstract. I want the words to tell you exactly what that feels like. I want to be able to explain that your heart is more than airy fairy idea with no real benefit to this hard knock life. I want to be able to clearly label what your heart, your soul, wants to tell you. But I can’t do it through words. (Ok, I sort of did) Words will leave you circling in your mind trying to analyze if what I say is true for you. Words will leave you up in your head still trying to figure out what you are supposed to be doing with your life. Art, however will put it all out on the table for you to see, feel and touch. Is it abstract and hard to pin down with words? YES! But you will know it. You will feel it. You will begin to live it when you stop trying to pin down your heart and desires to one word. Our heart is all over the place and can’t be just one thing. So you follow it with your art making. You keep asking your heart to make itself known, to heal what it sees fit and release the things holding you back.
Art is a tool that we have been given since the dawn of time (or whenever they found cave paintings) and something children are instinctively drawn to. We don’t start our lives thinking in words, we learn and think in images and feelings. Lets get back to using this tool that has been with us from the beginning and learn how to use it to better our lives. Art is no longer a hobby or talent for the few. It is our tool for authentic living and our guide.
This month I’m going to show you some daily watercolor painting to follow that visual trail back to your heart. It leaves you clues, inklings and insights that I can’t pin down for you but I can show you how to create that map for yourself.
Know going in that this is a practice, you can’t define your entire life experience and needs in one word any more than your heart can tell you the whole of who you really are in one or two images. Try this practice and keep coming back to it day after day, it will evolve just like you do.
How to paint to hear your heart
• Ask it a question
Asking yourself/ your heart a question sets your subconscious in motion to sort through everything it knows and has experienced to pull the right stuff to the surface. When you leave it open to chance things get a little harder to intuit meaning. Ask, paint, look for meaning and listen to what pops in your head. Journal about your insights, what did you discover?
• Develop a symbolic language between you and your heart
Create a library of symbols and decide on their meaning for you. When you know what an image or symbol means for you it is easier to learn your patterns. It is like learning a second language. The subconscious (higher self) speaks in images and feelings start practicing this language but let it evolve. The heart is not static.
• Meditate and get in a space of listening
When we can't quiet our minds while creating we don't hear our own intuition giving us the answers. Our heart and higher self talk quiet and patiently wait for us to listen. Train yourself through meditation to let go of all the inner chatter that comes up, especially that inner critic.
• Trust your first instincts
Along with listening, you must also start trusting your instincts. If you see a flash of an idea or image and want to paint it - do it. Don't go back to what you think a symbol or image needs to be to represent your feelings. Follow what comes up. It is only through following the unknown and sometimes illogical that we find those answers that seem to have been hidden from us.
Depending on how long you have been ignoring your own inner voice and true heart you may need more time to develop this communication. Don't get discouraged by a lack of knowing anything concrete. Focus on having fun with the materials and practicing being free and playful. The insight comes after you practice following your instincts and your joy.