This is not about colouring in mandalas, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It’s about how a disheartened creative becomes a yogi, in order to learn how to be an artist.
For yogis and artists, this sentence makes complete sense; in a “duh” stating the obvious kind of way. To everyone else, the kook-hippy-tosser-new-agey-self-help-book sirens are blaring. Don’t worry, it’s only me.
Let me save you from the pain and boredom involved in having to read my entire life story, but its sufficient to say that the second sentence pretty much covers the last 10-15 years for me. I didn’t know it at the time of course but hindsight is sharp and sometimes pointy.
Seven years ago, around the time I was becoming a yoga teacher, I desperately wanted to be an artist, but I would never have admitted it. The person that I was at that time was not at all ready to personally commit, or to stand up in front of the universe and call myself an artist. Why? Because I still believed (at 30ish and since teenhood) that the universe would laugh at me, in fact I thought it was already pointing and laughing each time I popped my head outside of the proverbial square. I was in a creative career, but it was the type that had very high barbed wire walls fixed around my creativity. (No, I was not the seamstress at Pentridge). Having already practised yoga for many years, I did have an inkling that the universe probably wasn't the complete tossbag that I was perceiving, but also that it would take a lot of learning and unlearning on my part if I was ever to understand this possibility.
A couple of months in to my teacher training, our meditation teacher asked us to get into pairs and sit cross legged, face to face, knee touchingly close. Maintaining eye contact, one person asks “Who are you really?” and their pair answers, continuing talking until there is nothing left to say. Maintaining eye contact!!! Do not try this at home. All seemed ok while I was talking, but once I stopped, read my partners face, and realised what I’d just spewed out about my family, about my childhood, about my fears, about my insecurities. I actually wanted to vomit. Of course it was a complete set up by the teacher to illustrate to us broken mirror we see ourselves in, how harshly we judge, how closed our minds, and how tightly we hold onto our own bullshit. Keep in mind this is a room full of peacelovin’, herbal tea drinkin’, Tibetan sock wearin’, hug squeezin’ future yoga teachers. (If you were one of the people in the room that day, please don’t be offended by my stereotyping. You get my drift though right?)
I flipped a switch that day. I was appalled at what had come out of my mouth when asked who I really was. I'm not the shy child or the grasping-for-acceptance teen. I have been, but I’m not. I switched off apprehensive and switch on self-assured. I switched off shy and switched on brave. There are still a few switches I’d like to flip and I'm working on those (with yoga and meditation of course).
Now that the universe and I are working more closely, creativity flows much more freely. Now that I’ve fixed my broken mirror, I can see what I’m making and appreciate where it sits along the windy track of my career and indeed, life. I don’t love and adore everything that flows from my pencil or paint brush (or ink pen, oh la la) but I now know that it’s not necessary to love and adore everything. What’s important is that I keep creating, developing and learning and stuffing up, and celebrating and if you do yoga or if you meditate, you know exactly what I mean.