Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I feel the need to blog about this, but it isn't that easy, as this isn't, really a "yookie what I did" kind-of-a piece.
Many years ago, I lived in a very dark place. Unaware of my deeply embedded programming, I lived my life from fear. Fear of disappointing...well...everyone. Fear of lack. Fear of doing the "wrong" thing. I lived with...and enabled...abuse on so many levels.
This painting was like giving birth. It started as a vision, right after my decision to walk away from a destructive relationship, and a suffocated self. It's been incubating for about thirteen years, now.

On Friday, June 6th, 2008, this and a few other pieces of my work were featured, along with several other local artists, in an opening at Artworks Around Town, here in Wheeling, WV. I had promised a new painting for the event, the tenth anniversary of the gallery. It had been a long time since I had done a large painting. Since my work is very rarely planned in any way, I had no idea that the vision I had been cradling in my soul for so many years was the one that would show up on the canvas. I had some idea of a landscape, or something and I had a canvas that needed updating, as it had the beginnings of an older work that I no longer felt moved to finish.

Over the years I have worked, very hard, to heal myself. It is an on-going process that has opened me to so many, new thoughts and ideas and it's hard to know what to share in this little blog. There is so much I want to share. I share it in bits and pieces in all that I all I create.

We have so much power to heal ourselves and yet, so many of us feel powerless, when most often, all we need to do is let go...turn away...turn around...choose a different perspective...a different life. Sometimes, making a simple choice can be the hardest thing we have ever done. Until we become self-aware, our perceptions are clouded with our families, friends and associations...and by, the hardest for me to overcome...religious dogma.

Women in my generation were taught to believe the man was in charge. I was raised to be a mother, a caretaker, a home-maker. I was led, by my programming, to believe that I was virtuous and strong if I stood by my man, no matter what. That he was responsible for my reality and, though it was not clear to me at the time, that I was a lesser being. Another misconception that I lived with was, that if anyone in my life was angry with me...I must have done something wrong. It never mattered who it was...if they were angry, sad or upset about any of my choices, I was the one who needed to change.

When I look back on this way of thinking, my body tenses, as I remember allowing my emotions to be batted around like a tennis ball. I felt completely powerless and waited, like a good, little martyr, for GOD to deliver me from myself.

Now, I believe that sacrificial giving is a good thing...when it is a loving choice. But what are we really giving when we are, simply, programmed to do so? When we have surrendered all consciousness not to our connection to Spirit/Creator/God...but to men/women who we were programmed to respect and follow? How can our choices be sacred when we are not the ones making them, as we have no real knowledge of who we are?

One day, I gave my life...back to myself. For me, the process of self realization really began when I picked up the book "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. It was an easy read, yet the concepts went straight to my Soul and changed it, forever. It planted a seed that has come to full bloom...and will bloom again and again, as I open my arms to the idea that I am new with every breath and that, though I may not fit in with a society that still, desperately tries to chain me, I fit into the Universe perfectly...just as I am. I have become a person that I value...a person I want to protect and nurture.

"Obsession" is a kind of inner self portrait of who I was in the dark times. Focused only on the flower in my hands, while an abundant Universe was just out of sight. The birth of this picture was exhausting to the point that I actually thought I might never paint, again. Now that it's finally out of my head, I find myself with other visions and I realize I've opened the flow...not closed it.

Even as I type this I am a bit overwhelmed with emotion and, as tears stream down my cheeks, I am so glad and grateful to The Universe that, eventually, I found the strength... turn around.

© 2008 Bettina Makley