Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Obsession"

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 do...in 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 programming...by society...by 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...

...to turn around.

© 2008 Bettina Makley

28 comments:

Stephen B said...

“It is love I desire, not sacrifice” ~Hosea. Your words about sacrifice brought that to my mind immediately, and all the more so because it was the reading at church this past Sunday. A minor bit of synchronicity, I reckon. Fabulous painting, Bettina.

Laume said...

It's a very powerful painting and a very powerful post. I think when we share the difficult things, we heal not only a bit more of ourselves, but we help others heal as well.

Have you ever read Sue Monk Kidd? Your words reminded me of parts of her book about her own personal journey.

Lance said...

I know how you labored to make this painting "just right". It IS one of the best, I think. It's so great to see you turn something so negative into something so...positive. A wonderful piece of art with truth to it.
Y'know what? You ROCK!
I love you...

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

Stephen,

Thank you, so much and...so nice to see you! I just love synchronicity, don't you?

Laume,

Thank you, for your thoughtful comment. I have not read that author, but I'll look for her, in the future. :)


Lance,

You always give the greatest support. I love you, too, Baby.

mousewords said...

Bettina, this is so beautiful and powerful. And it's true, in your path to healing you help others--I could see myself in that painting, too! How many times do I focus in on trying to create a little bit of beauty for myself in the darkness, when I could make choices to live in a sweeping landscape of beauty?

Thank you so much for sharing that. I'm so glad you're at this point in your journey! ((Hugs))

Mark Salinas said...

What art! Very nice!

Rocker 419 said...

A wonderful painting. And isn't it nice when a work of art can be a cathartic experience as well? I remembered some addictions of my own in my past and this painting really hit home. Of course addictions are never really completely in the past but...anyway, thank you.

May Terry said...

Wonderful painting, Bettina. May you continue to heal through your art.

Patricia said...

This is all beautiful - I am so glad I found your blog. Thank you for being open and expressive with much kindness. Your artwork is wonderful.

Amanda said...

wow...this is just wonderful, both the painting and the words. thank you so much for sharing your story and your wisdom.

Milliande said...

Being aware ... it is the first step and in essence the only step to take
...to become fully aware of all that you are ...all that I am ... and all
that we are ...

To take the first step in being seen ... in letting the inside world take on
outside form ... releasing that which has been holding one prisoner,

I deeply honor you for having taken another step so openly, for having
trusted yourself to share here ... and to step so beautifully into
your own being ... I thank you for that ..

In all that I do I create !!!!

This is the essence ...this is it ...to consciously create, to create from
deep within your heart space and release all prior programming .. the
retrace your steps to your original blueprint ..that which you came here to
BE ... before anyone started to tell you what you "SHOULD BE"

Imagery has a powerful way of showing us exactly who we are ... without
attaching any judgment to it... If we can just let ourselves bathe in the
flow of it ...

... Milliande

Tricks said...

Bettina, Your honesty is wonderfully enriching to anyone who has been in the same place. I understand and I'm sure there are many others who do too. Thank you for sharing. Tricia

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm that weird girl from the train to Philadelphia. I FOUND YOU I FOUND YOU bye!

Heather Blakey said...

Your link has been sent to me here at the Soul Food Cafe and, upon viewing your work I felt compelled to write and tell you how very beautiful it is. You would love Lemuria, a safe haven in which to heal. I will return to admire your courage and work.

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

I am so, deeply honored by all of these wonderful comments. Thank you all, so much, from the bottom of my heart.

And to "that weird girl from the train", Yay!!! Now, keep in touch! :)

Terry Seed said...

You have a wonderful blog, I love it and your painting and words here have helped me.

Thank you for sharing with us all.

cuteartworld said...

Thank you so much for adding me as your friend today! I am always glad to meet a Fairywebmother! Being an artist for me is pretty lonely! I do not get out much having a 2 year old makes it difficult. I cherish and seek my artist web friends! So you have filled me with joy today! I hope one day I will have as many friend as you do Fairywebmother!
Hugging You.

ArtyEm said...

wow.
powerful, powerful painting and very powerful post -- next time you are in a show, I would love to get in my car and come see your work in real live person.
thanks so much for sharing this and enriching us all.
(and I love that the girl from the train found you here!)

jodimathieu said...

Incredible post of growth through a very dark place. In the journey of re-birth you got to choose to be the real you.

This quote below is one of my favorites:

"You must be true to yourself. Strong enough to be true to yourself. Brave enough to be strong enough to be true to yourself. Wise enough to be brave enough, to be strong enough to shape yourself from what you actually are." -- Sylvia Constance Ashton-Warner, New Zealander author and educator (1908-1984).

Blessed be, Jodi Mathieu

Leola said...

Absolutely beautiful. (southshoreartist)

Anonymous said...

It is a powerful painting and a moving expression. As your sister, I've been witness to a lot of your ups and downs, and most of your paintings. This one is special.

It's been two months since you blogged about it. How has the art been going since then? Do you find yourself painting more, or doing different kinds of things?

I've pretty much neglected visual art since I was a teenager, but lately I've committed to the practice of doing at least one drawing every day. I have given myself permission to draw badly and I think it's making a real difference for me. It's opening my heart in new and strange ways.

By the way, I think you would love Sue Monk Kidd. I used to read her stuff back in my super Christian days when she wrote for Guideposts. Then she had a feminist awakening. You should check out "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter".

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

I will definitely try to find that author. I've been helping out at the used book store, down the street, so I'll check there.

I haven't blogged again, because this one was getting such a response that I've been reluctant to move it down. I have been "Soul Journaling" though...something I know you would love. I'll be blogging that, very soon!

Thank you, for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment! :)

Bridget said...

hey Bettina,
Thanks so much for sharing this with us.
hugs,
Bridget

Cherie said...

Hey Bettina,

It's been a while since I've visited your blog. I am adding my favorite blogs to my list of favorite blogs...makes sense!

YOUR blog is most certainly on that list, so visiting here today was my destiny and I found this beautiful "Obsession" and your words...and it all is wonderful reading, wonderful insight and great to see your exsquisite painting!

You are a most lovely person, in so very many ways!!

My wish for you today is to think of me, smile...and know you are thought of kindly!!

Hugs,
Cherie

cuteartworld said...

I have been so busy trying to get my feet wet again with drawing!I always have had a fear of it! I have some eye candy to show you all, everyone drop by to take a peek I am in the process of a new collaborated sketch/digital design. I need your support! It is all about fairies!

ruth gallagher said...

this is truly a beautiful painting...thank you so much for sharing....somehow i fear painting, always afraid to reveal myself...peace and love to you bettina....see you on flickr site

Susan said...

"I felt completely powerless and waited, like a good, little martyr, for GOD to deliver me from myself."

Hi Bettina! I found this via the links you left me at Facebook....

The quote that I pulled out above and your entire story is so much like the life I lived. I remember when I was pregnant with my son; my husband either neglected me, bullied me or was otherwise in general abusive. I remember feeling so powerless and how the "church" told me that I had to "submit" and if I did then perhaps he wouldn't hurt me anymore...but no matter what I did it was never enough.

All those years - I waited on "god" to rescue me, to change my husband as I was being committed and "doing it right" by standing by and taking full responsibility for what he did - or didn't do as a husband and father.

Resolving that issue of powerlessness was the first key to finding "me"...and I havent looked back since!

Yes; the journey itself can be taxing at times - but so well worth the work I believe:)

All that to say - I've been there and done that as well and I am looking forward to getting to know you! Thank you for introducing yourself and please stop by to visit again soon!

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

Susan - I still live by my faith...but my faith is in the God/Goddess/Higher Power/Universe WITHIN and is no longer dependent on organized religion.

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I knew from your own blog that we had some things in common. Keep in touch.