Most of the art I created in the first two years after my memories began flooding in (an event that was spontaneous and pre-therapy of any kind) are gone. Burned. Ruined in the flooding of an apartment I had literally just moved into. Traded away. What I have to show here is what was left to photograph.
On the day that my memory shifted gears and took me on my first un-asked-for jaunt through time, I entered into some kind of altered state of consciousness. When I snapped out of it, I was standing in my kitchen. The last place I remembered being was outside. I leaned against the counter to steady myself as my legs felt as if they were going to give way.
As soon as I had my wits – and my legs – about me, I headed for my sketchbook and paints.
This is what I painted.
What I was feeling was small and helpless.
This curious little piece seems obvious enough to me (this is the ‘barfing up’ part I refer to on the Thriver page). Even though, as more and more feelings and memories surfaced, I felt kind of disgusted, I knew – KNEW! – that it would be worthwhile… hence the flowers I’m hiding behind my back.
I painted this piece immediately following the process of painting a another piece that was bringing into two dimensional reality an image from some of the earliest (group) abuse that I’d dealt with at a very young age. So intense was that process that I could feel myself leaving my body and knew that the only way back for me was to paint myself out of it just as I had painted myself into it. I did not want my husband to find my body passed out on the floor.
It worked; I washed up and left the studio immediately to get grounded with some hugs. (The previous painting was later burned in ceremony.)
I found this delicate little lacy leaf not far from the townhouse in which we were living in the early 1990s when all this emotional processing was going on. That it had somehow held enough of itself together to maintain the look of a leaf both impressed me and felt a bit like me to me.
The background was a metallic gold which I chose for two reasons, first, it’s preciousness and the high vibration that actual gold carries, second, to represent the money that had passed hands to put me where I’d been. The drops of blood were also present for two reasons, one of which shall be left to the imagination, the other of which was because the treatment that seemed to send scleroderma on its way (a condition that I couldn’t help but feel was the end result of the massive amount of unprocessed information that I’d been dealing with for so many decades) involved processing my red blood cells with ultra-violet light.
This painting, too, left ritually. It was quite beautiful… but too filled with pain.
I left my body during the worst of the abuse, diving first into the earth, then traveling up through the roots of the trees, then the trunks, into the high branch area. I associate lungs with Spirit and mine had been thrice assailed in life, first by tuberculosis, then by pneumonia, then by scleroderma. Metaphorically, it felt to me that my spirit, my core self, had been suffering and that, once healed, I was now reconnected to that aspect of myself more consciously.
This small painting is pretty self-explanatory… just read it; you’ll get it.
During the period of time when I had scleroderma, the bath became a place of refuge and healing for me; it helped to reduce the unremitting pain and allowed my mind the opportunity to travel. During the period when I was actively involved in surfacing imagery from the abuse, creating a safe space for my memories to process, the bath was a place I could go to release, release, release as I reconnected with the spirit within.
This was the final piece at this phase of my healing process. I felt as though I had been restored to myself. I was using the gifts that I had unintentionally developed as a victim to be able to help others. When I lay my hands on people I could feel what was going on inside them and I found that I could help them to shift what required shifting.
Interestingly, I created this piece about a mile from where I now live, at a small resort where I used to do healing work from time to time, though at the time I was living about five hours away. When, early in 2015, I realized for sure that the hands-on healing part of my journey was over, that I needed to shift gears again, this painting, then on display in a nearby holistic healing center, was destroyed in a fire.