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Sacred Marriage

4 Jan

mother divine sketch

Winter Solstice Meanderings. Exploring the feminine proclivity towards a holistic, simultaneous, synthetic and concrete view of the world. Essentially balancing the linear, sequential, reductionist and abstract way of the masculine worldview.

Neither is better. Like the ancient Taoist circle, taoist-integration-symmetry-symbolsymbol of symmetry and integration, both are equally present in creative tension.

We honor one over the other to our collective detriment.

How do we restore the life of our interior feminine?

This Sacred Marriage of our inner masculine and feminine, the Divinely arranged marriage, happens every day, every moment, all across the world.  Individually we find our way, men and women, over long distances, at great cost, to finally arrive at this Sacrament, conscious and aware. We greet our Beloved Opposite; Our Self, with surprised, delighted, joyful re-cognition. We feel the almost unimaginable impossibility of our separation. And we discover that our finding each other was actually, appallingly, the easier part of our journey. The difficult, unaccustomed, awkwardness of holding our precious union as we walk back into our polarized world is our overwhelming challenge.

How do we re-integrate with a world that is still desperately, addictively searching for…something? How can we say ‘Here, see – this is it!’ when we have no new light around us, no fancy words, no marketing technique that will translate? When we have seen the beauty of who we are, and yet feel that something hasn’t quite caught up, that part of me is still working hard at becoming who I am – lagging behind, fearful of change, untrusting. Pissed at myself that I still search, addictively, for that thing out there, that magic pill that will make me whole. My habitually dis-eased body a direct manifestation of my habitually dis-eased spirit. Shocker. I am uneasy with my inner masculine. He is uneasy with me.  We are re-learning the dance.

New Dance. Old partners, new steps. Practice. Over and over again. oh yes, two left feet.  We are now Lovers, the Sacred Two-in-One, Holy, learning to receive rather than consume, to love without controlling, to recognize the absoluteness of our interdependence. To celebrate, wonder at, and honor our differences. To truly see each other, and each in the other.  One step, one breath, one moment at a time.

 

Mother Divine Image

Thanking: Leonard Shlain, for the descriptions of the feminine and masculine worldviews. Many have postulated on this, I appreciate his word/image choices.

Coming Home.

17 May

I often find myself completely ego-absorbed – driven to produce, create, take action… make stuff happen. I am great at ‘doing’.  Out of the necessity to find balance, I have inadvertently become great at inner stillness. Sitting. Contemplating. Absorbing. Processing. Imagining. Allowing my separated soul and body time to sit face to face, hand in hand and catch up with each other, blending back together.  Time to become whole; become One.

When I need to act, my action is balanced; centered, coming from harmony. From here, intuition, a sense of rightness and my feelings help shape and inform my proven ability and delight in taking action. Action now imbued with a sense of possibility, wonder, delight, adventure, and hope. So much different from the good old days, where my heavily armored ego, trotted off on its own, busily weighing up its narrow and self-obsessed options of fight or flight.

I applaud and commend my ego – all these years it has fought the battles for me, engaged, retreated, always ready, never complaining about the poor nourishment or dismal conditions it suffered through.  I thank you. I release you.

I imagine two thrones – one for my ego, where it now sits, resplendent in its strength, honor, and might. A beautiful, proud warrior. A warrior who has little use for armor or weaponry. A warrior skilled in the hard-won arts of diplomacy, compassion, poetry and self-love. Passionate. Alive. Whole.

The second throne occupied by the Queenly counterpart to this Warrior King- nurturing, encompassing, soothing, allowing. restoring. Cool water on a hot day. The Queen, my inner feminine, the ground of being on which my inner masculine acts. Reunited with her lover/husband. Wildly passionate, years of waiting collapse into this moment/ every moment. Fueling new life. New hope. New possibilities.

I intend a metaphor that allows me to express the feeling of my masculine and feminine natures functioning as one, as an equality, as a harmony. This does not mean that I do not fight, or do not pick up my weapons… it means that my fight and flight options have been infinitely expanded, tempered and balanced with a love, care and respect for myself, which transfers to all my brothers and sisters, unconditionally. I have infinite ability to respond. I am losing my ability to react. My ego is gratefully no longer running the show alone. My Warrior has returned with a Hero’s welcome.

It takes time to nurture this relationship with oneself – years of fighting, disagreeing, slogging it out on the battlefield of life. The day the Warrior returns, the day the Hero knows his glory days are over- is full of mixed emotions. Any sea change in life can suddenly find you washed up on a distant shore, ready to stop fighting, stop all the running; longing for home.

Coming home means learning to find new glory, new adventure in the person you have become, getting down to the business of living the life you find directly in front of you, to slowly but surely find that the life you have is exactly the life that was meant for you. You learn to meet yourself again and again, loving more and more who you see, battle scars, heartaches, regrets and all. Allowing the inner feminine to pick up the broken and aching pieces, cradle the inner child, comfort and soothe you into wholeness, until you can return to the field and not see a battle, but a life of blessing.

Mysteriously it is no longer about us, but about others, acquiring becomes less important than giving, fixing, understanding, mending, listening.  A new life unfolds. Full of the adventure and mystery of the unknown- in a world full of possibilities, anything can happen. Anything can surprise and delight. Nothing is locked down tight. Nothing is for certain. Except love. That is the only certainty;  the only possibility open.

I feel together now, in a way that I never could have imagined- heart and soul, body and spirit, mind and matter. The polarities have softened, lost definition. To the extent that I can envision myself as one, I can envision the earth and all creatures as one. There is no ‘other’, no thing to fight (except myself, which becomes silly.) I am done fighting. I have taken up residence where I have always belonged – in the House of Belonging. Allowing the Unameable Mystery of Love / God, /The Divine /my Higher Self /Being etc. to stock the pantry, turn down the covers, roll up the rug, and light the fire – anticipating those moments when I remember to return home.

Coming home becomes easier as I learn to accept myself, accept that I intimately belong. I am undoubtedly cared for. (Despite how I act and sometimes feel.) I am learning to live out of my new reality- less fear, more joy. I still catch myself, my ego poised for the fight; on red alert. But it’s more like a bad dream and in a few seconds I can wake myself up, grateful for the choice. Glad to find myself home, safe and warm in my own bed.

A dull person will suddenly become interesting…

29 Mar

Faeries-janetbalboa‘A dull person will suddenly become interesting…’ A writing prompt from The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood. I read it as I sit down to write this. I insert it in my post as the title. Trusting that it has shown up for a reason. I’m into magic like that. Coincidence you might say.

I’ve spent the last couple days in the dirt weeding gardens, and finally, I think, winning a perennial battle I’ve had with the long grasses that keep popping up unwanted through my lilies. Unannounced, I drift into a state of being where my doing arises out of what needs to be done next and nothing more. Thoughts arise, are acted on and then dissolve. I am me, but also larger, more conscious than me. This is what I imagine people in deep prayer, meditation, or the athletic ‘zone’ experience. I feel this when I’m drawing as well. No attachment to thoughts/things = bliss. I feel connected to whatever IS, without a need to define it, bottle it or claim myself sole dispenser of it. I am honored and delighted by its Presence. This is a nice space to be in, this space of just being. I could, in fact, happily stay here forever, as Eckhart Tolle must have felt sitting on his bench for weeks, just amazed by the lovely spectacle of life. As much as I try to, I can’t stay in this frame of mind. As I leave the garden, my ordinary experience of time returns and I find myself slowly separating from heart wide open Presence to the pale cramped residency in my head.  As I return, I’m just in time to hear the voice in my head say ‘…and I’m telling you, day dreaming will get you nowhere. This bliss is childish, non-productive – it’s time spent with the faeries!’

My little inner critic, who makes up for dullness with vigilance, who hates everything I do and feels compelled to inform me how rotten it is/I am is eager to share his view. I’m not as attached to this voice as I once was, and curiously, I find it often gives me many far more interesting things to wonder about. In this case, faeries in general and more specifically, Irish fairy tales.

In which we find that one day spent with the fairy folk is the equivalent to the passing of 100 years in human time. Hang out with the faeries at your own considerable risk. I think of another 100 years’ period – the length of time Sleeping Beauty slept after she pricked her dainty yet cursed finger on the spindle. (The humble spindle, the women’s wand, a woman’s highly regarded possession, considered a symbol of contemplation, and of woman’s powerful gift to the family; the art of weaving being equivalent in import to men’s heroic warring in the ancient world) That aside, her father, The King, had all the spindles in the land burned, while in Ireland, the Sidhe, the once mighty people of the Goddess Danu, have been relegated to whimsical faeries who dwell in the Irish Otherworld.

And so, happily ever after, never again can this idle fairy dream-time threaten our reasonable existence.

Whatever.

Walt Disney spoke of the Magic Moment; that eternal second when your heart stands still in absolute wonder and awe. Joyce called it aesthetic arrest. Campbell called it Bliss. You feel it when you’re in love. Religions fight for the right to get you in touch with it. Millions of meditating man and woman hours, currencies worldwide and vast amounts of energy are spent on developing mindfulness. Awareness and Enlightenment are pursued hotly as worthy goals. Creatives search after the Muse and creativity almost religiously. And yet this Mystery, this place of bliss, of Eternity, where time stands still, this space is embracing us, holding us every moment of every day. It isn’t a goal or a destination or an attitude.  It’s just the natural state of being. It just is. Which leads me to wonder…what would happen if my inner critic, who works a lot of overtime, were joined by my inner feminine?

I feel the hundred years ending. The beloved is waking up. She doesn’t look so happy.

And suddenly, magically – you might say ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ –  I sense that my exceedingly dull inner voice is about to become very, very interesting.

 

 

 

All those pretty, pretty colors…

24 Mar

While I have been an artist all my life, I have only recently come to terms with being OK with not necessarily fitting into the ‘real’ world Ipretty colors walk out into every day.

I have always resided primarily in the magical world of my inner life. And these two worlds are not overly compatible. The trick has been, to use a biblical phrase, ‘to be in, but not of, this world’. Far easier said than done. It is something we all have to figure out for ourselves anyway, which is why, I suppose, Jesus wasn’t overly busy handing out instruction manuals.

In weaving, it is the warp threads that give the foundation, the anchors over and under which the weaving will happen. What are the warp threads of your life? What anchors you and holds you? What is your foundation? Your comfort?

For me, it is my experience of the unity, the oneness and the sacredness of everything on our planet. While not an overly unique or unusual perspective, it allows me a powerful foundation from which to create. Warp threads are not typically sexy or exciting. But they allow the pattern; the beauty to be.

Most of the time I would much rather focus on the weft, those horizontal threads which make the beautiful patterns, colors and designs. This is where most creatives hang out. In the beautiful colors, often to the exclusion of everything else.

I am slowly learning to appreciate the stability and strength of my foundation threads. I am learning that being strongly rooted in the everyday, ordinary world where money, food, shelter, time and schedules are necessary and essential is actually complementary to my creative process.

The bringing together of these two very different but necessary worlds has been my most difficult lesson. And I am by no means done doing it.

So now that I have reconciled myself to not being ‘normal’, and not ‘fitting in’, paradoxically, I have an extraordinary feeling of arrival. Of finally fitting into my groove. And I know that while I had very little to do with my fortunate arrival here, in this space of belonging, I also know that it could not have occurred without me.

Such is life.

(This is my obnoxiously long response to the prompt: ‘Write a bit about yourself ‘ for my Etsy Shop)

Banished

10 Oct Banished janetbalboa
Banished janetbalboa

Banished c.janetbalboa2015

Roberto (my darling husband) posted my finished picture ‘Banished’ -on FB last night. Which has prompted me to write about it a bit sooner than I had intended.

I usually take time to sit with my work after it’s done. In a way, I meet my picture for the first time in this way. Before, it has always showed up to our meetings in a state of incompleteness. This in-the-process-of-being-finished stage of my art always has a lovely feeling of potentiality and possibility. Things can still creep into the drawing, it is still very much in process and dynamic. When I see my work framed and behind glass, it is finished. Complete. An object now, something I can observe in its final state.

I form opinions, observations, see it differently than when it was a work-in-progress. My work starts with a curiosity, a wondering about something and then over the course of months, I literally draw out my answer. It unfolds and reveals itself to me in the forms and colors and images that present themselves while I work. So I never start with a complete picture- I always have an image to get me started. Then I watch it unfold. I suppose it is similar to when characters begin to perform actions and demand scenes that surprise and delight their parent writers.

It’s because of this that I reflect after the picture is done- what was the answer to that question I had so many months ago? Have I changed to accommodate this answer? I believe with Rilke that we must be able to live our answers – and until we can, be content with loving the questions themselves. Often times the answer comes slowly as understanding born of research, insight and conversations are composted and turned over in my mind.

I am often asked what my pictures mean. And as you now know, they are personal answers to my personal questions. My experience and work with the symbols and images gives them meaning. But because my questions are similar to questions that many of us have, they also have a universal answer – and therefore we share meaning. The meaning resides in you, in how active the same symbols and archetypes that activate my questions, are present in you. Your life experience will bring different interpretations – are these any less valid? Anything that stirs the heart, moves the soul, causes us to wonder is a healing balm in our world of concretized dogma and instant answers.

Learning to trust ourselves fully and allowing our hearts to soar, far out on their strings – or on our sleeves –is letting our vulnerability touch and be touched by the world. We are big enough, encompassing enough, wise enough to enfold ourselves in our own healing embrace. Internally strong we come from our center; our unbreakable connection with the Mystery of our Being as it moves through time and space in the intricate and lovely vehicle called ‘me’.  You. Us. One of a kind magic.

This is what I wrote this morning on the information card I include with all my work. Each card relates to a specific picture. This is the card for ‘Banished’.

banished info card

It says:

banished As a culture, our inner masculine has devoured the action oriented Hero archetype- forgetting that the journey finishes with a return if it is to be a true journey. After the deeds are done, the lessons learned, the actions taken, the hero puts down his weapons, leaves the field of action and returns home- ideally giving back to the world the hard won truths. If everyone is off on this hero quest- who is keeping the metaphorical home fires burning? Who is there to welcome us as we return? We have overlooked- banished- the feminine; the receiving aspect of ourselves. Our inner feminine; the receptive, intuitive, inclusive and mother (an entire half of ourselves) has not been allowed a conscious or empowered place in our bodies or minds for thousands of years. The goal of the hero’s journey is the return – to society, integration, relationship – the world of feminine nature. The achievement of balance between both aspects of our nature allows us to become fully, beautifully, incredibly human.

Be a finder, not a seeker

1 May

Shine! , marker and colored pencil, 11" x 14", janet balboa

I have a friend, Freddy, who always says ‘be a leader- not a follower.’ It’s what he says to people every time he parts company. He’s said this for years. He said it again the other night. This time, it triggered something deep- an awareness that has been creeping up on me. I didn’t realize fully that I had even been considering or mulling over anything in particular. My life has seemed pretty business as usual lately. Yet when he said this, my inner voice immediately blurted out ‘Be a Finder. Not a seeker.’

The next day, I sat with this comment and it occurred to me that I had indeed become a finder. That this had been dawning on me for years, and had now overtaken me and somehow, subtly, become me.

There was no denying it. For instance, my recent experience of looking at the self-help section and realizing: ‘Geez, kiddo, you’re beyond help.’ –  and being ok with that. No panic, not even a tremor of guilt. I have the recognition, the understanding that being beyond help is exactly, precisely where I should be.

or – when reading the words of the Hopi Elders- ‘we are the ones we’ve been waiting for’-  there is a resonance, a conviction, a relatively recent  ‘yes’ that comes to mind, a furthering of my commitment to do what I came here to do (whatever that is – and the excitement of discovering it.)

What did I find? What was that elusive thing I have been searching for? I think you know, because you have been searching as well. Wondering what the hell you are here for. What your purpose is. What you are supposed to be doing.

Who you are, who you have chosen to be – (we have chosen, again and again, thru the billions of small, seemingly insignificant decisions we make every moment of every day for years) – all these decisions have added up, accumulated, coalesced, and transformed themselves into you. This being that is here right now. You are alive, aware, and able to reflect on yourself and your world- a conscious being.

This is the destination.

This is where you get off the pot. Get out of the canoe. Get on with it. Once you realize this, there is no more.

You are it.

You have arrived. In style I might add. With all the bells and whistles. You are the latest, the-on-the-cutting-edge model of one of the most incredible, intelligent, conscious lifeforms on this planet. YOU are the one we’ve been waiting for. (And me, and everyone else on this planet.) So…when do we start acting like it? When do we make an entrance? When do we step onto the cosmic red carpet and take our bow? When do we strut our stuff?

Now. This magical moment when eternity reaches out to us; connecting intention with fulfillment; where awareness becomes presence and our life is suddenly full of possibilities. Our ‘to-do’ list becomes a flow chart – subtly tracking us as we find ourselves in the lead role of the adventure of our life.  Can you see it this way? Can we begin to engage with our life as a flow of energy that has been given to us? Can our ‘to-do’ list begin to accurately reflect who-we-are? Who we are becoming – with every conscious (and unconscious) decision we make.

You are what you were looking for. Not something out there. This recognition that the most intimate, lovely, beautiful relationship possible is right…here. Right now.

This adventure will take our entire lifetime. We will never stop growing, expanding, learning, reaching, exploring – I suspect life and energy continues this marvelous dance even beyond our beautiful world of form.

What do you do when you find something you’ve been looking for? For me, I sat in complete awe and wonder for a good long time. I looked this thing over from all angles. I was grateful, amazed, profoundly astonished. I cried. I was completely floored. But then I thought, by God, I’d better use this thing – better start getting used to it. Better start living it. It’s a big world out there and I want to find myself in it.

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