(My studio in Dornoch)
Good morning from the highlands in bonny Scotland!!! It has taken me a few days to be still and put my Scottish wings on. I have been here 4 weeks now. This life continues to nourish me. I think I’ve been adopted. It feels like Scotland, herself, has wrapped her arms around me to tell me She loves me too. I came here looking for “thin places”. Those crossroads of energy in which the atmosphere is discernably different. Places where the barrier between heaven and earth – the spiritual and the physical – is “thinner”. (Easier to see through and to get across.) I have found these people, whether they are educated or not, to have a spiritual depth and grounding unlike any I have seen before. The everyday people take it for granted that they know what is important. It was evident to me 4 years ago, when I came here for the first time, how similar we are. And yet…not. The language is supposedly the same. We both speak English. It continues to make me laugh when I have no understanding of what is being said. Sounds like bells and whistles at times. When I get tired of concentrating, I just listen to the lilting music of their conversation. These people love “honor” – and fun, and their families. (Not to mention beer and food and music and, of course, conversation.) I am living in a shared house with a few others. This is not a capitalistic country. They do not carry the pressure of having to be a monetary “success”. Yet, they are so rich. Having read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings multiple times in my adult life, I know where Tolkien came up with all his characters. I have met them. There are hobbits…elves…Druids…Kings, queens and princesses. All alive and well in Scotland. More on this later.
Featured art – Choose Love (acrylic on board/10×21)
Right now, I am sitting with my laptop, struggling to find the right words to describe how this new thought is affecting me. I am thinking that if I have to come up with something interesting to say, I’m gonna blow it. So, I quit. No need for wisdom today. The pressure is off. Finally.
My observation is this: when I write something which has energy, life – it has its own energy. As much as I do want to take credit for the cool stuff, it is impossible to deny that Life happens all by itself. A tiny seed gets planted and even if we absent mindedly take care of it, the job gets done and it’s the biggest, healthiest plant. So, I am going to try to remember that life…..all of life is a ride. This week, I heard two different comedians say, “no worries, its only a ride”. It must be true then. Hahaha.
So, this has all been inspired by the thought I had a few weeks ago about negative spaces in a painting. In art, we normally focus on the objects and let the negative spaces in between take care of themselves. I saw one morning – as I drank my first cup of coffee, watched the sun rise and listened to the birds sing – the negative spaces were not empty. The negative spaces in a painting are where all the invisible things have life.
I’m thinking that learning how to communicate the emotional quality of an image in the negative places is the secret key of an invitation. Inviting someone to remember who they are …. …..remembering someone who loved them…….remembering how amazing the night sky was…..the wonder. Gratitude, joy, love, hope, all worth painting….all found in those “in between spaces. It depends on what you want. Do you want to be a great draftsman, a recorder of things? Or would you rather know you speak a wordless language? A language of color and light, a language where exaggeration is not lying.
(THINK DIFFERENT – 27×27/acrylic on board)
Dreams are a large part of my life. Since early childhood, my dreams have been interesting. The imagery is always compelling. Those that have been the most prophetic for me stay with me, becoming more vivid rather than fading. I had dreams years ago that I can relay in great detail today. From the beginning, they have directed me inward. They have revealed to me that there are two realities: the one within and the one without. I am convinced “the Kingdom of God” is revealed to me sometimes through dreams. They help translate our outer reality into the language of the inward, showing it to us in the language of parables which enable us to see that there is always more than we think. We are given sight for the seemingly empty spaces around us. In dreams, we have an invitation to explore a deeper understanding of ourselves. Art is, for me, another tool to translate the language of “without” to the language of “within”.
For years I have had a reoccurring dream that I was standing in the hallway of a new floor in my house. The many doors along this hallway were locked until shortly before I began to believe in the artist within me.
In this dream, I am standing in an upper floor wing of my house. I have been in this place often to see if any door will open. I begin at one side of the hallway and try several of the doors with no success. Though I have very little faith any will open, I methodically try each one. Finally, the 6th or 7th try is successful! A door opens. I am ecstatic! I enter this new hallway with a sense of adventure not there since childhood play! There are several additional rooms along this passage. Each with an open door. They are sunny and inviting. There is sunlight flooding them from the windows which are open to a lovely breeze. I spend many long, unmeasured moments exploring their treasures. There are closets with fun, colorful, interesting clothing; secret additions at the back of some of the closets which hold jewelry and hats and books and lovely secrets. I am awed by the generosity of this gift. I know it is a doorway into some new, exciting, peace-filled life.
There is such healing power in opening a new wing of your “inner” abode. In my case, I had no clue it existed. When art came to me, adventure, mystery and color accompanied it. After 27 years, I am still excited to wake up to its adventure. Art has changed me in many ways. It has given me a new self esteem; a skill for meditation which has held me in its arms for hours at a time. It is an escape from stress like no other. And it teaches us how to fly, how to get outside ourselves. Art gives us permission to play. Creativity is the door between. It is the gate which has allowed me to move freely between the practical world, and the world of fun and fantasy.
I have learned this: life is never what it seems. There are mysteries and magic to be found. As we learn to love….as we become like little children in our simplicity, the thin space bridging reality and dreams becomes passable.
Let’s move a little farther into the mystery…Peace, Dorsey
Winning or losing ego battles is not on my ‘idea-of-a-good-time-list’…neither is being cool or popular or wealthy. Been there. Done that. Instead, I want to enjoy every moment given to me. I want to practice love and live inside His arms…there is an assurance for me in this. Assurance of all things working together for good. I am convinced of this as a promise from someone who can keep it. I am thankful for the joy of this moment, for lovely souls in my path. I am grateful to have abundance enough to share.
For now, we will move farther in and farther up. Always and ever…onward and upward.
If you want to challenge yourself to find more depth, take a couple months in another country. Do something you’ve never done before. Find your inner adventurer and develop a relationship with that explorer. Here we are…on this planet. Why not live in this moment as creatively as possible?
I love to travel. Not only to gather new images, but to be intimate with the land. If I am to paint it effectively, I need to know, at least, a part of its story…its people. Fear is planted in us from early childhood. Fear’s voice tells us we cannot do all sorts of things. It locks us into a smaller and smaller universe. My thought is: If you want to make your own decisions, make peace with your individual fears. My wise friend, Maria, told me she had read if you want to overcome fear, smile at it. I LOVE that. It is clear. Part of our basic need for health is creativity. We all have amazing things to offer. Fear tells us not to bother. It feeds our insecurities. Our affinity for dualistic thinking feeds the fear. It says it’s better to hibernate than to make mistakes. Yet how do we shake the apples out of our trees without a few shake-ups. We have chosen ease. We have lost our patience for smiling at our enemies. Our lives afford so much comfort. We don’t realize how much we want to hold onto it .
So here, in this cloudy place, I am beginning a real journey into an unknown – which is creating in me something new. A place of sunlight. A land where clouds in the outside world are giving me the motivation to find the light which has been covered by a basket.
To be sure, in my own personal experience, wisdom has always been accompanied by pain…all part of this search for True.
Happy 2016! I am excited to tell you all this message comes from Dornoch, Scotland. The Highlands. I have been here a month. It is cold and dark. (only about 7 hours of light in a day} and it is surprising even to me that I am enjoying this new experience as much as I am. My life these days has been a long lesson in “mining for jewels”. I am discovering when I look for and concentrate on whatever is good and lovely, emerging from the raw materials of the moment – there is an awareness of my own creative voice. I am searching for the gems around me. My own creativity is excitedly jumping with anticipation. Anticipation for the next glimpse of some true thing. So I am painting…making some new friends. My eyes are growing accustomed to this dim light and these bright people. I’ll keep in touch. And I’ll be back before too long!
Let’s celebrate! This thought has been part of my soul for a very long time….when life is difficult, when things don’t happen the way we want. When we are in need, the best solution is to have a party! Celebrate !!! Be thankful! I believe in magic – not hocus pocus magic, real magic! A merry heart is like a medicine. It does good. When we find our courage to be thankful in the face of pain, sadness, trouble…we begin to see transformation inside ourselves and outside in others. We learn secrets we could never learn otherwise. The gifts inside us let us find them. We are filled where we once were empty. If we can decide to accept the moment with everything it holds and rejoice on purpose. I suspect we all can find a great deal in our lives to be thankful for…let’s do it on purpose. Let’s turn the music up and dance through our days. Let us raise our hands in the air and shout thank you to the heavens! I can promise it wont be lonely. You will find yourself in precious company. Happy Season of Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you all!!!