Finisterre: Seeing What Is Really There

A pledge to keep walking beyond where I have once called home, onto where I am challenged to change, reconcile, surrender, and create in ways I hadn’t imagined.

It’s late on Monday; my day to publish the next blog. I’m still dreaming I’m in the Grand Canyon this week–strange dreams, but always the sense of flowing in water.

When I look at the words of the pledge I wrote down above, I think what fulfills that pledge this week is the last phrase–“to create in ways I hadn’t imagined.”

I’m wondering if it is the influence of seeing the first spring flowers at every stop of our road trip–from yellow violets to pink cacti, hordes of daffodils, fields of poppies, hillsides of lupine and the slopes of yellow brittle brush in the Canyon, but something stirred in me this week, back to a time when I used to draw wildflowers–during my very first years in Alaska, when so many blooms were new to me, especially the tiny alpine versions that survived such brutal winters.

This desire arose to draw the flowers emerging in my yard now. But how to start? I had let the drawing lapse many years ago. Then a book came to mind that had been recommended years ago that I had started and then put down–Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. It was published in 1989 yet remains a classic. She carefully details how drawing evolves through childhood and teenage years, and how the progression from drawing stick figures to drawing realistic images is developed. Her primary premise is that children, and thus adults, are not taught how to see, that is how to perceive using the right side of the brain. Unlike the left side of the brain, the right mode is aware but mostly nonverbal and not connected to words. It is related more to the present moment, and has an understanding of metaphoric relationships. There is a willingness to suspend judgment, to make leaps of insight, and sees the the overall pattern of things. (pg. 40)

These attributes relate so closely to my work on the spiritual path that I had to smile. I was being drawn back to this way of seeing, and being present, intuitive and wholistic. It delighted me. Edwards goes on to say, “To sum up, adult students beginning in art generally do not really see what is in front of their eyes–that is, they do not perceive in the special way required for drawing.They take note of what’s there, and quickly translate the perception into words and symbols mainly based on the symbol system developed throughout childhood and on what they know about the perceived object….What is the solution to this dilemma? You must turn turn off your dominant left brain mode of verbal categorizing and turn on the right mode processing part of your brain, so that you can see the way an artist sees.(pg.78)

I have been doing the beginning exercises the past few days, all designed to turn on this right brain, of course. It’s been fascinating. I’ve done some mirroring exercises and drawing things upside down. Another exercise was to draw my hand, millimeter by millimeter, without looking at the paper while I drew. It was so intense that several things happened: first, I didn’t have a sense of time. I noticed when I am so focused on the exercise, I thought of nothing else; there was no room for my inner critic to make a comment. (that occurs when you stay in the present moment!) I also looked up after the exercise and was surprised that I could see the birch trees outside my window so clearly and distinctly–again, as if perceiving them in a new way. Natural mind-altering. And when doing the fourth exercise, I began to feel a lot of inner heat, as if something had begun to burn within me–an awakening. All of this took me into new territory by simply drawing in this right brain way!

I’m resting in these revelations today, but sensing that this new awareness supports and enhances my spiritual journey perfectly, from just a different perspective. Again, I am touched at the attunement of this guidance and the joy that is embedded in it.

I am adding a picture that I was to replicate drawing upside down–first the version in the book, (pg.52) and then the version I drew. I’m not drawing flowers yet, but I don’t want to until I learn how to turn on this right side of my brain easily and see them as they really are!

In some way, the Grand Canyon has opened me to this next inner journey. I can only guess. But those ancient rocks vibrate with the energy of being, and perhaps, I was beginning to see them as they really are as we floated by so effortlessly. This is an interesting Finisterre for me. I wonder what will unfold. How will my writing be affected? Included? I will see.

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