"The proper use of imagination is to give beauty to the world..." Lin Yu-T'ang

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bloom True with Flora Bowley

"Life is pure adventure and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as ART."
~Maya Angelo

This past weekend I had the pleasure of not only completing Flora Bowley's e-course, Brave Intuitive You, but also of attending an in person workshop with her at the Teahouse Studio in Berkeley. I didn't take a lot of photos as I really wanted to immerse myself in the painting process and soak up all there was before me. I wish I had taken more now that it is over! It was a fabulous weekend and I'm so glad I attended! Teahouse Studio is an informal, cute and inspiring space and we were so well taken care of (the food was absolutely delicious!) with plenty of energy available just for painting. Flora's style of teaching is informative and inspiring and encourages the freedom to explore and discover. She emphasizes the intuitive listening of oneself without thinking too much and trusting the process. For me, that translates to self-acceptance. A self-acceptance that trusts my own desires, choices and decisions that take me to adventurous and interesting places.

At the beginning of our first day, we laid a quick base layer on each of our canvases and then watched a demo of  Flora making a wide variation of marks and shapes on her canvas. We then made our way around the room making marks on each canvas as prompted by Flora. The experience was fun and liberating as there was no attachment and any worries about keeping colors or marks "consistent" went out the window. By the time I got back to my own canvas, it certainly wasn't "mine" anymore! And as I looked at it, I saw all kinds of colors, shapes and marks that were definitely someone else's. Everyone contributed such a richness in variety and color that I found so interesting and exciting! I found myself immediately grateful and "out of the box". Free to experiment and try new things and see what might happen.

The second day we worked on bringing out some images or just shapes or whatever was occurring at that moment. In other words, just keeping the process going. One thing that Flora said that really resonated with me was: Make a commitment knowing that it can change. I found myself enjoying the feeling of freedom so much that I began to feel the fear of making a commitment to something. I did so anyway and kept pushing through, keeping the process going. I experienced the tension between the freedom and making choices. Each time I became stuck, I learned to "spiral out", step back and gain some perspective, turn my canvas to see if I saw something new, or switch it with my other one and come back to it later. The thought that "every mark is supposed to be there" was enormously comforting and encouraging when those gremlins, self-doubt, judgement and comparison would pop into my head.

Intuitive listening = Trust
Trust = Self-Acceptance
Acceptance + Choice = Freedom
Freedom to fly. Freedom to bloom. Freedom to shine. Freedom to BE. To Be True.

"You have only to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."
~Mary Oliver

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