By Natalie Dekel.
There are so many things in life we need to achieve and so many thoughts we ought to think, that we do not have time to stop and observe what is happening inside us. It takes courage, I found, to look within. It takes practice to look into the dark closets of our minds, and most importantly – it takes adjustment, just like our eyes need to adjust when seeing in the dark.
I would like to show you how I see with my eyes closed. This, in turn, opens up my heart, and inspires the images that I paint:
I sat at the table; encaustic wax set is in front of me. I am ready to paint but I am not sure what. I am so tired – all I want is some guidance, some clear message to help me calm down and look within for a solution to the so many troubles around me. I need help to make me feel whole again.
And so, I have closed my eyes. I sit and wait, perhaps something will happen. I am trying to look with my eyes closed, imagining how things would look like if I could see with my eyes shut. I sense a presence around me, almost an intangible prickle of awareness that touches my spine and sending a shiver down it, as if someone stands just behind me. I am inspired to choose a colour, still with my eyes closed. It feels like a game to me. I reach out for the colour… Not knowing which colour I will choose has a definite advantage, as it takes away the need to make more decisions (I have plenty decisions to make in my life, day in and day out, non stop).
Working with encaustic wax, I work with low heat iron and coloured wax applied on a piece of card. I smeared the colour which I have chosen blindly, on the edge of the iron and make a move above the card, slightly touching it. Moving experimentally, as if my hand is dancing on the page, I peep to see what colour card I choose – it is black, and the colour of wax in my hand is white. Talking about clarity, what can be more clear than white on black… Not quiet the soothing colours I wanted, nor supportive ones, but I am going with the flow. I trust that in this game all is as it should be.
I pick up another colour and dab a little on the card, and another one with just one hand smooth motion. I feel that my image is ready.
I open my eyes and see:
A beautiful image!
Wow! I am not sure how it worked, but it looks just right and supportive and soothing even though it is mainly white on black. Severe colours, but the message in it is so full of LOVE and LIGHT. Within moments, I see a perfect almost three-dimensional rose formed under my hands with two more exotic, orchids in light pink in front of the white rose.
I sense that the presence behind me gave this image as a token of unconditional love given from the Spirit World to the loved ones, to every single one of us, to me and you. They gave us the white rose of peace and tranquillity to help us find a centre in our turbulent world of everyday life, full of its tragedies, dramas and upsetting events.
Another image came through on the next day. This time, I keep my eyes open when I work but close them at the beginning to get a sense of peace and quiet just before I reach for the colours. I choose them spontaneously, trying not to think too much, not to give time for my analytical mind to overcome my decisions as a channel in the process of making these images. It is a game where I play with colours and iron, shifting it and moving it so that patterns appear and secrets start to form on the card. It is almost a language in itself and I need to learn to transcribe it so I can see what is said through the images.
This time I feel that it is a man standing next to me and inspiring me. He is a little Chinese man, dressed in fine robes of silk and has a long grey hair some of which is plated down his back and at his temples. He has some sort of headwear. As I sense his presence in more details, it seems that my inner vision is translated straight onto the card in a shape of an image. The little man is hunched a bit and looks fragile, yet his presence is overwhelming in its power and wisdom. There is so much light that he brings along with him and so much laughter that it bubbles in my chest and erupts in giggles.
He comes from the light and he is a being of light, but for us to see him, he goes through a process of slowing down till he materialised in our minds just as he was in his previous existence. I find it difficult to speak to him simply because it is difficult for me to stop my mind from the cluttered thoughts and emotions and just listen. I am restless and the left side of my paintings gets smudged. And still the energy he brings is so clear and beautiful. I feel as if some healing coming my way from the Chinese man, as I feel more energised now as the paintings unfolds. The healing goes through my hands, delivering movements to my muscles, forming shapes of melted colour wax on the card.
I look and see:
A Chinese man is in the centre, and look! There is yet another face peeping from the middle of the picture. It is a face of another guide and friend who popped in along with his Chinese friend. It seems that we are surrounded by beings of light who guide and support us at all times, even when we are unaware of them.
This time the painting is not focused on a direct and short message of love alone. It is much more complicated. It has become a story, which unfolds even as we continue looking at it more and more. There are levels of energies in different colours building up along with the image. There are mountains and hills, forests and seas that were probably part of the lives of these beings when they were on the planet. The message this time is that they are talking to us. All we need to do is learn to listen.
Most of our culture is created around storytelling. Our histories, our presents and even our futures are stories that we create or circulate at every opportunity. So, we are used to telling stories. But are we used to listen to stories?
Every thought that crosses our mind is a story. The image that was created below tells me of a story of emotion. Strong emotion is called passion. Passion is the force behind every strong urge we experience, every strong idea, thought or action. It is there motivating us to be more than just plodding on through existence. Are you aware of that passion within you? Do you know what you are passionate about in your life? Do you ask yourself questions about events that cross your path or do you sail on oblivious? Have you got questions that need to be answered?
Questions like these urging us to become close listeners to the music of life, to its beat and rhythm.
Our personal experience is part of that rhythm. This experience is an integral part of our existence. It embodies itself in the way the person thinks, feels and experiences his/her environment. It is always easier to listen when it touches oneself so closely. However we limit it in time when we stop listening to what our heart tells us and where intuition seeks to lead us. We forget what it likes to feel the grass under our feet as we walk in shoes on concrete floors. We move from point to point in cars, not touching the earth, not feeling the ground, unless it is completely necessary. But it is!
We focus so much on our troubles and on big events to notice the small ones that really matter – like the wind that cuddle you when you walk, the sound of snow under your feet and the smell of earth after a strong rain. A smile that lights up your face, and a kind word. These are the little things that make your soul alive and your body happy.
I was inspired to paint a ‘feeling alive and happy’ image:
Happiness does not mean that all in life is perfectly well; it simply means that we do our best in everything we say, think and act. If the opportunities present themselves we use them to their fullest and do not regret anything that has happened in the past, simply because the past has been and gone. Happiness means that we have listened to a story of Life in whatever form it has come to us, sad or joyous, irritating or invigorating, and then decided to learn something from this story and move on.
Happiness, to me, means living in the present moment, and feeling the awareness of life. This approach will definitely bring good news to the one that expects it (just like the stork that is said to bring the news of birth with her – the birth of new life). You may see an image of a stork in the middle of the heart in the painting. And like the stork, each time you are happy you bring a gift to all those who touch your life.
Happiness does not fall on one at a certain moment in life, nor is it an inherited position or circumstance. Rather, it is something to work on continuously, opening the gates in your life to other aspects of it – such as love, abundance, success and health. Discovering what makes you happy can help discover Who you Truly Are, and what do you want to do in life.
Listening to stories and being aware of the rhythm of life and the inherent happiness is only part of the storytelling event. The other aspect that completes it is acknowledging that these stories are often brought to us and guided to and from us by the storytellers or the messengers of the Spirit World, as I call them (although, what you call them is insignificant. You can call them friends, guides, spirits, angels or just nature forces.) What is important to understand is that there are many who support us. Some of these supporters, can be just people who happened to touch our lives, others those who passed over and are now in the Spirit World, and others of which I learn as I walk on my path in life. All of them are always here for you. I understood this when I was painting the image below.
As I was covering almost the whole surface with one colour at a time, I was then using white to outline the next layer on top. The white tended to melt into the background in times, and stood out in others. I could see that the painting was a message to one who felt dejected and lonely, feeling s/he was facing the whole world on their own.
The image that was created under my hands brought the message that whether that person is aware or not, they are supported by angels, spirits, golden flecks of light, white light and others (perhaps people) that cross his/her path. One can see various faces amidst the splashes of colour that surround this person who is so deeply entranced in their own troubles and pain. The bottom of the painting looks like a flower from which this entire image sprang. To me it seems like the Buddhist’s symbol of lotus, which presents the belief of rejuvenation and rebirth.
It might be that the story we face from time to time is a story of pain and suffering. However, it is integral law of nature, that every winter has its end after which spring is coming with new energy, new beginnings and new opportunities of growth. Everything unfolds around and in us as it should be, in its own timing. We need to learn to be patient and to learn to listen, since no one can force a bud into a rose. Nature has its own course, of which we are part. Therefore it is important to remember that we are that bud, that potential blossoming into reality with every passing moment.
Sometimes it is difficult to imagine how we can start a spring amidst the snow, how do we bring continuous positive light into what might be unbearable situations and conditions which surround us. What is important, is to start with just one thought, one feeling of what would you like to be like, to feel like, to experience. This will plant the seeds, and in time these seeds will grow, but they need constant care. And so the image below taught me to continue looking for a positive light when there is none, for a little chirp of hope amidst the silence.
Always look up to the highest potential, to the best opportunity. Believe in yourself. It is not selfish to believe that you can blossom. On the contrary, when you blossom and flourish and grow in all aspects of your life, you attract those who can benefit and learn to blossom as well. Just as bees will come to the blossom of the tree, opportunities will come for you to share your light or teach others to be the light. Then, just as bees make honey, someone else might learn to benefit from the light you have brought to that dark corner of your own mind. Happiness is not something one can lock inside. It is a state that spreads around to everyone around the one who initiated this feeling, who listens to the rhythm of one’s soul, of one’s life.
We have been taught from experience as well as from our biology, that death is part of the living experience. Millions cells in our body die and reborn every moment of our existence, new leaves appear on the trees in the spring and old ones die and fall away in the autumn. And yet we find it difficult to reconcile that the so-called living people and the so-called dead can freely mix together. Once one becomes aware of that fact, one becomes aware of other planes of our existence. One then crosses the border between existing through routine and discovering his/her own potential and multidimensional depths of Being.
One needs to be ready to embrace the path that will helps to learn Who You Are. Once you learn to know yourself better in daily life, you become more aware of your life and you will then start receiving information that has hints of a deeper, more supportive reality, in which physical existence rests.
As you can see from the image below, the light of being one on the earth plane is supported and nourished by many around us. What we learn in our experience affects not only us but everyone on every plane of existence. We do not live in a vacuum; we live in symbiosis and collaboration. Each person who participates in a storm undergoes a personal experience, but is also a part of the grandeur of nature, where emotions take full sway and seasons of the earth and the world live together.
That is the beginning of the understanding that when it rains in our world it rains at the Spirit world as well. We are all One if only we remember that.
13 Feb 2010.
Paintings: © Natalie Dekel. Encaustic Wax on card, size varies (21cmX15cm and 21cmX29cm).
Text: © Natalie Dekel.