Saturday, January 4, 2020

A Wound With A View

If you've read some of my past blog posts or have taken any of the classes offered at Inside Out Studio, you know I believe we are living in a time of great transformation and that many of us are being called to to uncover some of our biggest and deepest wounds in order to transmute them - myself included.

For the past year I have been working on transmuting my deepest wound this time around - the primal wound of adoption. It has taken me 50 years to recognize how the separation from my mother at the time of my birth was a trauma. A trauma that has helped to unconsciously steer much of  how I've responded (or not responded) to people, places and things in my life.

The healing and transmutation of this event is happening and the proof of what can unfold in my life when I do is apparent. As I began to work with this in the studio within a few months, I met my birth mother and father. I know in my heart that by beginning to scratch at the surface of this wound, these key players were magnetized to me so a healing could occur.

This past week while working in my altered book, words began to form. Below is what came out (un-edited):

"My wound is sacred. Seriously. My deep dark shameful black hole of a wound is sacred. Possibly one of the most sacred parts of myself this time around - but probably at any time around. It gives me strength and has nudged me towards who I really am and begged me to ask the bigger questions. My wound has had me on my knees and opened my weepy heart giving me a deep sense of presence and an authentic love for myself  - and a compassion for others. It has been my guide and companion and it continues to ask me to love, even when it's hurting the most."

The sacred alchemy of this work boils down to this realization: My wound doesn't exist to define me, it exists to empower me. 

Stephanie Gray is a writer, artist, process arts facilitator and creative self–discoverist.Her main focus is working with people as they make their way through life transitions - trauma, grief and spiritual awakening - by providing suggestions on how to stay connected to self during shifting times. Stephanie combines art making, creative writing, active listening, heart-based questioning and over 20 years of her own self-discovery practice to assist individuals in living a more authentic life, cultivating awareness of their sacred selves.

Stephanie facilitates creative self-discovery in person from her home  -  Inside Out Studio - and online with folks all over the globe. Stephanie is co-founder of Creative Nectar Studio

Monday, July 29, 2019

Real Vibes Only

What you think about you bring about. You create your own reality. Positive Vibes Only.

Nope. I can't buy this. I mean, at one time I did....and then after my love affair with The Secret was over, I found myself sitting in a pool of my own shame and self loathing. Why couldn't I manifest my reality? Why couldn't I think positively all the time? What was wrong with me? 

What I discovered, was that there was NOTHING wrong with me. Shit happens. We are on planet earth. We are spirits in the material world and the material world is a mixed bag. Suka Duka - What goes up, must come down.

So why has our culture (at least in some circles) become enamored with this? Maybe because we love pain...or maybe because we like to cause others shame. OR maybe when things are really bad for someone it's easier for us to pass it right back on to them, instead of really looking and feeling into it with them....because that would be seriously uncomfortable. And why is it uncomfortable? Because until we take a long look at ourselves, another person's pain and suffering will trigger us and we will want to run for the hills.

What I am acutely aware of is how much pain and damage this new age spin on an ancient teaching has caused - to me and many others. Yes, there is some truth here...but it doesn't happen after a month of positive affirmations when inside you still feel like a piece of crap. If your inner intentions are still the same as when you started, then no amount of positive vibeing will change this.

Real inner work has to be done. Grab a pick ax and start chipping away at the ugly shit you want to ignore. Invite those "ugly" bits in for a chat. See what they have to say....and love them like the lost little orphans they are. At least, that's what I'm doing....and it seems to be working. Now I am a more naturally positive person. I laugh a hell of a lot more and I see things differently. My perspectives are shifting and I have a deep inner sense of being okay. 

I won't lie... it's taken a LONG ASS TIME and I am still a work in progress. My guess is it takes a different amount of time for everyone, depending on what we've experienced. The thing is, it's never to late to begin. It's a wild weird wonderful and sometimes painful unfolding that can start at any time. 

Real Vibes Only.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

It Won't Always Make Sense

Lately I have been ridiculously grateful for the 20+ years of process art practice I have under my belt. Because seriously? Shit is getting weird and right now, it's not making sense.

If there is one thing I've learned from creating in this way it's that things generally won't turn out as planned - sometimes they'll be infinitely better and sometimes not. But no matter what... with process art, it doesn't matter. Things don't have to make sense or look "right". I create with my intuition. I let my decisions about what comes next arrive from what stirs my heart and soul. 

Naturally, this practice finds its way into my day to day life and I notice I am able to meet things with a tad more grace than I have in the past. Sure, it's not always comfortable but when I can call myself home and can just be present...I know I am okay, as is.

 Paint, images, water and presence - sometimes it's all that's needed for a fresh perspective.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

My Story Of Being Lazy

There is a story I like to tell myself when things don't seem to be moving as I'd like in my life. I am not sure where or when it started, but it’s been with me for decades - my story of Lazy. Maybe it was created after years of buying into society’s sparkly idea of success – GO. DO. NOW! Or maybe it's something else. Honestly, the origin doesn't matter much anymore. What does matter is that I recognize it when it rolls around and that I meet it with as much awareness and kindness as possible.

As I continue my unfolding I notice that I'm actually not lazy. I am highly sensitive as well as introverted. Oh and my body is working to heal an under active thyroid. Because of this, I need lots of time to regenerate especially if I have been around lots of people. And as I continue to take the time to listen to my body, I find there are certain things I just can’t do well anymore like chase shiny things or pretend to be someone I’m not - especially the pretending.

 And I'm not gonna lie, I do have to continue to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with me, because sometimes when I look out into the world and the majority of society is functioning much differently, I can feel like I am not contributing or that I am failing in some way.

Here's what I'm learning... the less I listen to outside opinions and voices about who I “should” be, the more I get to truly know myself, like myself... and others (bonus!). And not just my body and this personality, my true essence. I realize it all works in tandem. This vessel is here for me to help navigate the world and I love her. Part of my spiritual journey this time around is to embrace my body and realize she is not something to fight or ignore, but to honor.

This time around I am working on embodiment and on actually listening to my sacred form when she tells me she’s had enough by feeling foggy, full or exhausted. And to respect her wisdom. I no longer want to override how I am feeling just to put someone else at ease or to feel accepted. I will no longer feel ashamed that I am built this way or compare myself to someone who is built in an entirely different way. 

** Image Notes: I love to collage images into my altered books. Lately, I can't get enough of the delightful images found in  A Book That Takes Its Time  from Flow Magazine.
As an artist, I feel compelled to give credit where credit is due....and I like to make sure that I have altered the images just enough to give them my own spin on things.