What do I see in me? How do I resonate with others? These questions have floated to the surface as I continue to wade deeper into the waters of my clothes free journey, which encompasses every aspect of my life, really. It has come to a head especially in the past few months.
Many experiences colored my 2015. Some very moving soulful clothes free adventures have inspired me to make numerous pivotal changes in my life. Of course, these choices created ripple effects that re-sculpted family dynamics, relationships, housing, work, and more.
In the midst of all those changes, I found myself crying quite often. During the breaths between changes, I questioned whether I was doing the right thing. At times I struggled to see the goodness inside of me and all the things I have to share with the world. I would stare out the windows wondering where the heck to go from here. “Can I move and completely restructure my finances? Will I be able to teach yoga? Did I make the right change? What is the next step? Do I have anything positive to offer this world?”
There are times when I am able to stand in the mirror, look at myself, and see the good inside and out. I can read the thoughts I publish as well as the ones that stay locked in a chest of cursive-stained sheets, and see the beauty of every aspect of my soul, smiles and tears alike. However, there are times when I struggle to see my purpose and the point of my presence. In those moments, my doubts consume me and fog my vision.
In recent months, I connected with artists on Twitter and Instagram who paint or draw based on photos shared with them. Initially, I thought the experience might just be “cool,” something interesting to pocket and check off the life’s to-do list. But, this experience has gone deeper through the heart than I could have ever predicted.
Sometimes when I feel low, a friend or family member might share an encouraging word or thought. However, for a period, words lost their meaning for me. I felt that what people said or wrote was insincere or that it did not match their actions. So, for a while I put up a wall and severed connection with words. In disconnecting from words, I also separated myself from people.
When these artists started drawing and painting me, though, it was like a sneak attack on my heart. There were no words for me side-step. All I could do was observe their expression of their experience of me. I was silenced by the lines, shades, colors and textures. From the lake of that silence surfaced sincere gratitude for their work as well as for what I saw of myself in the art.
Artist Marie Jørgensen said in her caption to this photo on the left, “I really like the sense of power and movement in her poses.” I often go back to this image to take in what she wrote. In the colors, I see my vibrancy; in the lines I see my limitlessness. This has been especially important for me to remember as I made significant changes this fall. I knew that I was strong enough to have difficult conversations with loved ones. In moments when doubts began to surface again, I came back to these pieces and reminded myself of who I am and that I can, in fact, do anything.
When I observe an artist’s expression of their experience of me in the form of lines and shades, capturing both strength and softness, foundation and opening, I am reminded that I can choose how I see myself. No matter what has happened or how the day began, I can always choose to change my way of showing up. I don’t have to be hard, angry, closed off and vindictive. I can choose to be the woman, the queen, the goddess in the works of art. Even as I experience a full range of human emotions and struggles, I can still choose to value myself and keep moving forward.
Recently, artist Rohan Goldsmith, sketched the piece depicted to the right: a collection from my yoga and dance captures. I sat back and looked at the lines and shading, and instead of seeing doubt and nothingness, I saw all the most wonderful things about myself: strength, creativity, grace, light, openness, softness, intelligence, spirit, generosity, curiosity, and so much more. I remembered how I felt in those moments of expression, and, as I took in that piece, I decided, right then and there, to see the queen inside me once again.
In a season when my heart smiles, cries and rages all in one day and the future curls like a question mark, I come back to these pieces and remember that I can choose to embody my goodness and my gifts. When artists draw me, I am drawn deeper into the truth of my spirit…a truth that is not subject to anything outside of me. I return to these pieces and I see me.
Rohan Goldsmith: https://www.instagram.com/seemssoeasy/
Marie Jørgensen: https://www.instagram.com/yogaprints/
Marcelino MT: https://www.instagram.com/massvision/