I loved art class. I remember when I was in fourth grade or so, we were asked to do a portrait that would be shared with the whole school during an art show. I picked a drawing of me in the Amazon rainforest (one of my fascinations at the time), wild and free.
I started with my face, then painted a wild rainforest with all kinds of shades of green. I added flowers and birds and mystery.
I painted my full self, naked, sitting in the dirt, with my legs drawn up towards me so my chest and crotch were covered. I had on a beautiful necklace of gemstones and bones and wood.
I was SO proud. It took me weeks. I even told my parents, and they were excited to come see it.
When we got to the private Catholic school (where I was attending on scholarship) we walked to my station and my painting… wasn’t there.
Turns out, a parent thought a painting of a naked girl was inappropriate, so they made the principal take it down. “But you can’t see anything…” I softly said.
The principal walked us back to where the painting was sitting – hidden from the others – and while she pointed out all the ways it was beautiful and how she really appreciated it and was really sorry about the whole thing…my parents just quietly looked at it. They refused to look down at me.
I don’t think I ever saw that painting again. And I didn’t draw or paint for a long time after that.
I felt so much shame. The principal said she had loved the painting, yet she hid it. I didn’t get what I did wrong.
I also felt ashamed for my parents. I thought they must have been so embarrassed to have a child who couldn’t even paint something that could be hung up and celebrated with all the other students.
I started to explore art again in high school, but I didn’t continue it outside of school for fun very often.
But now…I have an ad running with myself and a few clients topless (our backs showing) on a glacier, and it’s a stunning image.
I’ve also recently rediscovered art via nature journaling, which brings my geeky science brain and my creative brain AND my spiritual mindfulness practice together in one beautiful practice.
So, I got curious about this:
When did we first feel some of our deeply uncomfortable emotions? When did a passion or a purpose of ours get squashed?
I look back at that moment my artistic side was smashed, and my celebration of my wild natural body…and how it led to shame.
I wonder, what would have been different if someone had stood up for me at that moment. The principal may have tried in her own way, but she didn’t know about my dad’s schizoaffective disorder, and how he would obsess over me being hypersexual for weeks. Or about my abusive mother who already gave me the silent treatment and wouldn’t talk to me for days, and how she was even more withdrawn than before. I felt so alone.
If you’re in a space to do so, take a moment to think about something you loved, and what happened when it was ridiculed or dismissed as not worthwhile.
Sexuality, art, kindness, crazy ways of dressing, singing and wild dancing… these things are often very soulFULL.
And many of us have a vivid memory of moments like this, when that light in our life was dimmed.
Today, I want to invite you to reclaim that part of yourself – to bring it back into your heart, life, and community.
In this episode you will learn:
// What happens when a passion of ours is shut down
// Why it is important that we reconnect with our wholeness
// What you can do to reclaim that piece of your soul
// Episode 134: What You’re Meant to Be
// If you want to deeply dive into this work immersed in nature on retreats and with a small group of like-minded seekers connecting regularly throughout your journey, apply for the next cohort of the Adventure Mastermind at AdventureMastermind.com It’s unlike any program you will ever do in your life. Ever.
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It’s where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life, and where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more. It’s also where you can connect over all things freedom with other wanderers, just like you and me. It’s my favorite place to hang on the interweb, and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there.
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist private group, and tune in every Wednesday at 11:30am PST as I go live with new inspiration and topics.