my mess is my power. {thank you flora bowley}

Your mess is where your power is.  The chaos, the mess on that canvas… that is your brilliance.

 

We stood there, in the middle of her studio, looking at my canvas with over 3 hours of layers, 5 different color pallettes, and 3 different types of medium. My insides layed out on a square, a big square, trying to fit it all in and finish it, so it looked “right” or “good”.  

It’s always an experience just to be in her studio, an almost unreal place to be.  Two thousand square feet of magic and altars in worship of color and expression and the world over are everywhere. Enough space for more than two dozen canvases, a dance party, a live music show and a potluck... and I am pretty sure my whole family could live there happily forever. Her and I are standing in the middle of it all, people buzzing around us in creation mode, I’m in paint splattered overalls and she’s standing there :: tall and graceful, fierce and gentle… and so unbelieavly grounded and real.  And she is telling me that my mess is my brilliance.

My eyes fill with tears.  I get the chills. And I nod.  I stand there for a minute and let those words be real, be okay, be believed.  I look at her. I hug her.  Tell her thank you for seeing me, thank you. I tossed out all my wantings to “finish” my painting. And I went back to the canvas.  And let the mess be a mess.  And made it even more of a mess. 

Because that mess is me.  And I refuse to be anybody else.  

 

I have spent all my life trying to tidy up my messes.  Trying to organize myself.  I’ve always been told I had “so much potential” if only I could work neater or plan better.  I was always told I was too wild, too dirty, too foul mouthed, that loved too large and I wanted too much.  I am a writer and I often second guess myself because my writing, even though I am told over and over again by people who read it that it lands directly in their hearts in a real way, the reality is:: it’s a mess.  And I judged it. I judged my “mess”. With all the briliant writers out there- with proper spelling and well formed thoughts and what seems to be good grasp on grammer-  I was always a bit like- shit, I better figure out how to clean this all up. Go Pro. And that judgement, I realized, wasn't just about my writing, it was about me, because my writing is a direct expression of who I truly am.  So when it came down to my art, my words, my life, my full expression, I was continously judging my mess and struggling to make it better, spending so so much time trying to figure out how to clean it up. 

My friend Flora's words that day gave me a kind of persmission that I had never heard before- or at least was never told to me in that way until then. It was empowering. It was the truth.  It was funny that it all happened around painting,  because I just don’t consider myself a visual artist at all {which of course is another silly story}.  But I realized that it didn’t matter: paint, letters, food, fashion, parenting, life.  When I express myself: my first and rawest emotion is A MESS.  And that mess is my unadultered power.  It is my brilliance.  It is the raw essence of what I want to say. It is who I am.

And why the fuck would I want to clean up raw power?  Why would I want to tame a true wild mess?

 

I believe there are people out there who have profound space holding and healing powers without even trying, without training, without saying it or marketing it.  They just show up and do what they do.  And somehow they change people’s lives by giving people permission to do they same.  To show up and trust deeply. To show up and create madly.  To remind you that your creations are a direct expression of your soul- and to ALLOW it to be part of the gorgeous mystery of Art, the mystery of this life.  I don’t see my beautiful friend Flora as an “art teacher”.  She’s so beyond that.  She’s an art giver.  She’s a magic keeper.  She’s a leader of an exquiste kind of light that is utterly contagious.  I have watched people walk away from her workshops totally transformed.  I know I was. 

Flora Bowley kinda changed my entire artistic path that day, in those 2 sentences that casually rolled off her tongue.  And any time I have painted with her in her studio, the following days and weeks, things have become radically mystically, my lap opens and all that I desire seems to fall in.  She’s one witchy woman with a heart of gold.

So please.  Think about how it is you create.  How do you express? Is it really loud and you find yourself always quieting down? Are you super anal and feel like you should loosen it up?  Do you go big and feel like you are suppose to make it all small? Of course there is nothing wrong with testing out all the waters, but pay attention to your most original and natural way you express yourself. What is the first thing that unfolds, unleashes, and wants to be seen?

Trust yourself.  That is where your truest power lies.

{{thank you flora. thank you}}

Flora also has a new website that just launched and OH MY GOD IT'S INSANE.  If you are interested in creative expression and allowing your entire being to become an artist, go check it out.  Trust me, it’s better than an evening of Netflix. Better even than HBOGO. SERIOUSLY.  The amazing Zipporah Lomaz is responsilble for the beginning short film and the supreme photos throughout the site.  And all the writing in there? All Flora. My most favorite section is “JOURNEY” where she tells her story- from the very beginning.  It’s so beautiful to learn about her choices in life and the twists and turns she made, the trust she had to have, and what she had to let go of.  There is also this incredible new offering on there called:: The Studio Diaries.  It’s one of the most accessible {as in doable, affordable, fun} artistic adventures I have seen.  I was almost shocked at how much of herself and her life as a working artist she shares- along with inviting in other artists to chit-chat, recipes, yoga, painting inspiration.  It’s her generous gift to the world.  

{This is my friend Flora Bowley blowing our her birthday candles this year.  Isn’t she gorgeous?}

And here is one of my many messes  that has been born in her space.

HONOR YOUR PROCESS> it is who you are.

HONOR YOUR PROCESS> it is who you are.