I had it all. I HAD IT ALL!!! Or did I?
I had the wonderful, gorgeous, professional husband. I had the 2.54 children. I had the house on the golf course. I had the Mercedes. The cat and the dog. I had everything money could buy. I even had the proverbial white picket fence.
But, I didn’t have me.
I was always on edge. I played the victim. I was passive-aggressive. I was co-dependent. I was sick all the time with migraines, and other various illnesses.
I was unhappy.
I was searching.
And I didn’t even know what was missing.
After an old plaster ceiling in a home I was remodeling came down on my head and into my eyes, (a distraction – hindsight suggests!), a very dear friend who was an artist, suggested that maybe I do something less physical, but yet creative.
“Come and take an art lesson with me.”
I didn’t want to be an artist. I NEVER wanted to BE an artist. But, just who in the hell WAS I?
Six months went by.
I was itching to buy another home to remodel.
I remembered her generous offer.
“What the hell have I got to lose?”, I asked myself.
“Bring all of your art supplies.” Duh – what damn art supplies was she talking about?!
So I did what any other self-respecting mom would do – I stole my son’s Christmas art set and went on my merry way to take my very first art class.
“Lay out your paints.” I gave her a typical deer in the headlights look.
“You’ve never painted before?”
“Other than walls, no.” I was almost ashamed to admit. Artist was NOT on my radar after being raised by very pragmatic and responsible parents. Even if I hadn’t been raised by my parents, art and/or being an artist was never something I WANTED to be.
We set up a typical Russian Impressionist still life. You know – a couple of sunflowers, a basket with a towel coming out of it, a wheel of cheese with a knife in it, a bottle of champagne, and a couple of glasses.
“You’re kidding me, right????! How do I ‘do’ this?”
“Sketch” was her reply.
“Just draw what you see.”
I’ll tell you what I see, I muttered to myself. I see something almost impossible for me to do. And, I started.
I sketched and I got it right the first time.
Now came the time to start painting. Lord, another hurdle.
I looked at the still life, and down at my palette, and back again. Wait a minute, I thought to myself….and my thoughts MUST have been transparent because she immediately said, “Blue and yellow make green.”
“That’s it??? That’s all the instruction you are giving me????”
I was perplexed.
It was just a canvas and some paint, right? Or was it something more – to me?
I painted. It was good. Damn good for never having painted before.
I looked at my friend. I could tell her wheels were turning. “You have to take lessons.”
“Because you have a gift.”
That was enough for me.
I studied with artists that I respected. I went to galleries. I searched online for art. I was hooked. Everything I did revolved around painting. I couldn’t look at the sky without wondering how I could make that color. I was obsessed.
And then, my dad died.
I held his hand as he was taking his last breath and I was transported to this place – a place where I could see all of our deceased relatives. I knew I had to tell Dad to turn around. As was his nature, he was worried about us, his family. He asked me, “Can I stay? I’m worried about all of you.”
I looked at him and shook my head. “No Dad. If you stay you will be a vegetable the rest of your life.”
And then, I had to do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, because the minute I would tell him, I knew he would be gone.
“Dad, you need to turn around.”
He did, and when he looked back at me there was a radiance that I have never forgotten to this day….
His parting words were prophetic, and life changing.
“Paula Jean, promise me, you will always be happy.”
I promise Dad.
Those words are with me every day.
I poured myself into painting. We bought a second home in Taos so that I could be near other artists. After all, life was precious. Dad had taught me that.
Circumstances arose that caused us to sell the home in Taos. I missed the mountain and the energy of the land.
I disappeared into painting even further. It was a distraction (albeit a good one) to all of my unhappiness. It was a drug for me. I couldn’t get enough.
I continued my studies.
And yet, I was still unhappy.
I started getting migraines. And many other illnesses that could not be diagnosed. I was edgy and bitchy. I gained weight so that my (now ex) husband would not be attracted to me. It was a vicious cycle. The more weight I gained, the less attractive I felt, the less attractive I felt, the more I would use bad self-talk. I was a mess. I wanted to check-out. I planned it. I couldn’t imagine why I was even born.
I spiraled even further.
Some days, the only reason I got out of bed was to paint. And to pee. And to cook for everyone.
Fate threw a monkey wrench into my life. I connected with someone on a very deep level. Not in a sexual way….but, in a “Omg, he sees me way.” It confused the shit out of me. How could I have been married for almost 25 years and not have felt this for my husband?
I listened to my intuition. Because, obviously, it was trying to tell me something. I wasn’t sure exactly what, but there was definitely something there.
I separated from my husband. Got a sweet little rental home, and painted non-stop. There were things that both of us needed to address. We did, and yet, we really didn’t. Promises were made on both sides, and we decided to give it another go.
By this time, I was heavy into Abraham-Hicks and other metaphysical teachers. Everything I grew up believing in, was slowly falling apart. For the first time ever, life started making sense to me.
One of the promises made was that if I needed to move back to Taos, he would go with me. And I did. And he couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. So I did.
My first winter there (second snowiest winter on record in Taos – and I was on three miles of dirt roads) I spent in my bathtub. Listening to Eva Cassidy. With candles burning. Drinking lots of wine. Trying to make a decision. Do I stay in this marriage where I almost daily want to check out? Or do I want to try to make a go of it on my own?
I was scared….and yet, I wasn’t. I knew I would make it as an artist. I knew I would be ok alone.
The decision was made together on the banco in the living room of my home on the Mesa. We wrote everything out on a piece of notebook paper. No arguments about who got what.
This was it. This was the key to my happiness.
Or so I thought.
I immersed myself in anything metaphysical and spiritual. I studied with the chanting Buddhists, read books about Wicca, took lessons about Tarot, attended my first sweat lodge, participated in a Sundance Ceremony and got readings from psychics.
I had things happen to me that I couldn’t explain. People who were dying showed me visions…..and then they happened. I would know there was going to be something happening in the world, and it would.
I started feeling called to paint abstracts. And I did.
And then abstract figures. And I did.
Then – ayahausca (Aya) happened. I had been feeling pulled to do this amazing, healing, shamanic journey for quite some time.
My very last night of two separate three day journeys was the most incredible message I have ever received.
After heading down to a very dark place that I had already been to before, I turned and said, “We have been here before. Do we really have to repeat this experience?”
She looked at me and changed shape right before my eyes. She softened. She had luminous eyes. All I could feel was unconditional love.
She spread her arms wide and showed me visions….visions of angels, and unseen beings and told me –
“These beings want to be seen Paula. Part of the reason you are here now, is to give them faces and voices….this is why you did not discover painting until you were older. You needed to have children. You needed to follow the path you were on. Your life has unfolded exactly the way your soul agreed to. Every person you have met, all the laughter you have shared, all of the disagreements you have had – have all shaped you – and others. One of us cannot make a move without affecting another. You are important, just as others are important. Anything you do affects those around you. When you have a great day – you share it with others. And they pay it forward. You get the picture. Yes, you are a visionary, intuitive artist – you will have victories, and you will have defeats – but never give up little one – your work is important.”
I was speechless – which is so rare for me.
They started coming. The beings, angels, mermaids, guides, fairies and the sprites wanted to be seen. They all have such different energy and unique messages.
One day, I was really questioning my “intuition” because my damn monkey mind seemed to be working overtime – and I was wondering if I was crazy or not – and driving myself crazy in the meantime. I got quiet to hear the answer.
It’s like she (Aya) was back with me whispering in my ear.
“Little one. Remember when we thought the world was flat? Remember when we didn’t know about solar systems? Remember when we didn’t have electricity? Or cell phones. Or trains, planes and automobiles? Just because they weren’t there at that time, did not mean that they didn’t exist. They were all ideas in people’s heads. Yes, some thought that they (the creators and the explorers) were crazy – but they didn’t. They trusted their intuition and went on journeys. They explored. They listened to unseen voices and messages in their heads. They knew they were here to change the world. Maybe not consciously, but they knew…. As you know.”
And…there it was. My answer. My big AHA moment.
The minute I started painting them (Ok, that is an overexaggeration)– but soon after I started painting them, everything that was not authentic to who I am starting falling away. I had big, sometimes painful lessons one right after the other. I was growing so fast at times, that I would completely shut myself off from the outside world.
And, I discovered that I loved being alone. Not just LOVED it, but craved it. The messages came easier. I was more peaceful, centered and grounded than I had ever been.
I realized that I was here all along.
I didn’t need to go searching and seeking.
But, I wouldn’t have had the amazing experiences that I had had, nor met the incredible people that are now in my life.
I had the power all along.
All I had to do was click my ruby red slippers (because I AM from Kansas, you know!), and repeat after my fairy godmother (ok – totally different fairy tale – but you know what I mean),
“There’s no place like home.”
And….”I” AM home.
Blessings to all.