This week I set up a very simple altar in a corner of my studio/bedroom next to the windows overlooking the ocean where I meditate daily in the early evening before preparing dinner. This room has a lot of charge since it is my personal space where I create, meditate, dream and love. Some folks think it’s important to separate out these areas of our lives, but it works very well for me since all aspects are so holistically linked together.
My impulse to create this space as an aid to my spiritual practice came out of a desire to get to the bottom of a personal issue I’ve been grappling with- where does my desire for recognition as an artist come from?
I understand my urge to create stems from a need to connect with my own Divinity, but what about the other piece of being an artist which has to do with achieving success? I have been plagued by a relentless drive for recognition that never seems to be fulfilled and that I’ve sensed is coming from a place of deeper need. A hunger that no amount of outer success can fulfill.
So, I put together this simple but sacred area which includes a painting of the white tara I had done a few years ago for a buddha show, some art from a young man i met in India named Hanuman, my small painting of a stargazer lily, my own fabric design of red roses (for love), a red and white candle representing the root and crown chakras, and an incense holder from Casey’s collection of Asian antiques.
So, drawing on these different energies, I’ve spent the week in mediation, contemplation, and the dream world listening to the answers to my questions and I have received clear answers. I have learned that the craving for recognition has really been a desire for love coming out of deep unmet childhood needs. My deities and symbols here have helped me realize the universal love all around and have helped me nourish myself by consciously opening to receive it.
The Tara deity is a tibetan form of the female buddha and she comes in several colors as different manifestations. The white tara here in my painting is the goddess of compassion- she sends out pure healing in the sweetest sense. when i took a yoga class in Eugene about 10 years ago we learned a chant that is repeated 21 times and is a play on Tara’s name and is believed to bring about enlightenment. I’ve always loved it and even considered changing my name to one of the words- Tutare, at a certain point.
the chant goes- Om, Tare Tutare So Ha. Repeat 21 times
Here is a drawing of a woman that Hanuman did before my eyes in one single stroke of his brush. so beautiful and full of the Divine- so Indian. The deeply felt bliss of the universal Love so tangibly felt in that land. And the elephant, symbol of strength and abundance, a personal totem. These images too have contributed to filling up my well.
My own stargazer Lily reminding me to feel the peace in my heart that really emanates from the vessel of my feminine source
Lighting the candles and incense brings the essence of the energies into my system through my senses.
And here is the centerpiece of my altar as well as the central figure in helping me get to the other side of my complex- The Green Tara. She is green in color because she is an earth/nature/plant goddess- perfect for me. She also takes a more active role than the white tara. Notice how her right leg is stepping out of the lotus- she is preparing to stand up, go out into the world and actively spread her loving, compassionate help.
The message I got from my search is that my painting and spreading my art into the world is about bringing love, cheer, goodness and an affirmation of the beauty of nature to the people who come into contact with it. I remember as a 20 year old young woman, beginning my art career with a desire to make the world a better place. That’s always been present in my quest but the need for recognition came from a deeper need which I believe has been filled by consciously tuning in to a Higher Power and allowing myself to be filled by unconditional Love that is present in the universe. From this place of overflowing, my purpose has become clear- to help fill others rather than wanting to be filled by them. This is a very profound turning point for me and has given me a deep sense of peace and relaxation about my career- it’s taken an edge off that’s been eating away at my sense of well being.