After creating a safe and spacious environment, working with energy is a facilitator’s primary tool. The energy determines how you move within that space -- for example, the questions you might ask and the suggestions you might offer to a painter. ~ Stewart Cubley, from "Working With the Tool of Energy," a talk available in the course, Introduction to Facilitating Process Arts
Stewart speaks of the experience of the facilitator as she or he works with a painter and how together they explore, seeking to find where the energy wants to flow. For me, when I am with someone and we are interacting in this way, not only is there the pleasure of seeing the other person connect to the energy, and connecting with my own energy in that process, there is also an intimacy. Indeed the word I want to use is communion.
For me, such experiences are among the most precious. We momentarily drop into a space of no separation. It flashes between us and is gone, but . . . Oh, my! Stewart describes being guided by one's authentic energy as radical, wild, raw. Yes! This energy is not interested in the myriad priorities that our socialized self would impose on us. It is connected to our hearts. As I listen to this talk, I realize that process painting is really a tutorial in listening to our core being, our most authentic self. We are in a safe setting playing with paint. Our wildness can play out safely here. But, in truth, we are playing a dangerous game. As we learn the enormous pleasure of finding just the right color and letting our arm have its way with the brush on the paper, we may fall in love with a way of being that we will find is too precious for us to forgo once we leave the painting room! This could lead us to radical course corrections. Expensive and valuable.
Of course, we will, in ordinary times, have to forego wildness to some degree. Our lives have other legitimate priorities. However, if we do not honor our core truth, the voice of our energetic Knowing, we will run aground. But here another part of our experience in the painting process serves us. We lose our way in our lives as well as in front of the painting board. Then, the process helps us sniff out where our true course lies. It can guide us back to what nourishes and heals.
Indeed, I have come to understand that affording myself painting time is a practice of honoring something essential in my life. I must keep the wellspring of my energetic truth-telling bubbling freely. It is a source that is revelatory, mysterious, and ultimately joyous. Worth the risks involved!
We're pleased to share these reflections of Jean Matlack of Rockport, Maine. Jean is a process painter and a participant in our online course for facilitators. We're always grateful for her insights on the painting process and how it unfolds in her own life. Read more from Jean in Trusting Your Intuitive Intelligence.
To further explore the topic of energy in process painting, listen to Episode 6 of The Painting Experience Podcast, Following the Energy.
Introduction to Facilitating Process Arts is a three-part course in the art of facilitation for professionals working in process-oriented learning environments, as well as individuals wishing to deepen their experience of process painting. The first part of the course explores seven essential elements of facilitation based upon methods developed over the last forty years by The Painting Experience. The course is self-paced and no previous art experience is required. Learn more . . .