True freedom, I think, rests in a foundation of trust, without trust we have nothing.
In my very human quest for assuredness and security in an uncertain world, I lived within what I think of as the “confines of my constructed life”, my mind struggled to create life as a constant. I thought to myself: “This is what the world looks like, therefore this is what it will be. I am this person, with these relationships with people like this and I go about most days in this predictable way.”
This was such a static, primal understanding and means of coping with change and avoidance of pain, trying to define and, thereby, control life. Relationships were almost certainly reduced to caricature, limited as they were by such a temporal definition. It followed then, that my life became a sort of “paint by number” where each day only required filling in the blank spaces of the landscape I had drawn in such meticulous detail from my very limited imagination.
My mind constructed these fixed drawings of my life in order to contain the “wild not knowing”. There was a definite selfishness and fear hidden beneath wanting to both reflect and project upon others this limited perception.
Artists who paint in the Flemish method first create a “dead layer”, this is a greyscale of the subject they are painting. It is called “dead” because it lacks colour and does, truly, look dead. After this dead layer is complete, layer upon layer of brilliant colour is laid down by the artist. Yet the underpainting of the greyscale is necessary because it creates depth in the finished masterpiece.
Reflecting further, I think that my earliest perceptions created this same dead layer, it is a child’s understanding of relationship and of life. If I could just integrate my falsely constructed assumptions about what “should be” based on “what was”, layer upon layer of nuance and resonant colour and everything beautiful could be lovingly brushed and painted over to create the masterpiece that is life on this earth.
Imagine the brilliant spectrum of beauty that can be found in a more intimate knowing of each person’s being, including ourselves. Keeping our hearts wide and available to seeing and truly recognizing others from the heart and not the mind and going beyond the superficial leaves us open to exploring the layers and depth of each person. True knowing resides only within each individual and with God, of course, but I think we move closer in allying with God when we attempt loving in more intricate detail, a deeper and more authentic connection in relationship is accessible.
Along with this new depth of connection comes fear, however, this can be an indication that we’re headed in the right direction. Knowing this fear is a natural outcome of authentic connection and risk helps us “lean in” toward fear and the unfamiliar, instead of trying to control or outrun it.
“The mind is all about self-preservation, the heart is about self-realization.”
Expanding my understanding of the world around me to encompass and embrace that overarching uncertainty and the overwhelming lack of assuredness in “what’s to come”, also frees me to understand that so much more is possible, so much more than I could ever comprehend or imagine is made available to all of us.
My life has become the canvas for God’s inspiration, I am the loving creation, the painting of God’s unlimited imagination and inspiration.
It gives my heart and spirit a feeling of expansion, that there is a limitless beauty in letting go and in simply watching the unfolding of God’s promise. All is revealed to us as it is being created, painted if you will, in “real time.”
I can trust in this.
“So many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it.”
-William Paul Young
Love and blessings,