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Integrating The Past With The Present...

For much of my life I've wanted to be a 'successful' artist. Being an artist allows me to BREATHE, and live a fully actualized life. But it's something I've struggled with for most of my life as well. I suppose few artists are immune to such challenges; I think in many ways it is this struggle that fuels the art itself, as if some sort of exorcism. It's an interesting dichotomy...
Several years ago, a friend of mine who channels was hosting the usual monthly gathering of friends and kindreds, nearly all of whom maintain a curiosity about life, who enjoy life but also consciously aware of the challenges that come into our individual and collective daily experiences and look for ways to more deeply understand what's really going on. The non-physical entity that my friend Margie channelled was known as Otawa, and the wisdom and humor and effusive love that emanated from his words could melt a person's heart. And all too often, they did. We became Otawa 'groupies', meeting regularly to have our challenges illuminated from a greater sea of consciousness. One evening after the usual dissertation about our collective point in time, Otawa opened the floor to questions from the group. Talking with Otawa was like talking with a best friend from several lifetimes, someone who knew you better than you know yourself. I asked Otawa about the resistance and frustration I was experiencing around my desire to be a successful artist. It can be hard to open up to such feelings with a room full of people in the audience, but I also knew that I wasn't alone with these feelings, and there'd be something in his answer for everyone, as there often was.
Otawa proceeded to tell me of a past life I had had many many years ago as an apprentice to a famous painter in Italy. This man had tremendous talent, but it was hitched to his own deep feelings of insecurity (as I would later find out.) I was not his first apprentice; he was quite strict in what my responsibilities in the role were to be: mix his paints, stretch the canvases, and keep order in his studio. I grew to love and admire his talents. For how long I was his apprentice I don't know, other than long enough to experience a suffocating frustration at not being able to exercise my own artistic aspirations and express my own soul self. One evening after he had left the studio, I decided I was going to paint. And paint I did... The next morning he returned to his studio to find me asleep there, with brush still in hand, in front of an astonishing masterpiece so grand that he stormed out of the studio and took his own life-
I was so distraught from this turn of events, and felt that because I let my inner artist out I personally had caused the death of a man who I had developed a deep love for despite his domineering ways. I never picked up a paintbrush again in that lifetime-
As Otawa recounted this tale, tears ran down my face as I knew it was true. In a way I re-lived the emotional trauma of the experience. But by having this experience recounted, it helped to illuminate a part of my life's story that to this day makes perfect sense. I can't help but feel an undercurrent of guilt anytime I pursue anything with an artisitic bent, but I don't pursue my art with the intention of being 'better' than anyone else; I do it because creating art is as essential to my well-being as my breath is. I also have come to know that the greatest gift we have as human beings is the gift of free will; my boss'  reaction and subsequent decision to take his own life was HIS choice and NOT mine. I wish I could say that having learned of this past life it has made it easier for me to achieve the vision of being a successful artist. It hasn't. Creating art is a very right-brained enterprise, while our sense of its value or quality is a trait reserved for our overly analytical left. Creating a balance between the two remains my greatest task. And in achieving that sense of balance is the TRUE success that I'm looking for. I hope that at some point I find it....
VTMarkus VTMarkus 46-50, M Jun 20, 2012

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