Every image I create has a story and context. Composed with layers of a codex that existed within me long before I was birthed. The story, or purpose, most times is revealed to me long after I painted it. This lack of immediate insight may be contributed by the brain injury I substained, PTSD. Things in the forefront often elude me. My sharpest insight is of the past, projection into the future and the innate understanding of abstraction and high ideas; articulated through my imagination.
I created this while soaking in cool winds coming from the warm Atlantic ocean. I journeyed to a land of my grandfather, a man I never met. I needed to connect with the red strings he created within me. I am estranged from most of that family line, those I do know, do not speak his name.
When I imagine my grandfather, I see blood red. The kind of red that can induce primal life force and its tainting; the curse. He hurt his family. And because of that, every generation thereafter has been directly or indirectly affected.
I am ocean. I often dive into the abyss of dark water where there is no light except the light self can generate. Where the pressure is so intense, it turns the soul inside out. There, I meet num nums, thought forms and the very first energies expressed as emotion. I am not afraid of the dark. And because I have delved into my own dark abyss and embraced the humanity of what was hidden, I fear not another’s abyss. I was equipped to explore the void my grandfather created, in himself, in his family, in me. My greatest protection is love, pure unconditional love.
Unconditional love empowers me. And for so long I misconstrued its meaning and use. I thought it was loving another, despite what they did. Or accepting a person as they are, and of course, the feeling… the euphoric feeling prompted by loving another. No class, workshop, definition or circumstance could instill in my soul, the true meaning of unconditional love. It is something that must be experienced in the heart. Then, acted upon.
I learned the hard way that the path to God, for me, is through connection. And that I can not bypass people and go straight to God. Love, in my journey, has to be expressed through relating, sharing and connecting with others. It is the connection that is the love; connection with ALL. Within this connection, I was gifted the purple love blanket; the love frequency. Purple love blanket is my metaphor for a state in my body that runs through every fiber, cell and molecule of my being. It is a feeling of love, blissful love.
I also learned, that when I harbor negative feelings like resentment, anger, self loathing, self pity or self doubt; such cascades into behaviors of distrust, isolation, self neglect and escapism. I am the classic run away. These feelings and behaviors create an energy about me that attracts more justification for false beliefs that fuel negativity; a selfgenerating endless cycle of dispair. Such cycle used to take me to a place of utter immobilization, compulsive drinking, avoidance and suicidal ideation. Today, I am blessed with an arsenal of spiritual principles that help to lift the heavy cloud. I practice gratitude, focusing on what is good. I practice self acceptance by allowing myself to feel what I feel, but not holding on to it. I practice trust by knowing that all thing come together for good, the highest good, for those who love the Lord God Almighty. That is what my mother taught us.
I have many layers. In my intimate relationships, most times I hear, “Nataki, I can’t handle you”. I didn’t understand what that meant until I had to confront my own unmanageability. I use the language and process of 12 step recovery to describe benchmarks on a tumultuous spiritual journey. A process where I have to confront the tangled mess of my emotional life. Baggage is what they call it. I gots lots of extra. I’m extra.
Letting go is a new concept to me. Of course, I intellectually know what it is. And my persona is pretty easy going. Yet, there are core issues so deeply embedded in me, they are compacted within a space so tight, they mutate and change form, condense and expand, freeze and thaw when seasons change. My extra, my extra almost became a sacred space. That is until I came across the concept of forgiveness. It put holes in my purple love blanket, loopholes in my unconditional love.
So, I’m in Puerto Rico. I am ritualistically connecting with the grandfather whose name I do not know. I am experiencing the land, watching the people, loving the food, spending hours watching the waves of the ocean. I was trying to understand my innermost layers. I wanted to intuitively know what caused my grandfather to live the way he did. My goal was to embed in the island of his birth, forgiveness. And I had hoped, by some miraculous circumstance, that I would discover who he was and maybe, discover cousins on the island. So deep to have a man dispied by his own family, know nothing about him, yet be a product of his… sin. I needed to forgive, forgive the sins of the father.
This post is all over the place! What am I talking about?! Trauma, art, love, recovery, baggage, unmanageability, forgiveness. What I want to describe is how I went all the way to Puerto Rico to forgive someone outside of myself, when I needed to look at myself, accept and learn to forgive myself. I can say I forgive myself, but not if I still carry the burden of its feelings of resentment, self loathing, fear, self pity, doubt, etc. I guess the journey to the island marked the beginning of a transformation. A realization that I needed to learn how to forgive myself, then… forgive others. The journey was a step. A step in a good direction.