Getting to choose our ‘canvas’ size

canvasMost galleries won’t touch my bigger work…the larger scale canvases aren’t considered to be what most people are typically looking for to hang at home. Maybe they are put off because it just wouldn’t fit above their fireplace yet I occasionally suspect something deeper at play…I’ve seen it in people’s eyes when they come for a private view. “Whoa”, they say, stepping back to take in the seething ferment of cloud mass rising above my sofa…and whilst there’s admiration, there’s also a touch of immediate mind-made-up-ness that its not for them, that people would think they’d gone ‘all weird or spiritual or something’ if they were to hang such a painting on their wall, almost filling it from corner to corner, like a portion of the Sistine Chapel amidst the trappings of ordinary domesticity. Such art daunts them.

It occurs to me that this is analogous to something presenting as a choice in the fabric of ‘life’ itself. The kinds of people I associate with, in both personal and professional circles, tend to be those who have seen ‘the bigger picture’ and get that they are the creator of their own life, who have a working grasp of certain universal laws that dictate levels of abundance and the kinds of experiences they are having on a day-to-day basis. They get that everything is energy and that an understanding of this can be harvested to improve everything in their world, from their relationships to their health. They have tasted this in action, are brimful of enthusiasm and are, understandably, eager to share this with as many people as possible (and within ‘them’ I just know that you realise I am including ‘me’).

And looking out there on the Internet, the best-selling book racks and the line-up of the many (many) business and life-coaching entrepreneurs who are touting this information to massive audiences around the world, you would think that this was mainstream and ready to roll-out to a waiting audience of ‘ordinary folk’; people with small businesses, chaotic family lives, ordinary stuff going on where they could benefit from stepping back and embracing the overview of it all in ways that they could put to use in their world and so take back control of their own destiny.

Yet based on the experiences of two of my friends this week, both of whom offered this kind of ‘information’ from within the context of their professional-self (in one case, informally as a gesture of kindness to help another and, in the other, structured within a power-packed webinar course they had lovingly put together as a means to help transform the lives and abundance of others) and both of whom were met by quite strong rebuttal as soon as they mentioned that stuff that is blanket labelled ‘spiritual’ within what was deemed to be a ‘practical’ context – I’m suddenly not so sure and have found myself asking “why the big pull-back” in the face of being offered such staggeringly good news?

The day I found myself considering this, I was experiencing a pull-back of my own, in the form of a whole load of intense muscle contraction and pain, which came as a huge disappointment given I’d been feeling so sublime, so whole and connected, so on the brink of something new (and entirely pain free!) just the evening before.

That’s when it hit me…the parallel…that the opening up of my consciousness has been like  a ‘self-improvement’ course I signed up for to get to know my Higher Self…not really grasping, at the outset, what this would entail but hoping (from all the good press it was getting) that it would take me to a place of ‘getting’ something really useful that would lead to better health, joy, abundance… And my Higher Self (like any enthusiastic bringer of ‘good news’ endowed with ‘the bigger picture’), is so very eager to tell all, knowing full well how much I stand to benefit from this; that if I can bring the knowing of all that I Am into my physical existence and ground it into life, I will be so in the flow, everything will come together, it will be so beautiful. And of course, Higher Self (like light itself) can’t be other than it is, which is a full spectrum version of ‘me’ without all the distorted world-oriented viewpoints. Being of Source, there can be no filtering or turning down the volume of what it delivers…its an all-or-nothing cosmic powerhouse yelling “the news is this, do you want to hear it or not?”

Which means that, when it comes to that all-important relationship with Higher Self (and we all have one), any filtering that occurs is done by us…by choosing what we are ready to ‘hear’ by allowing (or not allowing) this higher perspective to ‘come through’. The light is always there…yet we can put on sunglasses, draw the curtains, stay in a darkened room all day…some people never even seem to notice when its sunny out there. We can turn it up, turn it down, take what resonates and leave the rest…for here is the whole glorious gift inherent in this playground we call life, we get to CHOOSE.

So, I realised, when I’m in Flow and a state of allowing, I let the light come pouring in, I welcome it and I expand….but then its like, at other times, it all gets too much for me, too dazzling. I react because, at some level (boiling down to one of many versions of ‘fear’) it seems to amount to more than what I want to ‘hear’ at this time…more than I signed up for…I start to suspect (and I’m right) that my world might change if I go with this…and so I would rather put my fingers in my ears and recite The Ancient Mariner backwards than ‘listen’. I rebuff the light!

So my body (my physical interface with the spiritual realm) tells me all about this by reacting…I go into health crash mode…and, of course, as soon as I do this, I feel like I’ve lost connection with Source, I drop out of the Flow…after that, I feel bereft and even somewhat depressed that the light has gone out of my life and this makes it even harder to reconnect. I can see how, in the past, it has kept me in a perpetuated state of pain and disconnection for many months at a time. Especially at times of the year when the intensity of light is reduced…almost as though the light itself acts as the daily nudge, the reminder, of how much better it feels to be plugged-in to my own intrinsic Self than not.

Over many repetitions, I’ve been taught this through the repeated experience of the very contrast of how that disconnection feels in my body and in my very Being. And it feels lousy!


These days, having enjoyed many intermittent bursts of the experience of total connection and wholeness (as when I’m painting, writing, meditating, inspired, walking in nature, enjoying moments of great synchronicity and insight…), I find that those glorious moments have left an indelible imprint, an unforgettable and most tangible benchmark, of what it feels like to be in Flow.

Because of this, I now find that, should I happen to drop out Flow, I start craving the return to it so badly that I very soon find my way back there. In other words, I disengage for far shorter periods and the constant yo-yo-ing between moments of bliss…back to pain…back to bliss is so much more rapid that I feel the contrast ever more and so have become so much more dynamic in my movement from one back to the other. Also, most of the time, I am holding a fairly steady space somewhere between (and incorporating elements of) these polarities, within a much broader spectrum of experience that bridges the two.

Looking back, I see that its taken me quite a while to get to the place of living across the whole breadth of this middle ground, dipping my paintbrush where I choose across all the rainbow colours of experience, being able to accept both ends of that spectrum and operate consciously between them…choosing my next experience from the full range on offer in a way that feels unlimited and self-driven.

Its become such an epiphany for me, along the way, to realise that many (if not most) people would choose to live their whole life in a fixed place somewhere near the bottom end of that scale, getting to become a pro at how to operate all the buttons in that place so that they can skilfully plan for, or mitigate (rather than create…), outcomes and by ‘decorating’ the cosy and familiar, if rather bijoux, space to look like home….all of this, rather than experience the yo-yo of extreme possibilities that includes being taken to new heights, as well as new depths, that scare them witless. By becoming experts in the environment that they have chosen as their home, and with a fire lit at the entrance, they learn how to keep fear at bay in ways that we always have…and panic exceedingly at the merest suggestion that there is any other way of Being ‘out there’, even one that may eliminate fear altogether.

I’m not wanting to imply, at all, that this is a state from which anyone living in it ‘needs to recover’ or be rescued and yet, in order to draw further upon my own experience, I’m going to use the wellness analogy some more because not everyone with chronic illness wants to get out of that state either…succumbing to a meme that says they never will…whereas I’ve only every regarded the state as one which is entirely temporary and which, in the meantime, has offered great potential to broaden my consciousness vista.

For others, the choice (and it is a choice) to remain exactly where they are, with all their current limitations held in place, is an entirely valid one which presupposes that they came into this particular life-experience to, well, experience all that and to play life through the perspective of that particular game…and that’s fine too. Not everyone is here, this time around, to resolve old stories and write new endings.

Not everyone wants that bigger picture hanging on their wall but what I do feel is that the one that we choose is always the perfect one for what we had in mind when we selected it…and that is the biggest picture of them all!

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
This entry was posted in Art metaphor, Consciousness & evolution, Culture, Health & wellbeing, Life choices, Lifestyle, Personal Development, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Getting to choose our ‘canvas’ size

  1. I love your analogy of ‘dipping my paintbrush where I choose across all the rainbow colours of experience’, which is a wonderful way of approaching life.


  2. Pingback: Ditching the status quo | scattering the light

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