Meeting Your Muse as you train for your Olympic moment

Melissa Weiss Steele Painted Body photography series for The Oracle of Initiation divination deck 2008

Melissa Weiss Steele Painted Body series 2008

Melissa Weiss Steele "Revealing" from the Painted Body photography series 2008 New Mexico

These are some of the images from the first photo shoot within the Painted Body series for my Oracle of Initiation divination deck. I woke up before dawn a year and a half ago and headed down into a graffiti strewn tunnel. It was initially the color palette and vibration of the artwork that attracted me, as well as the classic rough-hewn bricks they had been painted on; it was a lovely mix of classical and modern design. I headed out so early because this location is right off a popular hiking trail and I didn’t want to be disturbed.

I was nervous about taking the work to the next level. I had already become very comfortable being alone and nude on the land through my Earthen Body series, but somehow painting myself added another layer of vulnerability. In reality if someone came upon me down in these dark tunnels they would probably be more afraid of me than any safety or decorum issues I am might be faced with.

I carried paints and props with me, not sure how it was all going to go. I had learned a few nights before about a new setting on my camera that allowed me to take moody & evocative dream-like images in darker locations. I had no idea that over time the play of colors, lights and movement could cause the effects that have emerged in the work. But we are at the first time out here, and I truly had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into.

I am not overtly intellectual or calculating about the process. The work begins when I am attracted to certain earthly locations. It’s like meeting a potential lover-do we resonate, shall we play? When the actual painting and photography process begins there is no consistent ritual to it.  Loving and honoring that piece of land was the gateway into the work. I let the playful physicality and joyful freedom take me out of my “mind” and into what I am to meet through the dance. And it is a dance, I am moving and shifting through time, and space, and levels of awareness.

It is really a return to a pure and innocent way of just tossing yourself into what you are attracted to. I worked with children for years, and they do not premeditate their next week and a half. They meet what is before them, fling all of their little energy and might into it, and then move on. It really is being in the moment, which is so hard for many of we big ones.

Returning home from the shoot there is really no way for me to impart how amazed I was by what had transpired. The colors, shape shifting qualities, and the power that was resonating off of these images was beyond anything I had ever imagined I could do. I could do this in watercolors and collages, but to take it to the next level and embody the energies myself was incredible.

I believe this work was actually the culmination of years of study and focus and creative passion that was ready to bloom. We never actually know when, or where, or how our investments in our spiritual growth and creative juices will emerge, but if we keep following our muses and pushing beyond our fears and perceived constrictions we may be awe-struck. I read somewhere an analogy about training for the Olympics. You train, and train, and train for years and years to become the movements and the skills. You do not actually know when and where those skills may be called forth, but you still keep investing in your craft, your excellence. And then one day, you may be called out. And all of that preparation comes into practice, and you soar. So what are you thrilled about in your life that may still be in the training process? Do you put your head down and practice, continuing to hone your skills because you know you just have to do it?

I wish you great wonder and awe in some form today-be it a smile or an insect or a creative inspiration that opens you to your divine potential. It’s all there, but can we slow down and refocus enough to embrace it??

PS- all of these Notes on Facebook are actually from my blog. It would be lovely if you would post comments directly at the blog too, I believe its good for search engine positioning…many thanks and blessings

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