Twentyseven years ago my father-in-law walked thru my studio for the first time. After peering critically at the intuitive drawings accumulating on the drafting board he sniffed and pronounced that I would (might!) be a good artist once I outgrew this “cosmic stage.” My cheeks burned with the stinging dismissal of my nascent creativity. Even then I knew my trajectory was set to grow deeper into, rather than away from my creative source, but his message was clear: “Good” art depicted the safe, predictable world of objective reality, traditional subjects, rendered in traditional ways... i.e. not the rainbow hues and metamorphic forms that issued from the invisible fountain of my mystical inspiration.
The life drawing models, wrapped in simple sarongs wait quietly on the pile of floor pillows on the sidelines until Alex has finished leading us thru a visualization of the warm red energy that connects the human body to the earth thru the root chakra at the base of the spine. Slipping out of their modest coverings the young women--one girl relaxed and easy in her skin, the other doe-eyed with arms folded under her breasts, both lovely, but different from each other and the sterile textbook guidelines for the average/normal human (height =seven and a half heads, width= three heads across the shoulder, pupils approx halfway between hairline and chin, etc.)-- walk naked across the polished floor to take their positions, exposing their tender skin to the eyes of 60 strangers, artists armed with pencils and paint for ferreting out the nuances of spirit that animate the flesh.
I think how much courage it takes for someone to risk revealing their flaws and imperfections--except that I don’t see them as flawed or imperfect. Different from each other, from me, from everyone else in the room, yes, but in no way deficient.
Seven times the process repeats as one of the great visionaries of our time leads the occupants of the room in visualizing then rendering the interface between material and non-material realities, one chakra at a time.
We applaud our thanks to the models when the exercise is over. Then the artists lay their studies on the floor where artists and models alike can see them and we wander quietly among them murmuring our admiration and appreciation, conferring in small groups about our experiences and insights. This is not a critique, but an opportunity to see how diverse the interpretations of the subtle energies, transmitted thru posture and gesture, are, a chance to give and receive inspiration...
In this place where models baring their bodies is followed by artists baring their souls, I realize, that the real risk for everyone is to allow anyone to see our BEAUTY. We are so vulnerable when we expose what is most precious in us to unbelievers and elitists. Here, where the treasure buried in our heart of hearts, the luminous pearls of our souls are made visible, the greatest gift we give one another is trust.