Exhale   40"x40"  oil on canvas

Exhale   40"x40"  oil on canvas

Last winter, a lifelong friend shared some of her amazing photography from her trip to the Bahamas and the moment I saw this guy I said, "I have to paint that!" Luckily she obliged and allowed me to use her photo for reference, resulting in this huge 40" x 40" oil painting. I will not say that I wasn't daunted by the enormity of painting the ocean. In fact, I remember starting this painting, then getting overwhelmed by the task in front of me, and waiting weeks before resuming my work on it. I even posted an in-progress pic on Instagram with the hashtag #whatamithinking. Because I seriously say this to myself at many points while working on something of this size and complexity. I have no idea if the image in my head will make it on to the canvas. 

What is required in these moments of overwhelm and self-doubt is this: just take a deep breath, let go of your inner critics and expectations, resume from a place of joy, and exhale. It keeps being astonishing to me that the message I need most in my life when I'm creating this work comes through from the very subject I'm creating. It is only after a piece is finished that I stand back and ask myself why this called to me in the first place. It's then, as I'm pouring through mythologies and writings on spirit guides that the answer reveals itself. It's kind of like when you have an intense dream and can't figure out what it means until you tell your best friend and they ask you to distill it down to a one-liner, and then the metaphor literally smacks you in the head. 

Dreams and spirit guides operate on the same plane. We have all of this inner knowledge that gets obscured by daily life and fears and doubts, but it's there, trying to make its voice heard. 

And so I turn now to Dolphin, who gives us this message: Breath. You have the ability to exist in more than one dimension at a time, as dolphin exists above and below water. Balance these different worlds—inner/outer, physical/spiritual—using the breath as a grounding force. Right now, release the tension in your stomach, breath in, and exhale. Now, move forward with a little smile like you have some big secret figured out.