Painting to Reveal Our Authentic Selves

There’s something mystifying about showing up to a blank piece of paper with no instructions or agenda and just seeing what wants to happen. The moments of staring into the white void can be absolutely terrifying. And at the same time, exhilarating. An entire world of possibility awaits us to make the first mark.

Once we begin to paint, we might discover that the page reflects back like a mirror. While we might think we’re painting something “out there,” the painting is actually a reflection of our interior experience. Again, we might feel panic (“I have nowhere to hide!”) or bliss (“I accept what I see with love.”)

Painting for process can help us live more authentically and transparently as we show up to ourselves just as we are and allow some space for that expression. Just recently we offered a daylong workshop with spiritual counselor and Unity minister Heidi Alfrey, aka “the Queen of Transparency”, and what ensued was a transformational day of process painting and deep Conscious Conversation around each individual’s experience. I became very aware of the courage in the room, evident in each woman who shared from her heart and was open to seeing reality from a deeper perspective.

A snapshot of empowerment from the “Reveal Your True Colors” workshop with Heidi Alfrey at Creative Nectar Studio

What I’ve learned from my own healing work over the years is this: When we’re true to ourselves, we have more energy for life. We’re not wasting energy trying to block what we don’t want the world to see. The late author Debbie Ford put it this way:

“You can’t be fully yourself if you have aspects that are hiding. The shadow holds the truth of all authentic parts of being human – your vulnerability, your discontent, your jealousy, or an experience from the past that you haven’t digested….The only way to invite them out of the shadow is to bring them into the light.” —Debbie Ford

What better way to bring all parts of ourselves to the light then through the creative and colorful act of painting?  The alchemy that takes place is that as we begin to practice self-acceptance of what we see, the “shadow” aspects begin to lose power. It’s the act of resisting our shadow that gives it energy.

Can you imagine a world where the people you interact with on a daily basis feel free enough to take off their mask of conditioning and live life in touch with the deepest, darkest aspects of themselves? While at the same time accepting themselves, and each of us, just as we are? We may not be able to transform the world at large in the blink of an eye, but we can start with ourselves by courageously revealing our authenticity and expressing our truth…one painting at a time. •

PS—Heidi Alfrey is also host of the internet radio show “Let’s Get Naked: Revealing Our Authentic Selves“, airing live each Monday afternoon at 3pm CST on Unity Online Radio. She has interviewed me and Stephanie of Creative Nectar a couple times, as well as conducted a testimonial show interviewing several brave first-time painters. You can listen the archives and get a sneak-peek into the painting experience by following the links below…

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