BREATH OF THE BELOVED
Breath Of The Beloved 2012
The series that ended with Opening To The Beloved was completed on the 18th June 2012. Everything in my life stabilised for a time and I was able to work on some licensing design projects that were pressing.
I spent a lot of time writing down my thoughts of the experiences from the prior three months. Looking back at those writings, I was hoping they might offer some insights for this book. But sadly, as complete pieces of text they were very confusing to read. I had to edit the text drastically to get a feel for what was going on at that time. What emerged was a reminder that at that time I went through a kind of evangelical attempt to share my experiences via social media. Still frustrated with how to share this knowledge, I even contemplated running workshops again. This wasn’t coming from any point of oneness this was coming from an out of control ego. The energy reappeared in my life on the 24th July. I could sense that this next work was going to be important, but it had been a month since I last painted and I was finding lots distractions and chores to do rather than readying myself to start the painting. Significant pieces normally herald all kinds of things to deal with that are emotionally charged, like the bank, accounts, and relationships. The energetic activity going through my body is so strong that it takes time for me to fully align with the inspirational flow and compose myself to begin drawing.
The energy also brings with it energetic disturbances. While working on the pencil rough, I decided to create a video of how I worked. It didn’t go well. I couldn’t get the camera to record, the tripod which was resting against the wall across the room literally fell to bits, followed by the kettle throwing itself off the shelf.
I have had a series of technical occurrences happen in the past when being recorded for magazines and film. One time I was guest of honour at the Lorient Celic festival in Brittany and was being interviewed by Paris Radio, it was before digital and was being recorded on a large professional tape machine. After an hour of questions it was discovered that the machine had been eating the tape and was unusable. Another occasion I was being interviewed for the UK magazine Kindred Spirit, the machine was voice tested and then we began the interview, only for the interviewer to discover Celtic music when it was played back later. My wife filmed a radio recording I was making for the BBC on a Sony Handycam, when had great difficulty when we tried to play it back later and eventually took it in to be repaired. The reason for the problem was that the inside had welded itself together, the repairer had never seen anything like it. There's more but for another time.
The outline of the piece took four days to complete and the next step was to prepared the MDF board I was going to transfer the rough design to. This is a difficult process as there is always the concern about air pockets trapped under the paper. Releasing the pockets means putting pressure on the paper and pushing the air to the outer edge. Of course the cartridge paper is very damp by now and stretches easily from the squeezing which in turn distorts the round shapes so that I am not able to use a compass when finishing the line work. No matter how I try, for some reason my art always becomes out of square. This drove my publisher’s art departments crazy trying to straighten them up, although with the advent of Photoshop it’s not such a big deal now. It was happening with this piece and I eventually had to go to the wood yard to get them to even out the edge of board so that it looked square with the design I felt impressed to embed various stones into the artwork and had a very nice quartz ball that I planned to place in the center. I asked Fiona Graham-Flynn, a local calligrapher, to lay a gold leaf star at the centre of the of the painting where the quartz was going to sit. I watched her mix up the size and paint it onto the star, ready to receive the gold that would be laid down on top. But before she placed the gold leaf she breathed on the size
to wet it. That’s when the name of the painting came to me – ‘Breath Of The Beloved’.
Once I placed the quartz at the center, so the painting began. While previous paintings seemed to be very much about me, there was more of a sense of creating sacredness with this painting and I would often create an altar and light candles on the painting when I had finished for the day. The pressure to paint was incessant.
I hardly slept or ate apart from my morning trip for breakfast by the sea, my diet was very poor and I lived on ready meals so I could return to the art. The painting was finally completed in four weeks, but it took its toll and I was exhausted and pretty ill for sometime afterwards. But I sensed this illness and exhaustion was more about energetic shifts and realignments going on rather than
being a totally physical phenomena.
At the time of ‘Breath Of The Beloved’ a friend asked me, “So where is Courtney? What’s left?” Excellent questions and not sure if even now I can give a clear response as I can’t accurately find the Courtney who was there before. The attachment to what Courtney was and believed fell away. Life became ever changing and anytime I felt close to a better understanding of what was happening, the rug would be pulled away. It seemed that as a channel I was being cleared, left only
with an awareness of the moment, an awareness open to all possibilities.
Obviously the persona labeled Courtney remains and Courtney communicates by phone, email and in person. He interacts, laughs and enjoys early morning coffee by the sea, but there is more of being aware of the interaction of Courtney than being the interaction.The persona is a mask worn that makes each us and all of creation individual. Every persona is unique whether it’s human, animal or tree and behind that mask is the true self, Oneness, the Beloved being aware of itself. I guess my mask has slipped down. By letting it drop away so falls the fear and anxiety and being the slave to thoughts that’s attached to that mask. Thought is not who we are, it’s just random stuff that rises up within us.
I think the main thing I learnt from ‘Breath Of The Beloved’ was being grateful for what I have, no matter how little it might be. I had spent my life striving for a better life, security, and feeling successful rather than appreciating what I had. I was always looking ahead rather than being in the present moment. Now I can enjoy a cup of tea and appreciate the flavour and how
refreshing it is for its own sake. Sometimes simple is best.
I remember one day when I was going through a particularly bad period. Everything felt once again like doom and gloom and I thought this was definitely the final punch and I wasn’t going to be able to get up from the canvas this time. I thought back to how many times in my life this had happened and I reflected on how something always came into play and how the crisis had always been averted or had brought a change in circumstances that, at the time, might have been a worst case scenario but eventually seemed to turn into something unexpected and positive. Diversion onto a new path sometimes needs a giant Cosmic nudge. Embracing the Beloved is about Trust, it’s a story we are acting through, a lesson for our growth and of course it’s not who we really are. Once
we see it through eyes of detachment we are able to step beyond being highly emotional, shaking our fists at the Universe and crying out, “why me?” Then, from this place, we can deal with the situation with gratitude, clarity, and hopefully appreciation for a lesson learnt, a cycle cleared, and another layer stripped away. Fear and anxiety still rise up for me. Yet I either choose to get lost in its drama or see it for what it is, acknowledging it’s arrival but not getting attached to its story. If I don’t feed it energy, it mostly falls away. I find that every time I do connect with it, the drama becomes darker, deeper, and more complex. Only when I step back out of its trance can see how manipulative and often bizarre the story was.
Buddha said it wasn’t him that became enlightened but the whole world. We have just forgotten that we are the stars in the sky, the Earth, the divine source that is everything. Each day I light the candles in the gallery. This isn’t about Courtney lighting candles because he wants to show how spiritual he is, it’s my private dedication to go deeper, to understand the lessons of the day and to
be thankful for the clarity to work them through with love and reverence. Changing the world starts with small gestures of kindness to yourself and those who are close to you – for these small gestures will reverberate into the wider world and beyond because we are all part of a universal consciousness.