The Happiness Manifesto Blog

How I Beat the Living Hell Out of Suffering and Made It My Bitch

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Inside Out

So, probably at least partially due to the sacral chakra sledgehammering, I have been taking a long, hard look at some self/body image issues.  Yes, I’ve had them.  Most of us probably have, to some extent.  But as “sledgehammering” implies, I haven’t been dealing with a sigh-in-the-mirror type of reaction – I’ve been calling it “there was a f**k-up in the soul-depositing factory on the day I was made.”  So… pretty hardcore discrepancies between what I feel like on the inside and what I look like on the outside.  And I knew these feelings were resurfacing and running me through the mud for a reason.  Cue the major insight music!

You see, despite these major discrepancies, I have not gone the route of body modification.  Of any kind.  There have been no surgeries.  I have no tattoos.  The only piercings I have are one in each earlobe.  I’ve never even dyed my hair… and except for hunting-and-pecking for split ends, it hasn’t been cut since I was nine years old.  The extent of my makeup inventory is a stick of eyeliner… that I don’t even wear most days.  I neither lie in a tanning bed nor paint myself a chemical shade of orange (I’m so pale I practically glow in the dark).  Basically… I am au naturel.  What you see is the way I was made.  It’s not what is on the inside, but it is the way I was made.

It is weird, despite the disparity between my “inside” and my “outside,” that I never tried to make the outside match more.  Certainly many, if not most folks do, to some extent or another.  But it has always seemed – and this was part of the insight tonight, why it bothered me so much when I thought about doing it – to me, at least, a violation of self.

Now let me clarify.  I take no issue with other people engaging in body modification.  I’ve seen plenty of piercings and ink that I thought looked great on the person who had them, and many folks who got a boost of happiness and/or self-confidence with their newly-dyed tresses.  If it makes you happy, go for it.  More power to you.  I am not at all saying that it bothers me to see *others* change their outside to better match their inside.  And certainly for the more serious changes – transitioning surgery for transgendered folks kind of serious – if that gives you peace with yourself for the first time in your life, by all means – be happy.  Please do.  But when I considered various changes that would better reflect my inside on my outside, on a personal basis, I always had this rather viseral reaction of revulsion.  Like, made-me-shudder-to-think-about-it disgust.  And I never knew why that was.  I have spent many nights in abject misery, wallowing in the it’s-not-fair bog of self-loathing, and yet I just couldn’t do it.  I just have always felt that somehow, the modification would bother me more than the original misalignment.

It finally came to me that that wretched feeling was a feeling of violation.  The violation of self.  I couldn’t modify my outside because I felt that would be violating it – violating me, somehow.  That seemed like a rather arbitrary assessment, in the that’s-not-very-rational sense, until the latter part of the insight came: because seeking inner peace by aligning my outside to my inside was going about it wrong.  Happiness, inner peace, and calm don’t come from external forces – at least not if you want them to stick.  You may get a shopping high when you buy some new gadget or gizmo, but that high doesn’t last forever.  You can’t force happiness by shoving it through your pores with acquired goods.  Would finally owning my own home (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know I’m a little obsessed with that idea) make me happy?  Absolutely.  Would it solve all my problems in the world so that I had no more reasons to be sad?  Decidedly not.  A new house wouldn’t be a replacement for a new friend, or fulfilling my higher calling, or any number of not-stuff things that rank much higher on the happiness scale.  My body matching my mind (if that was even possible) might make me smile when I looked in the mirror or give me more confidence when dealing with others, but I would never be truly free of the limitations of the physical self if I aimed to modify it instead of my inner self.  It would be like chasing my own tail (no, I do not have a tail – but you dog people and cat people know what I’m talking about).  Why waste energy chasing after something that is already a part of me?

I am what I am.  My inside is what it is.  My soul and my mind will be what they are no matter what my body looks like.  Maybe people won’t relate to me the way I would like, because they are going on my outward appearance rather than my inward reality… but that happens anyway, and frankly, those aren’t the relationships we should be worrying about.  I don’t want shallow relationships with people who look only at my cover and not the inner chapters of self.  The person who takes the time to read those chapters is going to know me, whether my cover reflects that or not.  My inner self is incorruptible.  Fixating on the exterior is tilting at windmills.

The foreman at the soul-depositing factory is off the hook.

The Chakra Sledgehammer

So, as you may or may not know, I am, among other pursuits, a painter.  I paint mostly abstracts, and one of my current projects has been a series of chakra paintings.  This has been a longstanding project, because I am only working on them as I feel moved, spiritually speaking, to do so.  Generally this means that as I am working with a certain chakra, or have made some breakthrough with it, a painting gets made.

I have four out of the traditional seven chakras painted (my original plan was to do the seven; if I feel compelled to move beyond – some systems speak of even more chakras being in existence – I will do so).  The last one I completed was of the heart chakra:

Heart Chakra - ©Wren Paasch 2013

Heart Chakra – ©Wren Paasch 2013

Currently, I am working with my second chakra.  And when I say, “working with,” I mean smashing through blockages with the proverbial sledgehammer.  Plowing into it headfirst.  Crashing through it.  There is no gentle way of expressing what it is that I am doing.  Every time I have tried to put it into words, it is some destructive act that comes to mind.

(Amused grammar nazi side note – I got a little red squiggly line when I wrote the word “ploughing.”  So I Googled it to figure out how I was spelling it wrong.  Apparently in America and Canada, “plowing,” is correct, and “ploughing” is correct in all other English-speaking countries.  I am an American.  Apparently, I read a lot of books written by Brits?  But I digress.)

Historically speaking, it is my second chakra that has been my “problem child.”  If it’s not blocked like Gandalf is standing in front of it yelling “You shall not pass!!”, then it is leaking energy like a drafty old house leaks heat.  Yes, I am magickal enough that I can both be stopped up and leaking at the same time.  Woo!

So this work is simultaneously desperately needed, wicked difficult, and vastly rewarding.  And it also makes me wonder what the hey I’m going to paint when all is said and done.  As I’ve been making progress, I get an idea, but am not moved to act on it.  A couple of days later that idea is radically changed.  Then it’s changed again… so basically, as I purge and cleanse the chakra, my perception of it is changing.  A lot!  At this point, I’m kind of giving my painting muse a confused dog look (complete with head cocked off to the side), and a bemused grin.  She just laughs.

So yeah… I’m as unsure as to what I’m going to paint next as a stranger on the street might be.  But that’s half the fun!

If you were curious, here are the other three completed chakra paintings:

Solar Plexus Chakra - ©Wren Paasch 2012

Solar Plexus Chakra – ©Wren Paasch 2012

Root Chakra – ©Wren Paasch 2010

 

Third Eye Chakra - ©Wren Paasch 2010

Third Eye Chakra – ©Wren Paasch 2010

Up next… orange fireballs?  Stay tuned!

 

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