Painted Lady, Part 2

I am sitting on the bed as I type this. I am still looking at the paint on my chest as I sit here, marveling at the experience I just gave myself. My afternoon was one that was filled with wonder and delight as I laid myself bare, naked and unashamed once again. This time, the audience was different & included my (almost) 15 year old niece. There was no loud music, just Norah Jones on Pandora & the quiet of the air conditioner.

I told Mythica my vision, and as all artists do, she added her unique stamp to it and made it something beautiful. For me, this body painting session was about turning a page and closing the chapter on this last phase of my journey. The last 7 years have been filled with challenges that literally brought me to my knees. I wasn’t sure I would survive many times. Many times, it was the grace of God & the buttressing by friends, family, professors and kind strangers that held me together. But today, as I reclined on the couch, getting painted, talking with Mythica about some of the journey, I was awe-struck with the realization that I am no longer the same person I was when this journey began.  Tears fell as I spoke occasionally but they were not tears of sorrow.  They were tears of gratitude.

In the last 7 years, I have literally seen my son’s heart beating in his chest. I have accepted that his medical situation might mean I will outlive him.   I have let go of people, including family, when it was no longer healthy for me to stay in relationship. I let go of my dream of raising children in an unbroken home. I let go of my ideal body and embraced my new post-baby body. I buried my Grandmother, grandfather, my first love and some good friends.  I left my home state & my comfort zone to pursue my dreams.

Mostly, though, I let go of all the things that I had believed about myself that came through a series of wounds. I wore an albatross around my neck that always kept me from soaring, even though I knew I was destined to fly. Today, Mythica painted the book of Lisa & the chapter headings were “Shame, Unworthy, Unlovable, Damaged, Mistrust & Fear”. The book of Lisa is now being burned up by the SoulFire within that is coming from my solar plexus, the core of me, represented by a lotus flower.  As she painted me, Mythica looked into my eyes & we laid those beliefs down for the last time. The albatross is gone, replaced with “Perfection, Worthy, Lovable, Whole, Trusting and Fierce”. Although much of the healing work was done before I got there, this was the ceremonial fire where it was burned for good. Mythica painted my vision & bore witness to the journey, embodying not only artist but healer.

When we finished, I stood before the camera, only in my sheer black panties, topless, striking a pose for the photographer. I was completely comfortable in my panties, in my pose, in my paint but mostly, in my skin. There are a few photos where the photographer caught me laughing and the bliss on my face is tangible. There was nothing but radical self love, freedom and acceptance in that room & the love of three women who held the healing space so lovingly.

Now, as I prepare to go shower before meeting some dear friends tonight, I feel that I have solidified myself, anchored my soul, if you will. As the paint drains off of my body and down the drain, I believe I will be washing the last of the ashes away. The page has turned…the winds of change are blowing wild.  I am free.





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