Archive for Guidance

Doing Battle with Myself

It has been quite a while since I posted. My life has been in such an uproar and this is the first time I have found enough clarity to share my journey with you.

Here’s the background: I uprooted my whole life, moved thousands of miles, left my community, my garden, and my routine behind.

The reason: I am learning to listen rather than to dictate and control.

My heart episode taught me that it is better to put myself in Divine hands that my own. So I committed myself to following the energetic path laid for me, and not fighting with the world to get my way. I followed where I was being guided even though I didn’t want to go. I’ve heard this called the ‘path of least resistance’ and this is my first time on it. Wow, what was I doing fighting all these years? Everything fell into place so easily that it was impossible not to see the hand of the Divine in it.

This move was the first time I have ever experienced a major life event that went perfectly smoothly. In the past, I would have set a goal and forced it to happen. It would have been complicated and there would have been tremendous stress and difficulty. It was almost shocking, how simple this seemingly complicated move was. We sold our house, most of our junk, packed everything, found a new home, drove for 3 days and for an entire 3 months, everything went like clock work.

Now that I am here in my new home, I have found the simplicity and silence I have been searching for many years, but the silence is defining- a howling roar. It is the complete absence of everything I valued, structure, friends, purpose. It is tremendously painful, but it is what convinces me that the Divine hand is in this. The great mystics teach us that God is to be found in silence. I believe I was sent here to be laid open, to unclog my well and be scraped clean of any resistance to God so that I maybe more fully devoted to making art.

My purpose and the purpose of most artists, is to be a conduit for creative energy from Above to enter into below. Like adding compost to soil, enriching the earth we live in and preparing the ground for beautiful things to grow. In my old life, a thousand things interfered with my work: endless volunteer projects, friends, a massive garden, a Victorian house. Here, there is nothing to interfere except myself. God has exposed me as the source of my own blockages. And yet my well is still clogged. This is part of the pain. There is nowhere to run or hide, finally I can make no excuses. This is between me and my Creator and my Creator requires me to create. Now as I wait for an energetic path to reveal my next move, I do battle with my own darkness, those places, I have willfully declined to let the fecund stream of Divine creativity flow.

I will post some new work soon.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Beach My beach in St. Thomas

Happy first day of spring! I am back! My trip was amazing. I learned so much and have so much to say that I’m really not sure where to start. Perhaps I will start with my plane ride home from St. Thomas and work backwards from there.

I believe that plane ride was one of the most important times in my life. My entire time on the island was about disconnecting from mundane time and entering into Divine time. Because I was completely removed from all my daily concerns, I learned to feel my internal rhythms and to trust them. I felt true Divine guidance in these cherished private rhythms, true charity and love. A knew a degree of safety in their embrace which I have rarely felt.

Armed with these new experiences, I boarded a plane home. After the door closed for our 4 hour flight, before we even took off, the pilot came on the warn us that he was expecting severe to moderate turbulence during the flight and would at times be asking the flight attendants to sit down.

This is the sort of thing that would have in the past caused me great anxiety. But I felt- “here in this moment everything is fine”. I experienced the moment as now, not the possible fearful future. About an hour and ½ into the flight the pilot turned on the fasten seat belt sign and said it would be rough for the rest of the trip. Still, I felt my internal self, I felt in the “nowness” of the moment that I was fine and did not worry.

I felt connected with the power and pulse of life and the present moment engulfed me. I felt that power shift something deep within me. I cannot say if it was a shedding of old skin, a polishing of a dirty mirror or perhaps more an expansion to be able to hold more consciousness of the pulse of life on every level.

The fasten seat belt light went off to everyone’s surprise and relief. Before I knew it, we were descending. The pilot came on and said, again, that for the last ½ hour of the flight it would be extremely rough, especially the landing, but that we would land one hour early! The flight attendants were seated.

Miraculously, there was not a bump, not one, the entire last ½ of the flight. What started out as a scary, rough flight had turned into a quick smooth ride home. I physically understood that power of unhooking from the future. I emerged from that flight feeling great. If I had worried and would have poured my energy out, wasted it like spilled milk. It would have changed nothing to worry except my ability to be present and serve the Light. It is not possible to serve in this physical world without energy.

My job now is to enter back into my life, reserving my energy where unneeded and allowing it to flow and blossom according to the Divine guidance of my internal clock. That flight created stronger, palpable connection to my Source. I am so grateful for that flight.

It’s good to be back! My trip put my health back on track. I painted and drew everyday. (I will post some work soon.)Thank for your messaging checking in on me while I was gone. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my trip and catching up on reading everyone else’s blogs.

Three things I’m grateful for today:
1) The first day of spring
2) My Iris reticulata is blooming
3) I enjoyed my day

On the Kindness of God

The dark night has at last ended
I have now seen You.
Inside the depth of my heart.
I do not know what magic abides
Inside me.
Around me is the desert,
Yet I am not parched with thirst.
-Sri Chimnoy

Today I received more instruction on detachment and following Divine will. I had planned to go on a day trip with family and friends. It was a one time deal, and something that had been planned for several months. I couldn’t because of the cold. I felt really devastated about it. I was overwhelmed with sadness.

My experience of the Divine is one of infinite kindness & I have been amply prepared to deal with grief. So I cried and cried. I embraced my sadness because I will not allow grief to stop up my well. I cried it out, I emptied myself and was still. In stillness I found the Divine again.

You might ask how this is kind? There is nothing my heart desires so strongly as closeness and service to the One. I know that the Divine is giving me my instruction in the kindest possible way that I am able to hear. In my early work, none of my figures had ears. I could not hear and my lessons were severe only because I wasn’t listening. Hence 11 shocks to my heart! Now all the figures in my art have ears. I do listen and my lessons have become easier. I am learning to trust, today was a lesson in detaching from my own will and trusting the Divine.

Self Portrait by Sybil Archibald
Early work without ears
Etching by Sybil Archibald
Recent work with ears

Say not in grief that she is no more
but say in thankfulness that she was
A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
but the putting out of the lamp
because the dawn has come.


Today I am grateful for:
1) My friend Miriam
2) A good dinner
3) My dogs

Joy: Shifting to Meet the Unshiftable

One day seven years ago I found myself saying to myself — I can’t live where I want to — I can’t go where I want to go–I can’t do what I want to — I can’t even say what I want to –….I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.
-Georgia O’Keeffe

I haven’t posted this week because I’ve been feeling at a bit of a loss. I’ve finished a major cycle in my life. I have a wonderful trip coming up, but for these 2 weeks, I’m stuck in my home. Basically, I can’t go out because it’s so cold. It’s felt like a prison and I’ve been fed up like I’ve had enough. I’m turning 40 later this year and my life is nothing like what I imagined it would be.

Then I realized that I’m expecting my external world to change and make it all better. I’ve spent about 18 years of my life moving every year or two, always searching for a new situation that would make things better for me. It took illness to knock me flat on my back and stop me from running. I was forced to engage my interior world and I saw that my problems stayed the same in each move, only their faces changed. But my illness could not be changed by running, so I had to shift myself to meet it otherwise I could not have gone on with my life. I know I would have died years ago.

Now I’m back in the same place: the fact of winter, at least for now, can not be changed. I’m here with two precious weeks and all I can think of is getting away from the cold. I’ve stopped painting and writing and lost sight of the fact that this is Divine will; this time is a Divine gift. I must turn inward to mine for the gold. By shifting within myself, I can find the joy here even in what feels like a (temporary) prison.

I haven’t made any art since my operation so tonight I’m picking up my pen again. Tomorrow I’ll post a photo of my work. Who knows what it will be? See I’ve already found some adventure in my own home…. I live for adventure. It is my joy.

Work cures everything.

A new practice: I will end each post with 3 things I am grateful for on this day:

1) My husband
2) It was a sunny day
3) I finally saw the Divine message in my situation

Detachment & Completed Artwork

Neolithic Vessel
Neolithic Vessel

I brought my work today to show a spiritual master whom I deeply admire. I was hoping he would react with praise. (Of course!) I’ve known this man for quite a long time and believed as he looked at the pieces, that he liked them. But that is not what he said. He said, “I don’t know if these pieces are good or bad. What I can tell is that something is processing through you and is captured in this piece.” He went on to tell me that it is important not to be attached to other people’s opinions of my artwork.

From this, I understood that I am a vessel which captures Creative energy, processing it as I bring it into physicality. My art is not me, it is something that pours through me. If I could truly comprehend this it wouldn’t matter what anyone said to me about my artwork, good or bad. I would understand that my work is only in process. The effect and “success” of my work is not up to me, because the artwork is not me. I must leave my work in the same Divine hands from which passed it to me in the first place.

How freeing is that!

Courage or Hubris?

Etchings: Annunciation & Virgin Birth
Annunciation by Sybil Archibald Virgin Birth by Sybil Archibald

So yesterday I had a deadline for a juried show I wanted to enter. I had been trying to get some good photos of my pieces all week but it just didn’t materialize. So Saturday I got up nice and early to get the photos done and the application submitted. I’ve never had so many things go wrong. Every single thing I tried to do had complications. My new camera wouldn’t work, my old camera’s battery was dead. My CD-rom drive stopped working and on and on. I must have run up and down the stair 20 times. But I kept at it and I actually got the photos done and submitted at the 7th hour. It felt great, like a huge accomplishment because of all the difficultly (even though the photos weren’t great). I submitted the two etchings above.

Today I am utterly spent and exhausted. Now my question is, did I valiantly fight through the obstacles or did I display enormous hubris in forcing my will? I believe in following the energy. I think it is the Divine’s way of guiding us. Probably when I kept hitting obstacle after obstacle I should have surrendered my desire and waited. Then today I would have spent making art inside of resting. But maybe I’m wrong. Any ideas?

Guidance & My New Sculpture

Holy SpiritI remember in college rolling out of bed at 1 or 2 in the afternoon and feeling like I slept in. Now I have a child and things have definitely changed. Today I slept in to a whopping 10:00am! Perhaps I’ve slept the day away, but I feel GREAT!
I’m going to get right to work on my new sculpture, but I need Guidance. I am going to make a head split open at the crown, a sort of comment on the energy and power of the 7th chakra. It’s not clear if it needs to be a bust or a full figure. I think a full figure might be more dramatic. Oh yes, a full figure. It just popped into my head. I love Guidance. You can tell its Guidance when the image comes fully formed and there is nothing left to think about, you just have to act…

Holy Spirit Tattoo
Interesting Holy Spirit Tattoo from
Go figure! I like the idea of the Holy Spirit joined with flesh…