Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Leiah Bowden, Energy Portrait Painter, Tells Her Story

Sometimes – maybe usually – you see something or know something and you only see it for what it seems to be; you don’t know what you are seeing or knowing may engulf you, what complexities or subtleties create the whole that stimulates your perception so that you see whatever it is you see.

When I was a teenager, I found that quite spontaneously I found myself thinking about a few people I knew very well – my best friend, my parents and brother – in terms of a color. I didn’t see that color around them. I conceptualized them in association with specific colors.

I don’t think I ever focused on seeing colors as a meditation or during meditation, but there is no doubt that my life-long habit of meditating – of entering a slightly altered state in order to relax, to commune with my higher self, with the divine, in order to receive guidance from those sources/points of consciousness within my own unlimited and eternal Self helped me develop an ability to relax my perceptual barriers -- the ones that we maintain in order to get along in society and maintain friendships with people even though they roll their eyes at what we say. Of course, if we have enough of a sense of self-nourishment, we eventually realize that our open-field skills put us in heaven, and closing that door is not worth hiding.

Before I found my ability to see the color and flow of energy, I had been channeling guidance and information from my own multidimensional constellation of awareness for many years. I started allowing myself to write stream-of-consciousness writing in my teens. In my 20’s I allowed my mind to speak freely to me and wrote down whatever wanted to come, even though a lot of it sounded like the ravings of a lunatic. What I was experiencing were my own habitually suppressed thoughts. I thought I was going crazy, and was seriously concerned. But then, Lily Tomlin made it to national – and to my attention, and I understood that she, too, allowed herself to open to other versions of herself. So I knew I wasn’t crazy, that it could be safe to open to whatever I found in myself. Those two events – allowing myself to open to previously suppressed aspects of myself, and then realizing that that was okay, and that I was safe, were central to my subsequent ability to open to ever-widening circles and higher and higher spirals of consciousness as I contemplated my own identity.

In my 30’s I began to receive bits of guidance that came through like static, or a bad cell phone connection. I would be talking to a friend and all of a sudden, I had to stop saying whatever I was saying and instead, say what had come through my mind in order to be heard. This developed into longer and longer sessions, and eventually I had regular appointments with my guides, who dictated to me information about the human condition, consciousness, my own growth, the divine nature of humanity, and whatever I wanted to know about.

By that point it was clear to me that I was receiving a measure of enrichment that I could find nowhere else but in the upper reaches of my own connection with the divine, and that whenever and for however long I could “send up” to this connection, I would be in heaven.

Now – here’s the way I discovered that I could see energy as color: in my 40s, an extremely effective stress reduction facilitator (he chooses to use that phrase rather than healer, as he says that we can only heal ourselves, not others) worked on me every week or so in the early 1990’s, performing a form of intuitive energy work that came to him through his own multidimensional guides and co-workers. As he was working, he would often say to me, “Can you see that beautiful sea-foam green coming out of your heart chakra?” and other similar questions relating to the specific colors he saw as he focused on my body and its energy flow. And I would always say that I couldn’t and didn’t.

One evening, he told me that he was having some discomfort around his heart, and that when we were finished with my session, he wanted me to look into his field and tell him what I saw. I was amazed. “I can’t see colors!” I balked. But as soon as I said it, I knew that his question could well have been his way of jump-starting my next step. He knew I was very intuitive and we had combined our efforts in helping other people heal themselves, and we also had been working together in creating intuitive art, so he also knew that I had an active sensitivity to color. But I had not put the two together.

So at the end of his working on me, we sat opposite each other in a dimmed room, and I looked with a relaxed eye at and several inches away from his body, instructing myself that if Gary thought I could see the colors of his energy field, then surely I could. In a few minutes, I realized that I did, indeed, have a perception. I had a strong sense, as I focused my attention to the area around his heart, that if there were a color there, it would be a particular, very specific shade of red. I then second-guessed myself and tried to see if I was merely being influenced by the “roses are red” association.  Nope. It was that shade of red and no other. I told this to Gary and he indicated that I was right about that. He directed my attention to another portion of his body, and I found that again, I had a strong sense of an exact color, and I told him what it was. Again, he nodded, and pointed to other parts of his body, over and over, and each time, I found that my sense of a specific shade of color came to mind. I eventually described his entire energy field by pointing out what colors were there and what they looked like, how they moved and flowed. I was amazed. It was so easy!

He suggested that next week, I look at his field again, and, using the new pastels and pastel paper that he knew I had begun to use with unbridled enthusiasm, that I create a portrait of his energy field. I did, and that was my first Energy Portrait.

Within a few weeks I had done four or five of them, and was so excited with each one, with my friends’ responses, and with the sensual flow of pastel smears on toothy paper under my hands. I felt like I was flying. I had discovered something. A key that, used again and again, gave me access to more and more pathways into wonder.

I found myself telling people, “When I do these I am in heaven.”

This is Week 17 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Leiah's story today. To see more of her work, please go to the following links:

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