~Reality as a Reflection of Self ~ of Art and Puzzle Pieces~

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~Reality as a Reflection of Self ~ of Art and Puzzle Pieces~ October 28, 2011


I met myself in a dream last night
I was 5
I was alive

I remember smiling
At myself
We talked of things
I can’t recall
I held my hand
And it was small
And strong

We walked for hours
Or maybe moments
I stood still
And met my own gaze
I was amazed
I was beautiful

I am beautiful

I met myself in a dream last night
I was 5
I am alive.


Writers always wonder where they should start a story, and inevitably they arrive at the conclusion to start at the beginning. I will start exactly where I am- a practice I would suggest to anyone on their own path of self realization.

Today I am on the cusp of another major life change- possibility peaking its head over the horizon. Having spent years learning how to cope with my anxiety in the face of a future that I cannot control, I am making an effort to focus on my breathing, the bouquet of flowers on my table, and the sound of the fire crackling in the fireplace. This meditative focus is an excellent tool for coping with a sea of uncertainty. In the face of a life which we undoubtedly cannot control, but posses a remarkable ability to contribute to the creation of- tis better to be centered and hopeful than running up and down the aisles of the airplane, thinking that will make it land faster.

Admittedly, the world has always seemed like a virtual reality game to me. Or even more honestly, like one of those vintage tetris games, where the whole world falls apart if you don’t sort all of the pieces in the right order before your time is up. These days, meditative focus and deep breathing helps me to slow the pieces down enough to sort them into place and keep the holodeck from completely dismantling. Though I have also gotten more comfortable with co-creative dismantling over the years. Sometimes the best place to begin is a new beginning.

It’s taken me more than a decade of practicing and exploring how my mind works, (and observing the behavior patterns of others) to realize that we are all every bit as capable of genius as we are of insanity- and most of us display portions of both in near equal measure.

To some degree we are all crazy. Having developed varying degrees of personality disorders from very early in life, as adults we find ourselves a collection of opinions, beliefs and thoughts that often contradict and disagree with one another. This is also when we set about dismantling the bits of Truth that were handed to us by our elders, rebuilding ideas of Truth according to our sense of Universal Understanding. It is confusing for anyone in these circumstances- it can become disillusioning. As a result many of us develop a dependence on switching parts of ourselves on or off, as a way to cope with the internal contradiction we encounter when trying to sort Self from Self.

I realize now that being an artist and poet has prepared me for the sort of abstract thinking necessary to construct my own reality consciously. I know that my choices affect the outcome I’m creating, and that depending on the intention behind those choices, we can end up at an infinite number of places along the spectrum of possibility.

I’ve learned that the external world is a reflection of the way we feel about our divinity, and the love and acceptance that we have for ourselves. The amount of freedom that we allow for a work of art to exist within, is relative to the amount of space we give ourselves to blossom into. If we doubt our art’s validity before it even takes form, how is it given its fair chance to blossom? How often does the resonance between what we truly are and what we think we are, end up less accurate than a convoluted funhouse mirror? I believe that we are all much greater than we appear to be in our generally accepted reflections, and that we are all much more deserving of acceptance, love, forgiveness, and joy than we have opened our hearts to receiving. We can always be more open to our beauty- as the works of Fine Art that we Are.

Even as I write these words I realize that my own ability to share this message with you is as much therapeutic for my process as it will hopefully be in your own. I know that in choosing to help others, in giving as freely as we can of ourselves, we are releasing blockages and receiving benefits far beyond the reaches of our wildest expectations. Love is exponential like that. Just as the Universe is expanding ever further into the reaches of it’s creation, so are we expanding deeper into the depths of our own uninhibited capacity for experience.

“We Teach What We Most Need to Learn” – Richard Bach

“Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that’s what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you. When your mind is trapped by the image out there so that you never make the reference to yourself, you have misread the image.

The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That’s where you are.”
― Joseph Campbell

The joy of surrender transcends time and space like all great works of art can. When you hear a fantastic piece of classical or contemporary music, or you see a piece of art by one of your favorite visual artists- you are transformed and transported simultaneously. You do not feel inadequate or unworthy of it’s affections for you, or undeserving of the love that it has shared with your unique perspective. You find yourself with no other option than surrender. Pure, blissful, nearly indescribable resonance with a part of your soul that feels like weeping, orgasm and elation- all in the same spark of a single holographic moment in the grand epic of universal exaltation. You find yourself believing in the moment so completely, and accepting it so intrinsically, that no matter how it may look, sound or feel to others… to you, it is the definition of magic. That is what I believe that truly loving and accepting yourself would feel like. The moments which I’ve glimpsed into the Truth of THAT reality, the picture ceases to be about the details any longer- and “the bigger picture” emerges.

The first time I ever saw a van Gogh in person, I wept. My eyes fill with tears even thinking of it now. His paintings were my definition of Art growing up. I wasn’t extremely educated about Art or Culture as a child, but I knew who van Gogh was… I knew about Starry Night, and the Sunflowers. I knew about the pain which his story conveyed. Perhaps it was this mental/emotional difficulty which created such a strong resonance for me as I journeyed through my own shadows in years that were to come. Vincent van Gogh will always be beautiful to me, and when I stand before the creation of his heart and soul, built up in staccato swoops of pure emotion, of Truth… I will always weep. I will always see the reflection of my own humanity in those fluid forms.

We are all creators at heart, and we are all beautiful angels with souls of gold and rainbows, just like we imagined as children. Yet over the years we have been told this was something embarrassing to believe in- naive, immature, childish. And yet we still believe. Secretly, inside our hearts, there is no man or woman who is not moved by the sight of a spectacular rainbow, or the beauty of a field of flowers, or in the belief that purity, innocence and magic are something worthy of dreaming of forever. Even if that part of us resolves never to let on to another living soul that it exists.

We all have an inner child, looking for comfort, forgiveness, friendship, and understanding. We need to hear from others that we are worthy and important to them, whether we are told too much or too little throughout our lives. We seek acceptance more than anything in the Universe, just as long as the love we seek comes from what we see as existing outside of ourselves.

For years I though psychology had it pretty figured out, and that a+b=c because a and b were the important part of the equation. What I now understand is that a and b were only present to give us c… c is the pathway to learning our grandest lessons, and a and b are infinitely variable.

We have come to this world, on this planet, at this time- to learn a series of lessons, and to learn to accept ourselves and others along the way. We come here to love, to laugh, to cry and to imagine. We come here to experience that which is exactly what we have chosen, because we are all experienced and well informed scientists, creating our own life experiments before our own 3 dimensional eyes.

I do not claim anything is true absolutely, and I believe that asking questions, thinking abstractly and experimenting are the keys to finding the answers to everything you truly desire to know. But I also believe that there are certain laws in the Universe which have been passed down for countless generations from cultures and mythologies all over the world, which if accepted, dramatically widen our field of perception.

There is no dogma or absolution necessary to take the world and science and religion and cross examine them for consistencies and fallacies. In fact, the more pieces of the puzzle that you are provided, the more complete version of the picture you will have to reference your position by.

If you build your world from only the pieces of the puzzle which you are handed, then the picture is intrinsically limited. It would be like trying to climb a mountain without knowing which end was up, or trying to find buried treasure with a map that was missing where x marked the spot. No one can tell you where your personal treasure lies… you have to figure that out for yourself.

I feel that life is a dedicated effort to finding the pieces of our own unique puzzle- our holographic portions of the “bigger picture”, the micro to the macro… our holy province within the spectrum of the Universal puzzle. I believe that we are the Artists creating our own reflections in each tiny yet infinitely vast piece of the whole we encounter. Each portion serving as a mirror in which to examine our own ideas of self… and to cast a light within- where our deepest hopes and dreams of flight remain.

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh

With Love and Honor- for each and every one of You,

Rachael Ehrlund