Painting Balloons

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It seemed written in the stars somewhere, and even within my own astrological chart that I would travel to sacred Pyramid sites.  Ever since I was around the age of 4 or 5 I dreamt of travelling to Egypt to discover new mummies at the Pyramids of Giza.  Little did I know (consciously) that my first sacred Pyramid site would be in Mexico, in the ancient city of Teotihuacan.  But somehow even my wardrobe knew it.

As soon as I began to pack for my trip, I discovered all these items of clothing with pyramids and tigers, and even a dress that was covered in bright orange pyramids.  This brought me back in my memory to a room in my old apartment that I decorated solely in homage and honor to Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican Goddess painter.  I even decoupaged a cabinet with a giant print of Frida Kahlo’s painting, “The Two Frida’s” so that one side of the cabinet opened with her Mexican self, and the other side opened with her Spanish self.  She portrays in this painting the dynamic  split between worlds, which was her heritage.  I had Frida Kahlo katrinas, and Mexican candlesticks. I had baskets of fake vibrant colored fruit displayed in woven baskets.  The room was painted orange sponged to look like plastered walls. If I didnt know me, I would have asked… what is your obsession with Mexico and Frida Kahlo?  But, I did know me, and I feel now, a deep part of me was preparing to arrive at the Dreaming House, where I found myself staying so very close to sacred and mysterious pyramids of Teotihuacan.

I believe there are parts of ourselves that truly know before we know.  There are parts of us that prepare, that pave the way, that predict.  In the Dreaming House, where I would be staying, they, too have two rooms that were filled with Frida Kahlo paintings and the unique pathos of her energy.  I knew, upon hearing this, I would feel right at home.

There were many small miracles that occurred in Teo, many of which will stay in Teo, but some that were uniquely my own, and even one that linked back to Frida.

To give a little backstory–several years ago, I was trained as a Reiki practitioner.  As a Reiki practitioner you are attuned to Reiki energy, similarly to becoming tuned into a specific radio station, or frequency.  After my very first attunement I woke up the next morning, and all I could think about was painting hot air balloons. Bright, colorful, rainbow balloons! I felt so at peace with this idea. Actually I don’t remember a time that I ever felt so peaceful as when that inspiration blazed through my consciousness.  But in those few years that followed, I never painted them.  Partially because I am not officially a painter.  And partially because I forgot.

Well, when I arrived at Teo, the first morning we had a yoga class.  I was stretching and enjoying the process, when my friend Jill who was next to me , said “Grace, look out the window.”  The very first thing I saw was colorful hot air balloons, floating on by to visit the pyramids.  This image made me tear up in gratitude, because I felt so deeply seen by Spirit in that moment.  Any worry about spending 2,000.00 on a trip to a place you had never even heard of, much less knew what you were getting into, simply floated away in that moment with those balloons.  But then this moment became even more surreal. I almost felt like I was Alice in Wonderland discovering the cupcakes before opening the doors to Wonderland.  In front of my yoga mat was a red square tin with a lid slightly loosened. I happened to reach down and open it during the class, just to see what was in it, and inside of it was several sets of paints and paintbrushes! Propped behind it was a Frida Kahlo canvas bag that I discovered after class was filled with mini-canvases.  I heard the message loud and clear: “It is time to paint a hot air balloon.”

One evening I stole away from our group of 15 women, and went back to that room, and even though I had never painted in this way, I painted my very first balloon.  It made me wonder…had my consciousness also prepared me for this? Or was the Universe conspiring with me to paint something blissfully happy, and finally I was literally given all the tools at my feet? In either case, it was the first miracle of many throughout the trip that helped me feel loved, seen, and taken care of.

In the Toltec healing traditions, one of the first things that you learn, is that you are an artist creating your own life.  You are the writer and you are the painter.  You tell the story of your life.  Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the idea that each of are the main characters in our own stories, and to create your best life, you can always change, re-design, and re-write your story.  But, you cannot change those around you, unless you change your own story. He talks about how focusing on changing others’ stories is a distraction to your own art.

But, he says, when you focus on your own art, miracles begin to happen all around you.  I was already beginning to understand this on a much deeper level now.  The theme of staying focused on what I was creating began to weave it’s way through my experience there.  This was step one.  Paint my own picture.  The art was in my hands.


stay tuned for more on my trip to Teo next week!





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