Another Kind of Detour

Intense, these last two weeks. On Monday, April 9th, I  birthed a baby of sorts: an online community called Dive IN. . .to the Wisdom of Ecstatic Postures at

On Saturday evening, April  14th, a dear friend unexpectedly died. Unexpected in the sense that he was meant to fly to Arizona the next day to receive highly focused, utmost modern, technologically advanced chemotherapy in the hope of remission so that a few weeks down the line he could have heart surgery. His heart had other plans.

A few days later, I learned that my 45 year old former son-in-law is slipping toward the edge of the planet. He’s been surviving and thriving with extremely rare and dangerous cancer(s) for the last five years…he’s rebounded from near death at least three times during these five years but this crisis seems different somehow.

And I’ve dropped everything in order to spend time supporting family and friends.

Everything about living is called into question by times like these. And so I’ve gotten behind on my BIG art assignments.

This morning I changed that and I’m delirious with the unknown trajectory this Fearless Painting experience is taking me. Our assignment was to paint: How It Feels to Be Me. I knew I had to paint my current condition – grieving…

I am happy, astounded, filled with gratitude, joy!

Funny things to say when my focus for painting was allowing the grief to flow. But grieving turned into the joy of being alive at this moment and experiencing yet again the flow of painting freely – trusting trusting trusting and even in poster paint on ordinary paper the magic of texture, underlying layers, symbols and unexpected meaning began to appear.

I began at the bottom, knowing I had to smear in lots of darks with a big brush – black and several blues – the darks representing the unknown, the mystery, the fecundity beneath the surface of the most mundane acts – working on the floor I moved to the other end and kept dragging the scratchy brush along until it was devoid of black paint. All kinds of interesting textures showed up as well as the curves that ended up being a madonna’s cloak.

I kept an egg shape open for the face and simply painted everything else as fast as I could – whatever tumbled up and spilled out – remembering all our exercises, I was cognizant of scribbling, flowing, filling in shapes, the child – all of it and then I began to cry as I began to see the power manifesting, the power of truly expressing my grief and the power of joy to express truly my grief in the beauty of painted expression. Grief and joy for me have always been intimately connected and that kinship showed up here.

I am beyond any more words at the moment but thank you.

About Deborah

Deborah Jane Milton, Ph.D. is an artist, mentor, writer, mother of four, grandmother of eight. who inspires humanity's Great Turning: our evolution to living as a "whole" human, with headbrain and bodymind collaborating, with science and spirit dancing, with rationality, intuition and the ephemeral co-creating.
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9 Responses to Another Kind of Detour

  1. Hi Deborah,
    I have been reading your blog as it comes. Only missed one or two. I wanted to share how wonderfully fearless your honesty is. It is refreshing and encouraging. My condolences at these difficult times. Luvs Arie.


  2. EMPATHY coming your way and what a serene and depth filled painting your journey created when you let it all happen. Sorry about your family sorrows………my love to you…..& thanks for inspiring me once again to use the creative impulse to transcend earthly emotions & feelings…Kate


    • Deborah says:

      Thank you, Kate, for acknowledging the power of our creative impulses – I know that through and through and yet every time I experience it again, I’m bowled over with the enormity of that simple truth…and for me, transcend is embrace – embracing all the energy that courses through us on a daily basis as the spirit in matter that it is. Do you know about my new online community called Dive IN. You might like it.


  3. Pingback: Finding Joy « Dancing Through Life with Spirit

  4. Deborah,
    Thank you for sharing your raw experiences in such fear less beautiful way-through your painting and writing process!!
    Sending love to you,


  5. Paula Suter says:

    You are one to live in the mysteries and it shows in your work. Beautiful, beautiful.


  6. hali says:

    love love love this work, this truth. so glad to be connecting with you…


    • Deborah says:

      I feel the same way about you, Hali. Entering into Connie’s BIG world has totally amplified my own. Great isn’t it. AND I can hardly wait to enter into the Art of Prayer…Yes. Thank you for being you and putting yourself on the line despite feeling the potential of “vomit-ey on your shoes.” I love your phrase!!!


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