I embarked on a large painting project that represented a substantial request to the universe. I asked to be transformed and to experience life in a whole new way — a more spiritual, enlightened way.
I called the painting “The Transformational Motel.” It was 3 feet by 5 feet, which was unusually large for my artwork. I wanted to paint a motel where disheartened people booked themselves for a truly life-changing stay, a transformational way station of some kind.
Registered guests entered during their “caterpillar” stage. They stayed in the chrysalis of their motel rooms, transforming themselves, with the aid of this unseen benevolent force, into spiritually symbolic goo. By check-out time, they metamorphosized into spiritually deluxe versions of themselves.
The painting that materialized from this mythical story was, itself, loaded with symbolism. Clouds above the motel indicated the eye of the storm—the storm of personal change. The green, green grass and bushes of the foreground represented new growth, waiting below until the storm passed (and until the guest’s stay was complete). The curtains in the windows were painted with erratic colored strokes to convey the vivid electrical nature of sudden transformation.
Before painting the Transformational Motel, I’d gotten away from making art for several years. So when the urge to paint arrived, I figured this was just the thing to usher me back to my prior artful way of life. Transformation for me back then meant I would do more of what I loved; that I would embrace my true purpose… and simply experience spiritual ecstasy. I assumed this would be a pleasant journey filled with quiet meditation, devotion, and earnest artistic development. How naive I was!
First Grader View of Transformation
Flash back to my childhood. The week before I entered the first grade I imagined what I would look like on the first day of school. I pictured myself much taller than I was with long braided hair and a big-girl bicycle. I basically saw myself as a teenager. I thought going into first grade would be a completely transformative experience. Like Cinderella! I would be a different person. And I very much wanted that.
Imagine my disappointment when I woke up the first day of school, still in possession of short curly hair, a short body, and a little-girl bike.
Eventually my looks transformed — I did have longer hair and a bigger bicycle — but at that point, I was a far different person than I ever could have imagined from my six-year-old perspective. I don’t think the first grade “me” had any idea how painful it would be to transform into a teenager. Perhaps she would have held on tighter to her little-girl bicycle had she known.
Much later, looking back on the time when this Transformational Motel was my metaphoric dwelling, I was reminded of this first grade naivety. How silly it was to ask for real transformation when I had such a limited and glossed-over view of what that might truly entail!
At the time of my request to undergo spiritual transformation I was involved in a start-up company near Silicon Valley in California. I had already spent years of my life there, working untold hours with hopes of retiring early just so I could paint for the rest of my life. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and start-ups… things didn’t quite pan out the way I imagined they would — financially and otherwise.
My mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers, morphing rapidly into a terrifying version of dementia. My father’s polio returned to his leg, crippling him and making him sad beyond repair. These things happened to people I really, really loved. My cat died too — just after my father died and right before my mom died.
All this happened within a single anguished year. To cap it all off, I ended up spending months in heated mediation (not meditation) with the people who’d bought the start-up company.
Loss, failure, and grief pushed me over the edge and into that infamous “dark night of the soul.” I disappeared into it for what seemed like an eternity.
I was no stranger to self-help, personal growth, and spiritual development. I was drawn to it long ago when I was in my early teens. So when all this misery moved in with me full-time, going right for God and leaping straight into Source was not just a good idea. It was the ONLY way for me to feel better.
I became my own spiritual taskmaster. I even wrote myself a spiritual “to do” list. And I painted my intentions into the motel canvas and started working on it in all honesty.
Everything seemed so spiritual and practical and good. And it was… until something decided I should focus on the one thing that was not on that list: waking up.
Flash forward several years. I can say with great certainty that my request was granted. I transformed. The transformation was thorough and complete. I woke up. In many ways I look and behave as though nothing changed. I still babble and gossip and occasionally get riled up about injustices in the world, but I’m no longer attached to them in any way.
I was turned inside out. It was intense and unyielding, and not at all about “doing what I love” or meditating into the blissful arms of love. Hardly! Instead, the transformation was a complete annihilation. Which sounds horrific, but in fact it is the ego that suffers the upheaval, and it is us — our real, true selves — who emerge from that chrysalis stage, lighter and freer than ever before. When we’re ready, we step out of the Transformational Motel and notice that the storm has given way to a pleasant sunny day outside. Spirit emerges, unscathed and love fills the space where darkness once dwelled.
In publishing this website and sharing my creative visualization gear, I have rejoined my former self on the path of transformational business leadership. It’s so very different now than what I insisted it would be back in my start-up days. But this present-day, transformed version of me wouldn’t have it any other way.
Creative visualization can change your life and adjust a lot of negative feelings. It involves culling elements of Source and Spirit in a co-creative act. But generally, for many people, it’s not so much about waking up as it is focused on manifesting the desires of the ego. As much as I encourage and embrace creative visualization, I believe there is a greater experience to be had from this life. Sometimes the wishes of the ego are at odds with the greater plans of spirit.
I use creative visualization tools to improve my life circumstances but I have become better and better at letting go of perfect outcomes and have enough experience now that the more I simply focus on love and forgiveness, the better my true circumstances become.
I have come to know that deeper transformation comes from a different “set of materials” not crafted by human hands.
I’m in the marketplace now but I’m not selling rooms to the Transformational Motel. Nobody can. That kind of transformation is beyond the scope of an online course. I might get you into the lobby but that’s as far as I can take you.
The deep spiritual journey is not for everyone. But if you should ever find yourself on an extended transformational stay-cation, I hope you’ll remember that every butterfly was once a caterpillar, ensconced in darkness. The Transformational Motel is a temporary dwelling. You will check out and “Oooh Child… things are gonna get easier.”