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TITLE: Pause at the Awe (2016)

ARTIST: Abby Kamen

MEDIUM: Oil on canvas. 16 x 20 in.

STORY: It was July and I was feeling untethered. Everything I had achieved was at a point of closure or redirection. My nest was heading towards empty and it was questionable if the charity I founded with my son would be ongoing. I was panicked to the core as to my own purpose. It was difficult for me to realize all I had accomplished. I could only see how I had assisted everyone else. They were rocking it. I was thrilled for them, but lost. I was a mess.

I pulled an all-nighter with Google in a quest for something to do. After hours of searching, painting appeared. That’s it. I’ll paint!

I drifted off for a few hours and awoke with a mission. Large coffee in hand, I headed out to visit the list of studios offering classes. A few were closed, some sessions had already started, but I was determined. By noon, only one studio was left. I headed in that direction with the pounding rain matching my tense mood. The studio lights were still on when I arrived, so I assumed someone must be there. I was in luck. The owner, Judy, was just getting ready to lock up after her Friday class. She invited me in and I collapsed into the seat by her desk, sobbing. 

Talk about embarrassing. I wasn’t just sniffling. I couldn’t speak. A Kleenex mountain had piled on my lap. I knew Judy thought I was some crazy, hysterical lady experiencing a bad case of empty nest syndrome. I tried unsuccessfully to explain that wasn’t the case. Finally, I decided it didn’t matter. I just needed to paint. Could she teach me? I had no skill. The only time I touched a brush was when I was twelve.

Score. Her philosophy is that everyone can paint. Her classes are for all skill levels - you go at your own pace. I could start the following week. Relief!

I bonded with the other students and spent as much time as possible painting. Miraculously, I wasn’t awful. With absolutely no skill, something from within was finding its way to the canvas. It was the only place I felt a sense of calm in the brewing storm of the signs bombarding me as part of my awakening. 

By September, I had only one issue with my painting, my smock. A very weird focus, but I had to replace what I was wearing, it was uncomfortable. There were some men’s jean shirts hanging in our basement. I choose the one with the Cleveland Browns logo, my dad’s beloved team.

A week later I had my first session with Leo (reiki/medium). Just as she started her card reading, the tone of her voice changed. It took me a minute to realize she was channeling and speaking on behalf of someone else—my dad. Yes, from the beyond. He passed away in 2013. Was this a seance? I was freaked. I didn’t know she was going to do that.

“Tell her I am so proud of how she is handling her mother. No one else in the family could do it. She has a special gift of working with strong energy. Also, tell her to keep painting.”  

What?!? This woman knows absolutely nothing about me. How does she know about my mom? How does she know I am painting? In my dad’s shirt?!? How am I connecting to my dad and the beyond? Where is this gift for painting coming from? 

This painting is my first piece of original art. It represents my reverence to the beyond. Dimensions are real. It’s not creepy, it’s fascinating! Take time to “pause at the awe.”

The mystery of the universe is revealing itself. Be open to what it holds for you. For me, it appears the wordless story of the canvas is taking me to uncharted territory.  Glad to have you along for the ride. Wonder where it goes from here?