I had been to one other paint and sip event and remembered it being a relaxing girls’ night out with giggles, creativity, slow yet steady intoxication and spots of external outbursts from those with undiagnosed Tourette’s. For me it was mostly meditative.
I was really looking forward to this particular event. It seemed like I could fall deeply in love with some unknown artistic part of myself. This event was slated to take place under the stars at an open air venue. The thought of astronomy, art and alcohol had me particularly entranced. It was also keeping in line with my promise to experience this summer differently. Talk about self-romanticism, at night’s end, I envisioned levity, as I would attempt to balance myself, contend with fuzzy night vision, and try to walk home while holding half-dry artwork. My kind of shenanigans, perfect, I’m in!
Welp, due to our collective lack of responsibility to mother earth and her affairs, therein (climate change), the event succumbed to her bipolar backlash. It was officially summer, yet the soggy weather mirrored that of those folks across the pond and the venue had to be relocated. The new venue was off the beaten path and inhabited by strange transplants. It was a stone’s throw from the place I secretly refer to as, “the sunken place.” If you had to get there by train, I’m not sure about that. That might explain my witnessing a large number of Uber drop-offs to the locale. Further to the point, you know you are commuting to a rural place when your data plan becomes optional.
I arrived early, sat in my car and waited for my sister, Tonya, to arrive. I texted her to let her know that parking was plentiful and not to worry. I wanted to subtract any ensuing stress for her. I was fully aware of the stench left behind in the stalls of her week, and the trailing toilet paper that might be stuck to her shoe.
I love to arrive early, watch events unfold and seize the opportunity to have first dibs on prime real estate. As an avid hydrator, any location that is in close proximity to the restroom is prime real estate and sacred ground.
The organizers of the event were pulling it all together and flowing with a nice pace. It didn’t look hurried or stressful. I’m big on vibe so this is what I like to witness and be amidst. My sis shows up and simultaneously, I get a call to send a client an electronic gift certificate. Now this would have been a no brainer and no stress at all had the locale birthed a decent Wi-Fi signal. After many postural adjustments (downward dog, sun salutation, cobra and some aluminum foil carefully placed on the edge of my phone), I finally see the effacement of a Wi-Fi signal and send the gift certificate. Ahhhh, now back to my regularly scheduled relaxation.
The supplies and sips were distributed. Let the fun begin! I took my first sip and thought, “This drink had to have been manufactured in God’s kitchen.” It was rum infused with some next-world goodness nectar. “Good gawd!" What an inspiration for a lovely painting, I thought, with each ensuing sip.
If the drinks are any indication of the outcome, I’ll be taking home a masterpiece.
Sip 1: Why is she speeding through this?
Sip 2: “I can’t hear her, what did she say?”
Sip 3: “She needs to circulate within the room.”
Sip 4: “I did not spend $65 to be frustrated and reminded about my inability to paint figurative art.”
Sip 5: “I can’t be so bothered.”
Sip 6: “Freeeeeestyle!”
Sip 7: The collective sounds of frustration coupled with the visual of an irked exit start to fade.
Sip 8: Unlocked the abstract artist who leapt from behind confines and constructs into a plethora of pantones accompanied by a gentle body sway courtesy of sweet melodies from 90’s dance hall reggae.
Sip 9: I reunite with my mission to relax and feel good.
In the midst of the experience, a beautifully spirited sister who was the owner of Brooklyn Essence Candles, approached me with the kindest of commentary. She was a vendor at the event. By default, while we painted, she became a conscientious observer. She shared that she spied the various frustrations exhibited by some of the participants for different reasons. She then shared that when she looked over at me there was a calm, almost a meditation, to what I was creating. She said she was compelled to get up and see my finished work. I explained my process and our joint laughter seemingly emanated from the same address.
This is what the collective goal was:
Tadaaaaaaah! My goal:
I learned a few things about myself through this experience. My relaxation is rooted in my freedom. The essence of my person shows up in every aspect of my life and I am powerless to resist. I don’t have a conformist bone in my body. Years of neurolinguistic programming are paying off. It’s evident in my work, as a conduit of healing, my dance, my cooking, the way I teach and the way I learn. Like autocorrect, I seek to realign myself with peace and pleasure in all interactions. I check in with my inner narrative to question what conversations and emotions I am entertaining. I’ve become less affected by external circumstances as an influential catalyst of my well-being.
My hope in sharing this experience with you is to encourage you to create and examine your inner narratives. When faced with less than optimal circumstances, do you join in to the collective complaining vibration, or do you check your inner GPS to guide you toward peace?
Sheree Sophas is the owner of Surreal Serenity, LLC, Susé Affirmation Candles and Surreal Births. Her certified woman- and minority-owned holistic practice is located in BedStuy, Brooklyn. Her healing modalities are wide ranging and custom tailored for her clients. Her treatments infuse such modalities as, neurolinguistic programming, mirror work, myofascial release, sound therapy, aromatherapy and acupressure to name a few. She is a sought-after public speaker and soon to be author, who’s heart is steeped in women’s health activism, electric eating, and birth/death support. Sheree can be found dancing in the sun on any given summer Sunday on Coney Island’s Boardwalk.