Behind the Art: The Way I Feel - Self Portraits of an Expanding Consciousness
by Christopher Mckinzie on Oct 14, 2021
Go Find Yourself
I would like to dedicate this series to all the seekers and searchers on the path of discovering their own inner truths. It is not an easy road being an emotional pioneer. Awakening to your own inner emotional guidance system should be a gift and yet for me, it has felt often like a curse at times... especially when I didn’t fully understand what was unfolding deep inside myself.
“The Way I Feel” is a series I created to explore and document the deep (and often inconsistent) emotional waves that I have experienced all my life. It has been an ongoing struggle to understand and sort out what exactly happens to me when I experience, not only my own emotions, but the emotional energy of others.
Through a series of very interesting events, I recently discovered that I am not only deeply empathic, but also possess a deep intuition about how other people feel. Truthfully, I thought everyone had access to the same information that I did. Turns out, that is actually not true at all.
Collectively, we have all agreed to the words we use to describe our feelings... like happy, sad, mad, angry etc. We use these simple words to describe complex combinations of many different emotional states.
The truth is, most of us have absolutely no clue how to name the real feelings going on inside of us. Why? Because what we feel can be a variety of emotions and experiences we draw upon to feel that particular “feel”. One word descriptors are not at all able to convey the true essence of what is going on inside of you.
I learned at a very young age to ignore my emotions. I learned that it was weakness to cry. I was taught that it was shameful to express myself through tears. I was taught to fear the very thing that was designed to be my internal guidance system for what is correct for me.
For over 40 years I collected, not only my tears, but the tears of others and stored them inside my body. I pushed them into my stomach and then I pushed them into my heart. And when I ran out of room to put these tears, I flooded the world around me with a thunderstorm of hurt. It was viscous and hurtful for myself and for many of the people close to me.
In 2019 my marriage ended abruptly. The proverbial hammer came down hard onto my heart. It was hard, bitter and brutal. I thought I knew heartbreak... I was wrong. I felt the very essence of who I thought I was completely shatter in a way that I knew I would never be able to put it back together again.
The only option I had was to build something new. And the only way I was going to be able to do that was to go on a deep dive into myself and figure out a way to release all the emotional energy I had swallowed over the years. It was an ugly, scary tangled mess of hurt and I was terrified.
I have lived many lives in this one tiny human experience. I have experienced what some would call a troubled childhood. So, I am no stranger to the dark side of life. However, I have always been able to maintain a sense of innocence or the ability to bounce back without feeling bitter or jaded.
This time was different. This time I wanted to die. I wanted to just figure out a way to disappear forever. I felt a deep sense of loss and shame. I felt alone. I felt lost. I had absolutely no clue how to get myself back to feeling good. I still find it gut wrenching to sit in the hopelessness I felt during that time. I had gotten so far off my path that I could not remember who I really was.
Painting has always been my “happy place”. I decided the only thing I could do was figure out how to paint what I was feeling. When I painted, my mind stopped and I quickly learned that I was able to tap into my powder keg of emotional energy... and release it. That is how “The Little Heart Series” was born. It became the first vehicle for me to express all those uncried cries of the little boy inside of me. Through the creation of that series I was able to connect with and release oceans of trauma - one painting at a time.
Over the past 2 years, I have literally cried one million tears. There was so much sadness inside my heart... I cried and I cried and I cried. There was a moment I thought I would never recover from the hurt. It was my monsoon season and the rain almost drowned me.
But then something unexpected happened to me. I felt my heart awaken with an inner wisdom and love for myself that I had never experienced before. My heart reached out to me and wrapped my hands around my face. My hands wiped away my tears... but you see, they weren’t my hands anymore. There was an intelligence and a force guiding them that was beyond the grasp of my mind.
My heart extended to me a branch of unconditional self love. I used that branch to pull myself out of the half drained emotional swamp. I felt a brilliant white light unfold and start to emanate from the very core of my being. The god in me awoke and blossomed. I felt hope in my heart again and I was grateful. I had found myself again.
And with that, I humbly present you with my new series, “The Way I Feel - Self Portraits of an Expanding Consciousness”. This is a continuation of The Little Heart Series. I see it as more of an adult view on the sophisticated nature of how emotions work.
Emotions and feelings are complex, individual and multi-faceted... and a gift, if you let it be. My work and I are but a mirror... look deep into my heart.
What do you see?
I invite you to go find yourself... sit with each of these pieces and observe the feelings that come up inside of you. What you see and feel will say a lot about you and where you are in regards to your emotions development. Your feelings are the puzzle pieces back to who you really are.
Think of these as a living journal of where I have been, emotionally. Have you been here too? These are the songs of my heart. I have learned that emotions are the source of my power and wisdom in this world. And they are the source of yours too.