My Country Estate Across the Street

Upper Pool, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY; photo by Nancy Wait

Upper Pool, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY; photo by Nancy Wait

So I went for a walk in the park shortly before dusk yesterday when everyone else was leaving to go home for supper. And it smelled like the country. And then, once I got past the people leaving, it began to look like the country… and then a strange feeling came over me, and I felt like I was taking a walk on my very own country estate!

This had never happened before. I have lived across the street from Prospect Park for 23 years and quite frankly, I’ve become bored with it. The same walks, the same turns, the same views. Now the algae is covering the lake, now the algae is gone. Now that patch of fenced-off ground is being seeded, now it’s covered in new sweet-smelling grass. Now the leaves are covering the trees, now the leaves are gone.

by Nancy Wait 2015

by Nancy Wait 2015

Winter, spring, summer, fall.

Pastel Sketch by Nancy Wait

Pastel Sketch by Nancy Wait

I know all the variations of its seasonal wardrobe. All equally wondrous and beautiful, but still just the park across the street. I know those mothers with their strollers and toddlers; they used to be me. My little boy may have grown up and moved away, but the little boys playing baseball on the field never seem to grow up as year after year they are replaced with a fresh batch of eager young players.

Hello! said the tree, raising its arms with delight.

Hello! said the tree, raising its arms with delight.

This does not mean I wasn’t inspired to go on sketching

Sketching tree bark, by Nancy Wait

Sketching tree bark, by Nancy Wait

expeditions from time to time. Last year I bought a camp stool and plunked myself down before a tree to study its bark. A park is a park, but each tree is different and this time, instead of following the shape and swing and scope of the branches, marveling at their outline against the sky, I followed the pattern of bark. The vertical flow of ridges and declivities wending their way upwards

Imagining the flow of energy in a tree by Nancy Wait

Imagining the flow of energy in a tree by Nancy Wait

and downwards like a stream frozen solid, in different shades of bark.  I’ve known the park in the early morning dew when it’s fresh, and at night when it’s mysterious and full of shadows. I’ve sat on the grass and listened to the opera under the stars. I’ve walked by the barbeque parties, the birthday parties with balloons, and scurried out of the way of the maintenance trucks lumbering up the walks. And sometimes I’ve felt a tad nervous in the wooded areas when no one else was around. I’ve always known Prospect Park was a public park, and while I’ve been grateful to live so close by, I have felt its limitations as well as my own limitations in not being able to walk somewhere different for a change. Just for a change… Then this strange thing happened last night…and I was the one who changed…

Playing field, Long Meadow, Prospect Park

Playing field, Long Meadow, Prospect Park

So, as I was walking in the park yesterday evening, and got past the hordes leaving to go home for supper, I came up over the low ridge across the drive still filled with walkers and runners and a few skaters and bicycle riders whizzing by. And as I looked at the wide vista that suddenly opened up, the long meadow on the left, the baseball field on the right, the lake at the bottom of the hill and the forest of trees bordering meadow and field, I thought, what if this wasn’t really the park—but my country estate? Mine, and the rest of the publics. Ours. Our country estate.

Yoga in Prospect Park

Yoga in Prospect Park

I played with the thought for a while to see how it felt—and it felt wonderful. For one thing I was looking at the trees more lovingly. My trees. My land. My lake. And also those lovers on the grass—theirs too—though they seemed much too involved with one another to be thinking about the trees. But how was I to know what they were thinking about… And that group doing yoga on the grass, their estate too. I stopped to take a picture of the yoga group. Then I took a picture of the lake (aka the Upper Pool). By now it was beginning to get dark and I turned my steps homeward, taking with me this new thought of owning the park.

We can get into all sorts of things here regarding who “owns” what. The park belongs to the city; the city belongs to the people. The Parks Department is in charge of maintenance for the benefit of the public. (Tax dollars, etc., etc.) Some volunteer to garden or clear grounds or pick up trash, and that’s a way of owning. But who can “own” a tree? (Or the air or the water.) “The trees come from Nature.” “The trees were created by God.” “Man is just the caretaker.” The admirer, the beneficiary.

photo treeBut I’m not going into all that. Because what I felt yesterday evening was on a different level. Perhaps it had to do with owning my own presence on earth more than anything else. I could congratulate myself on not being a direct despoiler, but like most in First World countries, I benefit directly from the despoiling. I’m not getting into that either. Because I’m coming to you as a visual artist who knows in the depths of her being that all she is doing is consuming visual images with her eyes, taking in light and processing the light with some of the millions of photoreceptors in each of her eyes, and turning the light into electrical signals.* Those very same signals and currents that give me a charge as they surge from eye to brain to heart—then stream down through my arm and out through my hand—onto the white page of my sketchbook.

Prospect Park

Prospect Park

I am doing nothing different from anyone else when I take in the light. It’s what I do with it afterwards that matters. Yesterday, when the light was beginning to fade and night was coming on, I took in the light as I took in a breath. And I owned the light as I own “my breath.” The breath of my life, the light of my being, as I strolled through my country estate.

*Quantum Light Programme: Anatomy of the Human Energy Field.

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Art and Alignment

The-Emerald-Alignment1Basically, it starts by getting ourselves into alignment. This is what it says about the Emerald Alignment on the website at Rainbow Light Foundation, where you will find  visual diagrams and an audio to take you through it.

“When we align the physical, mental and emotional bodies of the energy field, we are bringing the misaligned atoms and molecules of the lower body into line with a higher vibratory rate, i.e., the governing consciousness… All healing is light transmission. The Emerald Alignment is a simple, safe and effective method of releasing anxiety and aligning the subtle energy of the body through the emerald ray.”

Now, what does being in alignment have to do with art? Everything, it turns out. Alignment and art go together naturally, no matter what art form you’re thinking of. When we look at dancers or skaters or athletes, or any kind of physical movement, we see right away how their bodies are aligned with their thoughts. If you have ever tried to spin or twirl you know how dizzy you can become if you aren’t focused and coming from your center, which is all about being in alignment.

In music of whatever kind, we hear it in the harmonics and feel it and see it with the way the musician is one with the instrument. One of the members of Rainbow Light Foundation is the harpist, Rebecca Penkitt, and she plays very slowly, which I have found calming, especially when I’m stressed and need to slow down and tune into my breathing. You can hear her on You Tube at Harp Connections.

Self-Portrait 1980

Self-Portrait 1980

Sometimes we have to find a still, quiet space in order to write or draw or create something. But there are also times when I’ve been in a state of excitement and have wanted to put it on canvas. My mind feels chaotic and overwhelmed with emotion, but instead of screaming or throwing something or dissolving into tears, I’ve trained myself to set out the colors on my palette. I was taught to line them up in a particular order. First white, then black, then the cool greens and blues, then the warmer reds and yellows. This is a form of alignment that is outside of me, but just by laying out the colors I start to focus. My thoughts start to order themselves without consciously trying. That predictable alignment of colors brings me back to my center, and I am able to let go. And lose myself in the act of creating something outside of me.

VanGoghArt is very personal, and it boils down to what moves you and how you express your feelings about it. In works of Van Gogh we see how he made all those little lines, the brush strokes that followed the energy of a billowing wheat field. The separate strokes delineating a sky swirling with stars or the leaves of a tree swirling with feeling. We like it, even though we might not know why we like it, because he is expressing what he feels so that we can feel it too. It’s very healing to feel beauty, which is why his prints are popular in hospitals.

Art, when we give ourselves over to it, has the power to bring us into alignment with our spirit or soul. I can give you a perfect example of this from my own experience.

menuhinWhen I was old enough to go downtown by myself to the library at Lincoln Center and borrow records, I used to come home with recordings of the legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who said,

“The violin, through the serene clarity of its song, helps to keep our bearings in the storm, as a light in the night, a compass in the tempest, it shows us a way to a haven of sincerity and respect.”

I loved hearing him play. I thought he was Russian. I had no idea he was actually born in New York. But I knew he was Jewish. Maybe I thought he was Russian because I listened to him playing Tchaikovsky. When he played the violin I felt it in my bones. What was strange was that no one else in my large family had any feeling about him at all. I was also drawn to gypsy violins and music from Eastern Europe, none of which resonated with the rest of my family and did not seem to fit in with my Anglo-Irish background.

It was a mystery to me until I was nineteen and my mother told me that my biological father was actually Jewish and his mother, my grandmother, was from Russia. From Rostov, just south of where Yehudi Menuhin’s parents were from, in what is now Belarus. The news of my background was startling, but it was also a relief to know that there was both a physical reason and a psychic one, why I resonated with a particular kind of sound or vibration. And for all I know, I also resonated with the sound of his name, Yehudi, which I have since learned is a Hebrew word which actually means Jew. But it goes to show that if you’re carrying around a vibration and it’s part of you, part of your cellular memory, and you don’t hear anything like it in your environment, you will go looking for it. It’s like something is echoing within you, and you have to find where the echo is coming from.

Nowadays, I melt when I listen to Schindler’s List. The violin strings are almost too full of resonance. It’s sad, but the sadness is also beautiful. It’s the feeling of an intersection between something that is too sad to bear, while at the same time the music takes you to a place which is almost too beautiful to bear. To me, it feels like the intersection between Heaven and Earth, where life can seem so tragic, yet at the same time—so beautiful!

It’s important to notice what music you feel drawn to, and ask yourself why—not just because you like it—but why do you like it? There’s always a reason why, because our soul calls to us in different ways and on different levels. And if we listen, it will always tell us what we are aligned with…

And finally, I would like to add this quote from Abraham-Hicks:

Take the time to line up the Energy first, and action becomes inconsequential. If you don’t take the time to line up the Energy, if you don’t find the feeling place of what you’re looking for, not enough action in the world will make any difference. ~ Abraham-Hicks

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Being Brooklyn Rainbow

Brooklyn RainbowI was given the name Brooklyn Rainbow by Carol Lamb, founder of Rainbow Light Foundation, because she lives in Yorkshire, England and I live in Brooklyn. “Being Brooklyn Rainbow” is the title of a show on Blog Talk Radio where I will be a guest on May 4th 2015. You can listen HERE.

I’m not from Brooklyn. I  was born in Chicago and grew up in Manhattan, and by the time I was a teen I had a deep longing to go to England. For me, the other side of the rainbow was London, on the other side of the ocean, and studying at Rada, and being an actress in England. It seemed totally out of reach, but I made so many wishes, and threw so many pennies into the fountain, that one day I made it. I was able to follow that particular rainbow, and I lived in London for most of the 1970s.

Sad Nancy, early 20s

Sad Nancy, early 20s

But I was a dreamer, and foundered when it came to being a professional actress and dealing with the world, which included having my illusions shattered. One day when I was despondent over what I thought life would be and how it actually was, I remembered The Wizard of Oz and the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and I realized that I had never stopped believing… but the world I was living in, a world that to me seemed cold and hard, did not believe… But this was the world I had to survive in, so I tried to be more like the world. It didn’t work out too well, and eventually I had to come back to New York.

Nancy 1985What happened next was something many of us dreamers have to go through, which is attuning ourselves to the world we live in, and being able to manage, while not losing sight of the world we dream of—like the rainbow light. Which is really a higher vibration, a higher frequency. But I found I was able to keep the connection going through art, through painting and drawing. Picking up the energy of people and objects and nature by drawing them, as if the flow of my pencil or piece of charcoal or paintbrush was picking up their energy flow. It happened intuitively. It happened because I wasn’t thinking, I was simply being present, allowing my hand to guide me. And allowing my heart to guide my hand. Because once you start drawing the world, you find yourself falling in love with it. But something else happened too. By connecting my heart to the outer world, I began to connect to the truth of my own inner world.

Pen and Ink drawing of my house in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, early 1980s. by Nancy Wait

Pen and Ink drawing of my house in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, early 1980s. by Nancy Wait

And that was when I had to leave Manhattan where it was very crowded and noisy and expensive, and cross the river to Brooklyn where it was cheaper and more quiet and where there was a lot more sky. That was when a poet friend of mine—also a dreamer—called me an Over-the-Rainbow-Survivor.

This was back in 1982. I had to wait another 30 years for the internet to be up and running and everybody joining in suddenly, and Blogtalk Radio to come along so that I could join a group called the Gold Ring and take to the digital airwaves. Then I started singing my own song about Art and Ascension, and listening to others singing their songs, which is how I began meeting members of Rainbow Light Foundation, a group of teachers and healers in England. It’s a not for profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to promoting greater understanding of the soul sciences; the links between body, mind and consciousness. If you’re in the area of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, they have lectures and clinics and individual healing sessions. You can also take courses online like I have been doing, with tutorials on Skype. Last year I took the Foundation Course in Energy Alignment, and this year I’m taking the Intermediate Course in the Anatomy of the Energy Field. It’s called The Quantum Light Programme and it’s given by Jennifer Warters.

Brooklyn Bridge and Rainbow by Nancy Wait; pastel on paper 2015

Brooklyn Bridge and Rainbow by Nancy Wait; pastel on paper 2015

I have been an associate member of Rainbow Light Foundation for several years, but last month when I became a full member I felt I had to commemorate it with a painting. My title, Brooklyn Rainbow, was now official with my own Twitter account and Facebook page, but Twitter and Facebook were not able to tell me how I felt; only a drawing or a painting could do that. I hadn’t worked in pastels for years, but I wanted the softness of a pastel. It took me about a day, and when I finished it hit me in several ways. One was the juxtaposition of an enormously heavy and strong bridge with something so light and airy and illusory as a rainbow. The other was how the rainbow itself streams through the sky, intersects with the bridge, and flows into the river. It was like the point of meeting between matter and spirit. And then the merging of the higher light with the waters that run through us. I didn’t set out with that in mind, but that was what came through.

I have always been guided by the music that aligns me with my soul’s intention. And my path has always been through one or another of the arts. And now being Brooklyn Rainbow has given me the opportunity to make it visible. Bringing you a picture of the higher light, this magical, illusory rainbow light, bringing it down, having it cross a bridge that is itself a crossing, so that the light may flow into the river of life, and through us all…

But we have to be willing to step up to the plate of our own creativity. Maybe you didn’t have the parental encouragement I did when I was growing up, and maybe you’re not Sagittarius like I am, born under the sign that sees a goal and never gives up until they reach it. It doesn’t matter. Because I’ve had my share of challenges too, but I made art the path of my survival. And I worked at it. There’s a reason why they say inspiration is only 5% and the other 95% is perspiration.

Being Brooklyn Rainbow didn’t come out of the blue. Twenty years ago I co-founded a group of artists here in Park Slope where I live called “Brooklyn Visions,” and we had shows. And on March 31st, 1998, at the opening of one of our shows, a man named Howard Golden, who was Brooklyn Boro President at the time, decreed that that day would henceforth be called “Brooklyn Visions Day.” The group dissolved a few years later, but not the vision. Because visions don’t die. They rebirth themselves in other ways.

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Before Conception, There Is Conceiving

After two-and-a-half years of marriage, she said to her husband, “Maybe there’s a soul out there who wants us as parents…”

Drawing by Nancy Wait (1991)

Drawing by Nancy Wait (1991)

This was indeed the case, but before she knew it consciously, (or should I say physically) the woman draws herself mentally conceiving a child, and calls it “Child of the Mind.” Then she draws a picture of what she thinks her energy field might look like (presumably while in the process of calling to a soul who might want them as parents).

Drawing by Nancy Wait (1991)

Drawing by Nancy Wait (1991)

The next day she draws a picture of what she thinks she and her husband now look like on an energetic level. (Which appears quite different from “lovey-dovey.” But this is a “behind the scenes” picture of the forces that might be pulling two people together, perhaps beyond their conscious control.)

Two months later, she is pregnant. (And what with one thing and another, such as dealing with a foetus and then a flesh and blood child, she stops drawing for quite some time.)

This June our son will be twenty-three. My husband is now my ex, the result of another alteration in energy, this time pulling us apart (which I did not feel impelled to draw a picture of). And I am in the Quantum Light Programme, studying the Anatomy of the Human Energy Field, something like the one I sensed all those years ago, that drew a soul to us.

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Art Streams

art streamsI am not part of the Art World
though my art is part of the world
a stream of images 
running through my brain
an image drawn from Nature
imbued with my own nature
picking up its energy, its life-force
feeling its stream run through me
an Art Stream, of color and form.

Form and color they stream
through me and through you 
a stream of consciousness
light, trapped in our brains
perhaps to spill out 
on paper or canvas
making it visible
this light trapped within...
this art that is part of our world.

Art, a life-giving stream ≈ 

© Nancy Wait 2015
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When I Wasn’t A Writer

Pencil sketch by Nancy Wait 2008

Pencil sketch by Nancy Wait 2008

I have wanted to tell this story for ages, but was never able to fit it into my memoir. I made a pencil sketch of it back in 2008 because it was preying on me so much,The sketch says it all. Two children stand before a closed door. The girl’s hands are behind her back; the boy’s hand is in his pocket. The girl stares at the doorknob.

Okay, that’s the picture. Here’s the story.

I was twelve or thirteen. My father was a writer. All through my childhood I had listened to him tapping away on his old black Underwood typewriter. He never read us any of his writings, but he told marvelous bedtime stories. On this particular day I borrowed one of his yellow legal pads to write a story of my own. I had never written a story before, nor did I think I had any special calling in that area. So it was either a school assignment, or else I was feeling particularly adventurous.

The story went something like this. There was a boy named Andy and a girl called Andrea, and one day they went for a walk. They came to a house. Now, already I knew I was getting into Hansel and Gretel territory, but it was too late to think of something else. So they stood before the door and wondered what to do. Should they knock? What if somebody answered? What should they do then? Or maybe the door wasn’t locked… Should they try the doorknob? What if it opened? What should they do then?

I couldn’t answer any of these questions. I had no idea how to move the story either forward or back, so I left them there, outside the door, wondering what to do. I was terribly disappointed in myself for my lack of imagination, and right away I assumed I was not, and never would be a writer. I became an actress instead, rejoicing in the opportunity to act out other people’s stories. But I never forgot about Andy and Andrea, and my shame in leaving them standing outside the door, wondering what to do.

The years passed, about thirty of them, and now all I wanted to do was write stories. I didn’t think whether I was good or bad at it because I was in school. I had teachers and fellow classmates, and my focus was on learning. But one thing I had already learned, that in order for me to write anything worthwhile, I had to have lived it first. It seems I was wired for non-fiction.

So I wrote memoir. I started remembering the past, and recalling it in greater and greater detail. And this brought up the memory not only of Andy and Andrea and the door, but of all the other doors I had problems with in my non-fictional life. In fact, the story of Andy and Andrea was a big clue.

I then started to analyze their story as I would analyze a dream. I looked up their names in the dictionary and found they were really the same name, as Andrea is derived from Andrew. So I had a girl and a boy with the same name. As if they were the male and female aspects of the same person. How interesting. It became even more interesting when I took into account that I was coming up to puberty. I can remember knowing I was a girl, but not knowing myself as a female. One has to do with appearances, the other has to do with the energy body. Yet it wasn’t really about them, the boy and girl, it was about me and my fear of the unknown.

There is more to the door story. Maybe not that particular door, but doors in general. The theme of doors, some real, some in dreams, and some metaphorical, has run through my life. But here’s the thing. I was meant to be a writer, just not then. I had to wait a while, till I had something I could write about. Leaving the boy and girl on the threshold was perfect, because that’s where I was—on the threshold of adolescence and all sorts of new discoveries.

Meanwhile, I have learned that doors are closed for a reason. Some of them I might want to bash my way through, and some I might have to wait to open. But still there are others, the ones that seem to magically open by themselves… And each instance contains a story of its own… But first we must step up to the threshold… or we’ll never know.

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Brooklyn Rainbow

rainbow ringA poet friend once called me an

“Over-the-Rainbow-Survivor.”

Now, while it was true I had the ring to prove it, I didn’t understand the full meaning of that phrase until later.

Not until today, actually, when I looked again at the pastel painting I did over the weekend of a rainbow intersecting the Brooklyn Bridge, its light shimmering on the water.

Brooklyn Rainbow, pastel on paper 20x30, Nancy Wait 2015

Brooklyn Rainbow, pastel on paper 20×30, Nancy Wait 2015

The key here is water.

When I think of a rainbow I think of the sky. The song we all know so well speaks of somewhere over the rainbow, a place for birds to fly to, not us. For us it is only a dream, a wish…

Unless you become a deep-sea diver, and follow the (heavenly) (reflected) light into the (earthly) waters of dream and imagination… bringing those depths of feeling up to the surface, perhaps in a painting, perhaps in a story…  But somehow giving it expression. Making it real.

An “Over-the-Rainbow-Survivor” is an idealist who survived. A dreamer who never lapsed. Never became cynical. A person who could grow up to see her illusions crushed, stampeded into the ground and trod on, yet still found joy in a rainbow.

An “Over-the-Rainbow-Survivor” is really someone who went under the surface, who followed the light reflected in the water… in order to one day rise to that level of light, (the inner light). Following it all the way, until it surfaced again, refreshed and cleansed, after she had come full circle.

Originally, I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn in 1982 when my marriage ended and I was resolved to paint my inner life. After four years I returned to Manhattan to complete the series of paintings I called “Journey to the Deep.” Then two years later, in 1988, I met my second husband, and we moved back to Brooklyn where I have remained ever since.

The second marriage didn’t last either, but my union with Brooklyn did. And eventually, my union with the rainbow.

Rainbow Light FdnIt was this light which led me to join Rainbow Light Foundation. Located in the north of England, it is a ‘not for profit’, non-denominational organisation founded by Carol Lamb and dedicated to promoting greater understanding of the soul sciences; the links between body, mind and consciousness.

I now administer the Rainbow Light Forum, and am currently enrolled in the Quantum Light Programme of the Academy of Spiritual Sciences.

You can find me on Face Book here: https://www.facebook.com/RainbowBrooklyn

And on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LightInBrooklyn

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