Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman: Esoteric Artist
How do you start your day?
In conscious connection with alignment, attention and self care. Love before all things, entering into grace and magic with offering and prayer. Sometimes a dream scratches to be remembered or an unfinished sketch might have its way with me. Sometimes it's all a stumbling and a remembering. As I write this, someone close to me is in the final stages of cancer. So I am consumed with the need to go beyond all of the words, artifice and even my own will to find a way to still reach for soul and wilderness, for that-which-is with sensual and present awareness as well as gratitude. To continue to stand in hope and trust, to remember who I am, honoring where I am, allowing sleep on those mornings where that's all I can do. I want to recount the ritual, the dab of frankincense on my third eye, how there is so often tea - maybe lavender Earl Grey or Lapsang or Matcha. Where I might nibble cacao nibs, a tomato if it's in season, or avocado. A piece of brown-bread toast with a smear of ghee. Lipstick, because. How it's all anew, all different, and it is - but this soul is struggling. Some of you reading this are too. So know this: We are all in it together. Living spiritually means acknowledging the raw work and deep pain we will be asked to witness. The monotony, the rote, the chopping and carrying and the keening. Show up, and know that you are never alone, no matter what comes. You are seen. You are heard. There is still wonder, and a place to be enthralled, enraptured and enchanted, but simultaneously the wood and water await, and there will be the empty days we rise with nothing left to give and still must bow in devotion and service to it all. We must surrender in every moment, and remember who we are.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
I look for presence. I create. The canvas is where I keen, mourn, and find true solace. It's the blank space, the tabula rasa, of what is and is-yet-to-be. Often, it's where lessons or wisdom best manifests, because it's a realm without words, where magick comes into being, where I can remember who I am beyond emotion or moray or judgement. It's surrender and allowing, both. The process, the ritual of composing and arranging elements, textures, colors is my deepest meditation and catharsis for whatever comes or avails. The canvas - truly - is my altar.
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
The obvious things: Raw, wild and unabashed connection. The language of birds. Skin on skin. Deep kisses. Dark chocolate. Burning wood. Poetry that knows. This ancient valley, Manitou, surrounded by guardian mountains and spirits which are evident and present as they have always been and will always be. Watching things grow. Storms, moons, winged things. Making ghee. Being of true service. Witness. What is less obvious, but more relevant: The will to empty enough to let bliss come is being able to be wholly present to the moment. Without that surrender to what simply is - neither living in what was or what might/should/must be - bliss evades, but when you are wholly and completely present, given over, heart wide open? Anything and everything can inspire it.
What are you currently reading?
Patti Smith "Devotion", Jung's "The Red Book" and "The Pillow Book" by Sei Shonogan.
What are you listening to right now?
My father was an operatic tenor who passed away in February, so I've been revisiting a lot of things I remember him singing like 'Vesti la Giubba' from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, 'Che Gelida Manina' from Puccini's La Bohème, and - see if you can imagine this - "I Only Want to Say (Gethsemane) from "Jesus Christ Superstar". He would bring the rafters down singing that in churches a capella, it was just incredible. And also, especially when creating, Labratorium Piesni, Azam Ali, Tyva Kyzy, Lisa Gerrard, Leonard Cohen. Tibetan chants and mantras. Tori Amos. And Stevie Nicks, always always. Stevie is where I go when the mystery fades, her muse never fails.
What does nourishment look like to you?
A child nursing at her mother's breast. There is so much in that moment that defines what true nourishment really is.
How do you make space for play?
By choreographing my reality so that most work is play.
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
"Ong namo, guru dev namo" - which translates loosely to: "I bow to the creative energy of the infinite. I bow to the Divine channel of wisdom. I bow to the truth within myself." And also: "Neti, neti" which is a cosmic lesson in and of itself, literally translated as "Not this, not this", a phrase that simultaneously invokes a plea, the understanding that what you are experiencing is neither this nor that, and the wisdom to move through it.
Please share some words of wisdom you've learned over the years
Learn worship, cultivate gratitude, express devotion. Forgive yourself. Be aware, be humble, be willing. Be open. S U R R E N D E R. Carry only what you need and love what you have. Know your nature, your passion and your purpose. Know your time. Resist deception. Allow others in. Embody truth. Eat the best foods you can afford. Ditto for wines. Continually burn the flame of love in the altar of your heart. Be silent witness. T R U S T. Treat your body as the sacred temple that it is. Re-read that, and commit it to memory. Find your tribe. Remember how much you are loved and why you are here: You are the breath-expression of eternity in human form, a creature so extraordinary that angels wonder over, visit often and bless much. You are magic, you are wonder and you are made of stars. And it still all comes down to Love.
Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman is an esoteric artist who merges technology with classical mediums to create new interpretations which serve as offerings and prayers to the Divine. Her body of work spans a variety of forms, exploring shamanic and mythological constructs through art and talisman to create a third phenomena, or magical reality. She is the illustrator of "The Sutras of Unspeakable Joy" and "The Divine Feminine Oracle", written by Meggan Watterson, and published by Hay House, Inc. She creates all work under the sobriquet "SheWhoIsArt". Website | Instagram | Facebook