About the Artist
My name is Violet Richele (Alice) and I am a Lover of Truth & Dance, Intuitive Inquiry Facilitator, Meditation Guide, Artist, & Writer creating through emotion & intuition. My goal in sharing my journey through childhood, spirituality and creativity is to show you that no matter who you are, or where you came from, or what disabilities you may have you do have the capacity to open to your creative impulses and live a life free of the structural demands society suggests.
I interact with creativity from my direct experience, I have learned to trust and use my “disabilities” to my advantage. We are all unique and beautiful in our own ways. I think there is a very strong unknown sensitivity to us creators, we find peace while we are creating but can’t seem to find peace in other areas of life. This is why I have a passion for Non Duality teachings. Creativity and Non Duality go hand in hand. Recognizing unconditional love in all things can allow you the chance to create from an unknown place. A place of surrender, a place of true freedom.
I see now that everything that happened no matter how challenging and painful was the journey to my truth. My heart's longing was to create, love and share unapologetically. My paintings were beyond what I thought I could create. I felt like I was a portal for creative energy. Life had something to create and it used me as the portal. I know that may sound wild but it is. It’s a wild and beautiful experience and I am forever humble to be guided in this way.
My art is inspired by the way the world moves. Inspired by you. I often take a step back and watch the movement as it effortlessly dances the exhaustion of play. Each art piece I create I find that I let go more and more as society constantly teaches us to hold on. The journey of a painting takes me into a transparent stream of flowing endless roads; devoid of thought. I become a sponge to the fluctuation of how color paints our world with emotion, sensation, and love. I become the direct experience of grief, joy, sorrow and beauty. I love to touch and feel the surface and texture of what I am painting. I love to feel the power of color. I love dancing and moving through the whole environment as I paint. Emotions surge through me, it can be intense but this level of intensity is so intimately beautiful and divine.
My process is completely spontaneous; I don’t allow for rules or structure. I’ve learned that the only way things are supposed to be is the way they already are. I paint as a way to express, share and hopefully evoke emotion in others. This journey has allowed me the opportunity to be sensitive beyond imagination, and to connect to the world as the spaciousness of the unknown.
So I leave you with this one valuable question:
What are we without the details, shapes, and stories we tell of ourselves?
As a child I had always had a sense that there was something I needed to turn toward. This continued into adulthood. I didn’t know what it was, but it terrified me. So I continued to search for home elsewhere. It felt energetically like something was always following me. It was as if there was a ghost following me around, just waiting for me to give it my attention. Yet I was always on the run. I really thought I’d find that one thing that could complete me. Rather, I thought I’d find something that would allow me to ignore this pain and the sense that something was not quite right. Even with all this running, I still felt like I was between worlds. I felt alien to this life. I didn’t feel attached to the stories of the trauma of my past, but I did feel personal attachment to making a better future and to stop suffering. I felt like it was my responsibility, having come from such a chaotic upbringing. I was both running and seeking, and nowhere felt like home.
For years I experienced shifts in reality, but intellectually I had no clue what was happening. I intuited something immensely powerful in me that seemed to keep on, leading me right where I needed to be. I didn’t feel this path was spiritual at all, I just wanted to stop suffering. I wanted to know life more deeply. I felt this energy in my chest that wanted to burst open, but I got the message somehow that it wasn’t okay to let it. I sensed that it was more painful to contain this energy, but I didn’t know how to let it open. So I chose things that kept it closed. I changed jobs multiple times. I traveled the world. I got married and I got divorced. No matter where I looked, I wasn’t able to find this home I had always been searching for. I was at a loss. I was at my end.
I felt defeated and I lay in bed for eight months in the worst depression of my life. This depression continued until one day something got me out of bed. Something else seemed to be carrying me. Perhaps it is what had been carrying me all along. I had no context for awakening whatsoever. I met Angelo one night in an improv acting class, and he was the first person to tell me to trust what I was going through. Trusting a stranger’s words at that moment felt oddly perfect. He was a stranger, but it also felt like he wasn’t a stranger at all. He knew this ‘ghost’s’ energy that I have been running from. He knew about what I had thought I could never share with anyone. After that night, I began to turn inward, taking his advice about trying meditation and self-inquiry. I trusted this guidance. I knew it was time. Everything else had failed me. It felt right in a way that nothing had before. This is where it becomes extremely hard to talk about because the memory doesn’t exist on any sort of timeline.
Since I wasn’t working at the time, I sat on my patio all day and all night. I kept asking, ‘What am I?’ I felt I was at the edge of knowing who I was anyway, so I thought, ‘Why not ask?’ It was challenging at first. My mind would wander, and I would cry. I would go into memories of childhood. I would relive the experiences that I always guarded myself from. I sat on that balcony for three months, and that balcony became my best friend. Watching the movement of the trees in the wind calmed me.
One day I was messaging with Angelo about identity, and I realized that identity isn’t this one thing I had been looking for. It’s a web of thoughts, movements, and identities. I was shocked that there were more than one. I have a vague memory of getting up from the balcony in the middle of the night and staring at myself in the mirror for a long time. The reflection looked strange to me. I eventually went to bed. The next morning, I wrote a powerful poem. This was the first poem I’d written since I was in elementary school. I don’t even read poetry, but somehow I started writing it. Later in the day I was mediating on the couch. When I came out of mediation, something felt very different. Even now I can’t describe it. I ended up in the car not knowing why or where I was going.
Then I walked into a Chipotle, ordered my food, and sat to eat. As I sat there eating, I looked out the window and saw people walking by. However, things didn’t look like they usually did. It looked something like the movie The Matrix. I could see the people and also see through the people and scenery. I could see the code of existence. I got kind of spooked and went back to my car. I messaged Angelo and we talked a bit. I went to drive home but I couldn’t remember where my home was. I drove in circles for a while until I finally ended up back at my house. Angelo suggested I stay with this at home for a few days. I had no clue who I was, or even where I was for that matter. I went back to my balcony. I felt like I kept opening. I kept expanding. My memory would fade. My pain was gone. The magnitude of stillness and connectedness was beyond anything I’d known before. I felt so alive, an aliveness beyond description.
From this moment on I laughed a lot. Life became so funny that my stomach would cramp. I used to cry at the drop of a hat, but now I laugh at the drop of a hat. I spent six months laughing. I fell on the floor laughing constantly. It felt so good to laugh. My body would release so much stored-up energy when I would laugh. This was grace; grace giving this sweet child of trauma a chance to laugh freely without care. Giving her the space to express her heart and enjoy. Giving her space to open. During this time, I found a love for food when I was normally very picky. I noticed that my picky eating had been a way to feel solid in identity. Now that the need to construct an identity was gone, the flavors and textures and visual experience of food became so fascinating. Whereas before I had rejected many of my experiences of life, now I couldn’t imagine saying no to my experience anymore.
I found myself in love with life and finally felt like “I am home.” Finally, home. Since I wasn’t working, and I didn’t have a plan for what was to come next, I began painting. This led to me starting a career as an artist. Being an artist is my truest existence because I can express my array of emotions and tap into my intuition. Most importantly, I can share it. I can share a part of myself that I had kept hidden for so long. My heart bursts open every chance it gets.
After six months of blissful laughter, amazing sensations (including food), and a newfound love for painting and writing poetry, life put me right back into the pain. There was more to see, more to feel. The next eight months were challenging. I didn’t lose my laughter, but I had to face a very dark shadow side. My practice became about paying close attention to delusion and unconscious behavior. There was a lot of time spent alone and with the sensations of physical and emotional pain. I discovered ways of welcoming the lost children inside me who had never had a voice. I learned how to express the sides of myself I still wanted to stuff away. I was afraid, but there was nowhere to go but in. Consciousness kept pulling me toward truth. It wasn’t easy, but I knew it had to be done.
As far as shadow work, I found that you can’t skip over the shadow; you must become the shadow to really see where it illuminates. This journey of awakening isn’t an easy path. However, it is far more rewarding than any dream. It’s been over a year now since my dive into the shadow work and back, and I truly don’t have the words to describe what’s here. After these few years all I can say is, “What a shift.” All the seeking for home and all the bliss of being welcomed home, I now have nowhere to rest my head, nor a need to do so. Life doesn’t look how I imagined it would.
Awakening didn’t happen how I wanted it to or how I pictured it would. It is not bliss or pain, it is where everything is welcomed. I know this is absolutely possible for anyone willing to turn inward. We are not alone. What we experience as humans is the same, but we each have different story lines. As I sit here now and write, I’m aware it’s a beautiful opportunity to feel the sensation of this story again. To listen to the birds in the yard, to feel the couch beneath my bum. I love life, and the experience of it is far beyond what I could have imagined. It’s a dynamic dance, and I am beyond grateful for it. I could have never guessed it was possible to love life this much, even through all the fluctuations, through all the coming and going. What great stillness.
Somehow, out of this going nowhere-ness of it all, it no longer matters if there is suffering or bliss. When I look directly into your eyes, I see an aliveness dancing. In the eyes of a stranger, I see my greatest lover. I see colors dancing. I see life loving so deeply. Even in a shallow pond I see this radiant, unspoken life. I no longer see suffering, though my heart could never ignore your pain.
What a paradox to search lifetimes for an end to suffering, only to come to this place where I don’t have a care whether it comes or goes. What brilliance. All of it leads to right now. The act of going anywhere in time is lost—vanished as quickly as the sun sets in the sky. It’s seen to have ceased to be—to have never been. It had always felt like I was going somewhere. The inevitable truth is that we are going toward death if toward anything at all. That is what we know for certain.
So, with this certainty and this seeing that nothing is certain, then any ultimate way of being, any ultimate truth, is an inevitable trap leading back to the now. When I look for the memory of what was, it only appears in this now. I find it in the arrival and passing of each breath, the heart beating in my chest, and the clinch in my throat. This ambient light that is radiating now, this alive nature of all things, it’s momentary. It’s infinite. Language has a beautiful way of describing this or that, in or out of time, but this is neither in time nor is it out of time. It is both in time and out of time. It makes no sense. It is neither logical nor illogical. It is neither toward nor away from. It seems perhaps time and no time aren’t existent unless arising together.
Like two particles, one and the same, yet going different directions. One paradox is coherent to one ripple of a pond. All of what I remember as my story doesn’t feel personal anymore. It’s a blip on the radar. It’s a drop in a bucket. It never was, yet always is. Awakening is such a precious, personal dance, until it isn’t. So, then, who is there to awaken? This is a valuable question. In my opinion, it is the most valuable thing one can address in any lifetime.”
If I share with you for one moment, my only hope is that you will know that what you are experiencing is true, and that you have the capacity to trust it. My sharing's are based on radical truth. I communicate through the aliveness of the moment. I see that direct experience and practicing Inquiry through the senses is the way. I hope to share this truth with those who are ready. This aliveness isn’t mine, I can not give it nor take it away from you. It’s an unknown magical dance. Shall we look for the dancer?
And If you're homesick, give me your hand and I'll hold it.