Scrolling down my Facebook feed one day, I came across a photo of a lovely young woman standing beside a beautiful painting. The lovely young woman described her journey of becoming empowered as a woman and as an artist. I felt very touched by her story. It had an almost archetypal feel to it, the journey of becoming, the Heroine’s own journey.
I loved her courage of being true to herself and sharing her art, despite being extremely shy, fearing rejection and feeling foolish and vulnerable. Facing the fear and following her calling, she is now an inspiration to other women.
She describes her art and creativity as being her meditation where she feels connected to the Universe, to the creation energy that made the Universe and to her inner Self. This is where she feels powerful and walking her true path. I knew I wanted to hear more from this wonderful, sweet woman and share it here with you.
Let me introduce you to Mishea Obiji from Lawrence, Kansas USA. Mishea is an artist passionate of painting herself and other women in the image of goddesses as a means to empowerment. She has created a unique method using airbrush on fabrics with stencils made of sand.
She has also written and illustrated a children’s book, The Secret of the Magic Crystal, about a girl who will learn the true secret of a magic crystal only when she opens her heart…
Let your heart be opened in this interview with Mishea.
Devi Living: The only connection I have had to Kansas is through one of my favourite stories as a child, The Wizard of Oz! How would you describe Kansas and Lawrence from a perspective of expanding consciousness? Where is it at?
Mishea: Kansas is pretty much as it seems – lots of farms, flat land, and yes, tornadoes. I have never been directly in a tornado and do not personally know Dorothy or any wicked witches, only good ones.
My parents met at Kansas University and started a hippie commune in the country. They are highly conscious and always taught empathy and equality.
The community built our house and a few others. The community also started a small school on our land. Our teacher was a free spirit who taught in a loving, compassionate way. We were taught to be free thinkers and spiritually connected. We spent a lot of time outdoors in nature, and creativity was highly encouraged.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience growing up in Kansas, but I’m fairly certain that it was not a typical one.
Devi Living: How did your journey with art begin? Has it been an easy and smooth journey to follow?
Mishea: I have been an artist for as long as I can remember. My mother saved drawings that I made when I was just a babe. I have always had an intense need to create. It is the way I feel powerful and connected. But I’ve never felt that art was valued in public school or working life. I struggled to find another talent, jumping from job to job only to find myself wishing that I could just be an artist and use the talent that was given to me and that I love so deeply.
Devi Living: During the recent pandemic you had a strong calling to share your art with the world. What were the most challenging obstacles you faced in finding the courage to do so? How did you work through these challenges?
Mishea: It has been a long, difficult process to start showing my pieces. I feel so shy and unworthy putting up pictures of myself and my artwork but the more I do it, the more empowered I feel. I just know that if I don’t do it, I would regret it on my deathbed.
I suppose the pandemic has put a spotlight on death, but of course, the death card can also mean rebirth. The pandemic shelter-in-place order gave me time and almost forced me to go inward and really think about what I wanted from life and who I wanted to be. I had a lot of inner work to do before I could think of putting myself out there. I didn’t even realize how low my self-image was and how much I counted myself unworthy of success.
I told myself I was lazy, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough, you name it. The first step was to simply recognize when this behavior was occurring and then to minimize the power of that nagging voice that haunted my thoughts. The next step was to let go of a lot of ideas that I had held onto that were not serving me, the idea that I had to be perfect before I got started, NO MISTAKES!!
I thought that if someone didn’t like me or my art, it meant that I was a failure and that it was just ‘not like me’ to be in the spotlight and focus on myself.
I listened to several audio books; the one that helped the most was ‘Stop Self-sabotage’ by Judy Ho.
Devi Living: Once you began sharing your art, what did you notice from other women and in yourself?
Mishea: Oh my goodness! It has been an absolutely life-changing experience even in the short time that I’ve been actively sharing. I have been amazed at the outpouring of support and love and of other women feeling empowered to express themselves because they were inspired by me!!!! I never thought I could be someone like that.
I am actually starting to feel truly powerful. Who cares if someone doesn’t like me or my artwork, who cares what anyone thinks about me? I think I am super great and I am happy to be myself! I used to be so sensitive and in need of so much validation, but that is now fading into my past. It is a feeling I have never felt before, and it feels AMAZING!!!!!!
Devi Living: You love painting women portrayed as goddesses. What significance has the feminine got for you? What is the main message of your art?
Mishea: I’d say it’s been a love letter to myself. I never felt powerful. I just wanted my husband to take care of me, or if I cried and looked sad enough someone would surely help me.
The goddesses I paint are ALL powerful. They possess the keys to the universe. I have always been self-conscious, but my goddesses couldn’t care less what anyone thinks. They are above all of that; they are Magic, creators, in another realm.
My message is also a love letter to other women, especially women who have been pushed down, bullied, beaten. I want them to know that there is a goddess in them, no matter what anyone tells them. She is in there, and she is perfect, and she is you!!!!
Devi Living: It seems women often fear being visible in the world with their gifts. Why do you think that is? Why do you think it is important that we as women share our gifts with the world?
Mishea: I truly 100% believe that women will save the human species. We are the creators of life, the caregivers, and we work well as a team even though men might have us believing otherwise. We are gentle yet strong. We are the teachers, the nourishers, and just like water and clean air, we have been undervalued.
The more we step into our proper place as equals, the stronger and healthier the planet becomes, and it is a very ill planet. This is not only the feminine power in women; men are also finding the feminine power that is within them as well: the yin and the yang, the balance. I can feel the shift coming. Can you?
Devi Living: Imagine a woman who yearns to focus on her passion and her gifts but fears being seen in the world or making a fool of herself. She keeps it all to herself, maybe no one knows. If you could whisper something into her ear that would make all the difference, what would that be?
Mishea: If you dont start it this minute, START TODAY!!! This life is incredibly short! You will never know what could happen unless you start; you’ll never know what pathways could open up to you – who you will meet, what happiness you’ll find, what you’ll learn about yourself. And at the very least, you may find that it is not what you want. Then you will know that.
You may, and probably will, feel foolish at times. First of all, you will probably notice and care WAY more than anyone else does, and second, every single person who does put themselves out there feels the exact same way at first.
It gets easier so just dive in, do some inner work, make mistakes, and learn along the way. Find a mentor or a group. Look to someone who does what you want to do and reach out to them. If they dont respond, reach out to someone else. If you dont succeed on your first try, try another method. I have never heard of someone saying, “I wish I’d never tried” on their deathbed. Of course, I am still working on actually doing all of these things myself!
Remember, you will go in cycles; sometimes you will feel great about what you are striving for and other times you will want to give up and you hate your practice. At least I do. That’s ok. Just allow yourself space, you’ll come back to loving it again. I am working on becoming more disciplined and working through my negative cycles. I am not very good at it yet but moving in a positive trajectory.
Devi Living: What are you dreaming of for your journey as an artist? Where are you heading?
Mishea: I would love to make art my career. It seems so dreamy to be able to make money from something I am so passionate about and that makes me so happy. I would love to paint more and try different subjects.
I have been painting open Kansas based paintings with wide open prairie and gold leaf suns. But more than that, I would just love to inspire and be a guide for others who have felt the same way I did. And I would like to be able to teach them how to step into their light. Of course, I have still got a lot of learning to do, which I’m looking forward to as well.
Devi Living: Devi Living’s tagline is – Living on the planet In Love, With Purpose and In Joy- which is not always easy! How do you find your way back to Love, Purpose and Joy?
Mishea: Love – Spending meaningful time with the people who mean the most to me, including myself. Letting go or striving to understand any negative emotions that I may feel towards myself, or others. Communicating or working out ways to avoid, make peace with or eradicate those negative emotions. Practice empathy towards every human, no matter who they are.
Mishea: Purpose – To value my natural talents and abilities and not dwell on my imperfections. To explore new places and hobbies. To continue to move in a positive trajectory and stay balanced in all areas of my life; relationships, mental health, physical health, and career fulfillment – and not be dissatisfied if I dont move fast enough.
Mishea: Joy – To appreciate everything that this wonderful, beautiful, and mysterious planet has to offer that pertains to my life, including the daily mundane. To try to remain present while experiencing it. To stay in a positive state of mind and remember that when things dont go right, I will return to positivity. I will also allow myself space to feel negative for a period. To live in a state of awe and wonder.
Thank you Mishea for sharing your beautiful journey with Devi Living. Your art, your wisdom and your authenticity is such an inspiration and blessing for other women and for our beautiful planet.
You can find Mishea’s artwork here .
If you would like to purchase Mishea’s stunning artwork you can contact her directly via email; firstname.lastname@example.org or message her on FB.
Find Mishea’s children’s book – The Secret of the Magic Crystal here.
Have a look at Mishea’s creative process in this clip!