Apr 13 2015
Pulled like a magnet,
she walks in daily journey
to the healing waters.
Enduring spirit, she knows the pain
of a broken body and the heart’s losses
yet constantly pushes through the void.
The cosmos swells within her eyes
to be released as tiny drops
flowing into the stream.
And from this murky water,
seeds of hope are nourished
into a new life of fragrant blooms.
I created this painting out of inspiration from a friend who has been through some devastating losses in the past year. I wished I could help her, but didn’t know how, other than to listen. Sometimes all one can do for a friend is to bear witness. And I’ve been going through my own travails too… yet nothing that compares. So it made me admire her strength just to get through the daily challenges that she faces, when I am pretty sure I would crumble under the same circumstances. It makes me wonder why some of us are made to carry such a heavy load. My only comfort is in knowing that somehow we make it through. The old adage that what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger rings true most of the time. But sometimes it feels like empty words.
I have been told in the past that my artwork has the power to heal. So I created this as a sort of meditation of healing… for myself as much as for her. Though I feel that I’ve healed most of my losses, I am very much aware of my inherent vulnerability. Sometimes I am lost in my self-created muckiness, challenged by too many decisions and an inertia that prevents me from clearly identifying my next step. I blame this lack of clarity on the fact that I am in a period of big transitions, but I realize that I have been stuck in my creativity for a very long time (then again, it feels like I’ve been in transition for a very long time). I recently came to the realization that there are some stuck emotions that are preventing me from following through on my commitments (of creating my art, expanding my business, taking care of financial matters, and minimizing and organizing my stuff so that I can move on). I find that if I re-dedicate myself to creating my art, much of that stuck energy is resolved so that it is actually easier to devote myself to whatever needs to be done. Art is almost a magic pill for me.
I am actually in a phase of deep healing, so it’s important for me to credit myself for the good work that I have done on MYSELF. I am learning how to really take care of myself for the probably the first time in my life. I am learning much about nutrition, teaching myself how to cook, and dedicating myself to regular exercise. My inner attitude has shifted also. I am learning how to recognize my emotional blocks and deal with them as they come up. Every day, I walk to a nearby stream and just get silent with it for a few moments. The sound of water flowing calms me and brings me back to center.
It’s a small coincidence that I chose to paint my friend at the water’s edge. I’d seen an image of her in this dramatic pose (it was a promo photo for her music, which she had posted as a facebook profile image). I was moved by the image because of its swooning gesture, so I asked her if I could use it as inspiration for a painting. The idea for painting her laying by the water came to me while I was myself standing at the water’s edge. After showing her a photo of the painting in its early progress, she shared that she also walks to the water every day, for the same motivation of feeling its healing energies. Later, when I shared the painting’s progress of her laying by the water, I mentioned that I felt the composition was top-heavy. She suggested the idea of a single lotus rising from the water. (I chose to include a smaller one as well, to help balance that part of the composition). The idea just felt so right, especially as I pondered the symbolism of the lotus:
“In Buddhist symbolism, the lotus is symbolic of purity of the body, speech, and mind as while rooted in the mud, its flowers blossom on long stalks as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.” (wikipedia)
I am particularly drawn to the idea of a beautiful flower growing out of the mud. I believe that it is through transforming the mud of our experiences that our spiritual unfolding blossoms.
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