Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Strength in Vulnerability

"Dance when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free."  ~Rumi

The other day I drew the Hanged Man card from the Tarot deck and it felt appropriate. Twenty months ago Loss was the price I had to pay for a great Love in my life and Walt was worth every tear. 

Recently my heart started to beat with love and life again. I could feel the blood start to flow anew as I recognized the first feelings of longing again. I didn't think it was possible. Slowly, tentatively I felt eros stirring inside, I couldn't believe it...and then just as I started to move towards the beckoning my heart was promptly shattered. 

Grief flows in mysterious patterns.

We Appear in this World for a Brief Moment / 40" x 60"

The Hanged Man represents an inward seeking.

The true quest is seeking within, not without. The fresh wound of loss was ripped open,
raw and exposed. It was as though I had just lost Walt all over again. I became profoundly sad as I sank back into the old waves of grief, I searched, I screamed, I fought not to drown in the familiar blackness that was threatening to swallow me up. I was consumed with guilt, grief, pain and just a dark wall of complete bewilderment as I didn't understand why and what had just happened to my heart. Was it my fault? Why would I open my heart to such a dangerous possibility. Tears come from the heart not the brain.

The Hanged Man, however, has hung himself...Despite his obviously uncomfortable position, he is often pictured as smiling, and with a golden halo around his head to show divine inspiration and power. He is totally vulnerable to the world, and in his vulnerability he has found strength.

Both the cracking open and the breaking apart occurred in a short span of time and my paintings of course soared and then crumbled as my inner world instantly translates into paint. I couldn't sleep, I was overwhelmed emotionally, I became stressed like never before as I had deadlines to make, a show to put together, people to talk with and act as though I wasn't drowning in grief. This is not easy to do. I had no choice but to continue painting and working. My work truly is my salvation in times of overwhelming emotion. The images appear on the canvas and I work with the textures and shapes as I sculpt and mold new ways of seeing and being in the world.

As the card of the paradox, the Hanged Man also urges you to look at things in a new and different way. Instead of fighting against the current, let it take you wherever it is flowing.

Slowing Down Time / 48" x 36"

I allowed myself to be carried along the river of heartbreak and stayed within the immense sadness as it was transmuted into paint. It continues to hurt but forward I flow on my small raft of hope. I will never know if this experience chose me or I chose it. I still struggle not to turn around and swim upriver against the current back to the place I was before I hung myself. That place seemed so rich with possibility and openings and I want to feel that again, I want so badly to live with an open heart that both gives and receives kindness in large doses. Perhaps time isn't as linear as we think and somewhere in a parllel universe I am singing sweet love songs. And so it goes.

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” 

A Broken Heart is an Open Heart / diptych 48" x 72"

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