Our greatest good comes to us by relaxation and nurture in balance to our effort and work. When we take the time to comfort and relax ourselves, great ideas and unforeseen good comes from our state of still and soft pleasure.
In this image the figure is resting in a tub of water. Water is the source of all life, and being in a tub mimics our unborn state in the womb. Here we can let our efforts be still for a time so that life can be restored to a condition of vitality and health. All that is necessary for our healing is available somewhere. The apothecary jars symbolize the various things that can serve as healthful tonics for us, each in its turn and in the way that feels best to us.
Here the figure is contained, warmed, cleansed, and relaxed. The candle signifies intuition, or the knowledge of what is most nurturing to us at particular times in our lives. This intuition is echoed in the scene out the window of night, the time to rest and to allow ourselves to be passive like the moon and to simply receive the gifts that are there for us.
I wrote those words a couple of years ago, and painted the image many years earlier. I sold it as a print online and a man in Brazil saw it and commissioned me to paint a larger, original for him, which I did, not too large, about 9″x 12″ on a wooden panel and I shipped it to him in Brazil. I changed the figure to be a portrait of him, and he was pleased by it. I can’t find a photo unfortunately.
A lot of people have seen this figure as a man, though it was meant to be me with my red hair. In all these little paintings, the gender, race, and particulars of the figures are meant to be aspects of my own psyche, as characters you might have in dreams but that you identify as manifestations of your own impressions of those characters, and therefore images of yourself. That is why this body of work is not multicultural or utterly inclusive– these are my projections, my self-portrait characters. You can use them to imagine your own.
In these times of novel corona virus, I hope everyone nurtures themselves and takes time to cleanse, relax, rest, and rejuvenate. One thought I have about health and healing is that I have faith that the universe produces or contains a cure for every ill. As some old adage has it: the gods never give us more than we are equipped to handle. If we are open and in tune with the earth and nature, there are innate balances and antidotes that become known and available. I mean this mostly symbolically. (I’m not advocating self-remedies!) Yet, I have learned from organic gardening how bringing everything into balance creates a harmonious whole wherein nothing noxious takes over but is held in check by the natural order of the healthy environment. There is a balance point at which everything flourishes. I’m hoping our world can readjust to that state of balance and health after this episode. Stay well and nurture yourselves, each other, and our world. A garden grows by taking care of tender things tenderly.