From my March Newsletter:
Spring blessings to everyone. At this time of year I am always so awed by the miracle of creation as the earth begins to awaken from her winter slumber. The first daffodils are blooming. Hydrangeas and trees are budding out. Bird song is abundant. With so much happening around the world from the crisis in Japan and the conflicts in the Middle East to the continuing economic challenges facing this country, it helps for me to remember that there is still so much beauty in our world. And like the cycles of the seasons there is also potential for transformation and growth to emerge out of the darkness and suffering.
An area of concern for me has been the plight of endangered species. I was feeling especially bereft for the the dolphins, sea turtles, and birds during (and after) the Gulf oil spill last summer. After a period of mourning, I turned again to the canvas. The Tree of Life emerged at the center and the overarching theme for the piece became "the Garden is right here, right now." Paradise is not in some unknowable future, but right here on this glorious planet. We need only remember the holiness of this place we call home. The endangered polar bear, spotted owl, tiger, and salmon (and honey bee, fenders blue butterfly, and frog) all asked to be included in this mandala or "Creation Illumination" (48 x 48") as shown below. Bringing together symbolism from both the Genesis narrative and those of our earth-honoring ancestors (4 directions, 4 elements, 4 seasons), this painting is a visual scripture that reveals our innate interconnectedness in the web of Creation. Currently in process are two other paintings that will live on either side of this center piece. (The three panels are what is commonly referred to as a triptych.) On the left will be Eve, representative of the feminine and on the right, Adam, the masculine. Here, Adam and Eve reclaim their roles as stewards of Creation per the original Hebrew text. The Hebrew at the bottom of the painting translates as "In the Beginning."
My intention is to show this completed work and have posters/cards printed in order to raise money for organizations working to protect endangered species such as the World Wildlife Fund or Panthera. If you know of any related events or places to show that are open to the public, please contact me.
While working on this center piece I met local poet, Deb Rodney. She shared her poem, Sanctuary, with me. It is so gorgeous and spoke so profoundly to my vision for this work, that I also wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!
May we have, "the courage to sculpt a new heaven on Earth." May it be so.
For love of the EARTH,
By Deb Rodney
Divinity is formed from the undulating energy
Of billions of thoughts
Powering gravity, beauty,
Orbiting planets and the living potential of a seed.
Our house of worship stands on the well-worn stones
Of everyday living;
Where the sacred wisdom of nature is honored,
And every breath is a humble and sovereign prayer
Whispered to distances greater
Than the imagination can yet travel.
Heaven is peace
Among the butterflies,
Amidst the sap rising up tall trees,
In the sound of sea water flowing over broken shells,
In the last breath of a fully-lived life.
Heaven is freedom
And the hunger of poverty and greed;
Where the coyote runs belly-full and for the joy of it,
Where brilliant stars and tiny cells are created
By the magnitude of love
Holiness arrives quietly
When humility and power meet
And the doors are wide open for tenderness;
When the lonely attachment to separateness
Is consumed in the holy heart
Of the collective heart
Of Us, the Creator.
This ecstasy is the wind and the mud
Igniting the courage
To sculpt a new heaven on Earth;
Where every moment is a miracle of possibilities
And every heartbeat is a living faith for all-
In this sanctuary where we live.