In April, the two year anniversary of Mom’s passing has come and gone, together with the spring holidays for many faiths. My years of Catholic upbringing instilled within me an appreciation for the holiness of the spring season, even if I may have loosened many of my dogmatic religious beliefs. When the very planet beneath your feet is revving up for renewal and rebirth, it is hard to ignore, no matter what your spiritual orientation may be.
This season during my counseling internship, I had the privilege to witness and reflect upon struggles and challenges of life that each of us may face from time to time, in all kinds of manifestations. Whether it be a life threatening illness, a death of a loved one, a change in a relationship, or starting a new career – life often brings us to uncharted territory and tosses us, unceremoniously, onto tough and uncertain ground. Do I have what I need to sustain myself through the hard times? Where’s the instruction manual? Why do I feel so alone?
One intelligent and creative person I had the opportunity to dialogue with recently, introduced to me the brilliant analogy that tough times can feel like riding a wild elephant. Bareback. Without a map. Me, I thrive on images. And so, reflecting on that statement, I drew this:Here we have a wild elephant, making its way through a wild storm, with demon winds blowing in its path, and lightning chasing behind its tail. Atop its back is a lotus vessel, a protective place for the rider to sit. Beneath the wild elephant, unseen by the rider, is the calm and steady tortoise, guiding the journey with its knowing and benevolent wisdom.
I suppose that my spiritual and cultural upbringing, my optimism and of course, my imagination, leads me to believe that each of us, in the midst of storms and upheavals, is on a unique and soulful journey. We may or may not realize that we are accompanied all along the way by light and direction. Eventually, the storm will pass, and the light prevails.
My visual exploration of this metaphor also reminds me that I have at thing for turtles, tortoises and their rich symbolism.
About reneetamaraWriting about death, mental illness, spirituality, art and perfume. Because beauty feeds the soul, and love is beyond what we think.
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