The Peace of Wild Things painting

removing the sliver: the peace of wild things

💖 Magic moment alert!

So I’ve been experiencing profound symptoms and for many months wasn’t feeling well enough to paint as I used to.

It had always uplifted me so much over the course of the past 2 years to paint just a little at a time.

What an amazing thing that all of these creations were coming through, right? It had felt like a precious gift amidst what one might call all of the “suffering.”

(I see this illness as having a spiritual component so don’t worry when I mention suffering. I don’t mean it in a doom and gloom way, just an expression that this has been a bit of a bumpy ride! I believe in looking at what I have learned from this experience and how I can grow. Boy am I ever growing!)

And … painting has been such a gift! A bright light really. It had seemed like what I was meant to be doing.

So, when I suddenly felt unable to even paint just a little, I could not understand why this was happening.

I had somehow allowed myself to be robbed of the gift.

I’ve got maybe 9 paintings that just need relatively small things added, to be considered “done.” They have been sitting there smiling at me for 6 or 7 months and counting.

Well recently I found it within me to paint a tiny bit and it felt so amazing.

Late one afternoon I was lying down when an email from Flora Bowley came into my phone. I felt inspired to look at her blog and began listening to this podcast she’d linked to, called Live Awake.

The woman’s voice felt so comforting to me.

What she was saying about a puzzle piece being slightly out of place totally spoke to me of all of the ways I’d been feeling.

It was so calming.

I listened to her speak about our call to presence, being called to arrive fully into the wide open clearing of what is real, right here in front of us.

This painting I’d begun a while ago kept coming into my mind and I yearned to put white on it. The desire was so strong.

I didn’t want to ruin it but then I told myself “be brave” and did this:

The Peace of Wild Things painting

I began painting as she spoke about being called into your life and captivated in the present moment.

It only took a few minutes to add the white to what I had done so long ago … and it felt like magic.

Soon I was finished and she said, wrapping up …

“Now remove the sliver from your heel, and release you and your life into blossom.”

I felt it deeply when she said that.

I’ve had a metaphorical sliver in my heel for an awful long time now.

There are moments when we can be distracted from suffering by being fully immersed in an experience. Painting can, at times, be like this for me.

This thought brought me comfort.

And I felt set free.

I’m so deeply grateful for having had this experience.

. . . . . . . . .

The Peace Of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

– Wendell Berry

Copyright © 2012 by Wendell Berry. Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press. Much gratitude to Mr. Berry for allowing me to use this beautiful title to name my painting. 

. . . . . . . . .

See the finished painting, The Peace of Wild Things. Museum quality giclées begin at just $25. Whoever adopts it will be contributing to my ongoing medical treatment and will be, of course, dear to my heart. 🙂 💖

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