© 2016 Kathryn P. Davison

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Moving "Art" beyond the page

July 15, 2017

 I did a sketch a few years ago about the impact of flowers upon me; but also then i was contemplating how flowers were impacted by light, and then in turn, their presence impacted my blood cells, and then in turn, how the purity of that overall emanation and relationship impacted certain bodies of water i was interacting with.

 

Yes, we're not in Kansas anymore. In this brief portrait, i was trying to show through art the subtle and yet world changing nature of relationship. 

 

Most of us go through life a bit passively, doing jobs until we cannot do them anymore, or pursuing certain sports or friendships because what we did before feels comfortable. I, on the other hand, am periodically tossed out of the world I occupy in order to take in understanding about a new one. For instance, in the early 90s i was trying hard to be a normal housewife, but i kept feeling pulled out - into culture, into activity, into the world. I just wanted to stay home with my young children, but life had other plans. Relatives were stricken with grave illnesses and even died; the economy went crazy during the banking crisis so i had to go back to work; and i was having dreams that lovely parts of my house were literally coming apart, and blood was showing at the seams. No, this wasn't about violence, this was about my life energy being too big to be contained in the paint-by-numbers role i kept trying to create for myself. Everyone knew i didn't fit in, that's why people just never called or included me in their friendly gatherings. I gave dozens of dinner parties and hosted tennis teams and PTA volunteers, but it just seemed that the friendships didn't stick. I didn't know who my people were; but what i did know was that i didn't want to sit around talking about 7% discounts at the hardware store.

 

Now that I'm older it's easier for me to say, oh, I am a kind of visionary with some odd sensitivities that make me aware of relationships between things, and in particular, non-local events, like the healing in one part of the world that gives rise to ease in another. Flowers have always been a touchstone for me about this beautiful emanation that springs from their authentic identity in seasonal expressions. They act both as healers with their presence, and also as reminders that i don't have to be "in full bloom" all the time for my understanding and presence to still be there. 

 

This sketch is a favorite of mine not because it is excellent, but because it was rendered in response to a query from a therapist who asked, how can you convey the way your cells are affected by your experiences? I could fee the relationship, and this question somehow gave me permission, or evoked the expression of an understanding I already had. It reminded me that we are aware of so much; and yet rarely are we asked to bring forward our full awareness. On the contrary, modern life asks us to squash our feelings, persist beyond all endurance, and sideline subtler sensibilities until all the work is done; but it's never done, and that is how modern culture can impoverish people. Evolution is asking us to step into our fuller awareness and live from there, while corporate America is asking us to foreclose on our hearts' call and instead focus on increasing profits. That's the rub, really. All of us finding our own portage into a work-

 

life that honors what our hearts beckon us to do, and be.

 

I later did this sketch, tuning into a sense of what red blood cell platelets were like, and what was their condition. It wasn't a great time in my life. Can you see the contrast between the liveliness of the upper image, and the flatness of the platelets conveyed here? This was a profound period of taking time to tune into aspects of the body, and to summon the courage to draw them. What truth do we really know?

 

A friend of mine, Keith Petrie and his  spouse Liz, conducted a study of heart patients, all of whom had been hospitalized in the aftermath of their first heart attack. They were given colored pencils and paper, and were asked to draw the condition of their heart, including the location and extent of damage resulting from the heart attack, as a free healing assignment. No outlines or other instructions were given. Much to the investigators' surprise, the patients' mortality and further complications were more powerfully predicted by the patients' drawings than by the severity of their first attack, the degree of arteriosclerosis, or cholesterol levels, or any other commonly held predictors of disease course. Art is powerful and truer than we know.

 

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