Art Speak

EPISODE 012: Athena

Athena and the Arrow

After the Storm

In gratitude for the battle

I recently looked at this painting with new eyes.

It is a painting I named Athena, after a series of dreams I had about my sister-in-law. Athena is a breast cancer survivor. She has been on the battlefield, fighting for her life. And she knows how to win.

I created this painting a year before I became aware of my own battle…to be fought with no less grit and determination, to reclaim my life and health. It is a battle that involves no surgeries, and has no known cure. It is a battle that requires surrender to the process, and an understanding that answers must be sought in every dark place, because there is no telling where a solution will be found. It is a battle that has tested my ability to love myself. It has tested my concept of myself. It has brought me face to face with myself in the mirror to say “I love you.”

It is a battle that has decidedly demonstrated to me that the winning is more about what happens inside my mind, about how I treat myself with my thoughts, than about what supplements I take.

And when I decided to share this painting with you today, I saw something totally new.

When I painted her I saw grit and weariness. But today...

I saw a smile.

I saw an understanding that the battle is not bad, evil, or even undesirable.

I saw that the disease is not the enemy.

The smile said: this battle makes life worth living.

This battle, this disease, has taught me to see and release my endless suffering and open up to joy. This dis-ease has stripped me of my self-loathing. It has taken things I thought were important, and has gifted me with a glimpse of what actually is.


The smile is freedom.
I am remaking myself.

The smile is knowing.
I am willing to think differently about myself.

The smile is possibility.
I am ready to expand.

The smile is understanding.
I am ready to take off the blinders, removing the beliefs and ideas that do not fit.

I am not saying I am there yet…because we are never done expanding. But I have a clearer image of what my quest for unity means. And for that, I am smiling. Because this gift, bestowed upon me by the battle, is valuable beyond measure.

And it is exactly what was needed. Exactly what the soul ordered.



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