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First little bit of painting time in weeks generated “Eclipse”, and what may at first look like a mandala misfire actually had a great deal to say to me.  As always I drew the large circle first, located the center and then began.  I do my best to free flow, but right away, I could hear the accusatory statements,  “Why do you make everything else, everyone else a priority?”

Life starts out simply enough, as a child it was clear…people would ask me, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, and I would reply, “I just want to paint, and to help people”.  Somehow, life’s complexities lead me away from my vision.  School, then work, so much work…overwhelm to the point of exhaustion.  I started painting again, taking watercolor classes at night.  The vision began clarifying, my instructor encouraged me, and then I quit my job to live my dream! 

Then…marriage, kids, divorce, financial worries, uh-oh, here we go again, responsibilities grow, add in Dad’s dementia and all the business that is left to manage, fog of grief, disappointment and weariness obscures the dream once again.  I am so sure I can get everyone’s oxygen mask on first and still have time to save myself.  Suddenly I realize I am gasping for air and have no strength left.  The mandala’s message to me is clear… “Make time for me first, do not let life eclipse what you know is your deepest truth.” 

To say my life has been a little out of balance is like saying there is a tiny bit of dysfunction in the government.  My pattern of over-responsibility to others and under-responsibility to myself has not served me well.  It is up to me to remedy this.  I read Martha Beck’s suggestion for a successful life recently, “Play until you feel like sleeping, then sleep until you feel like playing”.  This seems as possible to me as learning Latin while scuba diving.

However improbable, hope remains that I can create some space and that the vision, the dream will take shape again rising from the mists and I will resume being able to just paint, and well, help people!



Filed under: Dementia Tolerance, Healing Art

About the Author

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As a Phoenix native, Vikki Reed's vibrant watercolors of desert botanicals evolved from her love and appreciation of the desert's ability to produce tender beauty in the midst of harsh conditions. The mandala series which began in 2004 resurrects a childhood knowledge that mandalas are a primordial tool for centering and healing. Vikki studied in the 1980s with watercolor greats Irving Shapiro and Paul Kuo, and began exhibiting at the outdoor shows in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico after Paul's encouragement. This led to gallery representation with the Wickenburg Gallery and Work of Artist's Gallery. Vikki also exhibited at the Celebration of Fine Art for eight years. Before taking sabbatical to act as caregiver for her father in 2010, Vikki was featured in a one woman show at the Northern Trust Bank in January 2008 and was selected to create an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree that same year. Vikki's current focus, the Mandala Series, combines ancient symbolism and the healing power of color.

1 Comment so far

  1. Gede Prama

    thank you, the article and the true happiness rays began to warm hearts, when we share it with sincerity. Greetings from Gede Prama 🙂

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