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Blessings and Betrayal

Blessings and Betrayal

This mandala was painted to help process the recurrence of a lifelong pattern, a sudden, shocking betrayal by someone in whom I have placed my trust.

Sharing this post is challenging, although the lack of readership does provide a safety net, but wait, I am practicing vulnerability, daring greatly, so here goes…

As the youngest child (by six years) in a family with five brilliant, highly achieving siblings, and stellar, loving but very busy parents, at age 5 I was alone quite a lot, and easy prey for a young man in the neighborhood who began to show me lots of attention and made me feel “special”.  When he was, let’s say, sexually inappropriate with me (I’ll spare you the ugly details) I felt warm and cherished one moment, and searing pain, shock, horror and confusion an instant later.  What he told me next did the most damage…”You can’t tell anyone…if you do, they’ll know you are bad.”

Believing it is best to do as I am told, I never DID tell anyone, and even forgot about it, until becoming sexually active in my late teens, when the memory resurfaced and I dismissed it as “no big deal”.

So, as wounds will, this has come up periodically for healing, requesting my attention in various painful ways throughout my life.  Let me be clear that most subsequent incidents were not sexual, but rather, consisted of feeling trusting, vulnerable and safe in the company of a perceived ally one minute, and suddenly becoming aware this was not the case, experiencing a sucker punch to the gut, feeling attacked, judged and ashamed the next.  I’ve had TWO rather dramatic occasions to revisit this pattern in the last month and this time, the blessing of being able to view things differently is apparent.

The mandala is part of my being able to process with a higher perspective.  The little sunflower in the center with the spiral represents soul/spirit generating forth.  The hearts represent the physical and the daggers piercing the hearts with blood spilling out, well, that’s not too mysterious.  There is a circular saw blade, to cut through the illusion.  The drops of blood drip directly into more sunflowers, again representing the soul, this time with yin/yang symbols at the center, representing harmony and balance, the gathering of soul wisdom and healing.

Progress is being made.  I am gaining more clarity on the pattern, and how to respond compassionately when it happens.  In the past, I froze, drew the cloak of shame tightly around myself and disappeared as quickly and effectively as I could manage.  During the most recent event, I was able to speak of what was happening in real time, even if it was  not with the greatest level of coherence, and celebrate movement toward shame resilience as described by Brene Brown in her amazing book “Daring Greatly”.

In this way, the betrayals turn into blessings, helping me heal and live more authentically and wholeheartedly.



Filed under: Creative Living, Healing Art, Loss, Mandalas, Shame, Vulnerability

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. Thank you for your work and stories behind them. Reading them has helped me tremendously. I can’t wait to buy several of your pieces that have spoken to me.

    • Christina,

      I’m so glad the mandalas and writing are of help to you, that is so gratifying to me! Thank you so much for letting me know and please reach out when you are ready, happy to help guide the process of which mandala(s) might be right for you!


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