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Bruised Reed


So less than 48 hours after the post in which I cavalierly proclaimed my willingness to get on the roller coaster and fully experience the ride, a large German Shepherd nearly shredded my right hand with his teeth and I went from complete (okay, relative) calm to total panic in less than 30 seconds.

Pain is a pretty challenging thing with which to stay present and vulnerable, especially when you add the part about not resisting or judging.  The very teachings I have been reading about were being offered up in a real life situation and I can’t say I passed the test.

I was hyperventilating as my son drove me to the emergency room (on which we decided after finding that no urgent care options due to the fact it was Labor Day).  The pain was definitely a 10 on the scale, I would say 11, but that’s just annoying since it is NOT on the scale.  It was a good 3 hours before I got anything for pain (4:30 pm to 7:30 pm) and me without so much as a single Advil in my purse.

Mantras were employed, as well as the eight verses I have learned as part of my Qi Gong practice, along with deep breathing.  All the while my intention was to get as far away from what I was feeling as I could, the polar opposite of the practice I had hoped I was learning.

Accompanying all this was the fear of what had happened structurally to my right hand, my painting hand.  For full effect, I am adding the photo from the emergency room here.


After receiving IV antibiotics, morphine, lidocaine injected locally and a saline IV, having the wound x-rayed, cleaned out and bandaged, and paying my $1,300.00 co-pay, I was on my way home to continue the healing process.

9 days later I completed “Bruised Reed”, a mandala to help work through the trauma of the experience.  Yes, I can still paint, thank God.  This mandala is different, lots of teeth, blood and tears.  It is somewhat erratic and fiery, but also contains some cool and calm places of respite, as well as the yin and yang, for harmony and balance.

I’m not terribly interested in getting back on the roller coaster again.



Filed under: Healing Art, Loss, Mandalas, Qi Gong, Staying Present, 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.



    Vikki… You sure know how to get the most out of every experience! I don’t even know what to say other than – Really? And of course that picture is all the evidence/proof one would need.

    I am so sorry you would have to go through something like this. It sucks! Glad you can paint and find your way off the roller coaster!

  2. Pingback: “True Nature” | Magical Mandalas

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