Anatomy of Life

I've been thinking about how much I learn from attending to the natural world. Nature invites me to listen more deeply and move at a slower, more deliberate pace. She offers lessons about resilience, rich and layered insight into my capacity to adapt and thrive. She offers examples of refuge– ways to retreat from the noise and deepen our reserves in order to connect with healthy boundaries. She offers lessons about restoration with ways to mend and heal and renew. The natural world reminds me that I am rooted in a life force, deep and vast and connected to something more spacious than my own limiting thoughts and experiences. 

I often muse on what the world would be like if nature were our curriculum. Perhaps children would grow into adults who understand and act from a place of reciprocity. Perhaps we would experience the intricate details of interconnection and make choices that honor and strengthen the web of life. Perhaps we would see ourselves as part of a community circle rather than a hierarchy that places humans above all other life. 

As discouraged as I get by the loudest stories in the news, I am encouraged to learn of a town in suburban Texas that has chosen to run on 100 percent renewable energy. I am encouraged by stories like THIS that highlight innovative ways communities are restoring the land in Appalachia and cultivating meaningful, sustainable work for those who have lost their livelihood. I am encouraged by the work of Joanna Macy and Robin Wall Kimmerer among others offering insightful ways to honor, heal and restore, and sustainably integrate in relationship with our natural world. 

I wish to be a part of that healing thread by offering creative work that invites a personal connection with nature. I believe these latest paintings are moving in that direction. I wanted to create something to highlight the way I experience the natural world as my teacher– to show the layers of meaning that I have gained through mindful attention and deepening connection. 

Anatomy of Resilience and Anatomy of Refuge are the first in a series I am calling The Anatomy of Life. They are invitations to explore the wise teachings of the natural world as an integral part of our community of learning and thriving. They are invitations to commune with nature as way of connecting through a shared language of what it means to be alive. They are invitations to reflect on your own experiences and learning with the natural world, to dig a bit deeper into those meaningful connections. They are inside views of that life-sustaining relationship. 

May these offerings be of benefit.