Watercolor, 8 x 9 inches

Nunjabi Book I

I made this watercolor last week in the throes of an awful stye and brown recluse spider bite. Although I could have done without the ailments, the painting was a good little exercise. The process helped express a bunch o' junk from my psyche. And that's a good thing for a painting to do, thinkest thou not?

As I look at the painting, I can actually feel the memory of my misery while I made it. But now it's something separate (and out of the way). At first, I thought  "Oh, gawd! I can't show this!" But now, I rather like it.

I know that I must be sounding like a rickety old lady and hypochondriacal but I'm not and I'm not. I've just gone through a long string of physical ridiculousness over the past year. I am not yet 100% but I'm feeling good again and doing pretty darn well, thanks. The sty is almost gone and the spider bite is healing up beautifully. (Miracles! I'll have to share my healing tips soon.)

This morning, I was listening to a Pema Chodron talk on Learning to Stay from Getting Unstuck
(which I highly recommend). In light of the above, this part is worth sharing:
"So...I think for many people, when you have a lot of pain in your life, whether it happens to you when you're young or whether it happens later — Crisis, trauma, a lot of pain of some kind. People who have this are usually the ones who get really serious about the spiritual path and are highly motivated to learning to stay. So really it's a blessing in disguise. I think a lot of the spiritual path is about blessings in disguise and it's a good expression to keep in mind because, usually, people who have no pain — everything is kind of a game and fun and trendy and the latest thing or something, but then when the shit hits the fan, that's when you get really serious because the stakes are really high." —Pema Chodron
That pretty much wraps up certain aspects of how I feel about and have responded to my physical hardship this past year. After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
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Jonathan said...

Wow, what a coincidence... I just killed a brown recluse on my ceiling this morning right before it looked like it was going to land on me, haha!

At least some great work came out of your bite.

I love your ability to control the water color to make noticeable forms without being too fussy with details. I'll try that in my new watercolors. :)

Suzanne McDermott said...

Good move on getting the spider before the spider got you! Usually, I leave them all alone. They do good work. In my case, I was doing long overdue yard work and must have scared one.

I don't know what noticeable forms you see in this one but I'll take the compliment. Thanks!

Anonymous said...


RH Carpenter said...

If you had not told me about the feelings behind this painting, I would still have known there was anxiety, sickness, injury, etc. in there from the strokes and the colors used. Very expressive! And I love Pema's cds - I have two that I listen to and try to learn from little by little. Learning to stay when things are tough is HARD but as His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, "Enlightenment cannot be obtained without working hard at it."

Suzanne McDermott said...

Thank you, beautiful Hazel!

Suzanne McDermott said...

...and I am working hard at it!!! Thanks for your (always) thoughtful comment. You know, back in the early '90s I spent a weekend with Pema Chodron in Cambridge, MA. A very small group and I was brand new to Chogyam Trungpa's world. I actually pissed her off. She was talking about the importance of teachers and I asked, so... where or how do we find our teachers. She almost roared. I am a teacher!! Whoa, I was thrown. And so she is!

Jonathan said...

...haha, now that I look deeper into the painting, I see forms that could represent whatever the mind imagines.

Giving our artistic gifts is hard work, but extremely gratifying in the end. I heard one teacher say, "To be enlightened, we must be at peace with the non-peace."

Thanks for being a teacher yourself, Suzanne. ;)