"Avifaunal Emissary" - acrylic on cradled wood panel, 14" x 11" x 1.5". Ready to hang. Available here and at Artfinder.
It was winged messenger week here in the studio, where stories of birds, photos of birds and visits from birds have been a constant theme. My front yard crow friend is enjoying his new bird spa and majestic, columnar perch. Hummingbirds flitter and tweet without fear as I water the plants. Feathers upon the path.
At the same time, I am reading The Dharma of the Princess Bride, a buddhist philosophy book using the famed fairy tale as a teaching tool. If you've followed this blog for a bit, you know I adore the movie, and could not resist this change to take something so dear to my heart and find a deeper side to it. And true enough, author Ethan Nichtern makes it happen.
In the chapter called "Mercenaries or Besties", Nichtern asks us this: "Given that most friendships begin by coincidence, how do you choose your friends?" And he goes on to stress that "each time we choose to cultivate a friendship with someone, we are making an important choice."
Nichtern has me thinking about how many times I have (or have not) actively chosen to cultivate a friendship, rather than just following coincidence and happenstance. Hmm.
He further explains that a mandala (sacred circle) is an artistic mapping of relationships in our lives, and could sort of be called a depiction of a personal ecosystem. Whoa. Ecosystems are sensitive both to the elements within them and to outside influences. Thinking of my sacred circle of friends as an ecosystem gave me a lightbulb moment.
It isn't easy to be choosy about our sacred circles. Especially if we grew up in an incubator without healthy boundaries (like I did). But in The Princess Bride we see that not every friend has good intentions, and Nichtern teaches that not every friendship is a healthy one. But how do you know? Here is his answer: "The difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship is not whether you love each other, it is whether you help each other wake up." Put that in your thinking cap.
In the meantime, enjoy this little clip of Vizzini, a notoriously ill-intentioned friend, engaging in a battle of wits.