Green Tara

If you have plants in your home then you will know what joy they bring, aesthetically pleasing, plants have a unique feel good factor and contribute towards purifying the air we breathe. Like us they need certain conditions to be met in order to survive; water, sunlight, nutrients, and the necessary processes of respiration and metabolization. They are impermanent yet intimately tied to continuity. One particular plant of mine is the vibrant Anthurium. It is the plant pictured here in this painting, recognised by its distinctive flowers.

Recently I had been reading about Tibetan Buddhism and Green Tara in particular, she is known as the goddess of compassion. I started to see my Anthurium plant as a kind of embodiment of Green Tara, the form and shape of it was graceful, energetic and abundant. The white heart shaped flowers a beautiful symbol of compassion, and the green of regeneration, hope and vitality.  I was truly inspired and decided to run a yoga and creativity workshop, inviting people to choose a plant as a focus for their meditation and art.

Unfortunately that same month my husband suffered from Covid 19. He was confined to the top floor of the house, it was an unusual situation to care for a loved one with distance and masks, to see them suffer yet not be able to offer them the comfort of normal human closeness. It was during this period that I did the workshop on zoom.  It was a joy to do this workshop and see others in the flow state of creativity. (Quite the opposite to how my husband was feeling at the time).

This plant painting is the result of what started off as a sketch during the workshop, as the painting progressed my husband was steadily overcoming the virus. Once he returned to normal health and wellness there was genuine gratitude and a sense of renewed life affirmation.

The painting has some Japanese text in the top left and right, the kanji reads as mujō which translates as impermanence. The white square symbolises the moon, the yellow, the sun.

Overall for me the painting is rejoicing in life whilst recognizing its transitory nature.

100 dollars from the proceeds of this workshop were donated to CCR, the Centre for Contemplative Research in Colorado. This centre is dedicated to contemplative and scientific research to address the nature of genuine well-being and seek to understand through meditation and science, the nature of human consciousness.

You can read more about this organisation here:

Curiouser and Curiouser

In Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, Alice exemplifies the universal human characteristic of wonder as her journey is filled with surreal encounters and challenges. She is surprisingly steadfast and her sense of curiosity and adventure carry the story.

Curiouser and curiouser, how does that caterpillar metamorphose into a moth or a butterfly? Do all white rabbits have pink eyes? Is there really such a thing as a Gryphon?

There are so many things in life that are a mystery, we sometimes forget that. Often curiosity leads to google for an answer, so instead of marvelling at the bird in the tree, we want to quickly identify it; in the process of doing so we miss seeing the behaviour, sounds and colours right before our very eyes. Over 150 years ago when Alice in Wonderland was written it really was all about imagination. According to Travis Proulx at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, surreal and absurdist literature, like Alice in Wonderland, influences our cognition. His research has found that fantastical and absurdist stories push our brains to be more flexible, making us more creative, and quicker to learn new ideas. It also makes us more open to another way of looking or being.

An enquiring curious mind that doesn’t need to look things up on google can expand, be more creative, and we feel joy. We observe the bird with the red black and white markings, the drumming sound against the tree and then it’s out of sight, flown away. We can imagine the woodpecker lives in one of the big round holes, we can imagine the tree being an insect hotel or a favourite spot where a squirrel has buried food for the winter. Stop to wonder and see the wonder.

Alice in Wonderland meets so many absurd characters that come to life in her imagination. One is the caterpillar sitting on a mushroom smoking the hookah pipe, he asks Alice in his low drawn out voice: “Whooo … are … you?”.

A question that takes Alice by surprise, after some thought she replies:

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

(PS, this question may drop you down the rabbit hole!).