Image: Self Portrait, 2002-ish, mixed media of watercolor, gouache, and acrylic paint.
”Our heart resembles a mandala, no aspect of personality can be left out and no aspect of our history can be left out. Everything has to come to the heart. Everything needs to be burned in the fire of love—Everything. Even those parts you despise most, condemn, and find humiliating. Everything needs to be burned in the fire of love. And to bring to the heart, you need to see, and to see, you need to *want* to see.” —Sri Prem Baba
What have I learned about myself through this challenge? A lot. First of all, I had to show up for myself each day... and make this a priority. Make ME a priority. I've always kept myself simmering on the back burner somehow while other people's needs became the priority. So each day I had to spend whatever time I set aside for this on looking at me... literally 🤣 Look at my face and see in it something that I liked/loved/etc. How many of us do that at all ever? drawing a self portrait every once in a while for a class back in school was one thing, doing one a day for 30 days is another.
For my 30th portrait day I decided to revisit an old "self portrait" that I had as an ongoing project back around 2002. It isn't a literal drawing of my face, but rather a mandala of feelings and expressions and a bit of a timeline. I don't really remember how my process started for this, other than just playing with and tracing some face shapes that I had cut out of bristol board. They just somehow became a story of me that I made them into. I came to realize there were three "rings" on my mandala timeline here. The center was how I felt for most of my younger life... closed, scared, frustrated, suppressed, angry, wounded. The center ring is the screaming. It's the expression of the anger and the "let me out!" that I was feeling. I remember looking at the third ring at the time and knowing it was my future... it was the freedom and bliss I knew I'd have at some point. This picture of the mandala/portrait was taken on the porch in my Arlington, MA. apartment about a year before I moved to California... which is also when I started to feel that freedom and bliss that I wanted.
People would see this piece of art if they were at my apartment, and be like "hey that's cool." I'd tell them it was a self-portrait. They'd just respond the same way. "yeah that's cool." No one was ever interested in what it might have meant, or just looked at me like I had five heads when I said that, so I never bothered talking about it. I guess I'm talking about it now, and whomever is interested will hopefully receive something from this.
I don't have the actual piece of art anymore... I let it go as part of the big purge of stuff before moving to California. I keep thinking I might revisit it and create a new version, but that hasn't happened yet... and maybe it doesn't need to 💜
Sounds for the day: Soul for Real, Candy Rain
“As soon as we feel at HOME in our own house, discover the dark corners as well as the light spots, the closed doors as well as the drafty rooms, our confusion will evaporate, our anxiety will diminish, and we will become capable of creative work.” —Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer
💜 A great article on Chiron in Aries, and the Libra/Aries axis:
All of them....