A number of years ago, when I was in the process of writing a book about our most important responsibility, that of taking care of ourselves, I visited an art gallery in Texas. My best friend Rose had been there ahead of me, and she was most enthusiastic about the limited edition etchings of an Austin artist, Valerie Kneeland. Valerie had been inspired by her Native American teacher to use motifs from that culture. Standing in front of the picture she calls “Harmony” I recognized Valerie had captured in her image what I was trying to write about. In service to the notion that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” I bought a copy of the picture and placed it above my computer in my office. It inspired me to finish my book, and Valerie graciously allowed me to use the image on its cover.
Listen to the audio of Harmony
Look now at Valerie’s picture on the cover of “Stillpoint, The Dance of Selfcaring, Selfhealing” (in right-hand sidebar).
The central image is of a woman centered in herself and connected to the earth. Her body, reminiscent of the skull of a steer, is outlined with a river of red blood and puddles of what could be blue water. Imagine yourself as this woman, your own body centered and grounded as hers, surrounded by all that you need to nourish yourself.
Notice the geometric Native American motif placed vertically in the center of her body, in the place of her spine. Imagine that balanced design in the center of your own body. Valerie told me native peoples believe no harm can come to a person who wears this reminder to stand tall and balanced.
Notice the triangular-shaped shield she wears around her neck. This object protects her voice as she speaks her truth. Imagine yourself experiencing this protection.
Notice her hair standing out dramatically to her sides, covering her shoulders. Rather than the cultural requirement for women to cover their heads, this woman’s hair appears energetic and magnetic. Imagining yourself as this woman, celebrate yourself and the value of all that comes from you.
Notice the branches in the upper left hand corner of the picture. As in the changing seasons of nature and our lives, one is flourishing with leaves, the other barren. Recognize and honor this season of your life. Pledge to care deeply for yourself as you have cared for others.