The Courage Series ~ Stillness

The inspiration for this series came from a recent time when I was challenged to confront old emotional patterns.

I found myself in the grip of a palpable fear; almost unable to face the situation that was scaring me. There was a degree of self-assurance and personal power that I needed but didn't have immediately at hand. I was astonished to realize that the situation called for courage in ways I had never contemplated before. 

It required a lot of deep breathing and hours of looking within to overcome old responses. It seemed hard to grasp cause and effect. There were times when the way forward was very unclear, and I doubted that I could move past my difficulties. I would get glimpses of understanding, and then they would seem to disappear.

Ultimately, I was able to come away feeling stronger. But the process caused me to observe myself as never before, which took me into a new area of art development. How could I translate what I had been through into a format I could share? I began to wonder about Courage as a progression of concepts, and if I could translate the components into images.

What emotional tools were necessary for personal bravery? How was I able to use what I discovered about my past to help myself in the current moment? I pondered  how Courage could help me grow and the root instances where it is nurtured and developed.

I started with the idea of emotional support. What was necessary to bring myself to a place where I felt strong? Where did my center feel most solid? What  brought me solace and a strong sense of self? I had some ideas about what I wanted to say, but how could I convey them with images alone? This is always where my talisman work takes me, to queries about how to represent our inner journeys with visual symbols.

I worked on conceptual drawings for several months, allowing myself different ways to express what I was feeling. As I did so, the ideas became stronger, more developed and refined. A pattern of imagery was emerging, and I let myself run with the ideas.

Eventually, I came up with more than two dozen variations on the theme of Courage, and these will form the basis for work to come in 2020.

As always though, my intent and the reality of time doesn't always match up. This winter season of 2019, I was able to complete six pieces in the first part of the series. I hope they resonate with you.




This pendant makes use of motion to illustrate Stillness. On one side there is there is a small dragonfly perched among the reeds. The quiet here is palpable, nothing stirs. Yet the water gently ripples, the wind softly moves the grasses and at any moment, the dragonfly will return to its aerial acrobatics. The design reflects the instant before the return to motion, to the ability we have to suspend time and be completely present.

On the other side of the pendant, there is a pool of water with a droplet splash in the center. Calm water is always disturbed, but when you slow the motion down to 100ths of a second, you can see the instant where the tip of the water crown breaks free before it falls back into the pool. This is the Still Point; the fraction of time, in the tiniest space, where there is a ~ pause ~ between action and stasis.

Despite the fleeting nature of this occurrence, it can serve as a reminder of our own ability to slow down time and marvel at the workings of life. However small or impermanent, we do have the capacity to dwell in the eternity of Stillness.

Use this pendant to remind you that Stillness abides within; you have the ability to move into that quiet space whenever you desire. You can let go of all the hurry and hustle of modern life, even if it seems urgent, and allow yourself a moment of peace.

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