Soulish words and art offer light for enduring the darkness

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, April 19, 2018

Circle of Life, 16×20 acrylic-on-canvas by Marcella Wheatley. Photo by Warren Harbeck

The other day I encountered a painting by a local artist vivid in its wisdom on endurance, the theme of last week’s column.

In that column I quoted from Linda Kavelin-Popov: “Endurance is our ability to withstand adversity and hardship…. Endurance gives us the strength to stay the course.”

Before saying more about that painting, however, I’d like to share a response from HR consultant Tami Leigh. For her, the most difficult struggles to endure are soulish. In this she sees an intimate connection between endurance and inner peace, two enemies of which are doubt and fear.

“Deciding to eliminate doubt or fear is to fight our ego, our very survival instincts,” she says. “We believe the words of doubt and fear in our minds. They give the illusion of keeping us safe. Actually, doubt and fear are the cornerstones for all kinds of darkness.”

It’s a spiritual struggle, she says, in which doubt and fear shout so loudly that we become deaf to the “the Still, Small Voice within – that voice of invitation, love, patience, acceptance and forgiveness.”

The voice of doubt and fear, on the other hand, is very loud. “It is critical, demanding, judgmental, angry, accusatory, bigoted, divisive, condemning, attacking.”

To endure through the cacophony of such darkness, doubt and fear, Tami says she is learning the importance of quietude, an intentional time and place for leaning into the Light.

As sacred serendipity would have it, only two days after receiving Tami’s response, I happened to visit the Foothills Art Club show at St. Andrew’s United Church and was gripped by a painting vivid in its depiction of endurance through leaning into the Light.

Circle of Life, an abstract acrylic by Marcella Wheatley, suggested to me the kinship attraction of a circle toward the Light. True, battered as it was by hostile forces, often to tears, it was no longer a perfect circle. But it had retained its integrity as it was drawn to the Light.

Marcella is a serious artist who relocated from Saskatchewan to Cochrane ten years ago. For much of her career she has worked in watercolour, but just recently has moved into abstract acrylics, as well.

These abstracts are her “meditation series,” she says. “I now am aware, in hindsight, of the meaning and feeling of ‘inspiration,’ for each composition came through me and evolved; they were not pre-planned.”

Well, Marcella and Tami, my heart and soul say thank you for your inspired candour. As you, in your own ways, have applied brushstrokes of beauty to the canvas of life, you have provided worthy wisdom on how to endure through life’s darkness, buoyed up by your quest for the Light.


© 2018 Warren Harbeck

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