And now, here is the ninth and last piece in this little series introducing you to our office!
The picture you see is called Phoenix Dancer, a dry point etching made in the 1920s by an English artist named Elyse Lord. I found it in May as we were nearing the end of the wait to get into the new office. To cope with the stress we were feeling, Beth and I took a study break and spent the first weekend of May in a vacation rental by owner invitingly named “writers cabin.” I wasn’t looking for a piece of art necessarily to bring to our new space, but I was open to the idea I might find something that struck me as just right for my experience of this new venture.
We were walking around the Petter Art Gallery on the Blue Star Hwy in Saugatuck/Douglas, MI, (http://petterwinegallery.com/) at the end of the weekend, reluctant to get in the car and drive home. When I came to this picture I stopped in my tracks. I was transfixed by it. First I really liked the colors. They are rich and beautiful, warm and elegant. The jewels on the dancer suggest to me abundance and fluidity. I love their color the most. I thought the palate and the well-chosen frame would match the accent color in my office, and that is where you see it in this picture. The deep red in the phoenix’s tail and the burnt sienna of the wall give a lot of life force energy to the scene. Burnt sienna was the first color I chose when my Grandmother Grimshaw took me to the art store at age 12 in order to help me buy oil paints, canvases, brushes, and accessories. She was an artist, and it was she who taught me to paint over the next few years.
Next, I immediately identified with the Phoenix symbolism. Moving up and away from a Phoenix, a figure is dancing. Her clothing and positioning of her hands reminded me of a traditional Indian dance form I have seen performed at the Ashram where I study Yoga in Quebec. My focus was drawn to the energy of the dancer’s spiral shaped spin; it has a powerful sense of direction and purpose. I see her as one person at the moment she both acknowledges the Phoenix (rebirth, renewal, grace?) and spins away to engage fully in her newly realized sense of purpose.
I could see myself in her. It’s really wonderful for me when a work of art or a piece of music brings all of these things to my awareness in what seems like almost no time at all—just a blink of an eye, a beautiful little explosion of connected ideas coming forward already organized for me to experience. This gave me a rocket shot like infusion of inspiration and energy.
Coming from being injured and having to accept a major loss (my hip) and face my own sense of the wear and tear of these now 27 years of practicing medicine, I have worried about how much I have left in me. I have also felt (with urgency) that there is so much more I want to do and learn and experience--- Wondering whether I have the strength and energy to be able to accomplish these hopes and aspirations has given me many nights of angst.
I brought the beautiful and graceful Phoenix dancer to my new office to remind me of the endless flow of inspiration, strength, and beauty that is available to me each day. Every day is new. We are given the opportunity to dance with the cosmos and co-create with others and the earth opportunities for healing and renewal and reconciliation—for ourselves and each other. She reminds me of this each day, and here I am—again-- starting something new.
I’m glad Life has given me this many chapters. I am ready to dance into this one with renewed energy and engagement and wonder at the ability each of us has to cultivate an ever-expanding awareness about who we are and what we are doing.