“The purpose of life is Life.” – Joseph Campbell
I channeled this painting for a client recently. The image came first, but it felt like something was missing. So I took a break and started cleaning out a shelf in the studio. And as luck would have it a piece of paper fell out with these words printed on it:
The Sun is a Circle/The Moon is a Circle/The Earth is a Circle/We are a Circle
Everything that is, is alive/And everything has a place on the Circle.
I remembered someone handing that sheet of paper to me at an event I attended last fall, but I don’t know who the author is (or if it even has an author.) Regardless, it seemed to provide the missing element.
The message that comes through to me here is all about grounding, and balancing, and relaxing into the art of being.
Being, in terms of feeling oneself a part of all that is.
Knowing that simply being is enough.
We often spend such time and energy worrying about “Purpose.” And indeed some of us do have a burning mission in life.
That’s beautiful when it happens, but what if your purpose isn’t clear to you?
I think the bird in this painting has something to say about that.
You might think at first that it is a Crow. I did, when I first saw it in my mind’s eye. But once I got it down on paper it was quite clear that this spirit animal was not a Crow, but a Grackle.
A Common Grackle, to be precise.
Grackles are indeed common birds. If you live in the eastern half of North America you’ve probably seen these black birds gathering in noisy flocks in treetops, or strutting across your lawn. They are boisterous, opportunistic birds that eat nearly anything and are actually much more likely than crows to steal corn.
At first glance you might not think there was much about a Grackle to write home about, with its somber dress and creaky voice. But if you look more closely at the Common Grackle you will see that it is really quite a striking bird. Its head and neck are not actually black but are covered in iridescent feathers ranging from purple to green to bronze. It has a distinctive white eye that contrasts sharply with its body. And its elongated, v-shaped tail lends a graceful touch to its figure.
To me the Grackle’s message is to appreciate the beauty, magic and majesty of ordinary, everyday life. To honor one’s physical being and delight in the strength and power of the body as a divine vehicle for Spirit.
It also connotes the night, a time of feminine power. In fact, the grackle
with its white eye resembles the feminine “yin” of the famous Chinese yin-yang symbol.
We are all a part of the body of Mother Earth. Our bodies, our blood: her soil and water sparked to life. Our breath and her air are one. Her fire burns in our souls.
Is it not enough to simply be? Were we not born into the world as sacred beings? Can not our most simple, everyday actions become so infused with love that they are in themselves a prayer that is felt, seen, heard and understood without need for words or explanation?
That is the power of the divine feminine – a power that is felt, wordless, in the body and expressed naturally when we share the joy of living with others.
Just as a gorgeous iridescent rainbow lies hidden in the Grackle’s “black” feathers, so there is hidden treasure in the commonness of our lives. A treasure we often miss in our pursuit of Purpose.
But sometimes, when we allow ourselves to quiet down, to ground ourselves and simply be, Purpose has a way of revealing itself after all.
This artwork is available as an 11″ x 14″ fine art print. Click here to purchase.