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Friday, February 17, 2012


I was surrounded by fluid when I was growing up. “The Glen” was hugged by the river on 3 sides, an even bigger river flowed underground, and water perpetually seeped out of the cliffs. There was a long horizontal iron pipe that stuck out from the bottom of the hill, and whenever kids were thirsty, we drank the fresh spring water that poured out of the end and continued our adult-free activities. The adults preferred it that way. They didn’t want kids coming home and tracking mud in the house unless someone was bleeding. Really, if mothers had their way, the kids would go to someone else’s house when they were bleeding. Blood is worse to clean up than muddy footprints. Don’t come home unless you need stitches.

I typed that first paragraph, then rambled in multiple unsuccessful attempts to say something happy about kids playing together, or some sort of pithy social commentary, or anything that wasn’t damned depressing. Sometimes Illustration Friday gives me a word for the week that leaves me stumped. “Fluid” gives me so many associations, I have a hard time keeping my mind on one thought long enough to say anything useful about it.

I went to a reiki group last night. This is a form of hands-on healing that was developed by a Japanese Buddhist in the early 20th century. I didn’t really have any expectations when I accepted my friend’s invitation. I have received reiki before, and found it anything from simply pleasant to really helpful. I guess a lot depends on the amount of need you have and the skill of the practitioner. At the very least, the practice definitely falls under the “Do no harm” motto of the medical profession. Last night’s session was both pleasant and helpful, which doesn’t explain at all why I’m thinking so many negative associations today with “fluid”.

Hands-on healing is practiced by a lot of different people throughout the world including Jesus, who said anything he could do, we can do. I had a healing by a Native American shaman once. An interesting thing about that experience was when I called him about week later to say I felt horrible. The shaman laughed and said “Yeah, sometimes that happens”. Well, that’s helpful! I thought you’re supposed to feel better after getting “healed”? After the shaman finished laughing at my miseries, he said that we carry a lot of negative things in our bodies. By removing that negativity, we leave a void. We need to fill that void with something better. He suggested visualizing a positive light. I started feeling better, and in the end, much better than before the healing. Maybe something like that’s going on after my reiki session?

Sometimes I envision myself floating on my back in the river, letting the water slip around me and gently pull me downstream. It’s an image that I started having when I was little, and it brings me comfort when the world seems chaotic. The flow of the water makes sense to me. The current will take me wherever I’m supposed to go. I suppose it’s my personal image of chi or the Holy Ghost, or however you want to express the order of the universe. Don’t fight the current. Maybe the reason I’m having trouble with this post is because I’ve been trying to swim upstream?

Or maybe, what I’m fighting is the old tapes in my head that say quit talking about stuff a lot of people don’t like to talk about. Don’t talk about reiki and shamanic healings or the tragic deaths of people who used to share that spring water from the iron pipe sticking out of the hill. Keep things happy and light and mainstream, and don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. But sometimes I wonder, maybe the stuff we squash within ourselves is exactly the stuff we’re on the planet to do?


  1. Nice energy between the two hands! Aw, it's your party, and you can talk about anything you want to. I, quite frankly, would be very interested to know more about shaman healing and reiki, never having experienced it myself. Hope you're having a swell weekend, Linda. :)

  2. I don't know how you do week-after-week postings of artwork and commentary, Linda! Life is not all warm and fuzzy, and if your words inspire just one person to look within as needed or to look around and appreciate what is, then you have done a good thing.

  3. Now I'm singing "It's my party" in my head. Thanks Bella! And thanks Korki! That's a comment that works in the mirror :) I hope you're having good weekends too!

  4. The beauty of blogs Linda is that we are allowed to ramble as we want to and yes "it's you party"! I always love your posts, they make me smile and ask me questions...that's a great reason for you writing them. I think your hands look cool...really "fluid". Have a great week,
    Jane x

  5. I like the image of peacefully floating downstream and releasing the stressful moments in life. Great meditation.

  6. It sounds like you may be going through a rough time... but your response, as always, is mindful & subtle, both words & images. I always find your posts interesting, whether they're light-hearted or not. I'm wishing you all kinds of healing & peace!

  7. I share your confusion about the word "fluid" Linda. Just as getting yourself clean is a good thing, having to get oneself wet all over and then dry oneself off in order to do so irritates the stink out of me. lol. Another great post Linda. I like the way your mind works and loved the words the shaman gave to you. (Getting rid of negativity causes a void that you have to fill with something.) Going to have to try that positive light thing. Seems so simple I'm sure it will work...

  8. Thanks so much everybody! Positive light for everyone!

  9. Healing, hands and blood. I couldn't help but think of the time I was attacked by a dog at the neighbor kids house. When I lifted my hands, they were covered in blood. The neighbors quickly took me home to my parents. And I'm sure my Mom was shocked. I so often have an association to my childhood after reading your stories.

  10. interesting post & eye catching illo. Like your fluid prose today - very evocative

  11. I would say keeping things light and happy and mainstream is what all is wrong with the world today.
    We need artists to point out the issues at hand; without us the age of oblivion would be ubiquitous... it nearly already is.

    Never squish your impulses, I say. Just slather them with visual sugar and cream ~it'll be digested before they know what hit them.


  12. What a story Sharon! OWWWW! I hope you've known some good dogs too. Your story reminds me of getting attacked by a neighbor's dog. Thankfully, I had on my winter coat, and it only gave me one cut, though I got pretty bruised up. Scary.

    Richard, I like your "slather them with sugar and cream". I'll keep that in mind :)

    Thanks for the comments everybody!

    And thanks for the follow Annie!!!

  13. 'Floating on a river' you wrote - that is a visualisation I often use to stop worrying about things you can't change (but have to accept). Thanks for your story.

  14. Thanks Brigitte. Let's all forget our worries!

  15. This was an eye-catching design. I love your choice of colors.