Today is Valentine's Day.. the day when one reaches out to those individuals who bring the most Joy and Happiness to you in your daily life. Today, I dig deeply in an effort to embrace the contributions of those in my life who make me feel most complete.
There lies little question in my mind that I am indeed blessed to have a host of cherubs and angels who continually offer me their unconditional love and support. My own children and my beautiful Deb and several special friends are such examples.
In spite of these continuously supportive and important presences, today is tinged with deep sadness. A part of my heart is empty and I realize that no matter how hard I try to replenish that space... it will remain empty forever.
I even try to convince myself that I am ungrateful and should feel shame for this feeling. But I have learned over time not to feel so. My grief belongs to me alone and I am entitled to express it as I feel necessary and without feeling a need for apology.
I try not to inflict it upon people at will. And I choose who to share it with. Only a few .. and when it is most appropriate.
I wish to share a card sent to me by a "significant" blogger Friend with whom I share a similar sense of deep loss. I choose to share the card she sent my way to encourage my healing. She included with this special card two magnificent portraits of Allison. One hangs in our bedroom... the other on Allie's mom Joan's mantle piece. I cannot begin to express the Peace and the Joy that these gifts continually offer we Sherman's.
This beautifully crafted computer-cut card is by itself a powerfully poignant
Valentine sentiment... but I will include a few of the handwritten words that my wonderful Friend added:
"I think this card is perfect as it symbolizes hearts joined as one. And even tho some of the hearts have fallen from the tree, they are still very much part of the whole. In time they will be rejoined. But until then, the emptiness can be shattering - if we allow it. And sometimes we must if we are to begin healing."
A one line "Valentine" arrived in my Inbox this morning ... via the Twice Weekly Newsletter from Robert and Sara Genn to which I subscribe. It read simply... but powerfully:
"To be free of fear is to be full of love."
- Adyashanti (Spiritual Teacher)
Way of Liberation
This liberation is accomplished through following teachings which come directly to you through one's own experience.
As strange as it may seem... though Allison's tragic and shattering passing has left confusion, sadness, grief and even a sense of hopelessness within me at times. It has as well stirred significant spiritual growth and a lesser feeling of fear for death.
I accept them as legitimate emotional expressions. I am not ashamed of them. I choose not to wallow in them either. Allie taught me that during her courageous struggle with the wretched disease within her. I try to work through them and to learn from them... as they come to me from time to time.
She pulled this tarot card for me which directly follows the teaching of Adyashanti:
"Replace fear... choose Love!"
Joan and I meet as the need arises to reach out and share some of the gifts that Allison created and left with us. As well, we share some of our gifts that we shared lovingly with her while she was with us. We are sending this next painting "valentine" that I created specifically for Allie. This oil painting that I sent her for Christmas, 2006 recorded the familiar view from a bridge that I crossed every day during my own eight week adventure in Venice.
My own adventure zeal that I experienced there would propel Allison to search and follow her own camino in many subsequent trips to live, study and teach in many parts of Italy. Venice captured both of our hearts. We were.. and always will remain kindred spirits under her spell.
I am proud to say that this small painting will arrive this week... close to Valentine's Day at the door of her "bestie"/soul mate Jill Weinreich Luppi.
We are indebted forever to Jill for spearheading the massively successful online fundraising project which helped fund Allison's trip to Austria to receive advanced cancer treatment. She also deposited some of Allie's final ashes into Venice's historic Lagoon... thus a part of her spirit remains in her beloved city.
I know that Allie would share our excitement and joy to send this Valentine oil gift to Jill for her home. It rightfully belongs with her!
"Campo Santa Maria di Formosa"
12 x 16 inch oil on canvas
I have embraced Allison's wish the I "live my life fully... in her honor."
It is my honor to do so... to the best of may ability.
On Sunday, my painting buddy David Kay and his lovely wife Diane will arrive to share three days with us here at The Barriefield. David and I have painted together for several decades in his home turf, Algonquin Park. We will spend most of those three days plein air painting together in my special places here.
Got the winter garb and thermals at the ready! Stepping away from my Lunar Landscape theme for a bit. Let's just call this plein air junket into this current -23C "winter wonderland"... "Pure Lunacy"! LOL
Happy Valentine's Day... to All!!!
Ti amo Allie... Forever!