November 19, 2011

Miss Ashlyn

"Miss Ashlyn"
22 x 28, oil on canvas

This painting was a commission, painted from a photograph supplied by the owner. I have never met my subject, but I am told the blue shirt you see her lying on, is her security blanket. The cozy softness holds the scent of her beloved owner and offers comfort whenever he is away. Even though I have never formally met Ashlyn, I know her well. She is every dog I have ever loved, cherished, and adored. One look into her soulful eyes and you feel adoration, unconditional love and devotion.
Neuroscientist and author of "My Stroke of Insight", Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, recounts how a massive stroke at age 37 shut down the left side of her brain--that is the thinking, analyzing, language side that allows us to name, code, categorize, and judge our experiences, people, places and things. Once the left brain was quieted, she was left to experience the world through the right brain and the five senses: rich with images, symbols, colors, patterns and light. While recovering, she recognized this "shift" and requested that her caregivers "take responsibility" for the energy they brought into her space. She noted that there are two kinds of people--those who take energy from you, and those who bring you theirs. Wow. Shouldn't we all be taking responsibility for the energy we bring into the spaces we enter? It would require us to leave behind the baggage of worry, anxiety, anger, resentment, ego--and just Be Present. Right Now. In THIS moment....And, isn't that exactly the way dogs negotiate the world? They constantly read our energy and emotions. They bring joy, curiosity and enthusiasm into our "space" - Just look at how ecstatic they are to see us when we walk in the door, regardless of how long we have been away! Without language, they don't understand the actual words we say, but instead, they zone in on the energy behind the words: our tone of voice, and the look in our eyes. They have no clue what it feels like to be burdened by a grudge, a judgement, or hatred.
There are no woulda, coulda, shouldas--just this moment. And you can see that in their eyes.

"We have the power to choose ,
moment by moment,
who and how we want to be in the world."
Jill Bolte Taylor
(to hear her TED presentation, click here)
Happy Thanksgiving!