Art for When Your Body Needed Armor

Once upon a time, we humans collectively experienced a kind of trauma that changed all of us forever– a kind of ancient climate trauma that possibly created the conditions for a mind-virus that has been preying on us for thousands of years.

Sounds like the start of a sci-fi movie, I know.

(You don’t have to take my word for it; there are solid reasons to take this idea seriously in the work of the authors below.)

I painted this long piece (a sketchbook spread) as a way to express the experience of rushing the body to do things it can’t or isn’t ready to do, the feeling of threat or unsafety that comes with ongoing, unpredictable and insidious assaults on the body, mind and heart. When there is no grace to just be human, just be animal, when there’s a feeling of invasion of other people’s thoughts and feelings… and the way to instinctively protect the life force, is clenching, armoring, compacting, compressing; turning the common sense of contact and humanity into a black and white, harsh and cruel environment.

Tending to the scars and the ongoing energies that my body carries, passed on from that original, thousands of years old collective trauma, through time, all the way to my parents, my family and my immediate environment of school, work, and friends. It replicated and mutated with lovers and partners: all of us having absorbed, and simultaneously trying to keep at bay, the effects of the virus that disconnects us from life, exploits the body, exploits time, and dismisses the humming vibrancy of connection and beauty as superfluous, decorative or simply non-existent.

My friend Jennifer Harvey Sallin and I often explore similar healing processes at the same time, and today as she shared hers with me, it seemed (as it often does) like two puzzle pieces coming together, like two parts of the same sentence: so I’m sharing her tender artwork next to mine. I am grateful for the signals of pain today, here’s to tending to the pain.

If you want to learn more about the mind-virus I mentioned above, read Seeing Wetiko: On Capitalism, Mind Viruses, and Antidotes for a World in Transition, by By Alnoor Ladha & Martin Kirk, and join me at I Heart Earth where we’ll be delving deeper into Wetiko this month

Other recommended reading on this subject:

The Fall by Steven Taylor Saharasia by James DeMeo Columbus and Other Cannibals by Jack D. Forbes

Mermaid Forest @mermaid_forest