Well, this month had the official day in the calendar to be thinking about love, so I have been doing just that.
I have a bit of a ‘heart’ thing. I’ve a LOT of heart shaped objects in my house….. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I like the many things they symbolize about the importance of love and what is going on in the deep places of who we are. Love for family and friends, strangers and places. To know love, to feel it, and to act upon it when we don’t feel like it at all. This really is my favourite never ending theme, so no doubt it’ll reoccur in other posts…
Just a few of my vast collection!
People have asked me if I paint to feel good or whether I am in a good frame of mind first. Generally it’s the latter but I distinctly remember one time many years ago when I painted from a place of anger and frustration. Let me explain.
I had a dream of a heart shaped raging fire. There was immense energy behind it, full of living colour and powerfully raging… but most beautiful and loving at the same time. When I awoke I sketched it in my notebook.
A week or so later I found myself in a situation that made me extremely frustrated. I wanted to help a couple financially but wasn’t in a position to be able to. So I decided to start painting and sell the work, giving them the proceeds. (Actually, this was the start of my journey of producing more paintings and getting work ‘out there’.) I couldn’t afford to buy more canvases but I could start by painting over a couple old ones. I decided to paint that raging heart I’d seen in my dream. Energetically I slapped the paint on with a large brush, not taking much notice of what I was doing, just letting my frustrated thoughts come out. When I’d finally exhausted myself I looked at what I’d done.
Peace and Reassurance
How could this happen… I’d produced a painting that looked the complete opposite of how I’d felt! It looked as if it had been calmly and gently created. I could see love staring back at me in the form of peace and reassurance and it deeply ministered to my heart.
From this peace filled place I proceeded to go ahead and paint the picture I’d originally intended from my dream. (And a friend generously donated some money for materials so I could follow through with producing more paintings!)
Love shows itself in different forms. Sometimes love is raging and burns within us, a furious love if you like. Much emotion is attached. For example, it cries out at injustice and can be a powerful force that moves us to action.
Love is barely recognisable until it’s communicated with actions as well as words.
There is also love that doesn’t depend on emotions and feelings to be active. Let me share some of the story behind another painting.
In my mind’s eye I saw a picture of a heart shaped pebble dropping into water with ripples coming out which were also heart shaped. Although this wouldn’t actually happen in real life, this is what I saw. The image was rich with symbolism. It spoke of the importance of what is going on in the centre of who we are. How we can get busy doing things out there in one of the ripples but actually, what’s going on in the heart is the true source effecting the shapes coming out. Motives come from our centre. We can’t see everything that goes on in our heart but it is an important place that can be hurt and calloused due to life experiences. So this is also the place where inner healing and transformation occur.
Agapé – Selfless Love
I called this painting Agapé, a Greek word meaning selfless love. The Greek language is much richer than ours and has a variety of words describing different types of love. Agapé is the highest form of love, not determined by feelings but rather, a determined act of the will. It is unconditional and self-sacrificing, giving out like the ripples. It is the word used in the scriptures to describe the very nature of God Himself, who is love, not just who loves. The God of the bible most clearly demonstrated this love through his son Jesus dying on the cross for all mankind.
Agapé can of course also involve our feelings and emotions but it isn’t dependent on them to be active – it is motivated by purer love. An act of will motivated by anything other than love at it’s source however, understandably makes it less sustainable in the longer term, leaving one prone to disappointment and burnout. Personally speaking I’m very aware I continually need more agapé love filling my heart!!!
Whilst I tend to title my paintings and have my own story with them, I am of course aware that the image isn’t limited to where my thoughts started. In a sense, as soon as someone else sees the work it’s given away for the viewer to engage in their own way.
And that’s exactly what I’d like to do – give it away.
So if you’d like to receive a free print of this painting (31cm x 41cm) just comment below with the words Agapé – selfless love. You needn’t say anything else but of course it would be great to hear some of your own comments if you wish. At the end of next week on Saturday 7th March I will randomly select someone, contact you for your address and post it out.
I look forward to hearing from you. Be blessed and go live out the love – the ripple effects are far reaching. 🙂