This 12” x 16” acrylic on paper is number 3 in a series that explores ending relationships of any nature. The first painting focused upon the realization that a relationship is over when we decide to take off the mask, as in The Masquerade Ball Ended-AllSwell. The next one, Cleaning Up After The Ball, focused on the emotions, the beliefs and the actions inherent in the aftermath. It addressed the need to release our attachment to the relationship, by acknowledging every part of it, embracing the thoughts and the emotional content and offered an opening to create room for the new. The last piece briefly touched on the role of ego in breaking up. This piece, There Are Still Some Revelers-Here Comes The Dragon, encourages us to be present to the workings of ego and urges us to have the courage to see what truth we choose to live as we view the relationship that ended. This work is meant to help us contemplate how the choice was made. Was it in the light of our spiritual truth or did we move according to our material world view?
As we all know, ego plays a big role in how we view our life and the people around us. The ego firmly clings to the past and loves to replay it endlessly. Additionally, the more turmoil we find ourselves in, the more the ego asserts its influence by capturing the lowest emotions we experienced. It is hard to end a relationship, because the ego whispers conflicting messages that, in a state of vulnerability, we buy as what is real. The swirling red and white paint on the black background are quite contained, as evidence that this is a cloud, a temporary explosion. The black represents the void, the realm of possibility, the unmanifest. The red paint is thick and strong, as in rage, but looking carefully, we can see that the anger seems to revolve around itself. Isn’t it how it usually plays? When we are angry, when we are in trouble, it is temporary. We tend not to remember that everything is always moving and changing. The only thing we create while in a state of inner war is misery for ourselves and those who are on our war-path. We also create more karma.
The little figures in the background, also twirling and swirling about, cling to the “dust balls” for dear life. Just like the emotional baggage that we cling to and that plays over and over in our minds, the imps don’t want to hear and don’t want to die. This is what Buddhism calls the endless wheel of Samsara. Here comes the dragon!
In Chinese lore, dragons radiate power and bestow greatness, bravery, and intelligence. The Asian dragons are associated with beauty, kindness, and prudence and are considered to be intelligent beyond measure. Here in the West, our folklore paints dragons as negative, symbolizing greed and hunger, with the capabilities of wreaking havoc if their guidance is not heeded. It is said that they roamed the country side eating and feasting endlessly. A brave young lad finally conquers the beast and in its place, great jewels are found within the dragon’s carcass as a prize for the boy’s bravery in the face of danger.
In using the symbol of the dragon cleaning up the “mess”, I use a combined interpretation of East and West philosophies. In the grip of ego, we sometimes may be unable to see that we are not living our spiritual truth. The dragon (our courage, our beauty, and our kindness) comes by and drags everything on its wide clear path (our intelligence-control of the mind) to conquer the beast (our base emotions) to find the great jewels of freedom from unhealthy attachments.
This freedom comes when we look at the other in the relationship and decide what is real and truth. Do we feel saddened, betrayed and mistreated by the other party? Do we wish that we reacted sooner? Do we wish that the other person had been more caring and loving? If this is how we feel, then we are coming from our material truth. This truth contains dualities, it renders us as limited individuals; it sees situations as a matter of luck, birthplace, rank, etc. In this truth, we are powerless.
If we could see that the person with whom we were in relationship, may have been incapable of treating us differently. If we could step away and realize that their actions were the perfect reflection of whom they were at that moment in their lives; we can also see that standing in judgment, prevents from seeing that whom we attracted in partnership provided us with a gift. The gift can be that continuing it could have been more harmful. It is best for both parties to move on. This break up enables us to attract a more appropriate partner, a more meaningful relationship, or a better situation all around. The relationship taught us to see the person as it was, and not as we wished it. We learned not to cling and not to look for love in the wrong places. It allowed us to see that during its course and our attachments, we did not love ourselves enough to release it when we knew it needed to go. We can see how we valued ourselves. It taught us that we have choices and that no matter which path we take, we always win, if we are willing to stand in our power, by seeing with curiosity what was there to learn, that there are no enemies, and of the limitless possibilities that we are yet to experience. This is living from our spiritual truth and these are the dragon’s jewels. As such and in this painting, the dragon is shiny and bejeweled. We conquered the beast and claim the prize: peace and real happiness for both parties!
I hope to take the time to contemplate this piece and share your experiences and reactions to it. The original is http://www.lidiascherart.com. Next piece, we examine the “jewels”.