A Slap Upside the Head

(click to enlarge)

Oils on Canvasboard
18” x 24”
Framed 30”x 35”

This is the Tower XVI in Lane's Greenwitch Tarot:

"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back....”   Paulo Coelho

Our Spirit Self has been poking gently at us for a while, whispering a directive to change something, hinting at a new direction to be taken. But we haven’t listened. It feels too scary. Could never happen. So says our egoic self to keep us safely  on the well-worn path. Hence the necessity of the "Slap Upside the Head." The lightning bolt seemingly out of the blue. That which upends everything. The Tower moment. It can be overt and obvious – a death in the family, a scary diagnosis or injury, the sudden ending of a marriage, a layoff. Everything seems to crumble and fall. Or it can be subtle though no less profound. A gentle breeze that brings a shift in perspective or a new friend and ally. Whatever it is, we realize that nothing can ever be the same again. We could collapse to curl into a little ball which might be appropriate in the short term. But eventually, however battered and bruised, we must adjust, take a deep breath, peer out over the wreckage of what once was to see the new path opening before us.

 What needs shifting in your life? What impossible-seeming thought of change has been niggling at you. Can you listen and act now before the Tower moment clobbers with a more challenging recovery? What do you need to do to crawl out of the called-for upheaval that is already upon you? “But I didn’t ask for it,” you say. Perhaps not consciously but your Soul did. Now what are you going to do about it?

The “slap” here has been seen as everything from snake to a wave, but to me it is the Soul – the deep Self speaking to the ego self. I don’t know why I can’t quite keep that in my head.
Journal 4/4/96

Still very up and down. Swollen eyes no better. Doctor’s office suggested hot compresses but after three days no change. Taking more and more foods out of my diet and no change there either. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep the faith. Easter potluck coming up. Uh oh.

Did a painting finally after long dry spell – of my eyes and body as teacher/alley. And “a brief glimpse of the blindingly obvious” whacking me upside the head. It felt good to be doing it.

I’m also working on framing ideas that have been nagging at me – carving sticks after nice gathering session with Morgan. Skye says I look funny doing it – such a little boy thing to do. I can only work on that in little snatches – must be gentle with myself. Framing is a huge unresolved issue for me.

Slap Upside the Head framed in sticks from the Flood of 1996