I painted this picture after a very intense few weeks when I was extremely busy with all sorts of extra meetings that seemed to give me very little time for doing any sort of creative work.  During this period my friend Lloyd died and at about the same time I heard that one of my oldest friends in the UK had very unexpectedly died after an operation.

I felt my friend very much with me and often thought about our friendship which started when we both went on the same bus to the grammar school together.  Her home life was in many ways very chaotic  as she had an abusive father from whom her mother eventually managed to get away, but at the cost of having to bring up three small children on her own.  While I was at school her mother worked as a live in help to a very cantankerous man – the whole family being affected by his moods and difficult ways.  But at least it gave the family somewhere to live and a small wage to her mother.  It was a difficult experience for my friend who when she left school became a primary school teacher, and eventually a much loved headmistress.
As often happens these events sparked a kind of review process within me.  I was feeling so unsatisfied with the work I was doing.

Especially that related to all the meetings that I had to attend as part of my work for the Farmgroup. I compared how I felt when I was in the throes of building up Buddha Garden and how I felt with this other sort of work.  I could see that although things were at times very difficult in Buddha Garden there was always a sense of rightness and deep satisfaction about what I was doing.  I just wasn’t getting that same kind of satisfaction with the meeting work.  Is the challenge for me to find the satisfaction in this work or to say ‘no’ to it?
This work is, quite literally, a pain in the neck.  I’d had it ever since I took on the work in February.

Eventually I came to see that I had to make some decisions, to somehow reconnect with something from which I think I had become disconnected, although what the ‘something’ was I couldn’t say.  Talking about my friend with her husband and being with him at that time somehow brought me closer to the reconnection that I was seeking.  Sitting in meetings didn’t and doesn’t.

The funeral for both Lloyd and my friend Wendy were on the same day.  I was able to go to Lloyd’s cremation in the morning and felt very much with Wendy’s funeral at the same time.

Later the same day I had a very strong feeling to spend the next six weeks changing things in my life.  I wanted to get rid of my digestive problems and try to take a different attitude towards the meetings.  I decided to take some herbal medicine regularly during the six weeks to get rid of whatever bugs were causing the problems.  This was after having a dream which indicated that allopathic medicine was not going to be appropriate for this particular problem.  At the same time I decided that I had to make some changes to my life so that I had enough time to nurture myself and to cultivate the internal shift that would allow me to have more stillness inside.  I felt that part of my agitation came from being too attached to particular outcomes, whether in meetings or in Buddha Garden.  I felt that I needed to become less attached, to do what I could but then to go with the flow.  That I needed to do more for myself such as having a regular massage, making time for doing yoga and specific exercises ever day.

This picture expresses all those things.  I called it ‘Reminder to myself’ – a reminder to ‘be still as you move with the flow’. To cultivate an inner stillness that flows with whatever is going on either within or without.  To trust that wherever the flow goes is the right direction.