"understanding" 17" x 21" — original SOLD — giclee prints available
“understanding” 17″ x 21″ — original SOLD — giclee prints available

Of the seven gifts of the holy spirit — wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the lord — it is understanding that I pray most often to receive now.

And —

In doing so, I’ve been led to a very scary ledge that I now teeter on:

Unknowing.

All I know is that I cannot possibly —

Know certain things.

I no longer trust my mind alone to sort out the truths that matter most.

And while this realization causes me a certain amount of distress and terrifies me at times —

I am also aware of growing more at home in the paradox that cannot be divided or filtered for my immediate gratification.  The ability to pass on illusions that once worked like sleep aids is becoming a sacred ground for me.  While often rocky and unpleasing to my self-image, it holds my commitment in a way I’ve not experienced before as I seek to understand in new ways.

And so, I decided to paint the gift of understanding swan a second time yesterday.

The first time, in December 2011 as part of my 7SWANS collection, I called it my “ugly duckling” and surprise —

It remained with me as every other swan was sold at our 7SWANS holiday bazaar.

Thus began my deeper contemplation of the “gift of understanding that helps those who have it penetrate to the heart of revealed truth even when they do not fully understand its entire meaning.”

The new painting reflects my current “understanding” of this gift in two ways.

One is the placement of the multi-colored yin yang in the swan’s heart which reminds me to see truth with my heart, honoring the paradox it often contains.

The second is the orientation of the swan.  The understanding swan is looking in the opposite direction of other six swans based on my experience of this gift as inviting me to open up to the other side, no matter how crazy it might seem to my mind —

So that truth may be revealed —

In my heart —

And the hearts of others.

About the Author Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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