Welcome to you all and to the first of a new month. Spring floats on the breeze and sitting out on a weather-worn bench in the garden I rise my face to the dazzling sunlight. As the daffodils tilt and twist to capture its warmth, so do I.
On such a morning I find myself pondering the nature of the creative spirit and at times its unimaginable strength in the face of insurmountable agonies.
These musings follow in the wake of reading about Frida Kahlo. She was not an artist for which I hold any particular affection although I know of her work. What I did not know was of the life of pain she endured until her untimely passing aged only 47.
Firstly as a child she suffered from polio but made a recovery to normal life. Then aged 18 she was severely injured when the bus she was travelling on collided with a trolley car.
As a result of these injuries she was never free from pain again. In the following years she had over 35 operations and many episodes of agonising pain that resulted in her being bed-ridden for many months at a time. Among other sorrows the physical damages rendered her unable to have children.
Where this life would fell many, Frida instead discovered, with her parents help, her love of painting and throughout her life she painted over 150 paintings. Furthermore she travelled in Central America, the USA and Europe. On a personal level she married the famous painter Diego Rivera – twice! Throughout their tempestuous mutually adulterous relationship she never stopped painting.
The indomitable spirit of the creative being within us is alive and waiting to be tapped. It takes courage, persistence and passion to continue to work through pain and illness of any sorts. Its rewards are unquantifiable.
Reading about Frida’s life and knowing so many who continue their creative work in spite of (or perhaps as a result of) their hardships is a true inspiration – to myself and hopefully to you all.
‘Our existence is not an accident but a mystery…We can entrust ourselves to this mystery, for we are part of it. Indeed we are it.’
By Jean-Pierre Weil, ‘The Well of Being’