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’


  1. Peter R

    Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
    Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
    O still, small voice of calm.

    I think that this is a fine reference to the inner spirit, if we only let it speak to us.

  2. Mirja

    Thanks Annika, you really lifted my spirits today.
    First with the wonderful and shining photo.
    An image of you on a weather-worn bench, face tilted to
    the sun. Taking in the wonder of life and creativity in all
    it’s power and mystery.
    Bless you

    1. Mirja, thank you so much for your warm words. I am glad you liked the photo; I wanted to reflect the Spring sunshine we had today heralding in March. As for the bench, I really should get out there and give a good scrub, no good excuses anymore. Life is a wonder and mystery all the time – it’s just we tend to forget that in our hurry to live.

  3. Mike

    This gets better and better. I never particularly liked Frida’s paintings but having read your blog I now have a greater understanding why she possibly painted as she did – and how she suffered during her life.

    Great blog

    1. Many thanks for your comments and glad I could enlighten everyone (including myself) about Frida. Yes, I will look at her paintings with new understanding now. Makes one wonder how often great art is the result of intense suffering.

  4. Barbara

    Very well written and inspirational. Thank you Annika.
    I knew of Frida Kahlo’s story but it was good to see a writers perspective about her. As an artist…I have always seen the pain in her art. Knew this was her way of showing the suffering within to others and then dealing with it herself. A picture is worth a thousand words….but a thousand words….can create a picture.
    You are an expert at creating pictures with your thousand words my friend.

    1. Barbara, I was thinking of you when writing this and wondered what your opinion as an artist would be – thank you for your lovely comments. I was worried I would do Frida an injustice. All the arts are so interlinked don’t you think, as long as they touch us, that’s what matters.

  5. “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” (Annika Perry). This is a great thought Perry, coming in a great post. I agree: you are an excellent writer. God bless!

    1. I am so happy you enjoyed the post and thank you for your positive words – a real confidence booster. The post was written quickly this morning, straight from my heart.

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