healing

Run With the Tiger

Image of an encaustic painting by Janet Fox titled "Run With The Tiger."
Run With The Tiger | encaustic | 12″h X 12w” (sold)

Connecting with tiger energy

Many days when waking up, I marvel and am grateful that I’m alive and present for another day. While setting my intention, I often wonder what lies ahead and how I might respond. I pray for guidance that my actions and words will be a force for healing and for making the world a better place. A while back, I read a great book about healing. Peter Levine’s “Waking the Tiger,” focuses on trauma, its impacts, and how to find healing. He presents examples of how animals in the wild naturally release the energy of a trauma after the threat has passed. As humans, though, we’ve learned to hold that intense “tiger” energy inside, where it can wreak havoc and cause pain. Levine presents ways to revisit old traumas and to safely release the buried and stuck energy. In practicing many of these techniques, I’ve come to understand difficult experiences in a new light. It can also feel really great to growl like a tiger, feel the vibration in my throat, and hear the roar come from my own voice.

Tigers in the wild

How are tigers living in the world today? According to Wikipedia, tigers are generally solitary although social animals requiring large areas of territory to support their prey. But due to conflicts with humans, including reduced habitat and poaching, they are endangered with fewer than 4,000 in the wild. This beautiful National Geographic video gives a rare look into the lives of several wild tigers in India and their cubs. It’s fascinating to observe how they relate to each other. I’m also amazed that the videographer could get close enough for filming!

A tiger as a dream symbol

Dream images often inspire my art so I researched a tiger from a Jungian perspective. A Knoji.com article about lions and tigers in dreams describes how a person’s associations to these powerful animals is important to understanding the dream’s message. Is a dream tiger ferociously chasing? Or is it soft like a stuffed toy? Is it in a cage, in an effort to keep it safely contained? Am I engaging with it or watching from afar? I imagine running with a tiger kind of spirit requires speed, cautious fearlessness, and a sort of instinctual trusting that I have the ability to stand my ground, protect myself, or flee.

About Run With The Tiger

Reflecting on those morning questions, past traumas, dreamtime images and the glimpse of real tigers inspired me to write the poem. After building it into the painting’s foundation, I fused several layers of encaustic paint, while combing into the orange, yellow, light and dark fur areas. The music line fit perfectly out of my reflections. Although life’s traumas can feel all-consuming, going through them can result in a greater appreciation and counting my blessings of what remains.

Looking as honestly as possible at something traumatic takes courage. Courage to face fear, which is perhaps what it might feel like to look a tiger in the eye. Facing down danger. Facing down death. By facing death, I can perhaps experience life more fully.

How do you perceive the tiger?

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  For information about purchasing a similar artwork, contact Janet Fox.

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Healing from Within (encaustic)

Image of an encaustic painting by Janet Fox titled "Healing from Within."
Healing from Within | encaustic

Healing. What is it? Where is it from?

Unlike some of my other work, this painting was not inspired by a dream. One reason I enjoy creating art is that I can drift into a focused realm that is “in the moment of doing.” During this process, I somehow turn down the volume of outside distractions and on-going mind chatter and enter a sort of creative, healing meditation.

I painted this encaustic image on top of an earlier painting on canvas that I had also previously collaged over with bits of incomplete paintings and writing snippets. While building up the layers, including the top ones of melted pigmented wax, I decided to let the title words poke through. Do you see them?

Other words on the under paintings, which I blurred or covered over, can be forgotten. I felt enlightened by the words that poked through clearly; they looked right and made me feel good.

In a literal sense, “healing” means to “make whole.” My energy and intentions while painting come from somewhere inside. Perhaps painting this art allowed me to become more whole. The words poked through from a deeper source of knowledge, like writing myself a reminder note so I wouldn’t forget.

The multiple layers also remind me of the complexity of life and how the experiences of today layer on top of those from many yesterdays. In some way, my life IS my artwork, since I add new layers of experiences every day while deciding what to focus on or forget.

After I finished this painting, I photographed and exhibited it at the Montgomery Art Association Gallery. Several months later, I decided to scrape off all of the wax and other layers, down to the base canvas surface. As a result, the painting no longer exists in its original physical form. Now, it exists only as a combination of zeros and ones in the digital realm. I make prints of it for art greeting cards.

Through this painting, I explored how healing energy is present deep within. I can help it break through the layers of time to the awareness of daily life. Now that I know this, I can not un-know it.

Contemplation: Have you found healing energy from somewhere deep within? Did you do something intentional to release it?

  Feel free to add your note about this post or view others’ thoughts by clicking “Leave a Comment / Comments,” below.

 For information about purchasing art cards, contact Janet Fox.