Oh for the wings of a dove to fly away and rest (Psalm 55 v 6)
This picture is an Ethiopian icon to the Holy Spirit. Take some time to look at it. What takes your attention? The colours? The contained space? The flight upwards?
I have been recently made aware of the limbic brain: the part of the brain that comes fully formed with us into the world. Within it reside our earliest memories: it is where our ‘gut instincts’ originate and also where we learn our knee jerk reactions. Reactions such as flight or fight. But also as I have recently learnt, freeze. This has been a revelation to me as I have realized that I am a freezer: in the face of decision-making or crisis, I become the proverbial rabbit in headlights. And I wonder, perhaps we all need a balance of these three visceral responses alongside, of course, our logical rational brain, to function well. And so I started to think about fight and flight.
This second picture is of a votive collected from an art piece I made. For Leeds Light Night 2008 I invited the general public in Leeds city centre to respond to wayside shrines with their hopes and prayers. In one night I collected over 900 prayers and this is one of them.
As a nation we are fighting an invisible enemy and for many of us the world has froze. But where do we fly? Do we fly away from the situation into realms of fancy or a place of fear? Or do we fly towards hope? Towards learning what we can from this time?
Take time to look at the icon again and consider these questions:
What are you flying from at the moment? What do you want to escape?
What realities are you facing that you have been flying from?
What truth and future will you fly towards?
Where is the Divine in the picture? In you? In the world we are living in?
You will need a piece of kitchen foil, a square of cardboard, a pencil, glue stick or sticky tape
- cut a square of cardboard and a slightly bigger square of kitchen foil
- stick the foil onto the card centrally
- fold foil edges around cardboard and stick to back
- use the pencil to draw into the foil, it should indent rather than score if you are gentle!
- Draw or write about your response to the icon, keep it as a reminder if you like