“Thank you”, portrait of Mooji, oil on canvas, 275mm x 275mm
On 12 January of this year, Saturn and Pluto met up in the skies to begin a year-long journey, later to be joined by Jupiter. Historically, this combination has heralded a range of experiences including war, plague, as well as financial and social crises. Adding Jupiter to the mix, the giant of the zodiac, has amped up and expanded that Pluto/Saturn energy in 2020.
In a nutshell, this combination of planets is presenting us with an opportunity to discover our own authority, truth and self-responsibility, by bringing up a range of issues including the collapse of structures, restriction and limitation, extreme polarisation, justice, and clashes with authorities. The conjunction is affecting us all globally, and is also playing out for us personally, as we each experience the energy in a different area of our lives, according to our individual birth chart.
Astrologer Rick Levine likens the Pluto/Saturn/Jupiter energy to the bass line – the drums and bass guitar – in the piece of music that is 2020. It governs the energy of the year, but is not alone, being accompanied by the melody of faster moving planets like Mars, Mercury and Venus as they dip in and out, adding their notes to the composition.
We have all, in one way or another, faced endings, losses and upheavals this year. We have come up against the question of who really is the authority in our lives, of what we value and what we need. We have seen the structures we have come to depend upon as unchangeable disintegrate and fail. It has been a wake up call in one area or another of our daily existence, a call to notice, to change, to let go, to surrender to what is. Perhaps we’ve come to realise the illusionary nature of “reality” and the bias of all we hear, say, experience, and choose to believe.
Amidst all this insecurity, change and loss, the energy of this heavy-weight conjunction offers a powerful gift. It is the realisation of true gratitude for Life, for our own true nature and the divine nature from which all of Life springs. I am not talking of the gratitude to be found in a gratitude list, or in a desperate prayer of thanks as a way of staving off what we desperately hope doesn’t materialise. That is gratitude used as currency, in a world where we feel we are at the mercy of a capricious god who requires our thanks and acknowledgement, rewarding or punishing us accordingly.
The gratitude I’m talking about is to be found in stillness and silence, and is a natural result of being aware, even for a moment, of the peace that is already here, coursing through our being, always and forever. It bubbles up by itself and requires no urging or seeking or listing or hoping. It has no preferences and is not concerned with what it is being expressed for. It doesn’t need situations or people to be a certain way. It is inclusive of everything Life is presenting at this moment, whether the body-mind-person finds these phenomena comfortable or not. It is not an attitude or belief which requires input or effort on our minds’ part to come into existence. It is already present, always present, if we just take the time to notice it.
We’ve been taught to create an attitude of gratitude, and while this is undoubtedly a useful starting point, we are naturally evolving beyond the idea that we create gratitude, or that we create anything to be grateful for. Gratitude is like peace. It doesn’t require us to create it; all we can do is recognise it, bring our awareness to it. And when we do, it floods our being without differentiation or exclusion. And suddenly we are immersed in the absolute joy of appreciating Life exactly as it is, including it all. Yes, including it all.
If your mind is anything like mine, it will naturally want to turn this too into a concept. It will want to agree or disagree, rationalise or justify. Perhaps, in agreement, it will suggest that yes, everything that happens does so to serve our highest good and evolution, and, for that reason, gratitude should be expressed for everything. But that’s just another rabbit hole, another belief… and the truth of it is much simpler. Gratitude is our natural expression. It doesn’t mean we are a good person, or a wise person, and it isn’t evidence that we’re doing something right. Living in gratitude isn’t something we do, it is something we are. All we have to do is notice this, and enjoy it.
This painting of Mooji, for me, expresses all I am trying to say with the insufficiency of words. Here, in this stance, exuding grace, peace and gratitude, he is a living example of our true nature. This, for me, is what true gratitude feels like, looks like, behaves like. Once asked what the greatest prayer was, Mooji replied “Thank you”. Painting this wasn’t a spiritual or transcendental experience for me, it wasn’t particularly flowing or easy, and the results are not what I envisaged when I began it. But it was Life, exactly how it needed to be.
Thank you for it all!
‘Till next time
The Art Shop News
I am very happy to let my international customers know that you can now enjoy lower shipping costs and faster delivery times.
I have partnered with a wonderful printer in the UK, which means that all international print orders will be printed in, and delivered from, the United Kingdom.
The quality and archivability of materials, both museum-standard canvas and papers, is superb, not to mention the printing and inks.
Shipping is done via First Class Royal Mail, and is registered for orders travelling out of the UK.
Original paintings and mounted prints will continue to be shipped from South Africa.
On the Easel…
Working on my first big painting in a long time… this canvas is 600mm x 900mm x 40mm.
Will keep you posted on his progress through Facebook and Instagram.