By watching Fabienne Verdier1 paint, it is possible to enter the contemplative and meditative space from which she works in a palpable way. Spontaneous movement embodied as the moment emerges through her being- through the brushes, paint, the forces of nature, and elements around her. She says, “When I paint a tree, I become a tree, when I paint water I become water. The same with tectonic forces. It’s something self-generating. I feel it powerfully in my heart. It comes out in an abstract form.”
Like in the teachings of Taoist sages, she too is engaged in the practice of emptiness creating itself. Such practices require silence and solitude, enough to create a highly receptive state where one can begin to truly hear. Fabienne says, “you hear your inner voice, sometimes the inner voice of clarity itself. I don’t know, it’s a great mystery.”
I see many parallels in Fabienne’s practice as a painter to the practice of a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. In the treatment room with a patient, together we open to possibility- to emptiness- to mystery-to the forces of nature- to the elements- with a shared intention, and then we see what ‘wants’ to happen. When this inquiry engages and moves with the tools of Chinese Medicine, something new is able to emerge- bringing change and creating space as nourishing ground for the spontaneous arising of harmony, clarity, and wholeness embodied. True healing is a mystery- moving away from the known toward the unknown in a dance of moving stillness and stillness moving.
When learning Chinese Medicine, spending time in nature and the elements is vital to understanding the forces of nature in the body, as is spending time in stillness and silence and having practices of being a ‘hollow reed’ or channel for clarity to come through to assist the moment. In this way, one may engage in a dance with the forces of nature and the cosmos. How this is expressed is unique to the individual and the intention of how one uses this connection in the world.
Fabienne immersed herself in the art of spontaneous painting during her ten years in China studying calligraphy and Taoist philosophy. She shares about her time with her calligraphy teacher: “Before ever taking up a brush we spent a great deal of time together. When we’d go on study trips in the holy mountains I’d take my pencil and sketch away. He would smile and ask, “What are you doing there? You’re trying to copy the form before you? You must allow yourself to be filled with the essence of what is alive within you. Perhaps one day poetry will emerge from your brush and you’ll have something to say.”
I see within each of us the ability to open to and move with ‘the essence of what is alive’. Through each of us, essence or divine spark can ignite the poetry of our soul so that we may live its full expression on earth. This is what I have come to know as what is truly healing- to be alive to the moment and allowing one’s movement in the world to express that aliveness. It will not be perfect, and will be made of light and shadow, successes and failures, joys and sorrows, and all opposites in equal measure. This is the wholeness of the moment and of existence itself.
The art of our lives is a life long devotion where staying alive and awake to the exploration is the practice. The joy and the healing are in the questions living themselves. The answers will come and go, but it is the questions that will lead us to the aliveness and spontaneity of the moment. Now… and now… and now…
1 “Fabienne Verdier (b. 1962, Paris, France) is an abstract painter who explores the dynamism of forces in nature, movement and immobility by drawing on her intimate knowledge of techniques and traditions of both Western and Eastern art. Verdier paints vertically in ink, standing directly on her stretchers, using giant brushes and tools of her own invention suspended from the studio ceiling. Her work combines Eastern aspects of unity, spontaneity and asceticism with the line, action and expression of Western painting.”
Painting by Monique Gaboury 2008
4’ x 2’ Acrylic on Wood
About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ’Nourishing Change Through Connection’.