Pierced

With the closure of every year and the start of a new one, a person often resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior.  This year, instead of making a list of things that I wanted to change or fix, I simply sat and meditated. By doing so, I saw that I was stuck. And when we are stuck we postpone. What had I been postponing? I wasn't allowing myself to feel the difficulties I was experiencing in my life. As a result, I was restless and overrun with craving as a means to distract myself.

As an antidote to my suffering, I began waking up a 5am to meditate at the Rosemont Center in Albuquerque where I can take refuge with the Buddha, Dharma (Buddha's teachings) and the Sangha (spiritual community). Here I gain insight into the essence of the Buddha's teachings which are comprised in the Four Noble Truths. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. The suffering which I had been feeling and which the Buddha expounds on is a universal phenomena.

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Concurrently as my life was shifting to a more difficult period, many people in our country were beginning to experience an overwhelming amount of fear and pain when we discovered that our democracy and people were under attack. As a way to address my individual pain and the collective suffering I was feeling around me, I created, "Pierced." 

The idea of thorns came to me as a metaphor for pain through my daily walks by a neighbors garden filled with a variety of desert cacti. Every time we walked by my daughter Emilia would say, "ouch, don't touch- be careful mama." Amongst the fiercest of thorns is those of the Ocotillo. Taking some clippings, that bent over the path of the sidewalk, I held the plant in my hands and learned that if I twisted the thorns in the direction that they grew, they would pop off without being cut.

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Trying a few variations with the Kozo paper I resolved on one where I simply pierced the thorns through the sheet and used masking tape to adhere them to the back. Using matte medium and more sheets of kozo, I backed the entire piece to ensure they would hold.

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Thinking more about the meaning of the thorns, I discovered by reading about them, that Ocotillo medicine is used to move stagnation. Thus this piece has a double meaning suggesting both pain- through the piercing of the paper by the thorns and a suggestion of the termination of that pain, through the removal of the thorns. Nevertheless, the lesions from the piercing remain. 

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