Undrowning - Wave 3


This is blog 3 of 6 discussing an art series I started in 2012. Read parts 1 and 2 and here.

I completed Wave 3, The Healing Wave just a couple of days after the 2nd wave.


After a period of feeling particularly crushed by a romantic break up, I had just begun to realize that no relationship or external idea was going to 'fix' my 'brokenness.' I knew how to live in the past but building a future was frightening. Our familiar monsters seem less harmful than the possibilities of strange new demons to battle... I'd spent a life time looking back and felt like that was all I knew how to do. I had convinced myself that I just had too much stuff; I had too much baggage, too many cracks and bruises to ever be whole or worthy. When I dug deep into the pain, I began to understand that I was drowning myself in rivers I was crying.

Wave 3 represents the beginning of a deep personal healing and new levels of understanding about myself and the world. Admittedly, when I started Wave 3 it was not about healing but constraint. The subject was was captured tightly in the grasps of waves twisting her about and crushing her. She had no control over the overwhelming waves gripping her. By the time I had finished the work, the uncontrollable waves accosting her had morphed into healing wings. I began to channel the caduceus.

The caduceus has Greco-Egyptian roots and was borne by many heralds through antiquity. It has become a common symbol for medicine and healing, especially in the United States. Much like medical healing, the 3rd wave which was started in a state of enormous pain that through treatment eventually gave way to relief. Like many medical treatments, true healing doesn't take place until you begin work to find and mitigate causes, not just retreating the same symptoms.

In the first waves, she could not look at you directly. Here she is smiling, looking directly at you, unashamed for what feels like the first time in forever. She is allowing her herself to fall into total submersion while simultaneously rising out of the water. The waters no longer hold her captive. She is protected by the waves. She is calm and has begun to realize the power she has to direct the flow. She has stopped waiting for a life guard or passing boat to save her. She has begun to pull her self out of the water. Wave 3 represents a woman reborn. She is baptized in self acceptance and learning to swim in oceans of self love.

This season of my life led to much self discovery. The lessons learned continue to send ripples through my life. If you're currently struggling or feeling like you're drowning, I hope you can see that it's not forever. Storms pass and waves come and go. You are not yet done crafting the image of yourself. Grab a paddle and start steering your ship. To paraphrase the adage, it is not the water outside that sinks ships it's the water that gets into the boat.

Parts 4 - 6 coming soon!

If you love this print or know someone who needs some inspiration, Prints of Wave 3 are available in H.R.'s store.

#HRJohnsonArt #behindtheart #PainIntoPower #selfacceptance #Brokenheartintoart #MarkerArt #PersonalHealing

Created by H.R. Johnson