Goldenfish
9″ x 12″
Mixed Media
on Canvas
2006

In many stories, the Golden Fish is a survivor and a granter of wishes. Usually, the person who is blessed with a gift such as a wish or great wealth squanders it either though greed or ingratitude, and the outcome ranges from a return to their former state or even death. I imagine that the lesson is to be thankful for what we have in life, and to nurture it with a good heart. Whatever gifts we have, we can develop them, let them grow, and let them sustain us and others. When we don’t, we may run the risk of losing our gifts.

In our western society, we mark the New Year tonight and traditionally people make promises to themselves to be more like the person they hope to be than who they are. Resolved, we go forward and try to measure up to what we have in mind, and as is often the case, we betray our self-interest for self indulgence! Not that his is always bad. Some of the changes we want to see in ourselves may be too great a leap from where we are.

As the saying goes, reach for the moon and you’ll land among the stars. So, I guess I’m saying that there’s nothing wrong with being gentle with ourselves. We live in a very driven society where every expectation is very difficult to fulfill, and those who manage it, do it at the expense of something else – usually their own health or inner balance. If we don’t hit the moon this year, at least let us acknowledge what we have managed to accomplish.

In essence, let’s nurture ourselves. Nurture the Golden Fish inside us, the part of ourselves that makes life a banquet of riches and joy. There is much to be grateful for and much to share. There is real wealth to be found in slowing down and taking the time to be happy. For myself, I’m often driven to keep working and creating because I often feel that time is too short. For an artist, this isn’t really the wisest thing I could do because I sometimes forget to to take the time I need to recharge and replenish, to put energy back into me instead of merely being a freeway for it.

I suspect that this is the same for most people.

The Golden Fish is strong and vital, and can handle a lot of pressure and difficulty, but that doesn’t mean it has to! When life starts to feel dreary, to me it is a signal that I am pushing away the beautiful in my life. That’s why I painted this little reminder. A more apt, but more obscure title for the piece could just as easily have been:

It’s okay to slow it down. In fact, you really need to. Turn out the light, Lie down, and dream again. Slow down and dream.

A bit unwieldy. I think I’ll stick with Golden Fish.

Happy New Year!