PERSONAL STATEMENT

To be with the Flow of Life, I must move to the mood of the organic manifestation
I am.

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Marisa laying with her 13 moon paintings on a lava field from the 1843 Mauna Loa eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii.

“To be with the Flow of Life, I must move to the mood of the organic manifestation I am” 

That is how I arrived here, bleeding, with paper below my feet… For 13 months or one lunar year, my vagina and gravity were my paintbrush in this personal yet universal exploration.

I never offered much attention to the cycles of my womanhood or the chamber of transformation residing within me. I experienced my blood simply as a time of discomfort. This shallow relationship eluded me from the profound guiding wisdom of my womb. After years of uneventful periods suddenly that moment of the month shook me up and left me stranded on broken, unstable ground. I had never felt my body like this before, anywhere I’d normally look to find my center, nothing was to be found. On the day my uterus was ready for release, I would be in such excruciating pain, I would be crawling on the floor, crying for help. I would move from a cramped fetus into a long stretch, trying to find some sort of relief. Sometimes it would make me vomit. Always it would make me incredibly anxious. This imbalance was not just creating physical pain, it was spilling over into multiple areas of my life. Every cycle, around the time of ovulation Michael and I would start bracing ourselves. For two weeks of the month, we were in a state of uncomfortable alertness, on the look-out for a possible eruption. 

Flow of Life streamed as an urgent desire to understand my suffering and to know, it is me who carries pain but also, pain who carries me. By looking closely at the blood that was connected to my pain, I learned about internal and external tensions and the necessity to cultivate a space to heal and grow. Through deep presence with both the subtle and profound sensations of my body, I could trace the arrival of inner turbulence as a response to a longing for a more balanced, healthy, whole life. Month after month of free-bleeding, I gradually gained greater freedom and clarity and my emotional and physical pain began to ebb away.

Today I am working closely with an acupuncturist and herbalist to reach ultimate hormonal health. When I started working with her, she asked me to draw the size of the biggest clot in my flow, it was about 2 inches big. Now my biggest clot is the size of a pea. 

I am deeply grateful for my womb as my teacher, goddess Pele as my host, freedom as my gift, art as my healer, and my most precious husband Michael who’s love, care and support encourage me to open to the flow of life. 

— MARISA PAPEN (JUNE 2022)

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