Blue Moon River Woman
by Barb Kobe
Conflict resolution and transformative artmaking share many of the same skills: creative thinking, self-expression, risk-taking, expression of emotions and empathy, expansion of perception, self-reflection, that help to build a peaceful internal environment---which ultimately can lead to a peaceful external environment.
I believe that peace first must come from finding peace within oneself. My creative process offers me opportunities to work through inner conflict and find peace. I see my dollmaking as a transformation aid that makes it safe for me to explore my emotions, deep levels of conflict and fear. My dolls become constructed metaphors that help me to translate issues into artistic problem solving challenges, which ultimately help me to discover more authentic, creative and enduring solutions to my life challenges.
The doll image shown here in the Journal of Stellar Peacemaking titled Blue Moon River Woman. The inspiration for it came from a sermon I heard years ago at Unity Christ Church in Golden Valley, Minnesota. I obtained a copy of the sermon, transcribed it and hung up in my art studio a copy of the illustrative story in the sermon. The story speaks of the conflict a river encounters when she begins to envy the ability of clouds to change form and losses her ability to love herself.
My dolls often begin with my putting together of a collection of sticks into an abstract human form---and so it was with Blue Moon. The sticks formed a long flowing body; the hands, made of sticks as well, designed to match the flow of the body. I made a head and face with a peaceful expression and painted it a soft blue. The river part of the body was made with a large piece of velvet, which I manipulated and embellished using fibers and beads. In her heart center I placed a small head representing finding her peaceful self within. I sewed this onto the sticks and finished by making her hair and headdress. The deeper personal meaning of the story really did not touch my heart until I finished the doll and hung her on my wall. I then made the connection that I too had been looking outside of myself to find love and peace, and a connection to the whole of life.
The River and the Clouds
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Once upon a time there was a beautiful river finding her way among the hills, forests, and meadows.† She began by being a joyful stream of water, a spring always dancing and singing as she ran down from the top of the mountain. She was very young at that time as she came to the lowlands she slowed down a bit.† She was thinking about going to the ocean.
As she grew up she learned to look beautiful, winding gracefully along the hills and the meadows.† One day she noticed the clouds reflected within herself, clouds with all sorts of colors and forms. She did nothing during these days but chase after clouds.† She wanted to possess a cloud, to have one for herself.† But clouds float and travel in the sky and they were always changing form.† Because of the nature of the cloud within the clouds, the river suffered very much.† Her pleasure, her joy became just chasing after clouds one after another.† Despair, anger and hatred became her life…..chasing..chasing.
Then one day a strong wind came and blew away all the clouds in the sky.† The sky became completely empty.† The river thought that life was not worth living, because there were no longer any clouds to chase after. She wanted to die, to ease to exist.† She asked this question, “If there were no clouds, how can I live at all?”† But how can a river take her own life?† That night the river had an opportunity to go back to herself for the very first time.
She had been running so, so long after something outside of herself that she had never seen before – in herself.† That night was the first opportunity to hear her own crying, the sounds of water crashing against the banks of the river.† She was able to listen to her own voice.† She discovered something quite important.† She realized that what she had been looking for was already inside of her.† She found out that the clouds are nothing but water.† Clouds are born from water and will return to water and she realized that she herself is water.
The next morning when the sun was in the sky she discovered something beautiful that she had never seen before – she saw the blue sky for the very first time.† She had never noticed it before, she had only been interested in clouds, and she missed seeing the sky. She realized that the large, blue sky had been in her heart from the beginning and this immense insight brought her to peace and happiness.† And she saw that with the vast and beautiful sky her place in the world would never be lost again.
That evening something wonderful happened.† When she opened her heart completely to the evening sky she received the image of the full moon.† It was a blue moon, beautiful and round, like a jewel within her.† She witnessed the full moon.† She had never imagined she could receive such a beautiful image.† And her water, the clouds and moon joined hands and practiced walking together slowly to the ocean.
Barb Kobe is an artist, dollmaker, expressive arts coach, group facilitator, teacher and curriculum designer. She specializes in designing visual metaphors for self expression in the form of dolls, healing art and creative experiences. She makes art dolls, healing dolls and feeling dolls. Three of her creative curricula, (a) Numbfull and the Fulls, (b) Medicine Dolls and (c) The Creative Journey, are available for purchase on her website: www.barbkobe.com
This picture and story used by permission.