Sunday Zen: Taking New Forms

Each year on my father’s birthday, I create an an art piece to represent the age he would have been. This art piece below is called “Would-Have-Been 67.” I don’t know how long I will continue this tradition, but it still feels right and I still find it healing.

“Would-Have-Been 67,” mixed media art journal by Courtney Putnam.

A book that has been instrumental in my healing process after the loss of my dad is Thich Nhat Hanh’s No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life.

Tonight I am particularly drawn to his section called “Taking New Forms,” in which he expresses the Zen Buddhist concept of “‘Something’ cannot become ‘nothing,’ and ‘nothing’ cannot become “something.'” Hanh writes:

“Science can help us understand this, because matter cannot be destroyed — it can become energy. And energy can become matter, but it cannot be destroyed. In the same way, our beloved was not destroyed; [he] has just taken on another form. That form maybe a cloud, a child or the breeze. We can see our loved one in everything.”

On this “would-have-been” birthday tribute to my father, I feel my father is like a bird in a tree, ever present, accessible, and able to see a far and wide perspective. He would have told me not to worry over the small things. He would have told me that I am okay. He would have told me to believe in myself. He would have said in his clear way, like a bird’s clear caw or coo, “You can do anything,” and I would have believed him.

Happy Birthday, Dad.


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
This entry was posted in art, creativity, grief and loss, healing, inspiration, life lessons, personal growth, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sunday Zen: Taking New Forms

  1. Claudia says:

    Beautiful. The thought, the art, and the knowing that yes, your father continues to communicate with you in loving ways – anywhere; always. I really liked this post and will follow your blog. Thanks.

  2. Thank you for your words, Claudia. I look forward to following you, too! peace and light, Courtney

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