During my recent process of downsizing and selling off my belongings to start a new life and journey of over 1,500 miles, I decided to part with some personal items, which included large pieces of artwork that were close to my heart.
My previous life in London had been that of an artist. After I completed my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Westminster, I spent my days in creation where I would get lost in color or technique. My life was consumed in the creative process. I spent hours in the galleries of London and met with fellow artists as we shared the same passion for life and creativity. I later began working with an Art Therapist and quickly fell in love with the power of art therapy as I became a witness to how it helped people to heal.
After I returned to the USA, I was led to a new path, one that involved working and helping adolescents on their life journeys, which eventually lead me into the field of counseling where I continued my passion for working with people creativity. Art therapy is a way of expressing emotions that verbalization alone may be too difficult to do.
As my own life shifted and changed, as life often does, I knew that once again it was time for me to change direction and travel into unknown territory. Although I had tried to mentally prepare myself for the journey, I still found the process stressful, similar to the transition I had made from England back to the USA seventeen years earlier, but this time I was making the journey alone. I was starting a new life in a place where I knew no one or had any support system in place. My house had sold quickly and unexpectedly and I had resigned from job months earlier, my family had moved away and I found myself being pushed out of my current life to travel an unknown path.
As I packed up my belongings, I made the decision to sell things that I had collected over the years so that I could start my new life without all the baggage, but I continued to hang onto my artwork for sentimental reasons. Then one day I decided that the paintings were too large to travel with me across country, so I made the decision to part with them. Through a painful process of letting go, I met several interesting people who wanted my art and I became excited to hear where each piece was going. I was at the end of my downsizing and had only one painting left when a young man contacted me to inquire if I still had the canvas. I told him I had only one painting left of a large whimsical character with the word “happiness” painted across it. We made arrangements to meet later that day.
George arrived at my house that afternoon and we quickly became engaged in a conversation about art and the creative process. George showed me some photos of his artwork and I was immediately impressed with his style and technique. He was obviously a very talented artist and would go far in life with his skills. We spent over an hour talking about his creative journey and about the power of art and creation. We exchanged info and I asked George to send me photos of his new artwork including the painting that he would do on my large canvas. We said our goodbyes and I continued my downsizing in preparation for my long journey.
Shortly after meeting George, I traveled to southern Florida, an exhausting 25-hour drive. I was so grateful to my son who took the time off from work to drive with me and was very sad when he flew back home, leaving me alone to rebuild my new life. Some days were easier than others as I tried to piece together a new routine, meet people, and search for my place of belonging, but I often found myself feeling lonely and missed the familiarity of home, friends, and family.
After several difficult emotional days, I received a message from George sharing a painting that he was working on for Mother’s Day. The painting was of a beautiful lighthouse. I messaged him back asking him if the lighthouse had any specific symbolism. George replied back saying, “Lighthouses are a beacon so people don’t get lost and stand all alone.” I cried when I read his message as I was feeling very alone and lost at sea at the time, and his artwork came as an inspirational message to me that although I couldn’t see it, there was a light out there shinning for me trying to guide me safely to the next stage of my life. George’s painting felt like a divine message coming to me at a time when I needed it the most. Not only was George’s painting a beautiful work of art, it was a beacon of hope for me that I could get through the rough choppy waters of life and make it to shore.
“Lighthouses symbolize the way forward and help in navigating our way through rough waters whether those waters be financial, personal, business or spiritual in nature.”
Art and spirituality have always been closely linked, such as with the great masters like William Blake or Michaelangelo, and guidance or spiritual messages can come in unexpected ways. For me, I was given the message of hope from a talented young artist who continues to inspire me with both his creative spirit and inspirational artwork.
For more info on George Nickels and his artwork: