This painting is one of many I did of the Franklin Mountains in El Paso. The mountains delineated west from east in the city. I lived on the west side.
I don’t live there anymore, but I do live at the foot of another mountain, the Sandia’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There’s always been a strong pull for me to have the reminder of the strength of a terrain that isn’t upended by weather or disasters.
Many people admire me for my resilience to life’s challenges and tests. I believe it’s the constancy of the unmoving and unshakable mound upon mound of earth at the base of the city that I find my trust in life’s unpredictable circumstances. The area is built up from the weight of a past. Mountains are formed “from Earth’s tectonic plates smashing together. Below the ground, Earth’s crust is made up of multiple tectonic plates. They’ve been moving around since the beginning of time. … The result of these tectonic plates crumpling is huge slabs of rock being pushed up into the air.”
This has been going on forever, so, for me, the mountain is the closest thing of something to count on in times such as the time we are living in. Nothing is as it has been. Our lives are dependent on circumstances out of our control. But the mountain being constant, firm and still, is the backdrop I use to let go.
When I let go, I feel my heart. I can’t feel my heart if there is any fear. The heart is the center of all that the mountain is. Our hearts are constant and still. We enter them by focusing on love, the absence of fear.
If I want to accomplish anything creative, this is what supports me to give up control and accept and acknowledge what comes into an empty mind.
You don’t have to live by a mountain to access the sense of solidity. You just have to let go of the fear of its absence.