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A New Life TK

TK means "to come." A leftover from when I was an editor of Spanish textbooks in another life. A reminder that I have lived several lives by now, but that the only one I have truly enjoyed is my most recent previous life, not too long ago, when I was a full time artist. I am reclaiming it ASAP.

On the first day of the year, I want to take a first step into a new life. I hold the Magdalene's luminous hand, and trust that it's her guidance that won't allow me to rest until this bridge is crossed.

It was a difficult year for all, and I am one of those all. Our lives remain in many ways the same, but some of us may have discovered how much we need each other, how much we need human contact, because we have so much less of it. I have not been alone, I have been fortunate, but I have missed the company of kindred souls and friends.

And there's a reason I have not published here much the past year, and nothing since July. So much has happened, around me and inside me. My husband almost died of COVID 19, my father died of cancer, my grandmother died because she was old and tired, my body got sick with both mild COVID and bleeding sadness, and my own soul was so overwhelmed from full time work online that I reached a point of emotional exhaustion from which it's been difficult to recover.

It was only this week, Winter Break, when kids are off from school, that I had the time to stop and think and plan. It's time.

What brought me to this place was a process that started about 3 years ago, when my home in NYC had to be reconstructed. This was such a huge, scary and expensive project that in the end I had to give in and find full time work. I became the director of an after school program, and ever since then, I have been trying to do my best at that, and little by little losing hope, direction and joy. I helped save my house, but started to lose myself in the process.

But the Magdalene never let me go. And I am grateful for that.

There were 4 people that brought me the Magdalene's reminders. They wrote or chose my art to give, or called, and these actions from these kindred souls kept reminding me of what I can't lose or give up.

Patti Ashley, Seema Khaneja, Kristian Strang and Jerry Koljeski reminded me that, through painting Mary Magdalene, I can make a difference in people's lives. It's not that I had given up on this path, or that I was not aware that I couldn't continue straying from it, but their presence reminded me of aspects of this work that I must pursue in order to give shape and meaning to my own life.

A great, enjoyable aspect of how I have worked throughout 2 decades of art practice has been collaboration with writers and other creative beings. I enjoy being a part of a team that creates something beautiful and meaningful. Patti emailed me, proposing a card deck. She thought of my images of Mary Magdalene together with her writing. We spoke on the phone and her voice was so friendly and so beautiful. It meant a lot to me that she took the initiative to invite me to her project. I look forward to what she will write and to working with her!

Seema called me to let me know how my book had inspired her and shared with me the paintings she has been creating, some based on my drawings, but completely hers. Without knowing, she reminded me of how, by doing our work, we facilitate the way for others to do their own work. Teaching and sharing has always been part of my art practice. Learning that Seema had taken my gift of a coloring book pdf and made it her own was a true gift to my soul. Her Maggie is colorful and joyful and full of life. She allowed me to share and I chose this beautiful Maggie with a peacock. I love her colors and mysticism!

Another aspect of my art practice is sending my art into the world, into the homes of other people who seek and appreciate the Magdalene's presence in their own lives. Kristian ordered what seems like every image in my Etsy shop to send to her tribe who are taking part in her Magdalene Mentorship program. She even ordered one to send to New Zealand! I felt so joyful creating a postcard with her message for each of the persons to whom she sent a gift. Learning that there are so many people who are beginning their journey with Mary Magdalene, and so many others who are walking the same path, was a reminder that my art can be a gift for someone, and also that I am not walking alone.

Jerry has been my friend for several years now. We have never met in person, but we write letters and sometimes talk on the phone. He sends me encouraging messages and has been a very supportive presence throughout the years. We talk about life and about books, and we try to keep alive the letter writing tradition. He is very understanding when my letters take too long to arrive! His presence always reminds me that friendship and spiritual connection do not require meeting in person. All that's required is being there in mind and spirit.

Now that I remember all this: collaboration, teaching, the existence of a Magdalene tribe, writing letters to kindred spirits and distance-free relationships, I need to be brave and have immense faith.

I'm letting go of the house that has given much, but that has also taken so much for the last 21 years. I'm moving, at least temporarily, to Puerto Rico to take time to rest, restore, and rebuild myself into myself again. This time my husband is coming with me as he needs the same. I'm going back to my art full time whether I have a job or not once I make the announcement to the organization I work for. I'm planning to plant a garden for the first time in my life, and I'm also planning to create my house-studio into a home, and recreate/relaunch/regrow my art business from there. Most of all, I'm planning on going where the Magdalene guides me to go in art, life and work. I can't wait to start my renewed life!


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Tanya Torres  
Art for Love, Peace and Joy

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