I received the following letter yesterday… it truly came at the perfect time for my heart. Sometimes the reward of taking the risk to show your true self inside to the world pays off. It is a ripple that can come back and bless your bare feet years later, as did this one. The author of this letter is referring to a painting I did called ‘Sister’ ~ when my sister and I were both going through a similar but very painful loss. This letter made my world yesterday, it lifted me up out of an intense day and back into the nourishing world of gratitude.
It made it all worthwhile.
So with the permission of the author I have copied her letter below. I hope that it moves you in a similar way that it did for me.
This is a silly fan girl letter from someone you have never met but I wanted to write to tell you how grateful I am that I discovered you and your beautiful artwork I found your art in Spirituality and Health magazine about two years ago just as I was thinking about leaving a well-worn and “successful” career path. While I was an opinionated woman (politics, religion) I actually was very disconnected from my own mind, emotions and heart. If you asked me about something truly meaningful, or even: “what’s your favourite colour?” I would freeze. I literally did not know a thing about myself.
When I saw your beautiful art in the magazine, I immediately thought two things.
One, I know that the person who painted this has known deep suffering.
And two, if someone ever asks me what my favourite painting is, I could always say, “Sister, by Alena Hennessey.” “What do you like about it?” “I like how it is a supportive image. It is also admiring, like someone looking up to a big sister. Or a big sister, protective of that little sister, but the little sister is also slightly in awe of the bigger. And I love how the colours make me feel relaxed and calm, and supported. I like how it reminds me of all my sisters who I love.”
Anyway, I didn’t know that I was about to set out on a really overwhelming healing journey myself. At times, I didn’t think I could live through the last few years. My logical brain, which I’d relied on to survive my life until that point, was completely useless. What was healing me was not setting goals, making lists or learning about things. Instead, I was drawn to symbols and storytelling. Making the unseen seen, making the unbearable bearable, and discovering that what I instinctively loved and was drawn to (paintings, stories) were healing me more than the linear paths I’d always walked along.
I cannot tell you how much your lovely, feminine images have healed my soul. They are beautiful and gentle, and I needed beautiful and gentle lessons. But they are also healing on a deep, deep level. I had so much to discover and reconnect to, so much had been lost. Art has made the journey feel worth it. Yes, it is so painful – but look how beautiful. And I am starting to create a few things of my own!
I’m sorry this email is so long – maybe I needed to write it more than I need you to read it. But I must be feeling better because I find that I want to express gratitude to the people who helped me without knowing it. Thank you again, so much.