There Will Be an Answer

Millennial Mom's hair blows in the wind as she watches a beautiful sunset.

When life is challenging us, we may push away our discomfort, wanting life to be different.  In this place of fear, we are lacking faith that we are being led through a gateway to deeper understanding. Sometimes the best thing we can do is … let it be. Soothing our suffering with the wonder and magic of our natural surroundings can help ease the pain, until our faith is restored, until we know from deep within … THERE WILL BE AN ANSWER.

Millennial Mom's hair blows in the wind as she watches a beautiful sunset.
There Will Be an Answer, 2016, oil on canvas, 121.9 x 152.4 cm, 48 x 60 in

INSPIRATION

On the 49th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ Let It Be single, I honour that gift to the world by writing about what’s behind There Will Be an Answer. The largest piece in the Millennial Mom series, it is meant to be a grande finale of sorts, inspired by both the spectacular and healing qualities of our natural world, and one of my favourite bands.

I love to climb a hill close to my home, overlooking the Kennebecasis River, to think things over when I need to clear my head. This photo of the river at sunset inspired me, as a setting for Millennial Mom’s balm for the soul.

Sunset inspiration for "There Will Be an Answer" painting by Darlene Baker
This photo of the Kennebecasis River at sunset inspired the painting There Will Be an Answer. Photo credit: Iva Smrz

There will be an answer” is a line from The Beatles’ single, Let it Be. Wickipedia states, “McCartney said he had the idea of Let It Be after he had a dream about his mother during the tense period surrounding the sessions for The Beatles (“the White Album”) in 1968. According to McCartney, the song’s reference to “Mother Mary” was not biblical. The phrase has at times been used as a reference to the Virgin Mary. Nevertheless, McCartney explained that his mother – who died of cancer when he was fourteen – was the inspiration for the “Mother Mary” lyric. He later said: “It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing ‘Let It Be’.”  He  also said in a later interview about the dream that his mother had told him, “It will be all right, just let it be.” When asked if the song referred to the Virgin Mary, McCartney has typically answered the question by assuring his fans that they can interpret the song however they like.”

let it be

My love for music is matched by that for books. A transformative read which led me to deeper understanding is Radical Acceptance, by Tara Brach, Ph.D.  I cannot deliver her message with more clarity than Tara herself, so, below, I’ve gathered some Beatles’ lyrics, and paraphrased passages from Tara’s book, to explain the roots of this painting and the Millennial Mom series.

WHEN I FIND MYSELF IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

First, consider why we suffer, and what we do when we are suffering. Tara writes (and I am often paraphrasing):

“We suffer when we want life to be different than what it is.

We have a fundamental longing to feel loved and understood. When our needs are not met, we seek substitutes (food, alcohol, sex, perfectionism, approval, shopping, being busy, social media, etc.) and are increasingly alienated from our authentic desires. Fixated desire can become desperate and unquenchable.

We distance ourselves from emotional pain by covering it over with self judgement. Pushing away parts of ourselves, we dig deeper into the trance of unworthiness.”

WORDS OF WISDOM: “LET IT BE”

Instead of fighting or avoiding pain, or pursuing pleasure to block it out, try leaning in. Tara writes:

“Charlotte Joko Beck, Zen teacher and author, teaches that the ‘secret’ of spiritual life is the capacity to ‘…return to that which we have spent a lifetime hiding from, to rest in the bodily experience of the present moment – even if it is a feeling of being humiliated, of failing,  of abandonment, of unfairness.’  Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to open to whatever arises.

When we feel and release the past pain held in our body, we become increasingly free to meet our present feelings with a wakeful and kind heart.


The cure for the pain is in the pain.

                  — Rumi


The moment of awakening is in the present moment. As we move from resisting our physical experience to bringing mindfulness and compassion to the life living through us, we awaken from the dream or trance. We open to the fullness and mystery of our life. Each moment we wakefully ‘let it be’, we are home.”

THERE WILL BE AN ANSWER

Our leaning in to pain will lead us to new understanding, peace, and a deep knowing. Tara writes (again, I am paraphrasing):

“The gift of suffering is that it awakens in you a deep yearning for peace and love.

When we come face-to-face with the fear and pain in our psyche, we stand at the gateway to tremendous renewal and freedom.

Whenever we feel closed down or hurt, by gently touching the rawness of our pain, we can transform suffering into compassion. We feel our longing to connect and surrender into the radiant love we yearn for.


Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.

                     — Rumi


Pain is a gateway to compassion, we begin to awaken from the story of a suffering self.

Our depression, fear and anger are ‘entrusted to us,’ to serve our awakening.

When we look directly at our pain without avoiding it, our attention allows the light of wisdom and compassion to enter.”

THERE IS STILL A CHANCE THAT THEY WILL SEE

My friends, my wish for you, for myself, and for our world, is to embrace both the pleasure and the pain in life. To lean in to it all. To see where it leads us. To allow the light to enter. Writes Tara:

“We may spend our lives seeking something that is actually right inside us, and could be found if we would only stop and deepen our attention. But distracted, we spend our life on our way to somewhere else. As we spiritually mature, our yearning to see truth and live with an open heart becomes more compelling than our reflex to avoid pain and chase after pleasure. We may at times have a sudden and profound insight into our true nature. Making ourselves at home in this truth usually depends upon a gradual unfolding.  For this reason the process of understanding who we are is called a path of awakening.  In spiritual life the path opens us to the awareness and love that, as T.S. Eliot writes, is ‘here, now, always’.”


When I find myself in times of trouble,

Mother Mary comes to me,

Speaking words of wisdom,

‘Let it be’.

And in my hour of darkness,

She is standing right in front of me,

Speaking words of wisdom,

‘Let it be’.

CHORUS

And when the broken-hearted people,

Living in the world agree,

There will be an answer, let it be.

For though they may be parted,

There is still a chance that they will see,

There will be an answer, let it be.

CHORUS

And when the night is cloudy,

There is still a light that shines on me.

Shine on ‘til tomorrow.

Let it be.

I wake up to the sound of music.

Mother Mary comes to me,

Speaking words of wisdom,

‘Let it be’.

         – Let It Be, The Beatles


Peace out 🙂

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