Twenty minutes. That’s all I had from when I put the phone down to when I had to be there. Blair was leaving his shop in twenty minutes and I would have to wait 2 whole days if I didn’t make it in that tiny window of time.
Blair is my framer. He’d just finished stretching an oil painting I had purchased and delivered to him the week before. My heart was racing as I jumped into my van and drove off to pick it up. I was so excited it felt almost like going to meet a long lost friend. Or lover. Or both.
“Gosh, it’s like I’m about to meet a part of myself that I’ve been reunited with. What is going on?”
I walked into Milford Framer’s and there it was – leaning up against a shelf. We stood together looking at it, Blair and I. He must have framed thousands of works in his time but there was a kind of reverence as we stood before this huge, unusual painting.
“What do you think?” I asked Blair. “It’s amazing,” he replied. I could tell he was in a state of awe, this man who must have had literally thousands of pieces of beautiful art pass through his hands. We discussed it for a bit, he asked where I purchased it and who the artist was. Huda Fauzen in Ubud, Bali. I replied. I saw the look of quiet surprise when I mentioned Bali.
“It’s not the usual Bali painting, is it?” he said. “No, that about sums it up,” I replied.
It’s called Metamorphosis. It captures everything about our lives right now. Transformation. Change. Greg’s passing. The mysterious unseen processes at work in our existence.
Butterflies have always been my daughter Mary’s symbol. Not just because they are exquisite but because they are a symbol of hope and renewal. The best kinds of symbols.
When she saw the painting, she said, “Mum, it feels like we’ve known this painting all our lives, and we’re just seeing now for the first time.” I thought that was beautiful.
I acquired Metamorphosis in Bali this February when I spent six days in Ubud. It wasn’t a holiday. I was meeting my sister and her husband there and we were hoping to discuss our plans for setting up an Educational Foundation for the children of Bali.
My sister and her husband have been living in Sumatra for decades and have dedicated their lives to the service of the people of Indonesia, particularly the underprivileged children. Their existing Foundation now runs 15 schools in remote areas of Sumatra. They are moving to Bali in a year or so and together we hope to build something wonderful and lasting and I want to dedicate it to Greg’s memory.
When I left Perth for Bali to meet them, I had nothing but this longing in my heart. No plan, no idea. Just hope. Hope that I could do something to give back. Some service that Greg would be happy with.
It was my second trip to Bali. The first one was a magical three days with my daughter where we saw only the beauty and wonder of Bali. Waterfalls, volcanoes, water temples, flowers. This time was different. Raw, with all its shades of colour, including the colour of poverty.
I watched my amazing brother-in-law connect with the people of Bali at every opportunity – when we stopped to eat, when we asked for directions. Crowds would gather around him and he would envelop these strangers with his love. With an ease and grace I was unfamiliar with, he would ask them about their lives, their hopes, their aspirations and then encourage them to lift their hearts above the poverty and lack of education into which they were born, and know that they were capable of so much more. He would delve deep in minutes in order to better understand the people he wants to serve. It was watching love in action in a totally different way.
This experience in Bali was a profoundly energy shifting one. I felt Greg’s presence around me, almost a part of me, more deeply and with much greater intensity than ever before. But instead of the familiar accompanying grief, it was more like being wrapped in love, joy and gratitude.
I felt his answers when I spoke to him. I felt his guidance all around me. And I felt more joy than I have in a very long time, perhaps ever. I laughed a lot. Possibly more than I have in my whole life. One morning I awoke with pain in my sides, and then I realised it was from laughing so much the day before. I felt a kind of release from the pain and grief that had been weighing on my heart for so long, for the many years long before Greg died.
In Bali I felt the enormity of gratitude for the people around me, for the way my life has unfolded, for the love and kindness in my life, for the care Greg was taking of me from the World of Mysteries, for the people he has sent to help me and me them – it was at times overwhelming.
I came home with a heart that was very full.
This feeling, one of being wrapped in love, has stayed with me ever since. I feel Greg’s absence, but its flavour has changed. Instead of a pain in my heart, it is a light in my heart. I think of him and I miss him with my whole being, I often weep for what we have lost, but I now know for sure: I have gained so much more than I have lost. His consciousness resides within my being, closer than we ever were in life. Nearly a year after he left my side, I feel more supported and loved than I have ever felt before.
I still have Greg on my team. But this Greg is different. Transformed. Only Joy. Only Love.
And I feel wrapped in it.
If you feel moved to, do leave a comment here.
So beautiful Malini, the artwork, the story, YOU! All our joy and love. Consciousness unfolding perfectly ❤️
oh thank you Tracy, that is so kind of you. Honoured that you stopped by 🙂 much love xox
This post has me grinning from ear to ear! thankyou for sharing so much of yourself with all of us!
You’re freaking me out, niece 🙂 Love in buckets!! xox
So wonderful that you connected with Huda in Bali and had one of his paintings speak to you in such a profound way! His artwork is amazing, and he has such a sweet family.
(Hopefully also you got to visit the Green School founded by our dear friend Oren Hardy’s father)
Not yet, Bryn, that’s next on the cards. I’m looking forward to visiting the Green School in Ubud on my next trip. Thank you for being here and being part of my stories! much love from Perth
Beautiful painting and beautiful post. I love the last line; ‘I still have Greg on my team. But this Greg is different. Transformed. Only Joy. Only Love.’ Thanks for sharing – makes us, your humble readers feel more connected to your experience and less lonely on life’s journey overall. x
what a lovely thing to say Mona dear! My job is done if I can make one person feel less alone in this journey of life… 🙂 thank you lovely xxx
Beautiful on so many levels, Malini! xxx
Thank you Caroline! x
Malini honey what a beautiful read. Thanks so much for sharing these precious emotions with us. And what an amazing painting. But then what else can we expect from an amazing lady like you. You’re an inspiration to us all. Many hugs and love.
Oh Fidi, you are so kind to me. One of the wonderful blessings of my workshops is that I met you 🙂 xox
Beautifully written! I will forward this to a friend who has also lost her husband. At the moment her pain is very raw but insha’llah reading your post will give her some hope!
I am so sorry for her loss. It takes time. Perhaps she can read a few of my posts… starting from ‘Catching my Breath’. that was the first one I wrote a few months after he died. Thank you for your kind words Ferry xox
OMG! you have described the painting to me before, but to see it, is something else! I know what Mary means about it being a part of your lives, like it was made for you. What a lovely description too, of being wrapped in love. One that we can all share in and learn from. Such a vivid image to cling to:)
It is a beautiful painting, and being wrapped in love is also a beautiful image. So fortunate. Thank you for being such a supportive sister, you are part of the wrapping 🙂
I enjoy reading your emails/blogs with your sincerity and passion for life! I was particularly taken with your last email where you mentioned the Educational Foundation your sister and her husband are establishing in Bali. I would love to hear more about it – is there a blog or website? I’d be grateful to learn more about what your sister and husband hope to achieve and how. Very best wishes, Deb
Hi Deb, thank you so much for those words and for your interest in our Foundation. I will keep everyone posted via my blog, and there will be opportunities for engagement from as wide a field as possible. I want this to be inclusive — for people to be able to reach out and help and participate if they feel they want to! As we are dedicating the Foundation to Greg’s memory and he was the sort of man who reached out to everyone, regardless of who they were, this project will reflect that kind of energy. There is no website yet, but there will be one day! Thank you again for your interest and kind comments, Deb! x
Hi Malini what a mesmerising picture! I keep going back to it. Birth, rebirth, freedom, fragility, strength, waiting, developing, hope and calm. A stunning image I am so glad Greg is one of the gang. My friends think I’m batty when I talk to my dad (who is in spirit). I even ask him for a parking spot. He delivers! But more importantly I never doubt he is always with me. I hope this painting will always connect you to Greg. From the little I know of Greg it represents the emergence of an undying love in all forms. xxxxx Helen G
You captured the painting’s essence very well, Helen. And I know what you mean about parking 🙂 I love that you see it as “the emergence of an undying love in all forms”. Beautiful!! Thank you so much for these profound thoughts. xox
Thank you for sharing so much of your life’s journey. Your workshop has opened my eyes to the beauty and colour all around me/us. God bless you and yours.
It was my pleasure to have you in my workshop Rubi. A beautiful journey unfolded. Take care x
So much love and gratitude for you dearest Malini. Thank you for sharing so intimately and tenderly. My heart opens.
Gaye, that is beautiful, I am so touched at your words. It is I that am grateful for you being here and sharing my journey with me. So much love xox
What a beautiful story today when I opened your blog Malini. Thank you for sharing your experience of Bali and showing me yet again that there is so much work to be done in this world. I am inspired.xxxPatz
“There is so much work to be done in this world” — so true! And we all do our little bit, especially as creatives, to make the world just a little brighter… as you do with your art, Patz! Thank you for stopping by and sharing my journey for a little while x