The Making of "The Cauldron" 

I considered calling this image "Star-Making" because of its particular meaning to me. I saw the image in my mind's eye in the early Spring of 2015 then quickly drew it out in pencil and added a little yellow watercolor. Even in it's most raw form it quickly became one of my favorite images. 

As I began to recover from more than five years of chronic illness, from 2009 to 2014, I decided to "make up for lost time" by going out dancing and partying. It quickly became a habit and as a person with addictive tendencies, I became a daily drinker for the better (or rather, bigger) part of a year. On Christmas of 2014 I made a decision to get sober and became actively involved in a strong 12-step program and community. I see this decision as the best decision of my adult life.

Within a month I was enrolled full-time in the Holistic Health and Healing Arts Program at UNM Taos, taking experientially-based classes like "Art & Healing" and "Meditation and Creativity". The combination of the 12-step recovery program and the Holistic Health classes saturated my life with opportunities for self-awareness, integration, and healing. There was a lot to be grateful for, but also a lot to grieve for seemingly have lost so many "prime" years of my life to illness and addiction. 

I've been a reach-for-the-stars type of gal for as long as I can remember and felt that I was back at square one. I noticed jealousy around other people of my generation who were already shining in their chosen fields. I felt that my music career, which I had just begun in 2004, was over from having taken such a long break. As I allowed myself to feel some of this grief, it made space for the genuine realization that though many of my contemporaries are shining stars, I am at my cauldron making my star. (I get tingles as I type this.)

My first exploration in digital art was just playing around with the flames and activity in the cauldron, which led me into the world of digital arts and the launching of my Soul Art greeting card business. 

It's easy to compare ourselves to others, but comparing dishonors the uniqueness of each of our paths. All those years I thought I had 'lost' are valuable life experience that informs and inspires my path today. By nature I am very stubborn. I like to do things my way. It took extreme circumstances to see how my attempt at micro-managing my life kept me from being in the natural flow. I had to learn for myself that my mind, my body and my bank account could not save me. And who is this me that I so desperately wanted to save? These lessons are priceless. I may have gone back to square one in making my star, but I now see that as a blessing. This time I'm going deeper into the cauldron, with less ambition and more curiosity, having the patience to allow alchemy to happen, and trusting that I'm right on time for this moment in my life.

~Tracy Rae Clark, October, 2015