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Roots of Inspiration - The Painting of Soul Seed


Soul Seed


The last two years I have attended an event called RON 2.0 (Ready Or Not). It's a women's conference that focuses on growth, connection, and joy, for strong-willed women in Hays County and the surrounding communities. The event is organized by Dena Jansen and Wendy Saenz, two local business women who both live in Buda, like me. Dena and Wendy also have a podcast - You Just Don't Know It Yet (yjdkiy). You'll see why this is important in a bit.


This year at RON2.0 the theme was community. There were so many amazing women who got up and spoke on how community had supported, and even changed, their lives. As I sat there listening, I realized that my community was a little thin and if I was going to reach my business dreams, I needed to up my community building game.


Later that night, I had a thought - why don't I write Dena and Wendy, and ask them if I could be on their podcast. One of my goals this year is to make the effort to build a larger community around myself, my family, and my business. Hence, attending RON2.0 and other networking events. Another task I set for myself was to go onto podcasts that align with me so I could start getting my story and my business "out there". Dena and Wendy definitely align with me - they are moms, business women, creatives. They also just so happen to have a podcast. Everything I was looking for. And they are right here in my backyard!!


The second I had the idea to write them, I started to second guess myself and monkey mind kicked in - It's rude to just cold email someone; they will think I'm a jerk; who am I to even approach them. I was frozen in my indecision and decided to go to bed, sleep on it, and revisit the idea in the morning. Ohhh, but no! My thoughts just kept circulating in my brain. There would be no sleeping until I got up and wrote the email. So, I did. And not only did I write it, I sent it out that night. I wrote a pretty kick ass letter, if I do say so. I knew I was being very bold but if one doesn’t ask, one doesn’t get. Right?! I went to bed hoping it would land well on their end and that they wouldn't think I was rude.


I didn't have to wait long for an answer. I heard back from them that morning! They loved my letter, loved that I reached out, and invited me on their podcast. It happened so fast I almost got whip-lash! I also had a bit of a panic attack, if I'm being honest. Now I actually had to do it!


Later that day, Dena wrote me a separate email and invited me to the book launch party for her new book, 'Soul Farmer: Sowing Seeds of Change to Reap an Inspired Life'. It was at the book launch party that I personally met Dena and Wendy for the first time.



The next email I got from Dena, only a day or two after the first, was her asking if she could commission me for a painting. She wanted a painting that would reflect her book, 'Soul Farmer'. I invited her to my studio so we could discuss her ideas for the painting. Several things that were important to her were: the heart shaped leaf that is on the cover of her book, the painting needed to have depth, and the background was to be white. The rest was open to my interpretation.


I have been using a lot of collage in my paintings lately and I immediately knew that I wanted to use parts of Dena's book in her painting. I asked her if I could have a book to use for collage, which she graciously gave me. It went against every sacred held belief I have about books to rip her book apart, and I can't even imagine how it must have felt for her, but the idea of using her words and stories in this painting griped me tightly. From attending the book launch party, I had some insight about the stories in the book that were really important to her. Most of those stories I used, and pieces of those pages became the foundation of the painting. In the final piece, you can almost see that there is writing underneath the paint layers, but only Dena knows what is there.



Dena's book uses the analogies of the cycles of seeds, plants, and farming as a guide for embracing change and personal growth. Except Dena doesn't grow plants, she grows people, as she like to say. While I was working on the collage of the painting, my grandmother kept coming into my thoughts and I remembered a necklace she always wore - a single tiny mustard seed encased in a glass marble. The mustard seed's significance is from a parable:


“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” (Matthew 13:31–32).


The image of the seed resonated with me and beautifully depicted how I saw Dena and her book. In writing her book she planted a seed and now that the book is published, it's like the tree that we can all perch on to get her wisdom. I knew I had to use the seed in the painting. It also became the inspiration for the title - Soul Seed.



But what is a soul seed? I started to imagine that a soul seed is liken to a celestial seed waiting to be born. Drawing a parallel to the idea that we are all just stardust. Which in turn made me think of another saying: you can count the seeds in an apple but only the universe knows how many apples are in the seed. This is when I got the idea to use the image of a nebula - a star being born. And what's deeper than space? Lots of depth there!!


Everything then came together - I used the heart shaped leaf, which holds deep significance for Dena, as a window for us to peer into the depths of space to witness the birth of a soul seed. It all came together beautifully!


Though this painting is called a commission it's really a collaboration. The imagery is not something that I would have painted for myself. It took collaborating with Dena and the intermingling of our ideas to truly bring Soul Seed into the world.


I want to thank Dena for trusting me with this painting. I know how precious and important all of these ideas are to her. When I finally presented the final piece to her, she expressed that it wasn't what she expected, which freaked me out a little bit! She asked me a lot of questions and I did my best to explain my process and how I though about and incorporated the ideas she originally expressed to me. She later texted me to say that even though it wasn't what she saw in her mind, she was grateful for the broadening of her perspective. I would have made her another painting if she absolutely hated it but she loves Soul Seed, and that makes me very happy.


 

Dena Jansen is an acclaimed author, speaker, and coach. To learn more about Dena and to order her book, Soul Farmer: Sowing Seeds of Change to Reap an Inspired Life:

And yes, I read the book. I have my own, un-ripped up copy. Dena's writing is very down to earth and relatable - like having a conversation with your girlfriend. Soul Farmer is filled with wisdom and guidance for anyone seeking the courage to live their most inspired life. I highly recommend it.


To learn more about RON2.0 and the You Just Don't Know It Yet podcast:


To listen the YJDKIY podcast episode of my interview:

I was as nervous as heck, this being my first podcast interview. I probably rambled on a little too much. I was definitely way out of my introvert self comfort zone. And, I thought of all the brilliant things to say after the interview. Oh well. Though I'm super proud of myself for doing it.


And if you are interested in commissioning me for a painting, I would love to hear your ideas. All of the information on how to commission me can be found at: www.lindachido.com/commissions


 

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