Putting Out Fires – “The Barrier Series” on Art and Healing

Fire Escapes

Fire Escapes © 2012 Bo Mackison

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Confucius

(This post is the eighth in a series of my story, an exploration PTSD, art and healing.)

So the greatest glory is not in never failing; it is in rising again.

This was a hard lesson to learn, when time after time, I made the same mistakes.

A little voice in my head often tempted me:

Oh, go ahead. You’re doing great. You don’t need to watch what you eat – it’s a holiday. Enjoy. You don’t need that tiny pill any more – nah, don’t check with your doc. And just maybe you don’t need to see that therapist any longer. Nah, you’re doing fine.Just fine.”

Now that I’m in a better space, I nix those crazy ideas immediately. Those ideas are the crazy ideas. They send out red alerts for me. Only a few years ago, I’d get caught in the trap again. I’d believe them. I’d eat poorly balanced meals, or stop eating altogether. I wouldn’t listen to my body signals, all those SOS alerts. Eventually I’d crash and then wonder why.

“Every day, think as you wake up today I am fortunate to be alive.
I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” ~ Dalai Lama

One of the ways I learned to not waste even one precious day is to follow a regimen of extreme self-care.

Taking care of my body, my mind and my spirit is my first priority. Like the attendant who reminds all flight passengers to put their oxygen mask on first, I take care of myself so I am in a position to do my work, create art, help others.

Some days are easier than others, but each day is a gift.

Each morning is an opportunity to watch the sun rise and give thanks for another day.


This is a re-post the 11-part series I ran in January 2013 on PTSD, art and healing. I believe the story too important to not be retold, in the hope that my experiences will inspire others on their journeys.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.

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