The Existential Journey of Self-Transformation

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The Existential Journey of Self-Transformation. Original oil painting on canvas, 30 x 40”, © 2017 Tiffany Davis-Rustam.
The Existential Journey of Self-Transformation. Original oil painting on canvas, 30 x 40”, © 2017 Tiffany Davis-Rustam.

This painting is a very special one to me, as it illustrates my own personal journey of health through spiritual transformation. I began it during the onset of my illness, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to finish it until years later, after I’d experienced my own miracle of healing, which I illustrate here.

The tiny black figure curled up in pain in the nautilus shell represents a sorrowful sick me. Then an angel emerges from the clouds, lovingly tossing my shell of self-pity down the waterfall. I emerge gingerly from the waterfall of change, stepping up into beliefs that reflect a more empowering attitude, as then my higher self sends me healing energy, leading to me finally stepping into my fully self-actualized power of joy and health! I hope this painting helps to inspire others, as the journey to true healing through the higher self is often similar. Believe that you can have the quality of life you desire with all your heart and that’s when miracles happen quickly!

Also, I’d like to include an accompanying poem I wrote about my journey here. Much of the verses describe what’s happening in the painting, but some of the elaborated parts hail from the many initial sketches I did in exploration of creating the painting. It’s sometimes heavy stuff, but it will help you to delve deeper into my story, and perhaps you see a part of yourself in there.

Painting prints available here in my Etsy shop.


My Journey Through Hell to Heaven
— Poem & Painting by Tiffany Davis-Rustam

Never did I start to see
the storm of my suffering crest the horizon
before it blew inside my door.
Oh so slowly as a snail crawls
from the secret garden of shadowy dreams,
did the hopeful stride fade from my steps,
and the agony within began its grave descent,
setting a trap to twist my beleaguered body from the center-out,
churning my insides from bright to grey.
The great graces of the days faded
as twilight deepened into an ocean of inky midnight.
Wave upon wave of nightmare nausea came crashing in,
spinning and spiraling me downhill into valleys so low,
crippling my queasy heart to depths where I no longer knew myself.
My body bubbled and bloated, burped and gurgled,
like dank poison in a witches cauldron.
I was rotting from the inside,
a spoiled carcass long gone,
SO long gone the grace of my smile,
the fleeted memory of levity,
as rivers of hot tears ran grooves down my face,
flooding my faith deep undersea, further every day, every year.
I pleaded, I wished, I whimpered in vain,
yet still the onslaught of battle raged on inside,
as quick daggers of pain stabbed my heart and gut without mercy.
Hopes of health withered to dust
as an invisible slavedriver
whipped my broken body with all it’s might.
I cowered into my shadowy circus cage,
but still the demonic locomotive kept raging full steam ahead,
determined to crush the remains of my soul,
as I shrunk small and curled up tightly in my shell.
I wept and I prayed,
I prayed and I wept,
yearning for brief rays of relief —
to be let free from this thorny dark pit.
I heard echoes of wise men pronounce it,
but I couldn’t begin to imagine
how I crafted my own dungeon cell.
— Just how does an innocent kitten
deserve to be tortured for her purity,
day by sorrowful day, until life is barely worth the breath?
How dark the night before the dawn
and how bright the angels appeared
to save me from such a wretched existence?
Out of the sky, the circle of light gathered
around my saddened shell of self…
The Red Eagle gazed into my eyes
and spoke straight to my wounded soul,
opening the shutters of gloom
and shining his magic
into the darkest shadowy depths.
Two beautiful devas held my hands,
and we sent my shell crashing down,
down a towering waterfall,
my self-piteous pain suspended in air,
rushing down from great heights of hell I fell.
Fell into deep crystal pools of peace,
water glistening with the shimmers of hope.
Slowly, unsurely at first,
I stepped gingerly out into the dazzling day,
buoyed by the whisperings of my angels.
I called upon the infinite nature
of my all-knowing higher self
to lift my weary body
and fill me with the long-last light of dawn,
to nourish my body with warm bread..
And do you know what happened???
I ANSWERED!
From the depths of despair I arose,
stretched out my wings wide
and the battlefield cleared free at my command
—Because I SAID SO and I meant it!
Miracles of miracles,
my torment started disappearing
and under the eye of the beaming sun
my malaise began to evaporate,
and my smile returned once again.
And still the reality presses upon me to share
that perfection takes longer than a day and a night,
but now I know what to do,
the the besiegement settles in…
I’d discovered the secret of ages,
the key to all locked rusty doors:
To simply believe
that you can shape your own clay,
to trust in the light of grace,
that we are all divine sparks of godhead,
that this is YOUR dance,
and YOU are your savior.

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