Tag: recovery

Salsa Dancing with my son in Puerto Vallarta

Tending to Healing

Healing is its own process, not controlled, but guided -like tending to a garden.  Healing needs a lot of good things and not too much of any of it; nutrition, exercise, happiness, water, sleep, good company and relaxation.  It is organic, non-linear with great days and not so good days while new limits and abilities are discovered.  It isn’t a one-way proposition like building with  legos or molding with play dough.  It is a partnership and dance with the body even when the body feels like a traitor.  But this traitor desperately needs love. It is difficult to love a traitor.  Traitors make things personal.  Traitors make you want to turn your back too.  Traitors can make you feel bitter.

I had high expectations for healing when I left on this vacation.  I expected this vacation to force my healing into submission.  I expected to return a different person than the one that arrived two weeks earlier.

Fall has been difficult.  Recovery from my herniated disc has been good, but slow.  And as my leg got stronger, my allergies went out of control.  My eczema on my hands and face started to spread.  My eye even swelled up and broke out and for weeks it wouldn’t go away.  I suspect the combination of the cortisone shot, less exercise, sudden change in weather and stress.  I was uncomfortable to sit in any room in the house.  My face hurt, my hands hurt, I didn’t like sleeping for fear I’d wake up and my eye would be swollen shut.  Creams didn’t work.  Drugs didn’t work much.  It felt like a downward spiral and I could not bounce back.

I needed sun and fresh air.  I needed to get away from dust, pollen, harsh cold air.  I needed to rebalance my immune system.  I needed a vacation.  The vacation would fix everything.

I arrived and the rash on my hands were burning so badly I soaked them with a wash cloth.  It hurt to be in the pool and my face stung from the chlorine.  My leg went numb as an aftershock to long hours of sitting on an airplane.  It seemed it all got worse instead of better.

But then it got even worse.  I got sick; a killer sore throat and fatigue.  My husband included a fever in his version.  Our son a hacking, croaking cough.  This was followed by a brief bout with Montezuma’s revenge on day 5.  Then some other irritants; ingrown hairs, break outs, cracked lips and chafed, bleeding skin.  Coupled with the ever present expectation that this vacation was supposed to be about healing, I felt like I was being torn down completely.

It reminded me of remodeling our house.  It always got worse before the project got better.  Walls are knocked down, drywall explodes, dust flies, beams are exposed, wires everywhere and the mess spreads from the room to the streets.  And then the rebuilding begins, and a turning point as it all comes back together, lighter, composed, beautified and a new home from the old.

And slowly, it did turn.  My hands completely healed and the eczema receded.  The numbness in my foot disappeared.  My first run on the beach felt like heaven.  By the end of the second week, I realized that my leg felt strong (not just pain-free) though occasionally numb still.  My back felt stable to the point that lifting some light weights, including by kids, didn’t feel risky.  My husband and I salsa danced!  Progress emerged and it surprised me.

I’m not a perfectly done project.  2 weeks isn’t long enough to heal my back, I’ve got another 6 months to go they tell me. And I’ve got a lingering rash on my eye that is actually getting better at home.  My comfort level as I write is so much healthier than when I left.

And here is something new for me; vacations are about healing.  I love to travel and have many vacations and adventures under my belt.  And upon reflection, there was always an element of healing in each one.  I return and I feel stronger.

Which means, away or at home,  we are always in some state of healing? I’m thinking a lot about this and how much of my art work reflects on healing, even in the prayers we cast.

Casting Prayers in Puerto Vallarta (c) Marika Reinke
Casting Prayers in Puerto Vallarta (c) Marika Reinke



Follow Your Heart (2014)



When our bodies betray us what works suddenly fails.  It leaves frightening, crippling, questions and an uncertain future. A hole in the heart chambers mixes oxygenated red cells and de-oxygenated blue cells and causes fainting, weakness and an erratic heart beat. The brush with the unknown couldn’t be unthinkable death?  

And modern medicine is the answer.  Heart surgery, an ablation procedure and a little synthetic fan-like device can re-gift a healthy life, strength, a rhythmic heart, a singing open spirit, laughter and revived perspective.   

But more, a perceptive soul listens closely to a failing heart.  It speaks and wisely leads the way to a renewed identity of meaning, humanity and faith.

Watercolor 16″ x 12″

The Story

This painting was custom work for Kristen Johnson who asked me to paint her heart.  The 26 year old had two heart surgeries to fix the hole in her heart.   After her first  surgery at 22, she woke and knew that her future needed to be helping others with heart problems.  As a result, she finished nursing school and is now a cardiac ICU nurse.  This commission is one of the first gifts she has given herself with a “real paycheck” since becoming a nurse.

Creating this painting was a mutual gift.  It was an honor and joy to celebrate Kristen’s story.

“I have to say -I got it home and read the thing (story card) and looked at the painting and cried a good little cry. It is perfect. You did an amazing job and I love it.” Kirsten Johnson.

Kristen sent me the following images to work from.

Closure Device
Closure Device
Heart Echogram
Heart Echogram
Burn Point on Misfiring Electrical Pathways
Burn Points on Misfiring Electrical Pathways

After reflection, I sent Kirsten a quick watercolor sketch of where I wanted to take the image.

Follow Your Heart Sketch
Follow Your Heart Sketch

Upon agreement, I began the painting process, updating her everyday with progress reports.

Follow Your Heart Stage 1 - by Marika Reinke
Follow Your Heart Stage 1 – by Marika Reinke
Follow Your Heart stage 2
Follow Your Heart stage 2

Until the final one emerged with a lovely glow than rightfully matches Kristen’s spirit.


For more information about commissions and how I handle and price them, see here:  https://marikareinke.com/buy-art/commissions/

Overhead Squat II copyright Marika Reinke

A Healed Body is a Fit Body: Overhead Squat I & II

Overhead Squat II copyright Marika Reinke
Overhead Squat II copyright Marika Reinke
Overhead Squat copyright Marika Reinke
Overhead Squat copyright Marika Reinke

A vision is not only of healing which includes a bouquet of “nots”; not injured, not scared, not limping, not hurt, not in pain.  Recovery is a loud resounding life-affirming “Yes!” It is power, strength and courage. It is willfully taking back, becoming wiser then achieving goals deemed impossible while pain ruled.

Watercolor 24″ x 18″


Currently all my prints will be ready to ship no later than November 24th, 2014.  All orders will be shipped in 1-3 days with standard shipping included in the price.  Please contact me directly at [email protected] for other shipping options or if you need to ship internationally in which case there will be an additional charge.
Overhead SQUAT I

Overhead Squat copyright Marika Reinke

Original Painting Overhead Squat I: $325    Preview Image

Personalized Limited Edition Print Overhead Squat I  (of 25) : $65  Preview Image  What’s special about a limited edition print? Click on my Print Options


Overhead Squat II copyright Marika Reinke

Original Painting Overhead Squat II: $250Preview Image

Personalized Limited Edition Print Overhead Squat II  (of 25) : $65  Preview Image  What’s special about a limited edition print? Click on my Print Options

Open Edition Option and T-Shirt, Hoodies and Tanks available!  from $25 – 50.   http://www.redbubble.com/people/marikareinke/shop/recent?ref=sort_order_change_recent


To read complete details about the options for buying please read my About Print Options page.


The best way to contact me directly is at [email protected]

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Herniated Discs 1 (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Herniated Disc I & II (2014)

Herniated Discs 1 (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Herniated Disc 1 (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Injury happens in many forms; of the heart, body or mind. It is rare that one injury doesn’t affect all three. In each case, a pattern emerges that changes our psychological, biological and perceptual landscape ushering in transformation, learning and new perspectives.

My disc herniated and impinged my nerve root. A small fissure that stole my ability to walk, gave me daily pain and new relationship with my husband and children. The once strong, both physically and mentally, was torn and weak. Tears. Despair. Fear. Pain. Retreat. I clung to painting, to ground me and reflect, to create artifacts of injury and healing and to learn and recreate.

What is left after injury?

There is gratitude. I am grateful to be pain-free, for progress, walking, my husband’s care, my daughters gymnastic meets and Pokemon with my son.

There is discovery and re-creation. I have grounded myself, created a new vision, a plan for healing and settled in a new identity.

There is hope. That I emerge stronger, wiser and gifted.

There is acceptance. The world that was is no longer, a new unknown one is beginning.

There is memory. The heart, body and mind will not forget.

Herniated Disc 2 (c) Marika Reinke 2014
Herniated Disc 2 (c) Marika Reinke 2014
Road to Recover (Fall 2014) copyright Marika Reinke

Road to Recovery (Fall 2014)

Road to Recover (Fall 2014) copyright Marika Reinke
Road to Recovery (Fall 2014) copyright Marika Reinke

Some days the winds wrap us up so tight we become the eye of the tornado. Trapped inside, the world collapses on itself and there is no gust we can grasp. The storm picks us up and ponders what it will do while we uselessly fight, kick and scream against the assault and injustice. Then we let go of trying to rein the wind.  The chaos unwinds.  The winds unfold and beautifully reveal unexpected surprises.

Watercolor 12″ x 9″

Buy Here

Buy Road to Recovery Prints and Cards Here

 Original Painting: SOLD

Personalized Limited Edition Print (of 25) : $45    What’s special about a limited edition print? Click on my Print Options

10 Pack 5″ x 7″ Art Cards: $35

About print Options

To read complete details about the options for buying please read my About Print Options page.


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