A Three-Dimensional Life

I recently found an art piece my mother made I had tucked away in a cupboard. It is a form of art where you cut out and build up prints to make three-dimensional art.

Paper Flowers


My mother Ruth’s favorite artist was a Dutch painter, Anton Pieck. The very fine details in his prints inspired her to spend hours cutting out and gluing small images on top of each other until they popped right off the page to her satisfaction.

Ruth had an edge of defensiveness to her. While she loved fiercely, deeply, and committedly, she was also filled with anger, self-pity, and resentment.

My mother taught me we are not all one thing, we human beings.  We have both the good and bad angels riding on our shoulders and they struggle to see who will win. Sometimes the good angel takes the lead and sometimes the bad angel wins by a nose.

About two years before my mother died, she announced to me she wanted to be kind. I just listened and then over the next several months I watched her do just that.

My mom did three-dimensional art, and she lived a three-dimensional life. She wasn’t all bad or all good. She was just who she was. She wasn’t out to prove anything or make excuses or make empty promises. She said what she meant and meant what she said. She taught me we all have multiple layers to our personalities, and that was ok. She left our family the gifts of grit, guts, chutzpah, resiliency, and enduring love.

I, too, wrestle with the good and bad angels just like my mom.

I look at my hands that are aging just like my mom’s.

I, too, have multiple dimensions to myself, just like my mom.

And if I am very lucky, I will end up being kind, just like my mom.

Her memory will forever be a blessing.


Sometimes we connect more with people through our shortcomings than our accomplishments.

Today’s Practice:

Can I accept myself with both my good and not so good angels?

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