Soulful Art Exhibit & Cocktail Party, Oct 1st, 2016

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Casting Off: an Opening and a Closing. 7-10 pm 1065 Paiute Way, Suite 120, Bend, OR 97702.

Come celebrate this opening and closing of a body of work by ME! This work chronicles the year long journey of healing from breast cancer. Everyone is faced with unfathomably painful events during their lifetime and this body of work looks at how I moved through the fear, the pain and the grief of having cancer to find the gift on the other side.

My narrative paintings tell the story of different moments where instead of collapsing into myself I opened up to what needed to be expressed and got busy with my canvas, paint and brushes. This body of work has never been viewed in its entirety in one space so this evening represents both an opening and a closing of this journey and this work.

There will be an Opening Ceremony by local artist, Julia Junkins to set the soulful intention for the evening at 7pm followed by music, cocktails, food and interactive surprises.

I believe my work is especially poignant when you consider that I am a retired Marine Corps Captain who served a tour in Fallujah Iraq in 2006. Military women are 20 – 40% more likely to get breast cancer than their civilian counterparts. Just saying.

 

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Saturn Rising by Katariina Agnes Fagering          30×30 on canvas 

Artist Statement from Katariina:

Katariina Agnes Fagering is a midwife of possibilities, collector of sacred stories, and a motorcycle-riding warrior for truth, beauty and above all things- love. Her paintings explore that ethereal world that is often experienced on a subconscious level, reaching into your memories and pulling out something that can’t always be articulated right away. Mystical animals, women and ancient symbols appear on the canvas often even surprising Katariina. She believes firmly that every painting she paints is painted for another and just needs to find its match, because this happens over and over again.

She lives here in Bend with her family.

Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/339302846418457/

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Exhausted by Katariina Agnes Fagering     30×30 on Canvas

 

 

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A Doorway to Deeper Understanding

deschutes river bank by Katariina Fagering

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I’ve heard several women share that they viewed breast cancer as an inconvenience and chose to not give it any power. It’s like someone backing into a car door and having to take the car in for extensive work. It’s a pain; it costs money, time and energy but its just life so it has to be taken care of. I’m sure there are more layers to their journey and this is merely one nugget they wanted to share in an effort to ease my mind but I must say it did not resonate with me.

I’m choosing to view my cancer as a doorway, an opening to deeper understand and healing. My friend Laura quoted Rumi the other day, “the door is wide open, don’t go back to sleep.” That resonates.

I will take care of the cancer by removing my breasts but then I still have to do the work. I find when I don’t do the work my basket gets full and the ideas become toxic and start sloshing around between my ears. Then I become crabby and angry, so I have to drive myself up to sit by the river so I can fill up a journal of thoughts and creativity. Then all feels right within me again.

feet in river deschutes river bank by Katariina Fagering

This is what I wrote today at the river.

I know this cancer came to me for a reason so I can’t ignore it by going to surgery and coming home and continuing on in the same manner I have been living. I believe this cancer developed from the deluge of toxic thinking that I’ve been swirling in for the past several years that wasn’t allowed to flow. I held it in and its energy has to go somewhere. Lucky for me it tucked itself into a few tiny ducts in my breast so that I could easily remove the toxic hairball of energy and go on living my life.

This is what is calling my attention right now and anything that catches my attention becomes a doorway to my deeper self. It’s really no different than a pinecone floating down the river or the dart of cerulean blue outside my window as a Stellar Jay flies by. Those are all doorways as well. Perhaps because of the gravity of cancer though this feels like a much deeper, broader doorway.

It feels as if it carries more weight than a fast floating pinecone buoyed by the flow of the river. But wait, another pinecone floats by. Perhaps there is something here trying to capture my attention.

pinecone deschutes river bank by Katariina Fagering

Pinecones are seedpods, capsules of new life, yet these have already spread their seeds and moved into crone-hood. They have fallen from the branches onto the soil and somehow found their way into the river. Their outstretched wings have already released the seedlings into the air with the hope that their floating offspring would find their way to soft embracing soil and grow to be as large as the tree in which their mother grew and fell from.

Oh the places that crone of a cone will travel. The things she will see as she makes her way over mossy rocks and by tall riverbank grasses. She is finally free and her next adventure is just beginning.

Hmm I’ve fed my babies with these breasts. Is it now time to shed them for a newer sportier version that will allow me to jump into the river of life and begin a new adventure. Perhaps its necessary to shed these toxic hairball filled breasts in order for me to step into the fullest expression of myself.

Oh the wisdom of a pinecone.

river log in deschutes river bank by Katariina Fagering

Mourning Dove

mourning dove painting by Katariina Fagering

“be wise as a snake and gentle as a dove” Matt 10:16

Mourning Dove

After all this time 
She still finds me
No matter where I wander
or land
She wakes me with 
 
Her melancholic coo
Singing to her lover
Calling him home, 
“This is your home” she sings
“Beside me.”
 
After all is sung
She builds a nest 
in the cavity of my breast
Calling me home
My home – within me.

Sometimes when I’m in the midst of an intense experience, I can’t really write about it just yet. I usually need to give it some room and space.

I wrote this poem back in April while sitting out in my front yard listening to the mourning doves coo. I have a few more poems and paintings I will be sharing over these next few days leading up to my bilateral mastectomy, June 12th.

I feel so held and safe on this journey. I’ve come to the understanding that this cancer is just another experience I’m having – not much different from Officer Candidate School (twice), childbirth (twice), going to war (twice) – all of these involved pain and suffering but amazing gifts as well.

Since my diagnosis I’ve received an outpouring of love and support. More importantly, I’ve gained a deeper sense of belonging in this life that I struggled with before. My PTSD and my depression got in the way of me seeing all the joy and gifts surrounding me. My belonging in this life and in this world alluded me for so many years. Today, it’s as if the veil has lifted and I see my place, my value and my love (all of my loves).

I will write more about this tomorrow.

Much Love,

Katariina

 

 

 

Ducts Are for Milk Not Cancer

Saturn Returns by Katariina Fagering

It’s a crazy thing to become one of the 10 percent that actually get breast cancer. The one friend in ten who is diagnosed. When I got the call from the radiology office to come back in for further pictures of my right breast, I didn’t give it a lot of energy or thought.

Whale Story by Katariina Fagering

Today three weeks later after three biopsies all testing positive for cancer, I am pondering what life will be like without my breasts. Of course, there will be new ones where mine once were and it will be my skin but they won’t be mine. They won’t have the feel of natural tissue; there will be scars and my nipples won’t respond to different temperatures or sensations. My nipples will be stuck in whatever permanent position I decide to reconstruct them into. That’s hard for me to wrap my head around.

Creature Within  by Katariina Fagering

Loosing my breasts sounds so extreme but I’m actually getting off pretty easy as far as cancer goes. Mine is noninvasive and I caught it early enough that it’s treatable without chemo or radiation. It’s called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). There are these tiny calcifications within my milk ducts that haven’t found their way out. I could hold off and see what the calcifications do; but once the cancer finds its way to my lymph nodes then it’s not so simple as just removing my breasts.

breast cancer by Katariina Fagering

Some days I wake up enlivened with lists of actions I can take to get healthier, stay grounded and find healing. Other days I feel the pull to dive deeper by asking the questions, “What is wanting to be loved? What is wanting to be heard? What is wanting to be seen?” These queries take me below the surface into a place that cracks me open to parts of myself I haven’t visited or explored ever!!

Emerging from the Womb  by Katariina Fagering

 

My creativity has opened up in a way I can’t explain. I am not sure where these paintings came from, I’m just listening and asking over and over again, “What wants to be heard? What wants to be seen?”

Woman within offering by Katariina FageringThese paintings and who shows up within them comforts me. I truly know that this diagnosis and this journey is an opportunity to widen and awaken my awareness of who I am and to ground my entire being into truly seeing my authentic purpose for showing up for this life.

Discovering I have cancer has proven to be a wild ride and I wonder why it is that it takes death to bring us closer to truly living our life?