• Keith Prossick and Stephanie Kohler


Welcome to Breaking the Mandala, which examines the aesthetics, insights, and greater context of a series of paintings by Keith Prossick. We humans awaken not just through what we read, but what we see and explore beyond words. You can view the painting and read commentary from the artist. The commentary is specifically drawn from the artist, as a way to show the process and background to the work. There is no “correct” way to do this. You can read first; you can look first. You can do one or the other, though certainly we recommend both.


This month’s art is Whispers. upon the face of the water, I gather my thoughts before I pass through the entrance into the Akashic Wormhole. I see the reflection of myself again. My time in the library brought me back to my roots, my purpose, and reason to be. I know now which way to go. With confidence I take the first, next step.

And — Darkness. But this stage always begins in darkness. So it is nothing new. Disoriented by the spiraling black, I rely on calm and courage, my compass forward, toward light once more. I know light is here somewhere. Oh yeah, it projects from within and echoes back from the stars. Let’s light up the sky.

Lukewarm light begins its presence as stability takes hold. Faint, yet enough. I feel the balance of the boat, comfortably grasp the oars. I got this. Let’s get going.

“Wait,” says something. — What?

“You’re not good enough.” — Who said that?

Whispers are coming from everywhere, confusing my awareness. I look around and see nothing. But I feel the static of fear set in. I thought I was done with this.

“Nope, we will always be here.” — Who? — “You” — Me? — “Yes, you.”

I don’t understand. — “You never will, because you are terrible. Why do you think you are so important? You are nothing. You don’t deserve to live.”

Gravity pulls me down. I feel heavy. I am not going to make it. Why bother anymore? I should just go to sleep.

“Yes, that would be easier.” — Go away, leave me alone. — “NO!”

I scream and thrash as my emotions gain control. You will not defeat me! — “But, we ARE you. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

I dig down deep, deep within my will. All that I am, all that I want to be, I AM — BE THIS! and force forth, STOP! —

It all freezes. Silence.

It was an illusion. So many illusions of fear. Yes, I remember now. We do this to ourselves. We keep ourselves down; we convince our consciousness we are not enough, will never be enough.

This painting explores the Whispers which pull us between darkness and light. Whispers—the thoughts in our minds that become the barriers, keeping us from rising into our being. So often those thoughts drive us to failure, before we even begin. The gravity, the suck, draw us down, letting entropy fester deep within our souls, and pull us apart from within.

A sea monster, a kraken, appears (Cthulhu, to some). Young and naive, this energy plays with the sun, warping the physics that bind us—all the while, completely oblivious to the destruction it manifests below.

Tossed around this sea of Chaos, no matter how hard and fast we row, our vessel gets sucked into the jaws of destruction.

In the composition of this piece, the form reflects that of Great Wave (November’s art feature), but from a darker perspective. The elements are the same, but illusions and hallucinations take hold. The pattern repeats, even further back toward the Pagoda that appears like the mountain we must climb.

In the center—Moon and Sun, dancing while the ebb and flow form us like clay.

I just want to be me. — “HAHAHAHA! That’s silly.” — Still? — “Always, get used to it.” — I WILL!

You can’t escape these Whispers. Trying to eliminate them leads to lifetimes of folly. Again and again, they will just repeat. Awareness is knowing they are there, always. Make peace. Make peace.

Exhausted, I gather this baggage, this karma that drag behind me. The choices I have made, the effects I carry—and I am ok with that. In some ways, this karma defines me. All the memories of my mistakes and my failures help me realize my path. How can I fear them? How can I hate them? These lessons are the gifts my past self has presented to me, and they warm my heart, right here, right now. I love who they have made me.

Yes, I really do love me.

Just then they sky bursts open. Here comes the sun, again. Oh wow—I made it.

Now there is just one more thing to do. One more thing to release this karma, these anchors holding me back, to burn away all that is no longer serving me and enlighten my load a bit. I got this. Let’s get going.

Within this new flow of happiness, I begin to dance.


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