A poem and a lotus flower bowl - gifts to celebrate new beginnings

2 min read

I'm always honored when I get commissioned to make art to celebrate important transitions in people's lives. 

Mary asked me to make a bowl with a lotus flower for her friend Christine's 50th birthday. Since she also happens to be going through some big life transitions, Mary picked the lotus flower to represent new beginnings.

Girlfriends are the best at giving meaningful gifts!  

I love a good art challenge so drawing the flower was a treat.

But even more compelling, my mentor and spiritual guru Victoria Heemstra happened to tell me about the poet John O'Donohue and his poem, New Beginnings as I was in the middle of making this bowl. 

lotus flower bowl, drawn with graphite pencil before firing in kiln, handcrafted by seattle artist catherine grisez

So I drew the flower with this in mind...


In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.


For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.


It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.


Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.


Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life's desire.


Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

-John O'Donohue


I love this poem and the imagery it conjures. It is inspiring and a great reminder to be brave and trust that things will work out if you jump when you're ready. 

As we start to crawl out of our pandemic cocoons, it seems especially pertinent. 

hand drawn lotus flower embedded in glass and copper bowl, a gift to represent new beginnings handcrafted by artist Catherine Grisez

For Christine, I'm certain this lotus flower enamelware bowl will remind her of her courage during this time, but not just because it represents new beginnings. It will remind her of the friend's who gave it to her and the support and love they freely give. 

When a special and meaningful gift of art is given, it will forever represent the person who gave it, reminding us of their friendship and affection. Priceless! 

I'd love to know what symbols or images make you think of new beginnings. 
Comment below with your favorite emblem of courage or transition. 

Oh, and if you'd like your own custom made bowl or jewelry. I'm happy to help! 

Catherine Grisez

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