It is interesting how these people come into my life, people that I have never known and now become such a very integral part of who I am, even after their death, and not just the deceased, but also the living and loving relatives. The email comes. Immediately I feel bonded, but I have learned not to become too attached before a commitment to proceed. Jenna. She was just 14 months but I begin to feel her. Dream of her and prayers enter my heart for her and her family from that first e-mail.
It’s a God thing. Because months ago I began to feel the desire to sculpt a cherub. It was a little whisper in my heart that was not even expressed in words. My schedule of writing and sculpting is such that to create something just to create does not happen, unless it is with my gift line, Gods Word collectibles. Everything must be done through commissions. I felt compelled to ask Jenna’s mom, “how about her as a cherub.” I did not. It is important that I let the creative and healing process take place with all posthumous commissions. It begins with the e-mails, and it could end just as quickly. Many clients love the opportunity of capturing their loved one in a sculpture, and there are others who just cannot stand the idea of a 3D image. You either love it or you don’t. I wait patiently to be sure both parents want this project and try no to embrace Jenna until they do. When Jenna’s mom comments about a cherub, my heart skips a beat. This is the cherub God put into my heart months ago. God was preparing me to meet Jenna.
Having a parent that will share their feelings with me is an absolute integral part of the creative process. That sharing opens the creativity. The parent and the surviving loved ones become just as important to the process as the artist. When people look at my artwork and say, “it has so much life to it.” It is the parents; the surviving loved ones who have put it there through the months of the creation. We co create together. If they withhold communication or their feelings from me, the sculpture becomes stiffer, less life-like. As hard as I try to bring that magical part of the creative process into play, without that interaction the life does not come forth. For parents this is a second birth of a child, for me it is the process of creating.
At the same time of communicating that process opens up a connection between my client and myself—a very unusual connection. I wrote about it in the book and struggled with it in every writing. Non-local phenomenon, they call it. I has been difficult for me to even conceive of, but indeed it happens. Science comes to terms with it a bit in Couvades syndrome. That is where a father feels and acts the same way as his pregnant wife. Dr Larry Dossey talks about the ability to do this non-locally, not being in the same proximity as another. And often a mother or father will know something is wrong with a loved one when they are far away. How does that happen? Dossey describes it as Having Empathic loving bonds. I surmise that these happen with “some” of my commissions because of the following. Cont.
• Develop an emotional attachment through picking up the nuances of expression and experiencing some of these within my own body
• My continued prayer for the families
• The continuous openness to “find” my subject and their personality
• Offering myself through the process of posthumous commissions as a venue for my clients to express their love and memories of their loved ones.
• The very meditative and flow state of the creative process (the ahhahh of illumination)
I say all of this because about the middle of last week the “ nonlocal” process opened up. I have failed to mention that as many times as this happens, I often forget that I have this “gift.” If you wake up one day and feel a certain way, you look for things in your life to feel that way about. You attach the emotion to something in your own life. This is a very strange thing indeed. ( and to the very dismay of my family that goes through it each time) As painful as this is, and sometimes tormenting, it does (after I recognize it as not my own) give me a knowledge of how to pray.
It was not until yesterday that I said to my husband, “If ever I feel this way, we must remember to ask, is there a new commission?” I cannot even express the range of feelings that are passed onto me through this commission of Jenna. They seem too personal, an invasion of my clients privacy to express. When I say, “I know how you feel,” it is not just an empathy that most will express. It is because I have gone through some of the emotions with you. Some researchers, those who will accept this is a possibility, say that this phenomenon may have originated because of survival; some in a tribe or clan would take on the physical or emotional elements of another, so that duties of survival could be performed. Does it lesson the pain of the one on the other end? I don’t know. It does increase my emotional involvement with my sculpture, and maybe it is that element that gives the sculpture the life-like qualities and puts spirit into the art.Jenna Rose Mangini, DOB September 12, 2006, Date that she became a beautiful angel December 22, 2008