How does one maintain a spirit to never be defeated? I had to discover for myself through facing a tsunami of adversity alone. With my entire life in crisis, including constant seizures, I had to face my mortality. This self-portrait came to me in a vision after major brain surgery. The ivy follows the path of my scar, partly symbolizing the ability to grow in challenging environments. The little bird is a depiction of all that guided my spirit. The night sky portrays the quiet place that I would draw to me to gather myself. The painting’s purpose is to share the spirit of courageous struggle that turns suffering into growth. Facing our great obstacles can be a very lonely journey and it is easy to get lost in ourselves. When these obstacles appear we can be easily swept away by fear, doubt or judgement. But we CAN stand firm before these winds of misfortune. Courageously taking the first small step to face our fear leads to wisdom and compassion. Once we have these we find the life-force we need to battle adversity. So lean into the storm, take shelter in the beauty of the world and never retreat.