Walking Owl Studio -- Cat Fink, Visual Artist
drawings in pastel and mixed media

Crazy Wisdom

I have heard artists’ work compared to the Trickster stories, Raven or Coyote or Rabbit or Spider.  I know of a painter who says she is the Coyote Weesakeejak.  Being an artist myself, I believe her.  The artists I know create their work to put beauty and wisdom, laughter and healing into this world.


Coyote is the Trickster I know best.  In her stories she can be subtle and surprising, teasing and outrageous, serious and utterly compassionate, a magician, a clown, a healer, a foolish creator of great beauty.  She shows us where we have been, where we don’t want to be anymore, and where we need to go.  She is wise in a very crazy way.


Being an artist, and therefore possibly also being a trickster, it makes sense that when I became a Buddhist in the Tibetan tradition, my lineage teacher would be a teacher of crazy wisdom.  I did not know that the Tibetans have a long tradition of teachers who are yeshe cholwa—wisdom crazy—and yes, my teacher was a master’s master of crazy wisdom.  The thing is that when you work with anything long enough it begins to make sense.


Crazy wisdom is full of contradictions.  It is in fact a perfect mirror of life.  It is life and its contradictions that inspire my drawings.  Take, for instance, my drawing “Old Coyote Trick (standing out)”.  Sometimes the thing that is our strength is the thing that breaks us.  That is definitely crazy, but understanding that craziness brings us wisdom. 


So now when I run smack into a coyote-trickster-crazy-wisdom-situation, I have learned to grab it with both hands and run to my studio.  I have learned to stand before my easel, pick up my charcoal, feel the earth steady beneath my feet, and open my heart to whatever is driving me crazy.  I take the chaotic questions I am asking and translate them into vision, image, word.  I draw out the answers I seek.  My marks onto paper.  From crazy into wisdom.