Reflections On The Creation Of Doorways To The Spirit Of Peace

As a witness to my husband, Maarten Schaddelee's process and inspiration this is my story of how Doorways to the Spirit of Peace began.

At the most vulnerable time in our 35 years of marriage, we were worried about my lack of physical balance, bobbing vision, numbness that was spreading from my extremities to include my trunk, face and neck, I could not walk without assistance.  The first week of December 2003, Maarten and I went on a holiday to the Mayan Riviera.  We stayed at an all inclusive with acres of glorious gardens, pathways, miles of safe easy beach with rolling waves, white sand, and shade from Palm trees.  We felt held in this paradise where all our needs were fulfilled.  Our favourite times were in the ocean when I could just lay back in the warmth and be weightless as the turquoise waters held me up and supported me.  There were many different nationalities of people sharing the space and all in the friendly spirit of the environment.

Our resort was decorated in Mayan motifs of Gods and Goddesses and stories of Mayan culture.  Outside in the garden they had planted hundreds of poinsettias, and assembled a large Nativity scene.  A pottery piece inside the resort depicting the "Garden of Eden" in the colours of the Caribbean that we were experiencing expressed through the art work jumped out at us and into Maarten's fond memory of our time out. This was a world where all things conspired to create and support a peaceful and nurturing coexistence.
Link to Lady and Lord of the Rings Maarten and Nadina

On our return home Maarten carved and painted some Poinsettia's just before Christmas.  The storyteller in me had me looking for the significance of the plant.  There is a delightful story of a poor Mexican girl who goes into the village to see the Nativity Scene in the local church.  She longs to give something to the baby Jesus.  On her way there she stops and picks what appears to be green weed growing by the side of the dirt road.  On the day of Christmas the green weed turns brilliant red, and it is said to be symbolic of the innocence and love of the child that creates the passionate change.

In January 2004, Maarten was inspired to create the Christian Doorway in the brilliant colours that his mind's eye and heart had returned with.  As the art was created here, along the base of the doorway he drew the Nootka wild pink roses, healing flowers, that grow along the bank of Maarnada our waterfront home.  It took him time to ponder on how the cross would look...but he created his own version, as artists do, as it is his inspiration.  He chose the calla lilies painted in yellow and white, as a symbol of death and rebirth.  Calla lilies are often seen being held by female saints.  He had intended to gold leaf the entire cross and illumination circle, but as he was painting the under coat of red that allows the gold leaf more brilliance, we felt that the cross should be left red.  The Ruby Cross came up into the Gallery on January 31st the day after Maarten's 57th birthday and the day that my mother Ruth died.

Maarten creating Christian Doorway Christian Doorway
During February we followed a long road of medical appointments and in Vancouver in March received a diagnosis.  At six weeks while developing in my mother's womb due to lack of folic acid the bones in the lower part of my skull and neck were malformed and my cerebellum (small brain) was hanging into my brain stem.  Age and cranial settling were exasperating the tenuous balancing act which included my second vertebra adding more pressure to my brain stem.  In April we returned to Vancouver General Hospital where my lower skull and brain stem area were sculpted to allow more room for my brain.  Dr. Michael Boyd then used a titanium plate in the base of my skull to hold up my brain, rods and screws to reinforce the occipital to C-3 fusion. Without the operation I could have become a quadriplegic and choked to death. It fascinates me that I was operated on the Thursday and returned to my room on Good Friday. They had me sitting up on Easter Sunday. All nationalities and faiths cared for me, prayed and had positive thoughts for us. After our return home over three months as I learned to walk and function again Maarten was my number one care giver.  It was the most brutal and beautiful time of our lives. The compassion and caring of friends and family, known and unknown acts of kindness held us in the web of love and healing.

Maarten had been working on the Jewish Doorway prior to our journey and on our return completed it.  We believe it was around this time that he awoke in the middle of the night.  He saw a vision, not a dream, that had him creating sixteen doorways that would be hinged together supporting each other in a circle with their symbols facing out to promote a feeling of  respect and peace.  The only way to get into the centre was with your spirit and in the artist's imagination the central space was the same and welcomed everyone. They just had different stories that took them there.

In February 2007 while Maarten's father was dying he created his last "Doorway to Spirit"  As the arts have been a way of Maarten expressing his feelings and spirituality, "The Arts Doorway" would complete the circle.  With permission from Jan Lee music he wrote the musical notes of "Let There Be Peace On Earth and let it begin with me."  To me the Circle of Doorways looks like a giant prayer wheel for peace. They are supporting each other in their reverence of Peace as being part of all these Doorways. It is the people walking around  the wheel that creates the movement of peace.
Doorways to Spirit
Links to Doorways Video and Doorways page,
(these links will open an new window to Maarten's web site)

Nadine A. Stewart Schaddelee
Storyteller of Maarnada

Nadina - Storyteller of Maarnada

Link to Stories Page


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