Noel Silver

My adolescent identity was conflicted by the stigma attached to my budding homosexuality in the 1960's. To make matters worse I denied my passion for art and studied architecture. At 21 I suffered anxiety attacks. I escaped my misery by traveling overland across the Middle East to India. I met a young Dalai Lama. In Nepal I trekked solo to the pristine glacier in the cradle of Mt. Everest and read stories of buddhist saints in a Tibetan monastery in it's shadow. Living was cheap and I stayed for a year of exploration.

Returning I landed in Fire Valley, a Kootenay BC. paradise. I married beautiful Naomi and we raised 2 strong sons. It was a deeply loving marriage for 10 years. Then everything fell apart. 35 and alone in Vancouver I dove into the gay pool. Volunteer work with the Vancouver People with Aids Society introduced me to Art Therapy. I became an Art therapist because unconsiously I knew I needed therapy. I was fortunate to be guided through 2 years of intensive self analysis by a man of great compassion, Dr. Marten Fischer. Therapy freed me to express my authentic self both as an artist and as a healthy gay male.

I have worked with people suffering mental illness and painted for 22 years. This year I painted in Cambodia for 3 months and started a 'Buddha Rainbow' series there. While painting I practise buddhist Mindfulness; being aware in the present moment of my reflective thinking and keeping it positive. In honesty, I feel empty of compassion in moments of anger and in the pursuit of pleasure, Buddha's advice on moderation can fly out the window. Then I remember the prayer, Breathe in suffering, breathe out joy. It is the essence of Buddha.

Today I live happily in the village of Sechelt on BC.'s Sunshine Coast in a cottage with an asian garden across from Porpoise Bay.