This painting depicts a flowering, Prickly Pear Cactus. Of the Opuntia Genus, this plant is found in the deserts of the American southwest although the varieties vary by region. Here in San Diego County, where I live, you can see the variety reflected in this painting (created by Local Artist, Deborah Walker) growing next to just about any hiking path. Both the fruits and pads/leaves of the prickly pear cactus are edible and in fact are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers that may help keep blood sugar stable. Also, the pulp of the fruit can be used to make juice/nectar. This cactus is unique when compared to its cousins because it has an extra set of tiny, fine spines called "glochids." These hair-like spines are barbed which makes them especially difficult to remove when they become lodged in your skin. I find this beautiful, edible, yet dangerous and potentially harmful plant fascinating.
When I was in Chiropractic school "the healing process" was a common theme. When treating the cause of a neuromuscular/skeletal "dis-ease," a patient's symptoms may, in fact, get worse before they get better. At the time, my cocky 22-year-old self-wondered if my professors were giving me an excuse to be a subpar healer just in case I did not master the Chiropractic healing arts and needed a "story" to explain to my patients why they did not experience instant healing following a chiropractic adjustment. Fortunately, with experience comes knowledge and once I started my chiropractic practice, I realized everything my professors had said was true. I feel the blooming cactus represents the healing process beautifully. It remind us that the healing process of the body, mind, or spirit is often prickly and painful, but the result of experiencing healing is usually so beautiful as is the delicate bloom nestled among the spines.