ISBN  1-931948-66-6




            ''I grew up in a family that respected the numinous mysteries of life and taught that there was a Greater Power that created and pervaded this world.  This Greater Power was God, the Source of all good.  My family also believed that we as humans were cared for by God and that God spoke with us in subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways. One quiet way God reached us was in dreams.

“What did you dream last night?” was a common question asked at the breakfast table and the messages derived from those dreams were considered seriously. Throughout childhood and adulthood, my dreams have been a Source of knowledge, guiding and sustaining me. When I turned 21, I also began to meditate and this has provided me with another level of knowing and connection to the Source.

It was almost thirty years ago that I knew one day I would “do color studies,” although I had no idea what that meant or even what a “color study” was.  In 1995, I saw a flame on water during one of my meditations.  The image so impressed itself upon my awareness that the impulse to create the vision in a material form became an overwhelming need I could no longer ignore. Finally, though I had not done artwork since high school, I painted the colors of the vision.  This was the first of the color studies.

The creation of the color studies in this little book are the result of a process that has deepened over the last ten years.  The connection to the Source in this process, has sustained me through physical and emotional challenges; given me courage to face overwhelming odds in my daily personal and professional life; and continues to lead me ever closer to the purpose for my life.  It is a process that I invite you to try.

After sitting quietly in meditation and prayer, I let the Infinite Source Within lead me to paint whatever colors and forms I feel.  Even if I have a specific vision, as I did of a flame on water, I do not “try” to paint it but let it flow through me until the colors and general form appear on the paper. I continue to paint until the flow of energy subsides. The painting then is propped on a chair or table where I can look at it over the next few days or weeks.  I turn it on all sides. There is never any top or bottom in the beginning.  Everything is possible. Gradually forms within the colors take shape.  Only later do I draw in the forms with a pencil or other watercolors. The color study is then given a title.

Later I meditate again on the completed painting.  Depending on my current state of being, physically and/or emotionally, I may be drawn to one or another color study on a particular day.  As I meditate on the colors and forms, an understanding develops that leads to words.  The words become prayers from the deepest parts of my soul. But these prayer poems and color studies are not merely abstract representations.  They have provided sustenance and courage that have helped me live through innumerable challenges.  They have illuminated solutions, derived from a Greater Power, to solve the dark problems of my life.

I invite you to use this book as a beginning for meditations and prayers on your journey. It is my intent to share this process, and some of my results, with you in the hope that the color studies and prayer poems may help to connect you to Source and what sustains your life.''


"The union of watercolor and poetry has never been so powerful to hear and see the goodness of God, who is light and life and the hope of the human family to flourish as one."

                                                                                                                      Pierce Klemmt, Rector
                                                                                                                      Historic Christ Church
                                                                                                                          Alexandria, Virginia


"Vibrant color both in words and illustration, this is a work of inspiration that will open your heart and your imagination." 

                                                                                                                      Rabbi Mitchell Chefitz,

                                                                                                      Author of The Curse of Blessings


''To image the Artist is to have paint on one's hands--from morning on.  To share the workplace where darkness is lived every day, where light fades by the moment, where color gets dull, where it's mostly a mix; and to discover the brush in my hand is only the Artist believing in me.  Marie's book dreams!"

                                                                                                                                Mary Lou Sleevi,

                                                                                                                              Author and Artist


''Shamanic cultures have always honored the power of word doctoring: that is, the form of medicine rendered by combining image with word. In this collection, Marie DiCowden steps forth as another inspired practitioner of this subtle spiritual art. Her poetic prayers elicit our deepest devotional selves; her water colors invite us to step forth in the courage of our lamentations. Altogether this small but cogent collection of work provides a reliable source of meditation for the spiritual path...and for those of us seeking such companions.''


                                                                                                          Carol Proudfoot-Edgar, Ph.D.


''In this beautiful and personal book, Dr. DiCowden (Laughing Heart) shows us how arts can open us to sacred sources of wisdom, compassion, and love, and can help us find meaning and beauty, resilience and strength, in living our lives.  These color studies and prayer poems are a true gift to the reader.''

                                                                                                               Ruth Richards, M.D., Ph.D.

                                                                                                               Saybrook Graduate School/

                                                                                                                    Harvard Medical School


 ‘’Dr. Marie DiCowden, the artist and author of this small but potent book uses prayer and meditations as a starting point for the creation of deeply meaningful paintings and poems. The process that she utilizes in their formulation is, in itself, both fascinating and profound -- and the results are stunning. Her creations are not only beautiful and meaningful, but transformative as well, serving as powerful allies for her as well as for her readers. Dr. DiCowden has tapped in to the transpersonal realm and she invites and encourages her readers to follow her along this path to the "Source" of all being.’’ 
                                                                                                                    Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. 
                                                                                                             Co-Author, The Mythic Path


''Marie DiCowden's work is a rare combination of power and sensitivity.  Her  poetry and watercolors open and lift me to the presence of a loving Spirit.  Her vulnerability and cry for help resound authentically in my human heart.  There is solace, beauty, wisdom and celebration in The Colors of Prayer. This book is a blessing to a troubled world.''  

                                                                                                                                    John Fox, CPT
                                                       Author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-making


Dr. Marie A. DiCowden is a nationally known healthcare psychologist and behavioral medicine specialist.  She graduated from The George Washington University, Washington, D. C. and completed her internship at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Dr. Marie A. DiCowden joined the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital staff in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation in 1981.  She has worked extensively to humanize the healthcare system.  In addition to her clinical work, she advocates for people with disabilities as well as for access to quality health care for all persons.  She has a passionate concern for the role of women, the arts and spirituality in health and healing.

Her understanding of Spirit has led her to translate her beliefs into her daily life and practice. In 1988 she founded The Biscayne Institutes of Health and Living, Inc. and The Biscayne Foundation in Miami, FL, which she considers her dharma.  This program was an extension of her work on the medical campus and evolved into the Biscayne HealthCare Community© model.  This innovative program provides frontline, care for disabled children and adults through The Biscayne Institutes as well as integrative primary care and educational health programs for mind, body and spirit.  The Biscayne Foundation also raises money to provide health care for those who cannot afford it.

Dr. Marie A. DiCowden believes that it is Spirit that has sustained the work at Biscayne in the face of all odds. She also credits Spirit with sustaining her to carry on this work even when she has faced her own physical, emotional and financial challenges.  The color studies and prayer poems in this book have evolved out of meditations and talks with God when she has sought Spirit for the strength to meet the demands of the day ahead. 

Dr. Marie A. DiCowden was raised as a Christian, with Methodist parents who were both ministers. As a young woman she became a meditative Quaker. Her roots are also Jewish and Native American.  She believes that Spirit speaks in many languages and in many ways. 

She is also known by her Native American name of Laughing Heart—or as her grandchildren simply call her, Heart.



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