Arts Literature

“Messages to the Heart: Reflections of Beauty and Truth”

Give your valentine or yourself the gift of peace and clarity with Messages to the Heart: Reflections of Beauty and Truth, a hardcover coffee table book now in its third edition. The book includes 47 reproductions of Asheville artist Elise Okrend’s paintings paired with reflective passages by her husband, life coach Philip Okrend.

Messages to the Heart coffee table book. Elise Okrend, artist, and Philip Okrend, author

“I truly believe this book can help people make authentic changes in their lives,” says Philip. “And I think it can get them to a place of empowerment, wisdom and peace—not by telling them what to do, but by stripping away the illusions that limit their growth and potential.”

The book’s passages are ordered to move readers from letting go, to removing obstacles to their authentic self, to feeling trust and positivity, and, finally, to arriving at an empowered place of wisdom and higher consciousness. Readers are encouraged to spend contemplative time with each passage and corresponding image, and to reflect on a visceral connection or intuitive understanding of what the image is saying.

“With some of the images, the connection is immediate and clear,” says Elise. “Others leave you to form your own connection over time.”

Messages to the Heart began when Philip, who often shares his observations about change and empowerment on social media, was looking for an appropriate image to post with a thought he had written. He chose a painting Elise had previewed on social media. Due to the amount of positive feedback the pairing received, this became the first of many such posts. From those posts, the book was created.

“Messages to the Heart is as much a celebration of creativity as it is a guide to help us get out of our own way,” says Elise. “We are shown that we all have a purpose and that if we can allow our wounds to dissipate and not own us, we can see that purpose.”

Messages to the Heart: Reflections of Beauty and Truth can be purchased at Elise Okrend Studio and Gallery, Wedge Studios, 129 Roberts Street, Asheville; at WoolWorth Walk; at Mountain Made in the Grove Arcade; and online at

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