Thoughts on today's news...
This morning my eyes were drawn to two news items. The first was the death of a journalist int the Ukraine, the second was the rescue of a pet dog from a icy lake in Detroit. The contrast of the expression of human behavior in these two situations, touched my heart. And, stand for me today as extreme examples, and polar opposites, of caring and compassion for the life of another living being.
As humans, I believe that we have one simple choice which applies to every situation. Do we act from a feeling of love, care and/or respect for life? OR, do we act out of fear, hatred and destruction. We can make whichever choice we want in any given situation. But, it would be wise to remember that our choice will influence who we are to become in the next moment and the next after that. Do we wish to become nurturers or murderers. It is up to us to decide this for ourselves.
With each passing day, I think more about how the evolution of consciousness is an individual internal process for each human being yet it influences the growth of the entire species. Something which seems impossible, and yet it feels true to say that one voice, indeed every voice, makes a difference. It is up to us, individually, to determine how to use our voice, which words, concepts and values to embrace, embody and express in the process of becoming who we will be.
I know who I am and who I want to become. I can no longer push away the sadness and the pain that enters into my heart, when I see pain and suffering. Nor, can I deny the joy I experience when I am helpful or caring. I know that for always and ever, and to the best of my ability, a thought which seems overwhelming at times... I want to be kind. I choose to embody kindness, true kindness toward myself and others.
What is true kindness?
Well... that is a musing for another day. I can say that it involves genuine concern, honest communication, active listening, respect for life and equanimity :).
I have been thinking about my place in this world lately. And, whether or not anything that I do makes any difference at all to anyone, other than myself. I can't seem to get any of the projects off the ground, due to obstacles and situations which are largely out of my control, and my failure to compromise on the values which are most important to me. The ones that make me original, human and alive.
I am neither bleak, nor despairing, nor a quitter by nature. But, the thought of giving up has become more prevalent in my mind the past few weeks. I feel a sense of dread, like a weight upon me at times, dampening any and all sparks of joy or enthusiasm I might feel, while filling my mind with thoughts of futility. As uncomfortable as this is, and as painful as these feelings are, I know that they are just thoughts. And, I know that they will pass. Which is hugely helpful for me.
When struggling with denser emotions, it helps me to practice being kind to myself, by remembering that I am just learning how to live. I have never done this before, and it can be really challenging at times. But, I am doing the best that I can. Another thing that helps, is to channel my energy into creative solutions or to follow the thread of an idea to see where it leads.
The stickers above developed from this frame of mind, around a phrase scrawled in my dream notebook. I am intrigued by language and the way that words can be combined to convey multiple meanings. I am fascinated by the phrase... Dream Tomorrow Kinder, its sense of empowerment and mystery, and what it may imply. Is it a request, a demand, a choice or a challenge?
For me, it speaks of broad and limitless possibility. And, an individual's willingness and courage to connect with life wherever, or however, they are.
This year I created new characters for Halloween. The idea of a rabbit vampire came to me the week before the holiday. So, I sketched one out and it cracked me up. The unstoppable dancing carrot arrived next. I know I am onto something if the idea for a character makes me laugh. Then it is just a matter of finding the right shapes, lines and colors to convey its personality to others. Which can take some time and a bit of trial and error. I know that a character is finished when I receive an "adorbs," "awesome," or "OMG, so cute" text message back from Jay.
Using the new characters, I created a simple triptych for the front lawn of the house, and two new stickers to give away for trick or treat. I was gifted a new photo printer earlier this year, so I made the stickers at home. It was a good opportunity to test the color and media settings/variations on the printer. I ganged up the stickers, 12 and 16 to a sheet, and printed them out. I hand cut almost 700 of them one night while dog sitting.
It was fun to sit on the front stairs, with my new neighbor, and pass the stickers out on Halloween night. It was even more fun to witness the reactions of the receivers. Most kids liked them, but a few avoided them completely, settling for just candy, Blue rabbits are not for everyone I suppose!
This is the first design in a new series called Transcending.
This idea for this sticker came during an evening walk around town. It is a direct reaction to the ironic "Fight Hate" sticker that was attached to my favorite park bench. While the sentiment behind the "Fight Hate" sticker seems well-intentioned, there is no way to "fight" hate without creating more hate, as like breeds like.
So, what can we do about hate, an emotion which provides no real or long lasting good? I think, we can simply choose to abandon it. Fighting hate only strengthens it's resolve. Better yet to let it go, to abandon it, to run away and show others the way, or to take the hand of someone who has already escaped it clutches.
However, in order to abandon anything, we must understand that what we are leaving behind is what is holding us back. It is something which no longer serves us or our continued growth as human beings. And, we need be diligent in recognizing and releasing the thought patterns, stories or justifications which hold our hatred in place.
SweetFrau hopes to create banners, stickers and signage to install in derelict spaces. To raise fund for this project, she is selling 3 x 6 inch stickers of this design. To order one or more, please use the contact form.
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