I wish that all children had an opportunity to learn some form of music. It is so good for the soul and I honestly believe it helps them to be able to learn other things as well more easily. If every child in every culture, every nation, had music from such an early age, do you think we might have a more peaceful world?
I loved for my Grandmother to read to me, even when I was a teenager. I remember sitting next to her rocking chair and kneading her soft skin and telling her lovingly that it felt so good, like a turkey. For some, that may have been a dreadful thing to tell a Grandmother, but mine understood that it was soothing for me. She would always sit and tell me over and over the fairy tales I always requested. Strangely, both of these stories seemed so dismal on the surface, but I always interpreted them differently.
This is my conscious interpretation of the story. It is true that it was likely in Victorian times in England. It was Christmas eve, and it was very cold as citizens found their way around the area seeking last-minute gifts and special foods to celebrate.
The little match girl, a poor child who would represent reality in those times for a lot of children, was out in the street, poorly dressed for the cold. She held up her matches, for she knew she dare not return home without selling them. Her family did not have the good foods that others had to eat. She perhaps had not eaten all day or even several days. No one noticed the matches she held up in the cold.
Desperate to do something in this dismal time, she lit one of the matches. As the long match glowed in the dark, it warmed her a tiny bit, and in that moment, she saw a vision of possibility. She saw herself in a warm home with food and presents, and a beautiful Christmas tree lit with many colors. The other children with her were all aglow with happiness that permeated the cold, dark sky.
The match did not last. With a sort of strange bit of hope, she lit another match. Once again, her heart was filled with joy and happiness, if just for that moment. You know, it only takes a moment for a miracle. If we can experience the joy of being alive in our minds and our souls, just for that moment, we experience the true miracle of life.
As the matches continued to be lit, finally culminating in the lighting of the remainder of the matches all at once, she was able to transcend that reality of her life.
We are sometimes faced with ugly realities in our lives, and we don’t have to accept them as our forever reality. We can see the best even in the worst of times, and know that life will change as it always does. We are all sacred in this world, as is every plant, every animal, every grain of sand. We are not alone. We are part of the larger universe, and we would not be here if we were not meant to be. If we are here but a moment, we can make it the most beautiful miracle of a moment ever.
I would love it if each of you who follows this blog posts something about something you absolutely LOVE to do, be it making a good pot of spaghetti, painting something that means something to you, or whatever brings Edison in all his brightness he created for us into your heart. I am going to share some of mine here. I am NOT a professional artist in the sense of having a degree of art, and have had very little professional training of any kind. But what I DO know is what I like, and what speaks to my heart. I love fiber art, or art quilts and others too, but I do the art quilts. I love anything unique, and I love things made from nature or from recycled things. And I love urban art and also what I call interactive art. This is art that causes the viewer to need to interact with the art in some manner to perhaps try to figure it out or its message to viewers. And I love to put it everywhere – not just in the house or an exhibit or publication, but anywhere my mind decides would be fun to have some art. So if you are expecting some really polished stuff, you probably should go to a different place. This is stuff that comes from the center of who I am.
You have a light,
But you carry it in your pocket
Never allowing it to light the path ahead.
Instead, the light, deprived of its true function
Grows dimmer and I begin to wonder
What will happen to the light
If day after day, year after year
That light is deprived of what it was
Meant to fulfill in this world.
Photo courtesy Pixels.
I have five rose bushes in pots in my yard. It is interesting to watch the way they grow (or don‘t). These were rescue rose bushes – I got them in one of those very cheap way–too–late–for–bare–root–roses sales and they were literally bare root – no sawdust or other wrapping to protect them. It looked as though the grower simply plowed up their fields, threw the survivors into a box and brought them to the store. I looked carefully through all the ones that were available and picked the ones that had some signs of growing or trying to grow.
Watching the five rose bushes grow is a good analogy for life and how people choose to live it. Of the five rose bushes, despite great care and love, watering and fertilizer, one of them didn‘t even try to make it and died within days. It just plain gave up, for it had plenty of green, and it could have chosen to grow, but for whatever reasons, it didn‘t even give it a try. I took it back and the store let me pick out another one, so again, I brought the new one home and gave it the same treatment.
This one didn‘t look THAT promising – it had two spindly little greenish–white twisted branches coming out, but somehow I felt good about it. I wasn‘t wrong either because it took in all the water, the fertilizer, and everything it could get and it put out the largest leaves and healthy red–green leaves, and lots of them too. It was really pumping to grow with everything it has. The leaves and stems quickly reached up as if to catch every drop of available sun. This rose bush is not only was going to make it; it was going to outpace all the other ones as if in a race to be the biggest and strongest.
One of the rose bushes had green on the trunks and it looked healthy, but it is as though it hasn‘t made up its mind whether to grow or not. It just sat there with its green trunk but it hadn‘t even tried to put out any branches or leaves. It almost felt as though it was waiting for someone else to do its work.
Still another of the rose bushes was green, and it sort of sat there for awhile, and then finally decided to grow. It took a longer time, malingering day by day, seeming a little hopeful as it held onto its green for a long time, but then it finally just gave up without any little fight to survive.
The fourth rose bush tried too, but it was a such a timid little thing. It too had the greenish white branches, and it it put out little sweet leaves, but kept them close to the trunk as if needing to protect them from everything. It grew slowly, as if not quite sure of each step it took like a baby that tries to take its first steps but has to hold onto the wall for security, not knowing how to trust its own self to make it .
The fifth rose was taller than the rest in its trunk, but it just put out one spindly branch and it had leaves, but only a couple and it grew so slowly that I often forgot to look at it to see how it is doing because my eyes were drawn to the most robust of all of them and how truly hard that one was trying.
I always think about these roses when I think about the challenges I hear that people are having in their lives and the ways they handle them. I think about the ways they chose or chose not to go on and live fully no matter what the circumstances.
Like that robust rose bush with its huge leaves reaching out to grab everything it could to live fully, it was a trash rose to start out with as all of these were, but it was determined to go forward and it will make it in life and to be a rose that would cause people to admire it for trying so hard. Even if this rose didn‘t get regular watering and fertilizer and a lot of good sun, I have this feeling that it would be the kind of rose that would grow between cracks in pavement. It really wants to live and nothing will stop it as long as there is even just a little trunk and roots left. What kind of rose bush would you be in this life?
The Boogeyman is something I think most of us can relate to. At some point in our childlife, something bit us in the bum, or some other crazy thing like that, and we would get up and start looking under our beds, in the closet, and any other potential place where the Boogeyman might be hiding before we could go to sleep. Oh, the fear, the tingling, creepy fear. And yet, night after night, we would go through this ritual before drifting off to sleep. Was he there? (Notice that the Boogeyman was always a “he” whether you were a girl or a boy.) And if he was there, what on earth would help us to protect ourselves, or to make him go away? In the end result, it wasn’t about any of this. It was just about making sure he wasn’t there. There were probably as many, if not more, nights when we didn’t think about the Boogeyman. We would climb into our beds, pull the covers up, and drift off to sleep without a worry in the world.
Perhaps the Boogeyman was our way of empowering ourselves over things which we had little or no control. We were the ones who summoned the Boogeyman, and we were the ones who assured ourselves that he was not going to hurt us. And each time we grew more confident until one day we went to sleep, knowing that the boogeyman was not going to ever hurt us.
Interestingly, in our adult lives, although we had stopped summoning our Boogeymen, instead we began to summon forth our inner demons. Little by little we called for the Boogeymen to view our accomplishments in life, our creativity, telling us how lame or how otherwise terrible it was. We subject ourselves to endless fears and insecurities about what we so until I honestly think a visit from the Boogeyman would be a welcome relief.
We no longer put our Boogeymen to bed, but keep them out so that we can summon them any time of the day or night. They no longer have to hide under our beds or in our closets. They can appear in full daylight and their power over us is more terrifying than any Boogeyman we ever envisioned. The boogieman was all alone. We could dispatch him pretty quickly and go to sleep feeling as though everything was right in the world. But the demons summon more and more friends until we are absolutely overwhelmed, and there is absolutely no dismissing them. They are fearful even when we are very familiar with them.
Is it any wonder we get depressed when the boogieman no longer is confined to just beneath the bed and in the closet, but fills our everywhere and with not just one, but many demons? And the worst thing is that the demons are difficult to fight because they are so shapeless and nameless. “:He who shall not be named . . .” comes to mind directly from the Harry Potter stories.
Try to remember how you put your boogieman away eventually because you outgrew him. You no longer needed him to empower you. Perhaps the demons are there too so that we can empower ourselves once again as adults who are creative and productive. We really know how to do it. Sometimes we just have to remember. And we have to be willing, like Harry Potter and his friends, to do battle with them. As my friend Spencer used to always say to me, “Good night, sleep tight. Wake up bright in the morning light and do what’s right with all your might.” Sometimes we might not have a lot of might to fight with, but we need to remember most of all not to give up in the presence of the demons. They may seem more powerful than we are, but we have something they don’t on our sides, and that is our enduring faith that something we are doing is right, and something they are doing is very, very wrong. They will never be as powerful as us because they cannot be named, and we have been named. Without a name, you are nothing but a shapeless form without meaning, so whatever meaning those demons have is meaning we are choosing to give them.
For those of you who are fighting your inner demons, I hope that you will not only begin to see the demons for what they are, but to realize that you can dismiss them just as you called them forth. You might even want to make some art of all the demons that haunt your creativity as I have done with mine. Sometimes giving them an actual persona can show you just how silly they really are and when you hang them where you can see them, you can deal with them more easily.
The little demons on this page are Boobalala and Zombie Lombada Man, some of my own little artsy demons. Boobalala was made by painting part of my anatomy and then pressing it to cloth in one of those primitive women’s ceremonial experiments artists sometimes do. He is actually the last remnant of another piece I created.