Hello, Sorry for Your Loss. Glad You Could Join Me @VerbaVitae

A well-know observation on the human condition is that all human beings either move towards or away from something with every action or thought.  We consider this without emotion – as simply a fact.  And, yet who moves away or towards, and why – is Everything.  The small child whose introduction to gasoline consumerism comes forcibly – pimped out by her Amazon Brazilian mother to the local gasoline guy so they can get around in their boat.[1]  Or, the child’s whose last view is vultures circling above its body on the African Savannah.[2]

As basic as the human condition is and how much we can learn from it, it is only recordable as experience in real time, memory, or in Art.  The Maslow Hierarchy of Needs model says that as our sense of well-being goes up, we freely engage in loftier forms of thought and action, with creating in this model, near the top, finding food near the bottom.  So, a person concerned about food will not generally engage in painting or writing as a pastime that takes precedent to finding food.

Enter the person who has enough to eat, but is hungry: hungry for food that self-perpetuates, providing food for others as it feeds in the moment.  I am that person.  I grew up sheltered and oblivious – the daughter of an up and coming businessman, and the daughter of a descendant of European royalty.  In my teens, our family lost all income and savings, and my boat rocked for the first time.  In college, I lived off the goodwill of those I did not know, and my proverbial boat of obliviousness sank further, no longer a navigable vessel.  Then, the realization that we do not do what we can to stop others’ suffering.  Ultimately, I came to the door that anyone comes to who thinks as I did:  To the door of “I can no longer do nothing”.  I sought professions that made a difference, settling into one that saves lives on a daily basis.

I am currently not that person whose voice has been silenced by circumstance – poverty, oppression, death.  I live at a time and place where I am able to pick up a pen and write – Anything that I care to.  No Gulag Labor Camp awaits, no assassin.  I can be oblivious to this privilege of freedom, or create with the Awareness that I have been given a gift.  And, that if I care to, I can use my gift to better the course of someone else’s life.

I truly believe that I have a chance to make a bigger difference in the world as a writer and film-former than doing anything else.  Because if people can watch, read, and listen, brain cells file my images and words, and observations and perceptions form.  Hearts soften and open.  Brains think differently.  Compassion gets a Seat at the Table without sitting behind Greed.  Hands and dollars Do.

So, I am off to the next moment of my life: to task myself to make a real difference in this world as an Artist.  And, so in this way, the promise of the next moment becomes my motivation, and the suffering in this world my forever companions.


[1] A story relayed to me by my friend, Lilliana, a Dentist, who just came back from a medical mission in the Amazon.

[2] Kevin Carter, a photographer who captured such a photo, committed suicide after people chastised him for not saving the child.

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Listening, Letting Go, and Letting In

I’m Fifty now; I’d like to think my complexion stills begs the question. But, recently I’ve been feeling my age. It’s as if an entire Self has shed – I can see it behind me like some snake skin wrapped around a post.  I don’t know what’s gone, but I know I’m somehow less and somehow more; but, definitely not the same.

Periodically, there’s a piece that runs on CBS, during a news segment – “Everybody Has a Story”.  A reporter throws a dart behind him at a map of the United States.  Where it lands, he goes.  Then, when he gets there, he interviews a random name from the phone book.  I’ve been finding archives of interviews like that in my own psyche – stories that are complex, tragic or compelling, waiting for a someone to come by and ask the questions … and listen.

I’ve been through some of life’s downsides in the last few years – deaths of animals, deaths of people, my Sister’s sudden, serious illness.  The abrupt necessity for me to drop my career and writing lives to work 60+ hours per week for over a year – for the benefit of my sister, who needed my help.  Now, the horizon is clearing, and I can see far enough ahead to see that very soon, I will be able to devote time to my career and my writing again.

Enter the parts of my psyche who have been waiting for someone to listen to their tales – to the fear, the weariness, the disappointments.  To listen to the soldier in me who had to narrow her focus and march through territory – a territory that demanded everything, and perpetuated only Itself.

The soldier in me wants to speak now.  And, I need to listen.  So, I can acknowledge the sacrifice she made, and begin the integration of my psyche, my current life, and the future I long for.

Sometimes, if we choose to stop and listen to the parts of us that wait beside the road to be fed, we find that we fill ourselves in a way which is necessary to walk on.  In this way, we Let Go, and can Let In.  I am ready.

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