Food for Thought
Periodically, I am struck with the need to put words to a page. Some visual moment I’m experiencing or line of thought that has been working through my brain can only be expressed in words. I’m hoping these words can become another form of “sweet art” for folks who follow my posts. So here I go……
When Our World was Unbroken
When our world was unbroken, we saw each other as companions, a unit that worked together to survive and thrive into a future that was one with our planet.
When our world was unbroken, we talked through our concerns, sat together, thought and listened to each other. We gave a little. We took a little. We worked to find a balance of needs and desires to reach harmony.
When our world was unbroken, dreams were visions shared and valued. Those who had the visions were nurtured and trained to pay attention to their broader meaning. The visions were valued for their guidance and healing.
When our world was unbroken, “religion” was a path toward enlightenment, tolerance, a guide for leading a life with heart; not a sword for division, fear mongering, revenge, judgement, and self righteousness in our acts of wrongness.
When our world was unbroken, we viewed differences as points of discussion, not points of violence. Differences were valued as gifts that broadened understanding of human nature, our point of view, our respect. Differences were a gift that enriched our lives as something to be discovered and learned, not something to be feared, repressed, imprisoned, brutalized or killed.
When our world was unbroken, we valued all life. Nature and humans were one; not master and slave, not user and used, not us and them or it. Nature was the Life Force that ensured our future, and we protected it at all cost.
When our world was unbroken, the feminine was valued and respected across genders, race and ideology. The feminine included all aspects of human differences; all forms of love, caring, nurturing, devotion, education, music, creativity and more. The feminine included all of Nature. Nature included all the Earth. Earth included such things as wind, bird song, light, dark, water, clouds, rain, drought, coyote singing, prey-predictor, intercourse, abstinence, emotion, dreams, thinking, listening and silence.
When our world was unbroken, there was time for silence, solitude and darkness. These elements were seen as healers, knitters of the “tattered sleeve of care.*”
- My take on Shakespeare’s “the raveled sleave of care” from Macbeth.
Taking A Chance
When I was a young woman, I considered a career as a musician or artist. I could draw and sing well. I could have learned an instrument well enough if I had the right teacher. Because I grew up under a cloud of dysfunction, and “what would the neighbors say” control tactics, I often hesitated to take a chance. Those control tactics have played in my head far too often. What if I fail? What if I humiliate myself, or worse, my family? Fear of shame is shaming in and of itself. Shame can be such a powerful control technique.
Consider how girls and women are shamed for their acts of independence, while men are praised and admired. It’s a fundamental flaw in our collective culture that has contributed dramatically to our current global condition. Wherever the feminine has been repressed, that is the care of others and the environment, and the god of money, immediate profits, and personal gain has ruled, our quality of life, and the environment has suffered.
In Native American and other Aboriginal cultures around the world, this imbalance did not exist. Thought was always given to balance and the impacts of today’s actions on the seventh generation. Yet modern society shames those cultures too. They are feminine in their nature because they care for others and the Earth first.
In the face of Global Warming, we are looking once again to older cultures for guidance to save our earthly home from destruction. We are saying “no” to short term economic development that has long term cultural and environmental destructive impacts. We are fighting dams that erase history and waste water rather than save it. We are fighting outmoded coal power plants. We are fighting polluting noise and soon-to-be irrelevant oil pipelines. We are standing together as one human race, not just individual spectrums of life styles, color, age, gender, income and disability. As a single race of humans, we are standing up to government sanctioned violations of Civil Rights. Where our government fails to protect the innocent, individuals and small towns are rising to the needs of the occasion. They choose to take a chance on what is right, in the face of what may, or may not be legal.
My husband and I have lead such battles against development and irrational destruction over the years. I am proud of those efforts, even if other’s are taking the credit some of our work. It was the work, not the praise that was important to us. The battle is constant as history often repeats itself. We continue in our small way to do what we can to protect our neighborhood, or areas we care about. Those efforts take their toll. A toll we can ill afford as we get older.
I think of myself now as a person with a small life; Hobbit-like if you will. I like it that way. I can care for my husband when he needs my help. I can keep a house and garden maintained. I can while the day away immersed in my own creativity or a good book. Through my passion of working with fabric, I have challenged myself to make a work of fabric art that I might enter into some kind of competition or juried exhibit. I am learning to play new instruments even though I am not fully accomplished at my dulcimer. I have overcome that voice of shame from my childhood enough to take a chance on what I might accomplish, in spite of possible failure. I will take a stand against injustice if I have to, as in a recent neighborhood battle against dangerous dogs. I will challenge myself artistically and musically. It is really the warp and weft in a meaningful life; food for thought; seeds for change.
Taking a chance on ourselves is a constant challenge. Keeping those challenges in balance with what heals us is another chance we must take. If we think of ourselves as so many little Davids against the few Goliaths, we can win the future of our world back, one small chance at a time.
The Lines We Can’t See
I sit on my back patio enjoying the sunlight coming through the sunflowers. Then I notice the native bees furiously flying from one flower head to the next and I think, “they’re weaving lines we can’t even see!” Never crashing, or bumping, they follow “roads” of light only the eyes of bees can see. They are on a driven path that fills their lives with a meaning we don’t fully understand beyond how it impacts our own lives.
Then I notice the power lines behind the flowers and realize, those lines represent another network of lines we can’t see. Rather, we have become so accustomed to, we are now blind to them. But when we do look up and really see, there is little beauty in those lines. Everywhere they go, they divide communities economically, they impact our environment in so many destructive ways. The “power” they impart offers comforts to human life, but that comfort keeps us from the very element that brings us the deepest meaning to our daily existence, Nature.
I sit on my square of land in a big city, and enjoy a mammoth tree that is not native to this land. I listen to the rattle of a swamp cooler that is minimally effective at keeping my personal “box” cool during this rare humid season in the southwest. I communicate through another system of invisible lines to people I’ve never met who may live in a similar big city on the other side of the world. There is wonder and fascination with these invisible lines. There is a certain mystic draw. Yet there is something sinister as well. There is something spider-web-sticky in all of it. How do we keep it all in balance? How do we keep what we have which is unsustainable, yet give it up now that we have grown content with these “comforts?” Is there a better way? Can we find that path in time?
The answer for me is more time off-line, and more time walking in the bosque or mountains. Even walking my neighborhood will help build lines of communication unseen, but deeply felt. We are on our individual paths, our own lines of travel through this life-journey, but there are many intersections we need to be aware of. A moment of insight shared is one of those invisible lines that may intersect. One persons’ action against the lines of “sticky power” may be another person’s inspiration for additional action. Every small elevation of our consciousness to all the little lines that connect us, can make a web of enlightenment more powerful than that “sticky power.” We can return to the higher levels of our humanity by rediscovering our birthright connection with Nature, in something as simple and easy as observing a small bee going about his business one flower at a time.