I am not sure my parents really prepared me for all the curveballs that life has thrown at me starting at an early age. In some ways the curveballs have made me incredibly agile to which way to swing, when to duck, and when to let the ball pass right by me. That does not mean that all that movement and reaction is not exhausting, and it also does not mean that I have always reacted, or presented myself in the best of ways. I have high standards and expectations at work and in my personal life. Maybe my dad overly ingrained in my head: “Do it right the first time.” Now to me that does not mean only try once and get it right the first time. What it means in my mind is give it your all and keep at it until you get to where you are going.
“We can’t control what life throws our way, but we can control how we react to it. As we do, maybe we come closer to a meaningful life than any plan could ever take us. To do this, though, we have to let go of what we think we deserve and embrace what is, which just might lead to something better than we could have imagined.” Page xxvii
The part I love about the above quote is about letting go and letting ourselves be lead to something better than we could have imagined. While I have high standards I also have witnessed how taking a step back and listening to intuition allows for life to sometimes fall into place.
I will give you a tiny morsel from my day on Monday. All morning things kept changing — meetings moved, deadlines shifted, and when I tried to unravel it all it was just horribly frustrating and time-consuming. I kept (as often happens) getting pulled into other things and dealing with requests and the thought that came to me during it all was: ‘Let it go. you will figure it out later… as messed up as it all happens to feel right now.’ Later in the day when I had a moment to look at the mess, each conflict and deadline had actually all moved again and all the things I would have had to unravel were put in a place that worked out. I did not have to do anything other than respond to a few emails and accept moved meetings. No rearranging needed. Now — that does not mean that I think you should procrastinate or that my morsel of happenstance from Monday will occur all the time. What I honed in on from Monday is that I listened to my intuition to let it go for that time and it all worked out.
That is just a small moment in time. Think about what can happen if we let go more often, for the small and the large events in life, and let things naturally be designed in front of us. Somehow the universe has a way of bringing color, hope, and a graceful design that often surpasses what we can imagine for ourselves.
The sensational news these past few days. We go between the struggles of watching the earthquake in Nepal, to riots in Baltimore. I said to Chris while we were eating dinner last night that I feel like I am in the early 1960’s. Why is there so much struggle with race, color, and violence? Such different issues in different parts of the world. In Nepal they did not ask for an earthquake and yet look at how the world is coming together (as often happens with natural disasters)? I received a notice from my company to donate, Facebook reminds me, there are mentions all over social media to donate and support the victims of this massive earthquake. We donate because we care. We donate because we know one day we could be in a similar situation. We donate because that is what we do — we take care of others.
Why then do we then see the juxtaposition of rioting, looting, fires — a war zone in Baltimore? How is it that we can see such generosity and such anger? Both situations have a result of pain, but different triggers of that pain. I am not going to even give my opinion one way or other as to the situation that occurred to cause this anguish. I had not actually followed what happened. What sparks my interest are the actions of those that are reacting. How is that living a non-violent approach? The police officers in the earlier incident could have very much been in the wrong, and it could also be a misunderstanding. It makes no sense to me that the result is that individuals feel they can damage liquor stores, throw bricks at cops, and burn and destroy public property. It completely diverts from the actual original issue. Others no longer see what actually happened. The issue is lost because all the people can see (my view completely) is their reaction.
It reminds me of a kid that does not get their way. What do they do? They throw a temper tantrum. They lie on the floor and keep their feet and whine and moan. Sometimes they use violence by kicking their parents or a sibling. Sometimes they might punch a wall, break something, or destroy an object to prove their point. Basically, I watch what is happening in Baltimore and what was happening in Missouri and I think stop it all. Stop acting like children. Stop with the news frenzied temper tantrums. Grow up, use your words, and make change in other meaningful ways. Ways that have a lasting effect.
We all have those days when we want to pitch a fit, but deep down we never want to steal, destroy, or hurt someone else. We want to be seen and heard. The individuals in Baltimore may be acting out because they feel an injustice has been done. They want to be seen and heard. Yet, there is a part of me that feels they do it because they can. They do it so they can try to prove a point, but in turn they lose a lot of credibility. In the words of many parents, I just want to yell: “Use your words.” We have got to stop this violence and instead put our focus on Nepal and other areas of the world that truly need our help.
Over the weekend, Chris and I were out and about running errands in downtown Portland. I needed to pick up an item at a local boutique and while waiting to pay we look up and saw an amazing piece of artwork on the wall. While the piece itself may not be something I would put on my wall, I was fascinated and in awe of how the artist creates her art.
Rachel Mulder is a local Portland artist. What sets her apart from other artists? She creates her pieces on a typewriter. The darker areas are made by continuous strikes on the typewriter. As you can see by the screen grab I took from her website, there is an amazing amount of texture, color, and shading and to think it was all done via a typewriter.
I am always amazed and impressed when an artist does something so different and awe-inspiring. While I may not necessarily want this woman specifically on my wall it makes me want to think outside the box and find new ways of looking at the world. Who knew you could make such a rich piece by spending hours at a typewriter? I had to stand and stare at it for quite a while. It is worth taking a look at the link to her website above. (My screen grab is just a portion of the woman).
I would love to purchase a smaller installation of her artwork (the piece in this boutique was quite larger, but worth every penny). It makes me think about all the other creative and simple ways that we can make art. Her way is genius, and I love the energy and creativity it added to my day, and made me want to come home and paint. I did not, as the day ended up being full of catching up on life, but that desire is still fueling inside of me. I bet Rachel goes through quite a few typewriter ribbon tapes. Remember those things?
Here is to finding fun, new, and creative ways to express ourselves!