Sometimes I wish that I had a magic wand. Well, often I wish that I had a magic wand. Sometimes I wish I had the answer to all our problems. The recent waves of crazy make this more so than usual. Each time something happens it seems to up the ante on violence. Like the overwhelming rush of contractions during the peak of a birth, we seem to have reached the point in which we can’t take a breath before the next one hits. We have no time to process our collective trauma and pain. Perhaps this crescendo will lead us to a new life, new ways of relating to each other. A new Earth in which every one has their needs met.
I keep realizing that whilst I am continuing my day to day routine, elsewhere others are having their lives irrevocably altered. Life continues to happen, people die, are born, get a cancering diagnosis, or ride a bike on a perfect summer day – All in the very same instance. Our ability to have instant access to world events is like a tsunami of bad news every day. I do not use the word tsunami lightly, seeing as I live immediately adjacent to the Cascadia fault line. In fact my house is a little box on the evacuation signs in my neighborhood, which show the predicted high water levels. Apparently someone on the run will need to go higher up the hill than our house. That is if there is a higher up the hill to go to after the prerequisite catastrophic earthquake, which will most likely trigger massive landslides, which will likely take out my house.
Anyway on to the subject at hand, which contrary to this intro is actually a call to action. This is a call for putting in effort to cultivate a positive response to all of the darkness. As an artist I find myself unwilling to be disempowered by the horrific events unfolding around the world. I find myself wishing to respond in a way that is healing, rather than adding to the suffering. I wish my efforts to create more love. This is in no way a head in the sand response, or a pollyanna policy. This is not the same as putting my fingers in my ears and going LALALALALALA.
“Critique by creating.”
The most useful thing I learned in art school is the art of critique. Which is a fancy art school way of naming Critical Thinking Skills + Problem Solving. We are in dire need of some tools to address the madness. These are our problems to solve. While there are far more people who are filled with goodness and light than there are damaged and violent people, the willingness to cause suffering is very present. It can not be left unchecked. The terrible events that are unfolding are irrevocably connected to inequity and injustice. The repercussions of the many who feel like they have little to lose, and of festering emotional trauma.
If we want all of this pain to birth a better future I believe that the question is how do we share power? How do we build solidarity with others? How do we call forth the beauty and creative genius inherent within each of us? Is the key realizing that we are together in this constant state of change and creation? By choosing to concentrate on a more just and loving future do we draw ourselves towards it?
There is much I don’t know. For instance I know little of the details of the many and varied recent horrible events. What I do know is that Critique by Destroying does nothing good. Perhaps this is a call to close our eyes and imagine a world in which we are better at taking care of each other. To play pretend. Then to open our eyes wide and take some small step towards making that pretend world real. To critique the madness by creating order and beauty and love in whichever small way we can. To create new ways to evoke kindness.
Perhaps then we will have the strength to face the daunting task of caring for the wounded. I am guessing that the answer to everything is more love. There are simply more of us that are capable of love than there are those who have been cut off from their own humanity. And because I believe that there is a basic decency within most people, I believe we have the capacity to face the ways we all contribute to the inequity. Even if we don’t consider ourselves to be racist or homophobic or intolerant, we likely are benefiting from the societal norms of persistent oppression. I think we have the strength to face that too. We need to dream a new world into being, because the old world isn’t working so well right now.
“What is the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything?”
-Douglas Adams, from the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy-
If we look outside ourselves to some expert for the answer on how to make life more wonderful, we run the risk of getting an answer like 42, that doesn’t really have meaning. If we look within, and quiet ourselves enough to feel what has resonance with our hearts, the answer to what we can do is waiting for us, like a seed that will sprout and grow into some precious and beautiful thing.