This is not a happy anniversary. More tragedy than joy. More loss than gain. More patience and discipline than freedom and free-spirit. But have there been lessons? I can only speak for myself and a few others when we talk about the bigger picture, the longer term, the looking back when we’re beyond.
I have gone inward a lot. I haven’t always wanted to, especially when I feel despair and sadness but ironically those times seem to demand reflection. Usually when I allow and respect or at least acknowledge the bleak and depressing, I manage to crawl up out of the grip it can have on me. Then I’m somehow able to ask myself what to do in the midst of it. At first, I didn’t want to paint or write even though I believe in expressive arts. I think I was focused on survival, especially given the smoke, fires and evacuations (the last post) we faced in California.
Slowly I came up and out of the basics like how do we shop, do we have to sterilize our lives, can we see anyone in our family and how important is art anyway given the losses and the beyond-the-call-of-duty so many others were facing. At some point things shifted and I had to make some art and write and forge ahead. Being at home and in the studio so much put it all in my face and after a while I either had to address long delayed projects and goals or get more depressed. It seemed to help and give me energy to help others.
So those actions were personal and constructive but the deeper I went, I saw I also needed some spiritual guidance. I starting practicing a bit of Buddhism by default. I read more, meditated more, accepted more, grasped less. It seemed to balance what I used to do which was go more, consume more, act more on impulse and immediate need or what I thought was need but was really a distraction or momentary indulgence.
Believe me, I haven’t got this figured out and I certainly don’t feel like a delivered, emancipated, evolved, transcendent hominoid. But weirdly, staying put and facing down my demons has led to a bit of growth and a lot of gratitude in the midst of something none of us could have imagined. I send my best to anyone who happens to take time to read my infrequent posts. Hang in, be well and we’ll get through this. In the meantime, perhaps we can honor those who have gone before us by doing the best we can for ourselves and others and for our little blue home, the planet Earth.