So, I'm finally getting around to telling this story:
Her name is Ilana Limoni. She's a local library patron, a sweet soul, and a woman with a lifetime of stories and...art. If you Google her name you might find some blogs about her needlework. She's devoted endless hours to scripture (The Torah) and to visualizing and creating her masterpieces, which are wall-panel sized creations of epic scope.
She showed us (a co-worker and I) to the table where she prepared lunch: a simple German potato salad, with peas, pickles (yum), eggs...it was delicious and light. Served on romaine leaves with cherry tomatoes. Lovely.
Later, she showed us around. At first, the jaded control freak inside me started to rumble..."we have to get back to work, we punch a time clock!" Raaaaa... shush, I said to myself. Surrender...
The more we gazed, the more transfixed I became. She showed us her easel, her worktable, where she conceptualized each piece, the images, the Hebrew characters that would tell the stories that she wanted to convey. So many of the epic parables that we grew up with in the West, these grand and lasting stories: the stone tablets, Moses parting the Red Sea and the Exodus...the detail was impeccable and her devotion was touching and astounding. This woman is a true artist. A slow, deliberate, meticulous, and deeply inspired artist. A master at her craft. Some of these pieces should be in a museum of some kind.
In the other rooms, were some non-religious pieces. She offered some of her pieces to my co-worker and I. (I should mention that we help her get books and have known this woman for quite some time, there's a friendship here. It's not normal for us to visit the homes of our patrons.) Anyway. I saw this piece, the one pictured above, and I was smitten. Drawn in. Women and changing seasons? Um....yes, please. Oh my Goddess! Me, up and down. I loved it and I was grateful to accept it. It will hang in my bedroom.
The experience blew me away. Here was a woman that I spoke to on the phone, she asked after my son, often gave generous gifts on his behalf...and behind closed doors...she is this artist. I was blown away.
How often...do we take people for granted? Not knowing what happens in their daily lives, what and who they are, in their private time. What might they truly think and ponder, what might they be creating. What gifts lay hidden, beneath the surface.
"See the Light in others, and treat them as if that's all you see..." - Wayne Dyer
I always say that each of us has some special gift, maybe more than one, if we're truly blessed. And something happens. If we're not raised in an environment that supports free expression and exploration of the Self, we often stuff these gifts down, where they become hidden. Pushed and shoved into a box, smaller and smaller until they're barely noticeable. Because sometimes, it just hurts too much to feel the desire to create and the inner knowing of more, with no freedom to pursue such things. So, we get into school and we're expected to conform. To fit. To quiet our inner impulses to see the world differently and spit it back out; digested and reformed into the way that we see it and understand it. We're dissuaded from a path that might foster growth and the celebration of our gifts and creativity by those who were wrapped in their own fears and ideas of Life. And so another cycle continues...go to school, memorize facts, don't question anyone, and then get out and exhaust yourself making money for someone else, savoring the weekends, longing for those getaways. And becoming dependent on a cyclic system that keeps us in one place. Work, eat, sleep, spend. Etc...
And in the "rat race" as they call it, in this blind stupor, this routine, that we've become accustomed to living in, day in and day out...we lose that...spark. That thing, that tingle that sets us on fire, from within. That thing that connects us, so deeply, to something bigger, something vast, something unseen and magical and powerful and passionate. That thing that makes our eyes open just a bit wider and the hairs on our necks stand up. That makes our heart beat just a bit faster, at the idea of being able to pour ourselves into it, uninterrupted. That thing that pulses, deep, deep inside, and we just know that others are waiting for it, that only we can shape it in our particular way, and share it. The thing that we can lose ourselves in, lose time in, and find ourselves in after a matter of deconstruction. Our...art. And it doesn't have to be visual art. I'm talking about song, dance, sculpture, writing, poetry, painting, speaking, film, photography...needlework. Anything, really. Anyone who can imagine a thing and pull that idea from the ether and manifest it, into physical form, in the present....is an artist. A creator. A force of all that is natural and vital and primal and pure.
Because at our core, beneath the busyness and struggle and complaint and rushing back and forth, beneath the bills and obligations and appointments and people-pleasing and noise...we are creators. Way back, before industrialization, before becoming so "civilized," human beings had a psycho-spiritual connection with their home...our planet. And we celebrated the Sun and Moon, the tides, the stars...oh, the stars. The Gods, in the Heavens. The elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth...plus, the all-encompassing Spirit, the energy that holds us all together ...made up all that is Life.
"Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." - Leonardo DaVinci
We are amazing creatures simmering with all sorts of potential to feel, hear, and see our world and everything, everyone in it...with the eyes of God, with the eyes of Creation, itself. It's already within us, sometimes deep, so deep, that we forget. Sometimes it takes a shaking, of sorts, a vigorous change of perspective, a world flipped upside down...in order to find that spark. An awakening. A reckoning, a moment of realization, that yes! Yes! There is more, I am more!
You are. We are. All of us. And being there, sitting with people, and living in a way that encourages them to explore, within, and look for that spark? Is becoming a life's quest and purpose for me, in and of itself.
I remember when driving back from my failed Boston adventure with my father (the historian), and the epic conversations we had. Remembering...as a species...how much we've created. In the history of the human being. Look around you. At anything. At the device in your hands, right now. Once upon a time? Sand, maybe.
Imagine a world, raw and vast and teeming with unimaginable dangers and beauty at every turn. Unexplored. Brand new. Raw materials, only. Earth. Water. Air. Fire. Fire meant heat. Heat could alchemize and transform things. We could melt things, cook things, change things at a molecular level. Imagine having to take sand, mud, water...and create all the synthetics and materials that you'd need to build an iPhone. With a microchip, to make it work. And an unbreakable rumble-cover. And the cute little decals on the back. Could you possibly fathom how to do that? With a handful of dirt? No. Unlikely. We're too far removed from our innate capacity to create new things out of raw materials and inspired ideas.
We're too busy. Buried beneath sound, clutter, routines, and obligations. We've forgotten who we really are.
I don't expect anyone to duck out of society and abandon everything that they know and love, to go live a la Lennie and George, "off the fat of the land." But I will say, that carving out time to hear ourselves? To allow new ideas and inspiration to bubble forth? To allow time for crafting, creating, inventing, theorizing...creating time, for the New? Is life-changing. Even the thought. Even entertaining and holding that thought, "I will create time alone, and allow my Self...to take the floor. I will spend time with just me, for me. And see what happens." Just in that declaration, you are making a choice. And that choice creates a ripple that tells the rest of You, that this is important. And all the little beings and systems and ideas and energy that make up You...begin to get to work, in creating that time for you. Sometimes, even that, just making Time...is a first step. And it's huge.
And it's absolutely worth taking. You are worth that time. And i'm sure, I know, that beneath everything that you believe about who you must be and how you must show up, there is a magic within you that wants to express something. Something that no one else, not one of us, can. Not how you can, because it's yours. Alone. And the more we let it out, the more rises up, and wants out...too. Choosing to honor your creativity sets a new standard for how You do You. It builds momentum. And you get to step out there on that ledge, over and again, a new journey, each time.
More and more alive, each time. Until that nearly damp still smoldering ember becomes a burning flame, that can light up all of humanity, eventually. I believe this. I believe it truly is contagious. And I believe we are underway, toward a new way of being in this world. Awakened, alight, alive, inspired, compassionate, honest. Toward a collective good, an evolving populace, that will raise up all of us, into a thriving future. Not an unbalanced utopia, but a balanced and healthy world, that represents the best of all of our divergent ideas. Brought together, for a greater good, that serves all of humanity.
Big dreams, yes.
Where clean waters have the freedom to flow and nourish, wherever they meander. With towering, cleansing trees and greens and lush forests, to filter and heal our outdoor spaces. With restored and nourished soil, that grows vibrant living food, in a way that makes sense, for all of us. For all of us. It's a huge planet. There is enough. If we can start to shift how we live on it. And these are the waves that we see, toward focus of the Self. Energy imprint, healthy lifestyles, knowledge of Self and less co-dependence, compassion, caring, and a desire to serve in some way. A longing, a deep-seated need to uplift for the greater good. And it's loaded, for sure. Because we are so divided, with the remnants of old ideas that don't serve anymore. Not where we're going.
It's epic, really.
There is me. And then my family. Friends. Community. Town, State. And somehow...we've all jumped to a worldview, a global village. While countries deteriorate and fight, within. Something is missing. We need to focus on our countries, so that each limb of this current working (?) surface-built system called Life on Earth can flourish and heal, even as we heal, underneath all of that. Healing in the physical, in real-time, at the country level, and then participating, together, at a global level, will help usher in a healthy and sustainable global village faster than depending on individuals, even working collaboratively. We must all work on multiple levels, not just in energy, not just on the ground. It's both. Together. The connective energetic tissue and the physical manifestations that lead us in body and daily living. It's both.
Just my thoughts, of course. But I do know that it's all connected. We don't get to skip things because they're hard. The hard is where the work is. it is my wish to work toward rehabilitating and uplifting the American Dream, in a way that is reverent and respectful, of this land's first people. I don't think we did it right the first time. I think our current leadership is a huge wake-up call to get our shit together. To restore the values, ideals, freedoms, creative pursuits and inventions...that came with a New Frontier. This land is great one, for many reasons. Regardless of who is in charge, I LOVE this country. I love the initial idea of it: a land free of persecution, where new and emerging ideas could flourish. The United States of America, was in and of itself, an idea, brought into being my rebels and visionary thinkers. Bells ringing? And it's still a good one, if we could fix what we broke when we first got started. And we broke a lot of stuff, we stole from people, we hurt people. We just did it wrong. All around. I just want us to do our part, in trying to get it right. For our children's children. And our planet. That's all. No biggie, really. <3