Valentine’s Day

The quest for love, for deep belonging is according to social scientists motivated by the first prerequisite for contentment. To be happy, we grasp at so many things. We crowd into lines, watch celebrity lives, lean our corporate ladders against a wall, demand attention at counters, surround ourselves with people we believe will give us power or substance in the eyes of the world.

candles reflect

But finally, there is the other. Looking into the eyes of one who has stood next to you when life has been bitter, disappointing or even at risk is where we find our mirror. The other when we were young was a mother, a grandmother, a loving father, an aunt who saw us clearly. The other might have been that one teacher who reached out to grab your spirit and lift you up out of the chaos of an unsatisfying or impossible family dynamic.
For those who are lucky, the other is the partner who stands facing life with you, shoulder to shoulder when there is an onslaught. At other times, he or she gives you a place to be heard. To put your feet up on a waiting lap, to lay your hand on a resting knee, to fit two bodies together casually, usually: seeking comfort is truly magic.
It isn’t the presents but rather the presence that is the reward.
Some say that they hate Valentine’s Day. However, for those who have held sick kids, rushed one another to the hospital, gone out to walk together in the rain when one has insomnia, been the welcoming arms when the world has offered no comfort, this is a day to celebrate.
Society, families, cultures are built on the commitment that two people give to one another with full heart. It is the love between two individuals that is the foundation for so many other sociological structures and gives substance to life.
This day is not trivial. It is a celebration of two spiritual warriors who maintain a relationship in the face of the chaos of contemporary life. Congratulations. Enjoy. Reward yourselves.

Crises in Cairo

There are so many media eyes on the government in Egypt that it is a revelation. The reporters are trapped in hiding because the government is arresting the witnesses.
Some of the people who are in Tehrir square are tweeting that government thugs have infiltrated and are trying to discredit the demonstrators. It is a difficult situation for all of those who are attempting to be involved in a peaceful show of strength. Images of people protecting one another, of a woman kissing a soldier, of a young girl standing on a tank are very emotionally evocative. In addition, any group of one million angry people will have those who are unenlightened. Some are threatening the reports with gestures. However, the videos which are going up on youtube are showing a calm atmosphere in the last few days. Groups of people are reported to be forming a barrier around the national treasures in order to insure that no stupid actions will be taken by any of the ill considered.
Most political unrest is driven by economic concerns and ABC news points out that in the Muslim world 60% young people who have very little opportunity. The crushing economic scenario combined with a restrictive regime means that the sense of being trapped in a life without possibilities will always drive people to look for another way out.
A new regime, immigration, restructuring are all ways that people have reacted in the past. Recently, I viewed a series about the history of New York. The immigrants were driven out of their homelands because they saw no other way to survive.
In Egypt, it is interesting to see that many of the people in the square are stating that they feel they must do something to give their children opportunities and hope for a way of being a contributor to the society. Keeping your young men at home day after day because there is nothing for them to do is a failure of the system: government, culture and family.
The big question throughout history has been what happens afterward? A repressive regime falls but what comes next? Can a new, more effective democratic system grow up and survive? France had a strong military dictator after their revolution. The chaos continued until another strong figure arose.
If you wish to witness what is happening, have a look at twitter and facebook for minute by minute updates.
It is no secret that people need food they can afford, a place to live that is clean and safe and belief that they can contribute to their family and to their country. When these things are in place, everyone just grows fat and content and watched reality t.v.

the media revolution

February Flare

After a long, dark time of healing, I feel as if I am coming alive again. On Sunday I have a workshop in making tiny books of love for Valentine’s day. I am in my happy place when I am combining my writing with art.

Making a tiny book of love

Paint chip, Book of love

Recently, I completed a 35 page book which is resting in pdf format at the current time. After I find a storefront, I will be putting it for sale.
I wrote a 14 page short story about the passing of my step-father last week and I need to get ISBN numbers for both of these creations.
Two shows of my art might be coming up. The United Church Hall has an opening in March and the blood bank has great walls that will be available in March as well. Talk about a captured audience. People will be laid out, unmoving staring at the walls.
My goal of building muscle in my arms and back is slowly being achieved. It is getting easier to heft those weights which I leave on my livingroom floor… in the way. When I trip, I stop and lift.

On my facebook page I have been posting media feedback from the Egyptian demonstrations all day. It is fascinating to see the force of intention that people can form. Peaceful presence. The images of the Christians standing in a circle facing outward with their hands held protectively standing guard for their Muslim brothers kneeling on the ground says so much about what real love is. Religious should lead to compassion and not judgment. Amazing images coming out of the Tehrir square in Cairo.
It is good to feel creative again. It is good to feel alive again. There are moments when I grieve the loss of one who I believed to be my friend. But there is something better coming for me and I feel that.

Feb 6th workshop at Opus: The book of love