“what are your fears?”
occasionally somebody will ask me this question.
whether legitimate and serving to keep us safe, or illogical and working to hold us back, we all occasionally experience the feeling of fear. for me, diving is a response that reliably surfaces. i love to swim, but have never entered water head first. i was the girl, during high school swim classes, who had to check off the diving requirement from the side of the pool. and, while i most enjoy focusing on the current moment, sometimes i’ll imagine my life years from now and wonder whether i’ll look back and wish that anything would have played out differently. “what if” games are dicey.:)
i don’t know that i will ever dive. i don’t even know that i’m interested in trying…but i address the other thought through frequently checking in with myself to reflect on what is most important. love is always the foundation to whatever arises—spending time with the souls i am most drawn to, meeting others in a warm, open and kind space, making time for the things and activities that i enjoy, allowing my sense of passion and excitement to lead me in new directions and into new experiences…
creating life around love leaves little room to focus on or wish for anything different—
and makes fear, in general, feel a lot less relevant.
…a little like “earth, wind & fire” and a lot not like it at all.:)
it’s been several years since i have walked through the art institute of chicago. a visit felt due, so i spent some time, a few days ago, working my way through the crowded rooms of the museum.
a couple of rooms in, i started to notice that i was paying more attention to the people around me. an almost odd amount of focused study was happening in front of several paintings—as if there was an art professor lurking in the corner somewhere, scrutinizing over whether these people were dishing out proper measures of detail absorption.
i continued to stroll…right into a somewhat sad realization: i wasn’t really enjoying the art. i wasn’t enjoying it as much as i have during past visits. suddenly, many pieces seemed to lack depth. they appeared underdeveloped…and, as a being who repeatedly placed her rushed work up next to the work of college art students who clearly didn’t choose to spend the previous bundle of nights out with friends, i feel qualified to spot underdeveloped projects. ha.:)
i began to think about how saturated our lives are with digital art these days.
i wondered if we, as a group, are less sensitive to what people took the time to create and share by hand before we could create and share, digitally, within seconds.
…and then i walked into the rooms that are lined with impressionistic paintings.
i took a deep breath and felt a familiar pull into a world that i find mystical, magical and captivating. layers of color that invite long stretches of time for my eyes to comb through, and textures that i wish i could run my fingers across.
i walked toward these paintings questioning the past, the process and the present place of visual art in our modern world.
i walked away being reminded of one of my favorite things about it: each piece is a personal, intimate experience. what repels one person may draw another deeply in. what seems empty or flat to one soul might share a profound story with another.
whether staring at one of pollock’s abstract drip paintings in a museum somewhere or a scenic stretch of mountains just ahead on the highway, each interpretation is good—and each interpretation is true.
one morning, when i was around 9 or 10 years old, i noticed an older lady standing in her front door as i rode by on the school bus. sensing a feeling of loneliness, i smiled and waved. she smiled and waved back. both a friendship and a ritual, across 2 windowpanes and several feet of front lawn and pavement, commenced. every morning, she would be standing there—waiting to share a warm smile and an enthusiastic wave.
throughout the many years since this experience, there has always seemed to be one or two souls, along my routine path, who i exchange what i call the “deeper hi” with. the deeper hi is both momentary and long-lasting. it can be surrounded by a few words, but often happens without any words at all. it is a soul-to-soul whisper, a reminder that we’re all here together—that we all have a richness about us, cultivated through time and experience—that we all have stories—and that we all are a part of this one story—ours.
my current deeper hi is with a man who recently began walking with his grandchildren to school in the morning. we often cross paths somewhere along the sidewalk in front of the school. only a sincere smile and “hi” or “good morning” are exchanged, yet, during that split-second greeting, we also communicate a sense of appreciation and recognition.
noticing and acknowledging each other, even if it’s only through a small amount of eye contact or a brief nod, speaks of love for and awareness of our shared journey—a little message with big shape-shifting capabilities.
tender and powerful,
it can wave away pain.
it can soften sadness.
it can strengthen the spirit.
it can stick around,
for a really long while,
weaving its own brand of magic…
…the deeper hi.
maybe it’s a remembrance from another life,
or a familiarity that courses through the bio-terrain of my being from past generations…
but i feel as though i’m coming home whenever i return to this breathtaking and diverse rising.
energy, from ancient places,
moves in and around,
bringing stories from the vast stretch of stars,
stories from the rugged expanse of earth,
stories from the steadily moving waters
inciting, with clear, compelling whispers,
to show up and receive.