So much loss lately.
Robin and I have lost 2 friends to Covid, one who was a year younger than I am, and in robust health. We just went through St. Patrick’s Day, our first without my Dad, and for my family, that’s almost like going through Christmas without him all over again.
The larger world has once again astonished us by yet another elected official – one who we chose, pay a salary, and grant authority to serve ALL of us – seeming to downplay the actions of a mass murderer as the result of “…a really bad day.”
That the empathy extended from one white man to another was greater than what seemed to be extended to those who lost their lives -- six of the eight of whom were Asian women -- matters.
Our world is rife with profound racial and gender disparities and the power imbalances they create. More of us are coming to see this, and are actively working to change it, than ever before. But it needs to be all of us. And though we can heal our biases, the wounds created by our biases leave permanent, gaping holes in the circles of friends and family who have lost beloved members like we witnessed this week.
This brings us back to our neighborhood. Dear friends of ours lost a dear friend of theirs, a longstanding musical inspiration. He had moved away, been gone from the community for a long time, yet he remained part of the circle, a part that is now missing. While I had only met him once or twice, I devoured the photos that were posted, the words that were said about him, and the community around him. As I looked through the photos, all I could think was…this.
This. This is why you nurture an artistic discipline in yourself and foster it in others. This is why, slowly but surely, you figure out how to share what you make. These faces. This palpable joy. People doing, being and giving of who they truly are, and being received, at the deepest levels. THIS is how you make a world where you can handle the pain of living, and the losses that must come without having to take others down with you.
Some say, music. Ha. Art. C’mon! It’s selfish. Attention seeking, pure and simple. There is so much suffering in the world. How dare I be happy? How dare I seek the comfort of a circle of friends who challenge themselves and grow together? How dare I enjoy the life I am privileged to have?
YES. Consider those questions.
And then consider this: do happy people pick up guns?
At the root of it, isn’t attention merely connection? Do people who experience the joy of giving and receiving attention on a regular basis and form genuine connections as a result seek to destroy other people, or to build them up?
Are those who nurture gratitude no matter the circumstance the ones who try to find their way to feeling better by hurting others, or are they the ones who help others feel better?
Our happiness, connection, and gratitude for our own lives is the wellspring of joy.
Joy is the embodiment of love.
Love is the antidote to hate.
Let me humbly ask this of you, who have found the space in your heart for me and my thoughts today.
Look within your own. Find a way to bring what is in there, out into the world.
Whether what you create feels happy, connected, or gratitude-filling, you will experience those states in the course of creating it. And you will be bringing the antidote to hate into the world. LOVE. This is the essence of collaboration.
If you feel like it, let me know what you did.
Thanks for getting all the way through this. I don’t take for granted that you read all the way through. It means a lot.