Archives for posts with tag: be the change

I carefully flipped through stacked canvases, and pictures in my archives, considering this one, then that one, understanding that as a last-minute additional to an upcoming art show just days away, I’d likely have little space. The choices matter. (Don’t the choices always matter?) After selecting several canvases, in a couple of sizes, and deciding on bringing along some work on paper, too, I set all that aside in favor of a quiet evening of housekeeping, meditation, and self-care. It was a pleasant evening, well-spent.

I stayed away from the echo chamber of public comments on the internet. I avoided the outrage-machine of news media. I managed to mostly avert my eyes from social media, generally. “Nothing to see here…” It’s difficult, over time, to continue to read filtered, reprocessed, repeated bullshit and slogans, often then repackaged as “new” editorials and memes, shared and re-shared repeatedly; repetition is learning. Eventually, that shit starts to stick in my consciousness. Fuck all that; I’m an original.

Carefully consider your opinion on some controversy (I’ll wait); how much of “your” opinion is truly the result of independent thought? How much research did you, yourself, actually do on that subject? Most people just repeat some stew of “comfortable thoughts” with which they agree, that they heard or read somewhere, or trust from their childhood education. It’s terrifying (to me) how little real thought people give what they say they believe. Our implicit understanding of the world is every bit as questionable as our explicit knowledge, and every bit as worthy of being directly questioned, with real rigor. Making an aggressive sincere attempt to “prove ourselves wrong” – based on the likely-to-be-true assumption that we are more than likely wrong about something – ensures that we understand what we say we believe. Most people don’t. Most people just fucking wander around insisting on shit they do not even understand. Such a thing can cause great damage in the world – and to real actual human beings. We can do better.

I challenge you, today, to overturn a sincerely held belief for which you have no legitimate, factual, evidence-based, support – in other words, an unsupported opinion. Pick one. Any. Just do it. Found one? Probably one you don’t care too much about, or which holds little controversy? (Minimum risk to your emotional comfort, I get it.) Okay, now go explore the “other side” of that controversy. There’s probably more than one other side, actually; false dichotomies shore up a lot of bullshit opinions. The goal here, as I see it, is to learn enough to hold a truly nuanced opinion that undermines our “us vs. them” thinking entirely, forcing us to see the world as a small dirty rock hurtling through space, one which we must share with others, because there is nowhere else (yet) to go.

This isn’t really an “easy” practice. I mean, just as an example, if you’re a male human being, you most likely still have an opinion on abortion (although why you would think your opinion should have any sway in the world of women, I do not know)… but do you actually hold a nuanced opinion that accounts for the real-life experience of actual women? Like… all of us? From everywhere? Do you have your own first-hand experience of having had to make the choice whether or not to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy? Quite probably not. Plenty to explore there, opinion-wise. (Are you mad, already? This is just an example… take a breath.)

If you feel emotions rising just listening to someone’s opinion, particularly when it does not agree with your own, there’s a very real chance you are not acting from a place of reason, at all, but instead reacting to shit you accepted as a given, and memorized, so long ago you know longer recall where those “opinions” came from – definitely question that sort of knee-jerk emotional reaction to the world. lol That’s not a reliable approach to understanding those around you, at all. Myself, I find that if my emotions attempt to lead the conversation, it’s a great time to shift gears and ask more questions; there is much I do not know.

I do know three things I can count on pretty solidly, though…

  1. Very few things in life break down into two neat categories; most things are not properly definable as dichotomies (without seriously lying to oneself).
  2. I can do better today than I did yesterday.
  3. I can begin again.

Ready?

Our choices can change the world. It’s time to do better. It’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and feeling a bit as if I must be “running late”. The sky is already so light. I am pre-occupied, this morning, and this contributes to my sense of “running behind” on things, generally. Realizing that, and noticing my headspace is filled with moments that are not now, I take a deep breath, then another, and pull myself gently back into this present moment.

Alternate lighting, another perspective on “Uplifted Hearts”, and on love.

There’s time yet to plan. 🙂 I’ve been invited to participate in an upcoming art show… there’s work to be done, but it can wait until the end of the work day. There’s an order of operations even to life itself. Each moment and task has its time. The weekend suddenly feels “busy”. I chuckle quietly to myself; the weekend isn’t even here yet.

“Some Distant Sunrise” 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas w/glow 2014

I spent a quiet evening on housekeeping, and fiddling with my camera gear, thinking over which paintings… A art show in an environment specifically designed to showcase UV reactive and glow-art is uncommon – or has been, for me. How do I best showcase my work? I smile so hard my face hurts. It’s a nice problem to have.

“Summer Lamb’s Ear” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow.

Sometimes a change in perspective matters more than we can know before we get there. “Summer Lamb’s Ear” photographed in darkness.

…And it’s a whole new beginning. 🙂 I think I’m ready. Grab a verb! It’s time to change the world.

Just keep breathing. One breath. Then another. Another follows that one. “Easy”? It isn’t about that. It is merely a continuance, in the background of all the other things. 🙂

Yesterday was pleasant. The day before, similarly so. Between then, an event, an artistic gig, time among friends and strangers – all mixed up together as a single experience, seen through the lens of a camera. It was fun. The weekend, generally, was fun, pleasant, relaxed, and even productive.

There’s a metaphor here, somewhere…

Throughout all that, the awareness of missing my Traveling Partner lingered in the background, as if a single thread in the life’s fabric has been twisted or pulled a bit askew from the pattern. I’m even okay with that; the presence of his existence in my experience is certainly worth being aware of day-to-day, even when I don’t see him every one of those days.

Another work week begins. Like breathing. One after another. A series. Ongoing. I’m not bitching. I’m just saying, the weeks they come, the weeks they go. There is no particular effort required to ensure that time passes.

Yesterday, I didn’t write. I did not notice that, yesterday. I noticed today, but can’t go back to write “today”, yesterday, however arbitrary time itself may be. I don’t know how to do that. 🙂

None of this really “matters”, in the sense that it is what it is, and there is no need to change it. These are just words. Time. Timing. Days. Weekends. Events. Places. People. It’s Monday. There is a world of choices in front of me – the words are just convenient labels with which to communicate.

It’s time to begin again.

I slept in. Woke gently, and although I still feel fairly groggy, the day is off to a pleasant start. Sipping coffee in my news feed, my consciousness is being tormented by a common turn of phrase that irritates me. “I feel like…” followed by words that do not communicate either emotion, or sensation, and therefore – not feelings. C’mon, People, do better! Use your words with some skill. Fuck.

How about “I have the impression that…” if what you are communicating is, um, a largely unsupported subjective impression?

Or, if you are communicating something that you feel pretty sure of, but are aware maybe you don’t have all the information, a handy “My opinion is….”?

Maybe I can interest you in a lovely precise “I’ve observed…” to precede your anecdote?

There’s also, tried and true, “I think…”. Yep. If you’re sharing your thoughts, it’s wonderful to make that quite clear, because you know what? “I feel like people just don’t know how to…” is not a fucking emotion!

“Well, that’s just how people talk, though.” Fuck that lazy bullshit. Words have meaning. Do better. Are you not grasping the idea that the sloppy use of language, undermining the meaning of words, and even gas-lighting the entire fucking nation by way of the media’s sometime also similarly shitty use of language is part of the bullshit we’re all struggling with? Seriously.

This is not hard.

I feel rested. I feel a bit groggy. I appreciate my morning coffee. I feel the cold iced coffee on my tongue. I enjoy that sensation (and don’t have to say “I feel” anything at all to communicate that impression; I can actually use words that are about sensations and feelings, themselves). I recognize that people can be less than ideally clear when they speak (which is certainly more true than saying “I feel like people aren’t very clear”).

Just… yeah. Fuck. Please? Stop using the language of feelings to attempt to communicate your thoughts. Firstly; people may not understand you. Secondly, it’s not accurate. Thirdly, it undermines language, generally. Fourthly, it’s a lever that allows influence over your consciousness. Lastly? It’s just not well done. Do please share your actual feelings and sensations. Do share your thoughts. Just stop mixing them all up like that into some surrealist word salad. Do better.

End rant. I’ll just head for coffee #2, and begin again. I’ll be over here, able to distinguish the difference between my thoughts and my feelings. 😉

It’s morning again. I’m okay with that. I even find something to appreciate about the week hours when the world still sleeps and a mere handful of other humans are awake. I just heard a car going by. It’s very quiet this morning. The sky is just lightening, and appears to be a vague, soft, lavender steely gray, hinting at a cooler morning. No real knowing what the day holds – there was a time when that would have troubled me a great deal.

Today I am content. Sipping coffee. Thinking “about” nothing much. Taking some time for me. Feels good.

The titular “doing better” isn’t given any context in any specific way, because I’m honestly not sure quite what my meaning is. Maybe I mean I’m doing better? I’m definitely feeling pretty good this morning. Also, though, and this is important – “doing better” (than I am, than we are…) is a thing worth doing, and certainly I think, and talk, about that rather a lot. So… there’s that. Then, there’s “doing better”, where the emphasis is on the doing, rather more than it is on “better”, that reminder that there are verbs involved to get there seems pretty relevant in a world where so many people seem so very focused on doing less, more easily, with greater convenience and less effort. The doing – both the what, and the how, matter. We could do better. I know I could do better.

It’s a morning. The sky is a not-quite-indigo, like favorite faded denim. It’s time for another coffee, and some verbs. There’s an entire day ahead, and then… the weekend. A busy one at home, filled with visits with friends, chores, errands, and a photography gig… and at least one or two chances to begin again. So many verbs. LOL

What will I do this weekend to do better? Better than yesterday? Better than I have? Better than I see going on around me? How will I make the world just a little better? I smile to myself at the obviousness in this moment right here, because sitting here quietly with my coffee it seems so easy; I will be kind, helpful, compassionate, and treat human beings as human beings. I mean, if that was a universal approach, how much nicer would life be for how many more people? Just don’t be a dick to people. Don’t be cruel. Don’t put process (or laws) over humanity, use it, instead, to support humanity.

…Damn… I hope it is as easy as it sounds, from the vantage point of a quiet morning. 🙂

Are you ready to change the world?

We can begin again. Together.