Inspired by last month’s visit to the National Gallery of Canada with a friend, I have been using Pointillism as one of my art therapy activities for the past couple of weeks. You can follow the creative process here.
That pack of gift boutique magic markers and the pile of repurposed charity donation plea snail mail paper have provided me with a creative distraction from the news, all while we are still navigating through a pandemic. Some of us are still practicing safe distance and protection measures.
While watching the Juno Awards on TV Sunday evening, I spent time and energy reflecting on the weekend news out of Buffalo, New York and feeling sickened by yet another crime of hate. I said a prayer for those affected directly and indirectly by the actions of one angry white man. In addition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the plight of refugees everywhere, world events are weighing on me.
Fear breeds hate. With every little dot I pray for kindness and understanding, starting with myself. I hope it can spread onto the canvas of humanity.
Appreciating and creating art provides me with comfort and relief, especially while listening to music from my pile of favourite CDs.
This will be another summer of staying close to home, avoiding the stifling heat and only exploring sights within reach by foot, public transit or a friend’s car.
If you too are feeling overwhelmed, what methods are you using to cope?
That’s a bold prediction from someone so naturally fair of skin and hair.
I am okay with that possibility.
First, I can say that because I have brown offspring from a mixed marriage. In my eyes and their doting Aunties’, these children were beautiful, intelligent and well-behaved.
I was often oblivious to the colour of my children’s skin yet experienced some strange looks and comments when we were out in public. The most humorous and innocent was when a child at the local park asked if I was their babysitter.
Yes, they have met challenges with finding their identity, their place in society. They adapted. They survived. Some of them identify as Black or POC (Person of Colour). None of them have adopted urban stereotypes nor have they been in trouble with the law.
To me, they are beautiful humans, the next generation. I raised them to be positive contributors to their community and to society. They know how to speak up when they see injustices. They too will make beautiful babies if they so choose or can afford to raise a family in this precarious economy.
In the 90s, I grooved to this song from Michael Jackson. It spoke to me – except for the beginning featuring a loud, dysfunctional family then the parts where MJ is grabbing his genitals, smashing up a parked car and vandalizing empty store windows. Apparently, the main body of the “Black or White” short film reflects the song’s lyrical plea for racial and cultural unity. That message was lost on me into the eight minute mark. I think MJ also wanted to express issues with father figures, the automotive industry, consumerism and colonialism.
You will be thankful I found the shortened version.
My second posit is that my white, blond son from an earlier relationship chose to marry a lovely woman of Asian origin. I see that he inherited the “non-conformist” gene as well as the blond one.
Their children are beautiful. My grandchildren are beautiful.
It was comments I heard years ago from a stand-up comedian that stuck with me and inspired me to draft this blog entry.
Quoting Paul Rodriguez, “One hundred years from now, our children’s children… everybody’s going to be Filipino”
(Start at 1:30)
I’m okay with that.
Regardless of their skin colour or which version of the Creator they honour, I have hopes for my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren and those to follow.
I hope the shared traits of humanity such as compassion will calm the fear and hatred of those feeling threatened. Is it possible that the good ole boys are scared? Are they trying to protect their heritage, their culture?
Why did it take public outrage at his initial comments for Tweetle-Dum to finally denounce the white supremacists?
Let’s remember that this continent was occupied by other people thousands of years before those European colonizers and immigrants arrived with their ships.
The first people had a respect for the power of nature, the seasons, the animals they hunted for food. They hunted out of necessity, not for sport. We could learn from the First Nations about living in harmony with nature and planning seven generations ahead.
It’s going to be a struggle but people will learn that harmonious survival of the human race and Mother Earth is more important than skin colour, religious dogma and power. At the basic root, we need to ensure clean air, water and arable land.
Here are some changes i would like to see in our gently blended future:
Muscle cars and air-polluting auto racing will no longer exist. Neither will fossil fuels.
Reusable energy from the sun, wind and oceans will power our needs.
People will be educated, active and civil. We will see a return to public discourse and philosophical discussions.
Artists will be respected and supported regardless of their eccentricities ;-^
The fashion industry will reuse materials and will not be so frivolous and wasteful. We will do away with stilettos, latex and skinny jeans.
There will challenges with how we define culture.
Some people may still want to pierce their body parts, tattoo their skin and dye their hair to stand out, to show their individualism or create a sense of belonging in some form of neo-tribalism. Some may try to appear so unique as to bleach their hair blonde. I hope the chemicals don’t harm their brain cells or our ecosystem as a result.
If we deplete and pollute this planet to the point of no recovery and have to spread out into the galaxy, to meet and rely on other species, I just hope we can still celebrate and respect diversity.
What was the point of the series? Celebrating diversity. Here’s Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, explaining: pic.twitter.com/toaFoGQNXx
I need frequent reminders on feeling inner peace and not being influenced by the anger and horrible acts of the outer world.
2013 Zen Calendar page now reminder poster
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” — Dalai Lama
I heard that phrase or variants several times during performances at the Friends for Peace Day in Ottawa last weekend. For the past few years, I have made it a habit of attending, to enjoy performances, chat with acquaintances – and new friends, and make bids on silent auction items that appeal to my constant need for reminders for inner peace, quest for wisdom or acts of whimsy.
Being an introverted type and moody middle-aged mother, I prefer to attend non-competitive, calmer public events.
I enjoy the Friends for Peace Day musical performances, especially those with children singing or playing instruments together. Tears well up when I hear voices joined in harmony, offering comfort, nurturing peace or celebrating joy.
A short time after last weekend’s event, I received the call that a couple of my bids had won. I ventured out after the work day by city bus to pick up my winnings.
This lovely lotus cushion may have to stay in its plastic wrap for a while lest it becomes embedded with cat fur.
Lotus embroidered cushion
Its image reminded me of an ASCII art work and Haiku poem I created during a difficult time.
Lotus Haiku TAJ 2007
Next was a Zen Alarm Clock.
Zen Alarm Clock
I have wanted one of these for a long time, wishing to have a gradual waking up process – other than me reaching over a cat every ten minutes, hitting the snooze button on a digital alarm clock radio tuned to Majic 100 or The Jewel 98.5. Eventually, one of the cats will succeed in waking me to serve breakfast. The “pounce on the bladder area” technique often works.
One of the young folk commented that it was odd for a Zen alarm clock to be framed by a triangle shape, alluding to it looking like something from the Illuminati. The other made a joke, stemming from a theme in a popular sitcom.
Someone remind me why I still feed and shelter these wisecrackers?
While I was testing the alarm, the cats did not seem to like the sound. Miss Tabby displayed an annoyed look with her ears twisted back.
Miss Geneva Tabby is annoyed by the Zen alarm clock chimes