Category Archives: Compassion

Pandemic Reflections: May 19 The Empty Rice Shelf

I stayed too long in my cozy bed .  And today became  strongly up and down with emotions  and I thought it was just fine and then I ventured out .  Creating a todo list in my head and deciding the order of things  too while reminding myself that there wasn’t  any hurry . It’s not like before I thought …again and again .  So off for a walk I went and arriving at the trail’s entrance  was, nearly , startled to find  the street lined with parked cars .  So many  people , is it too many I wondered ?  I secured my cloth mask  and began walking . It was sunny with a breeze and not too many  people walking .  Relief and  purpose returned to my mind . Good I thought after a two mile  walk and now off to the store .

After  arriving  at the store,  having found a parking spot , I paused before going inside .  I noticed the people  coming and going and mostly wearing masks .  Thank goodness i thought .  There were only a few items on the list  in my head but important ones like water and rice and cat food  .  For the several  days the entire section of rice had been empty .  Several long , expansive shelves empty of product .  It was the first section that I went to and … it was still empty .  I stood for a few moment staring .  Ok I thought and took a deep breath onward to the next item .  The bottled water that I had come to appreciate  for it’s quality , price and even  it’s packaging  was next on my list .  I turned down the aisle for water and could see the shelf was empty .  I walked closer .  Yup . cleared out .  Feeling a bit defeated now I gathered  my thoughts and continued onward .   Cat food . There on the shelf was some cat food that my senior cat would eat .  Deep exhale and noticing a sense of sadness  moving towards  into my thrust . I push it away .

I check out with my one item and head back towards my car .  I unlock the car , get in , and suddenly I feel the tears arrive .  I sit weeping and say to myself ” I know it’s not just the empty rice shelf . I know it’s so much more than that .”  But the empty rice shelf bring me to tears .

Waking Just Before the Light in a Pandemic

Every day  I am awake just before the light .  I hear the silence and gather it around me like a blanket and snuggle it tight  .   And then with a mind partly in this world and partly in dream world I think .

I think about the day ahead . No plans that I can see due to the pandemic  and then I ask myself like being given a test ” What day of the week is this ?” . And when I know it right away it’s a gold star for me I say .  It’s a fleeting moment of delight and then  comes the next question .  What shall I do with this day ?

Walk and then walk again .  Rest and walk and move into those things that you’ve dreamt of having time for .  You have all of this time now but all of this time will run out I say to myself …again and again .

Aloneness During Covid 19

Living alone while covid 19 changes the world forces emotions to the surface and

brings a new focus to  the smallest delights .  The aloneness is magnified from what is was

before .  Suddenly those solitary evenings that seemed to go on for too long and  could be

soothed into comfort  with the knowing that in the morning it would be whisked away with

commotion  was gone . The commotion  of being busy and surrounded and connected to other

people  gone . Now   walking along a trail in a park , mask covered mouth and nose while

passing  from a distance  a mother and child and suddenly a small child’s smile takes on a

whole new meaning .  Noticing the little things like we did when we were children but now

there’s no rush to be at work or to get home to bed for a speedy night’s sleep . The aloneness

before had it’s challenges too though back then there was hope of a plan or a visit or busy work

day to carry through to relief or comfort .

The phone calls and text messages become a lifeline .  Each one opening the way to

connecting to our shared plight and to our humanity and our  hope .

The tension builds  beneath the surface silently . Moment by moment without

entirely knowing that it’s there the layers of uncertainty and loneliness  are building shelves

inside of you.  And  the beautiful , unexpected miracles of noticing an innocent smile or the

kindness of a stranger or the vibrant colors of the sky and my heart swells with a love from

before my existence  . A  love that has carried us through all of time . Tears well up in my eyes .

Is it the striking aloneness that I feel or the love that is so deep for all of life that makes it so  the

tears must flow .  When sleep finally comes it’s comfort is a delight and in the morning the hope

and the search for the little things will begin again .

 

 

Mon Coeur

Where the Wildness of Flowers are Free

I awake to dreams of being in beautiful places .  Imaginings and heart wanderings removed

from staidness .  Places where healthy  streams , cool and clear , sparkling in the light flow .

Leading from a mountain top where strong , blue green grasses grow  and the wildness of the

flowers are free to be .  Then to the meadows as the heart leads and where the mountain met

the world .  It’s graceful expanse calls out with it’s charms  and  winds singing hymns .  A few

horses run wild and free as family and all of  the while holding their  own .  Their power is love

and fearless  wisdom even more than the massive muscles carrying them on .  My heart goes

along with them for as long as it can and until I’m back in a sleep meant for

navigating this world .

 

Comfort in the Quiet

The spring has come and knowing little of our human fright it sings . It beckons .  It dances with delight .   It must sense it’s new found freedom .  I wonder . Does nature now feel it’s man made noose loosened ?  The song birds sing more sweetly and the trees  less tense .  The quietness so soothing for  life to be able to breathe again that is for  all one but one .

The sadness presses against the quiet .  Love and the fragility  of human life are in each moment now . The breathtaking moments of courage and compassion rise and in-between  is  cherished laughter to lighten our hearts and carry us on .

The songs of Mother nature are freely sung now and her wild  animals live with less fear .  The people  that were trampling upon the sacredness  of life are the  ones seeking to return to what is gone .  To fight the flow of change is to create your own despair . And that heaviness hangs in the air .

The rustlings of the trees and the currents of the oceans shake me free from the weightiness of false designs .  Turn into the heart and release her songs into all of life and the freedom of knowingness will carry you onward .

The Stories are Changing Us

Now we  come together by staying apart .  We take on the role of being a protector of strangers and are a crucial piece of stopping an invisible thief of life .   It has brought us to our fear and has brought out our compassion .  The aloneness rising from depths previously unknown and communities inventing new ways to show solidarity  .

Now we reach out to each other  with messages in windows expressing gratitude  and teddy bears placed in windows for young children to see  .  The small moments of the human spirit making itself known in kindnesses which shifts the idea of separateness  to oneness .  The heartbreak of suffering offering up an opening for acceptance of each other  inside of compassion .

Now we have some stillness  forced upon us and it asks us to examine just what was all of that busyness for ?  We hear the birds songs  more clearly than ever and wake slowly easing into the day .  Then we turn to thoughts of what will the news bring today and will my loved one’s be safe ?  And walking alone amongst the trees each day meditating upon life . And it always ends in love .

‘Jewel of Life’ Acrylic 18×17″

Humanity Healing in Isolation

The first thought was of how surreal it all seemed .  Standing with but a few coworkers in the now desolate work space and listening  as a couple of our Chef’s told us that we were being sent home until further notice . To  stay home , stay safe and that we would receive  weekly phone calls to check in with us . They welcomed our thoughts and  concerns .  One  man spoke of our frightening  it all was for him .  All I could think of was how much I appreciated the way in which we came together  , adapted to our changing circumstances and got the work done with good cheer in spite of our fears .

We parted company almost in silence . As if someone  had died . The weight of not knowing when or if we’d all be back together in what used to be a bustling kitchen dance was bringing us into ourselves deeply .

On the surface I told myself that it was an opportunity  to work on my art . That it would be the time and mental space that I had longed for in order to create .  I had not yet recognized the depth of the sorrow for the world that would hold my heart bringing it’s own challenges to overcome in order to create .

And it was not only the world’s sorrows and difficulties  that held me but also my own from the seeds that began my life . The aloneness that is loneliness  born from a lack of connection to the people  that are supposed to love you . When you are unseen in the moments that deeply touch your heart and are invisible  when the moments of joy bring out the laughter  and rather than joining in those moments they were experienced alone amongst the people  that said they loved you .

I worried that  the social isolation  demanded during this pandemic would be a great burden on my already wounded soul .  I allowed myself to weep . It was deep , anguish throughout the ages , kind of weeping . It led me , somehow , to my place of resiliency  and love for life . I awoke from the fear of feeling longing to discover a way to help myself move through this time of global isolation .

Since I felt unable to focus  on my artistic passions of painting and sketching  then I would safely venture out in the city streets , as often as I had the energy for , and photograph the people  and sights that spoke  to our humanity amidst a life threatening virus . Capturing spontaneous images of  the ways in which we express our kindness as well our fears became  my project  . By focusing on the visible ways that people  chose to express themselves during  a previously unimaginable  stress  is a means for healing my own wounds and stress . It is also a way of feeling to connected to people  rather than alone and isolated . I become an observer as well as a participant  in  the struggle of the unknown .

The spontaneous wanderings around the closed up city with camera at the ready has afforded me the  sight that my heart craves . The heart that still beats in the world  and shows itself  in the handmade signs expressing love for strangers , concern for your safety and courage to keep going .

This photo project that I’ve created as an assignment  for myself is not quite done . I look forward to sharing it soon .

Thank you .