Lately, there has been more remembering of the First World War and the Second World War, than there has been for several years. Likely it’s because we are in a Third World Crisis. While thankful that this crisis is not a war, there are islands drowning, cities on fire, and cities torn apart. True devastations abound. Rather than soldiers reacting with weapons, we have researchers documenting impending doom. Rather than inventors of weapons, we have inventors of complicated interventions that only interfere, and rather than politicians bringing forward high mindedness, and camaraderie, we have politicians pitting neighbor against neighbor. Who do we blame when our enemies are our own bad habits and materialistic values? How will remembering help us?
Memories can glorify the past. Especially when aiming for wellness, it serves us to let go of the burdens we endured. At the same time, to avoid the pitfalls of our mistakes we will remember enough to steer clear of similar situations. With Remembrance Day we hope the memories of war’s devastation will protect us, but can these memories protect us from our current global climate crisis. Not at all. The Third World Crisis is here and the message of youth is “survive or perish”. These are our options. But perhaps the experiences of humanity will continue in gradations of joy and anguish between life and death, as they did through the previous World Crises. Perhaps the memories can help us.
We have had a generation so far removed from the first two world crises, that they lingered in childhood far into their twenties and are recognized as inflicted with entitlement. By and large this generation was not in touch with the art and practice of rising together for the greater good, putting their own preferences aside, and even their own needs in order to overcome adversity of the many. Meanwhile, our ecologies and economies have continued shifting from centred and balanced to eccentric and unjust. Now in their thirties, raising their children and still supported by their own parents, they are consumed with the struggle of idealizing an era gone by, while the youth of today are well aware of their misfortune.
Now it is time to remember. The youth are fraught with despair. It is time to reignite the memories because they help us cope, help us make informed decisions, help us understand that in the midst of turmoil, we can experience joy. We can offer comfort, and we can receive it from the smallest gestures. ‘Precious’ takes on new meaning when our global community is under threat. It changes from material to ethereal. We get in touch with what is most important.
Being in touch with the heart of the matter, with the highest of our values is the greatest weapon against our own harmful deeds. It is most difficult to continue bad habits when we are conscious of actions for peaceful restoration. Listening to the stories of our elders will help us all through the Third World Crisis.
November 3, 2019: My Dear Friend
Did you think I forgot you, or that I remembered and neglected you, or that I let you go? These thoughts are not mine. This did not happen.
There is only one thing you need to know about me – I love you.
This is all that matters – only love transcends time and space.
You don’t need to know my troubles or my passions. You don’t need to know what I did this week, my current diet, my aches, my highly interesting work projects. These are transient experiences nuanced with love or fear.
Life events that interrupt or divert plans and crush expectations can either deplete us, or nourish us, but this depends on whether we are living in love or living in fear. I accept you, at times in a whirlwind of life events, loving and fearing and loving and fearing.
I accept myself when a whirlwind of events lifts me off my sure-footed path, and I am loving and fearing and aiming to trust in one truth -- that love prevails -- that I am a being of love and connected to all through love.
Did you think of me while in a whirlwind of trouble? It’s because I was sending you my love.
January 8, 2019: Dare I Feel Proud?
Sitting in my studio, listening to one of my favorite radio programs, drawing with Pause the Cat on my left, and a glass of dry white wine on my right I realize in this moment I am in the perfect place. By the time my drawing has come to an intermediate resolve, the radio program has ended and my glass is empty. I sit for a moment basking in the glory of my life as a whole. I am loving – no, I am in love with every thread comprising the tapestry of Lindsay Jean Beal. I become aware of the tragedies of my past, and I feel love for each one – and I feel proud.
Now, the concept of pride is not contentious to me, but so often, I see a slight cringe from others when they hear or use the word. Sometimes there is an excuse for its use, or a declaration that “pride” might not be appropriate. Clearly “pride’s” reputation as one of the seven deadly sins is the cause of this ambivalence. So here am I, in love with and proud of my life and my self. I have to ask, “Is my pride a feeling of being puffed up, or of being pumped up? That is, am I an imposter – manually inflated with hot air or, do I feel my life force in my flesh and breath and have my accomplishments been earned with effortful actions?” If the latter is true, pride is a fine feeling.
When I think of the tragedies that have befallen me, I feel proud. Mind you, I don’t wish for any more, but I love each hardship I’ve endured. Notably, past physical pain is of no consequence now, and the emotional pains are quiescent. It’s enough to simply remember the events, remember that I struggled, that I survived, and these specific tragedies large and small, along with my joys are all threads of triumph. I have put in the effort to overcome adversity, to heal serious wounds of body and mind, and put in the effort to thrive again, and again, and so I can feel proud. I can love the complexity, the awkwardness, the relentless commitment this weaving has led me to discover, because this is my strength and source of compassion. This is the fabulous, intricate tapestry of my life.
Within twelve hours of my studio reveling, my friend sends me this:
"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." ~ Maya Angelou
Synchronicity affirms that my weaving is but a small piece of the Grand Tapestry.
November 2, 2018: I Have a Plan!
I’ve recently had the recurrence of night clenching – primarily of the masticating muscles. My dentist sent me to a physiotherapist, Michael Phillips, who has been successfully treating people with jaw problems for many years. Michael Phillips gave me an exercise, and referred me to the book, You, the Healer, by Jose Silva. The exercise as prescribed by Michael Phillips worked wonders the very first night, and for several following, by providing me a way of disengaging the muscles mid-clench. Within a week, I signed the book out of the library and began practicing “the Silva method” of self-healing. As I started learning the Silva method, each day, a different ailment from my past resurfaced for which I practiced relaxation and healing and subsequently experienced relief. At the same time the jaw clenching intensity returned and I became less capable of interfering with the muscle “spasm”. One step of the self-healing is, during a relaxed state (specifically functioning with alpha waves) ask oneself “Why do I have this problem?” then allow the mind to wander. Whatever comes to mind leads to an explanation of the root cause. Well, I could not clearly identify any cause other than feeling like I was not giving myself enough attention. Several days later an event triggered a collision of thoughts that brought greater clarity to my problem.
Yesterday my new cat, Pause, was sitting inside on the windowsill, glaring at another cat crouched outside, in my window box. While I was aware of Pause’s agitation, I did not heed the signs. Smoothly, lovingly I picked him up and he grabbed my forearm between his teeth and bit down hard. Regretfully, I smacked him on the nose, he let go, and I put him down. I thought of a better reaction in case it ever happens again, which alleviated my guilt, but the bruise was there, and I felt compelled to tell the story a few times. This morning, after a night of particularly intense clenching I told the story yet again to my husband. I described how Pause bit down hard and really sunk his teeth into my arm (and no he didn’t break the skin, but there were two indentations for quite a while). And then I began daydreaming in a relaxed state, and several thoughts came together. One was a gentle, barely perceptible thought that was like a soft air current that followed me around the house for several days, “I need to pay attention to myself”. Another was a profoundly noticeable thought as I cut through my art studio two days earlier, “I need a project that I can work on over the coming month, something really engaging”. Another thought was about my over active innervation of my masticating muscles, “I have an excess of energy and need to utilize it so I can truly rest at night.” And another thought came at me hard. The bite from Pause was an example of what I’m attempting to do in my sleep, “I need to sink my teeth into something”. These thoughts were not exactly sequential, nevertheless they led to an “Ah Ha!” I decided right there that I am going to sink my teeth into developing the course curriculum for integrating the arts and art education as a health practice.