Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Random Ramble: The Museum of Modern Art On Sunday I received one...

The Random Ramble: The Museum of Modern Art

On Sunday I received one...
: "The Museum of Modern Art On Sunday I received one of my favorite birthday presents of all time, hands down. My incredible, amazing, w..."
The Museum of Modern Art

On Sunday I received one of my favorite birthday presents of all time, hands down.  My incredible, amazing, wonderful man brought me to MoMA.

I really don't know how I have went my entire 45 years without having experienced MoMA. I've always wanted to go, but never had anyone to go with me, which was part of my excuse. To say it was worth the wait would be a huge understatement.

I have always loved art.  I love to sketch and paint, and also love to take pictures, though I am a mere amateur and lack the talent to ever consider doing it for a living.  I'll leave that to others far more talented than me.  Like my other favorite Dutch guy, van Gogh.

As I entered the hall where van Gogh is displayed, I told Billy I didn't want to go in.  I wanted to savor the moment,  like one savors the last bite of something yummy. I could see the swirls and colors out of the corner of my eye, but still I waited.

Once I entered the room, I looked at all the other amazing works surrounding the work I most wanted to see.  Knowing it was so close gave me chills. I am sure that sounds crazy to some people, but it's the truth. I felt the same way when I walked through the Sistine Chapel.. feelings of surreality and  awe overtaking me.

Finally we made our way to Starry Night.  I stood a mere inch from the frame. I could see every detail; every brush stroke, each swirl. The yellows were oh so much more vivid in person; no mere copy could ever do the real thing justice.  I felt the tears start to come, and was embarrassed that I was crying. I mean, it's just a picture, right?

No, not to me.  To me, van Gogh symbolizes true  beauty. His view of life, his ability to empathize through his art, to see the beauty in the simplicity of things, and his appreciation of what others take for granted is what likely caused him such pain;  to be able to paint love, and yet feel emptiness and anger at the world for taking for granted all the gifts we are given, that is what I also feel at times.  So many times I hear people complaining about the silliest things, and I have to wonder what happens when you stop seeing the beauty in the simple? Is that when you give up your life essence? Is that when happiness eludes?

I will always find the joy in the simple around me;  right now I look out and see the bay, the waves are foamy and tumbling over one another like puppies as the wind carries them to shore.  I'm thankful I still see the beauty in simple gifts, and that I am happy within and without.

Take time to find the exquisite in the simplistic. I promise you it will bring you peace, even if only for a moment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Helplessness of the Unknown

This is reposted by permission from the Amnesty International. If this doesn't help you understand what the people in Egypt are fighting for, and at what cost, I don't know what will. After reading it, I suggest other articles on the AI website.  Because caring about one another is what it should be all about, people.

The Helplessness of the Unknown

The Julie Project ~ Darcy Padilla

The Julie Project

"Once in a while, you get shown the light..in the strangest of places if you look at it right"...thus sayeth the Grateful Dead. Today I was given the light of empathy through a random Tweet, and it has been one of the most grace-full gifts I could ever have received for my birthday.

Darcy Padilla, through her photo documentary "The Julie Project", has brought a face to what so many experience as a humiliating, heartbreaking reality.  It is one of the most bittersweet portraits of human suffering, and yet poignantly beautiful, as seen through  Darcy's lens and words.   Darcy's dedication to finding Julie's children to reassure them that until their mother's last breath, she never forgot them, and  Julie's son Zach's last words to his mother, a mother  who he had only met one time through the incredibly gracious heart of his adoptive mother, Karen,  "I love you Mom, no matter what. Thank you for having me.", brought me to tears.

So many times we judge people too harshly. We think conquering poverty and addiction should be an easy feat with the right motivation; yet each one of us carries our crosses in life differently. I have unfortunately been acquainted with a Julie and Jason along my path in life,  but never could I have imagined how difficult it was for my friends who lost their own struggles with addiction, leaving behind angry, confused, and sad family members and friends.

My own father's mother gave her children up for adoption, leaving them on the steps of a New York City orphanage. I don't know why for sure, but I have always judged her harshly for that. I never will again..for at least she had the common sense to give them a better chance at life, a chance my father took, and excelled at...he became the best daddy anyone could ever ask for, and touched so many lives along his too short journey. If I could see her now, I would thank her for having him, and for making the painful choice to give him up.

Take a moment and view the documentary. I warn you, it is very painful, but if it teaches you anything, it's that we should always be grateful for the gifts we do receive in this world, and never judge another until you really have walked in their shoes.

Thank you, Darcy, and Julie, wherever you are.  Namaste.            

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Crisis in Egypt

Maybe it's having too much time on my hands to fill,  but I have been glued both to Twitter and Facebook since the beginning of the Egyptian Crisis.  I have posted on #Egypt through Twitter, to give my support to the people. I have added journalists who are covering the protests from within the action itself, and have listened to heartbreaking tweets through #speak2tweet.

What's amazed me the most is the apathy that I see throughout Facebook.  Today, the groundhog got more attention than a country's people  who are experiencing an increasingly violent suppression of their human rights.

Maybe it is a case of out of sight, out of mind.  Maybe the apathy is due to a lack of understanding as to why it's happening in the first place.  Maybe we are just tired; tired of being exposed to all of the not so pleasant aspects of the world around us...it's easier to ignore it and concentrate on our own worries because hey, it's not us.

But..could it be?  Imagine if you didn't have the freedoms you hold dear.  Imagine if the simple act of walking down a street was threatening. And yet we enjoy these freedoms because at some point in our earliest incarnation, there was revolution. There was a mass exodus of people who decided that they wanted to rule their own way, to have a choice. Hence our Constitution was born.

It's not perfect, and it's subject to scrutiny and misinterpretation every single day, but at least it exists. For that I am thankful. As everyone should be. Because the alternative is not something I want to think about. I can't imagine not being able to say as I feel, even if it goes against the grain.

If you do anything else today, take a moment and listen to someone's #speak2tweet's words. Read a news article from CNN or the New York Times, or the news program/blog/twitter feed of your choice and educate yourself as to what is going on around you. Because if you think it couldn't happen here, think again.

And while you're reading, give thanks that you can.