A few nights ago, I was watching a program on TV. At one point, they were talking about LUMINARIES-people whose light and vision helps to strengthen and improve the lives of those around them. This concept resonated deeply with me.
In 2004, I had the opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama give a talk, here in Vancouver. What I found most meaningful in his message is that we are all here to help one another to move forward. I am sure you are wondering to yourself "How on earth does this apply to art?"
Well, here's the thing: I think part of what has happened as the mixed media/altered art world explodes is that it has become a highly competitive world. That's not to say all areas of it are. I can tell you from my own unique perspective, the people I have been blessed to align myself with are kind, generous, supportive people. I do know though, that there are times when we all hear of someone else's success and think "Boy, I wish that were me." There's that little green eyed monster of envy that pops up. That's perfectly normal. We all want good things to happen to us, we all want to feel successful. The problem comes when that monster gets between us and the other person and robs us both of the shared joy in the moment.
You see, there's this very strange idea out there that there is a finite amount of success to be had and that if someone else is having a share of it, that means there is less of it for us. That's simply not true! That's not how the world works! I call this operating from a principle of lack and again, it's that idea that robs people of happiness-both the person who has something to celebrate and the person who feels envious of their success. The most effective way to get that green-eyed monster in check is to stop for a moment and think "Am I being the kind of friend I'd want to have?" Yes, we are all going to have that flash of envy, but can we move beyond that gracefully? People might not always remember what we say, but they will remember how we made them feel.
Anyway, getting back to the concept of LUMINARIES. (I just love that word, it's so beautiful.) Every year about this time, In addition to working on my goals for the new year, I also try to focus on a phrase or idea that is meaningful to me and aim my attention (and intention!) in that direction. When I heard the concept of Luminaries, I knew that was precisely what 2008 was going to be about. As if to affirm this, within 24 hours, I had not one, but two messages from the Universe.
The first came in the form of an email last night from a friend I have known almost from the beginning of my art days. She wrote me, out of the blue to tell me something that was on her heart. She started out by reminding me that when we first began sharing our art with one another, she would send me emails telling me how crappy her work was. I would then email back to reassure her that I didn't see her work in the same light she did. You see, she is so ridiculously talented, but at the time she didn't believe this about herself. What she wanted to share with me last night is that she had just completed a project that finally gave her a deep sense of satisfaction and pride. She wanted me to know I had given her faith in herself to keep at it and she wanted to thank me for that.
That right there is what I am talking about-how to spread light and help others move forward. Sometimes the way to be the light is simply to reflect back to someone the good that is in them, until they can see it for themselves. I know for certain, that if I had wasted any time at all on the green eyed monster, I would have completely missed this moment of celebration with her. I can't tell you how genuinely happy her message made me feel. I think when one of us wins, we all win. Call it naivete, call it idealistic, but this is how we change our world.
The second affirmation arrived in the form of a holiday postcard from Pilar Pollock, herself a Luminary. The amazing artwork pictured above was the message that arrived in my mailbox this morning. Just look at that woman radiating! When I turned it over, I saw that Pilar had titled it "Light" and tears sprung to my eyes. Then I noticed the number "3". I was born in the 3rd month of the year. It doesn't get any clearer than that.
In this, the season of light, I challenge you to think about how you are in the world and to remember we are all fragile human beings, striving. Let's look for more opportunities to celebrate, support and encourage one another and spread the light. And may all the goodness you bring to the world come back to you tenfold.