IMAGINE

Brisk walks that turn into slow runs. Sight and breath focused on the short journey. Staring at the pavement moving beneath running shoes. Suddenly, bursts of color catch my sight. They make me stop. Yellows, oranges, pinks, greens, blues, reds, all staring at me.

I stare back. Straight into the large brown eyes, then down onto the yellow symmetrical nose and crimson mouth. Such an impact. The magnitude, the outlines, the contours, the colors. Everything.

This mural, placed in a quiet corner, on a quiet street. Very discreet, not seeking nor begging for attention. Yet bright enough to make one stop. To make one stare. To make one imagine.

Imagine a world of beauty. Imagine a world of colors. Imagine a world of peace. Imagine a world of respect. A world in which we all breathe from the same atmosphere. A world which comes alive with diversity. A world that cherishes freedom. A world that protects life.

Imagine, a world where you took the time to know. As you stare at this mural you see the artist’s signature. You realize it is familiar. You realize you have met and sat with this person once or twice. Never knowing they were an artist. Never knowing they could produce such works of art. Not taking the time to know.

Lowering my gaze, disconnecting from the large eyes staring at me, I turn and continue on. I imagine. Imagine a world were we took the time to know. To know about each other’s strengths. To build upon each other’s strengths. I imagine a world where we are all murals. Discreet, yet bright enough to make an impact. Imagine.

Imagine¬†all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”

John Lennon

HOLD ON TO ME

I walked towards this pair again today. There they were, still together. The younger, more fragile one holding on to the older, more robust one. Holding on tight. The younger, with its viridescent leaves still sprouting close to the ground. The older, crowning the sky with its thick green foliage. Younger, older, holding on. I think, they too, are scared and confused. They have been this way for a while now. The world around them changing so fast. Some protecting and respecting them, yet others destroying them. Making them disappear, and in their place concrete structures appear. In these structures nature has a minor role. Purely decorative. Non-essential. Yet, what replaces them is not unique, it can be easily replicated. What replaces them is not natural, it is synthetic. What replaces them gives no oxygen, it takes it away. Why take away what helps one breathe? Why destroy what helps one live?

I see this pair and see the fragile one hold on tight. Just as I see the fragile among us hold on to the life that is in them. Scared and confused. Wanting to heal. Wanting to live. Yet not having the environment to do so. We are all holding on to something. We all need to let go of something. We need only to hold on to what truly needs us. What helps us breathe. What helps us live. In peace, in abundance. Once we let go of what is non-essential we will not only heal ourselves, but allow the fragile to become strong. They will no longer feel the need to hold on. We will all be able to grow tall, unafraid to deepen our roots as we reach towards the sky.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

John Muir

ORANGES & MORE

On my solitary walks around my city neighborhood I keep my eyes open for beauty. Yesterday, I decided to photograph some of the beauty that surrounds me. Today and for the rest of the week I will share some of these captured visions. Granted, they do say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I do hope that you see what I see.

One of the most striking things I run into on my walks are citrus trees. I absolutely immediately get captured by the dark green leaves and the bright orange spheres that pop from the leafy background.

On a lonely block, there is one lonely orange tree. I had come to notice there were always some oranges laying on the street. The resting place from their short fall from limb to pavement. Usually, I just walk by, gazing at the colors on the ground, counting how many have let go of their branch and ventured on to the harshness of the street below them. Then, always looking up at the tree, scanning to see how many are still holding on.

On this day, I could not help myself and had to stop. I could not bare seeing these four lonely spheres spread out on the cracked concrete. This was not to be their bittersweet end. No. Instead, the teacher in me (and the artist in me) picked them up and carefully arranged them together, at a safe social distance (the distance was also to allow car tires to drive over them and not crush them!), all in a row. I had to move them, line them up and hopefully make a passerby smile and think the next time they walked or drove by this lonely block.

These oranges, now placed across a crosswalk, were no longer scattered, they seemed like they were headed in a certain direction. I often feel like these fallen oranges. Scattered at times, but when I sense and find direction, the possibilities of where I am headed are endless. All I have to do is stop, look around me, find the path, and mindfully heads towards it.

“It is not the perfection of one’s life but the direction of a life that provides evidence of regeneration.”

John Macarthur

21-22-23

My oldest daughter will soon be turning 21. 
She is a child of the Earth, born on April 22.
She was in my womb when I was 23.
She was born at the end of a millennium.
Yet it seems like yesterday when I first looked into her eyes.
Her gaze, fixed onto everything around her, even to this day.
She observes, she is quiet, she processes her thoughts.
She loves written words, art, knitting, and peonies. 
She is kind and patient to everyone that crosses her path.
She is sensitive, yet strong and independent.
Her soul is much older than her age.
My oldest daughter will soon be turning 21.
She is a child of the Earth, born on April 22.
She was in my womb when I was 23.
She teaches me lessons everyday.
Quiet, observant, sensitive and kind.
Witty, funny and intelligent.
Wiser than her years, yet humble down to the core.
She had to travel long distances to be with us now.
Her two decades on this Earth disrupted abruptly.
We will be celebrating her milestone together.
My oldest daughter will soon be turning 21.
She is a child of the Earth, born on April 22.
She was in my womb when I was 23...but she is here now.
In times like these, this planet is lucky to have souls like hers.

 

JUST BREATHE

Take a deep breath. Feel the air fill your lungs, and slowly let it go. To breathe. To live.

Now hold your breath. Feel the weight of not being able to let go. To not breathe. To not live.

Breathing. An act, in its majority, taken for granted. Yet still allowing us to live, day after day, sadly, sometimes without intention.

Now, what if something was sent your way that took away the ability to live?

What if there was an invisible element, that wreaked havoc around the planet and caused everyone to stop for a moment in time.

To stop going to work. To stop commuting in crowded transport. To stop traveling from here to there. To stop getting lost in crowds. To stop thinking of just yourself and the small circle around you. To stop doing. To stop.

What if the most severe effects of this invisible element, were literally, To. Make. You. Stop. Breathing.

To impede your lungs from taking a full breath? To drown you. To lose the ability to live.

Yet, there is a way to get back things you have lost. All you have to do is breathe. Stop in this moment in time and put everything aside. Just for a moment. Breathe. Think of what you have lost in your day to day life. What you have taken for granted. What you are doing without intention. What is drowning you. What is impeding you to live.

Take a deep breath. Feel the air fill your lungs, and slowly let it go. Breathe. Never take it for granted. From now on, breathe intentionally. Live intentionally. Just Breathe.

PHYSICALLY, I AM HERE

Physically, I am here.  Mentally, I am far, far away.  
I cannot help my mind from going astray. 

It travels long distances and short.
To places of all sort.

It takes me to my classroom.
A place where young minds bloom.

It takes me to my favorite place to dine.
Sharing laughter and a glass of wine.

It takes me on Sunday strolls.
Surrounded by many happy souls.

It travels to my homeland.
I smell the sea and touch the sand.

It travels to a place where I find my peace. 
Where all of my troubles cease.

It travels deep within my heart.
Always a good place to start.

To understand why physically I am here, but mentally I am far, far away.
And cannot help my mind from going astray. 

DEAR EXTROVERT

It is understandable that you might be going through an extra difficult time at the moment. Your energy comes from being surrounded by others. You are the life of the party. You are the loud voice at the concert. You are the laughter at a restaurant. Crowds do not scare you. Noise does not bother you. Yet now you are being asked to stay indoors. Away from crowds. Away from noise. Away from what gives you energy. This can be a harrowing ordeal for you, but there is good news.

In your solitude and silence you will find energy as well. A very different kind. A very special kind. You will come to realize you are far stronger than you ever realized. You will notice that your voice can still be heard, first by you, then by others. You will begin to feel an energy you might have never felt before. A different kind of energy. You will begin to feel balanced.

With this attained balance, once you resurface to the crowds and the noise, your energy will reach farther than it has before. Your energy will make so many others be the life of the party along with you. Your voice will make so many others at the concert sing along with you . Your laughter at the restaurant will be heard and replicated.

So, hang in there. Even in your confinement, keep singing, keep dancing, keep laughing. For you will see, dear extrovert, that after this period of solitude comes to its end, your energy will reach even the likes of me, your dear friend, the introvert.