Children are really good at belief. As children we believe in fairies, in Santa Claus, in our parents complete love for us. We believe that we will live forever, and that we are immortal. We believe in our indestructibility. Even after we grow out of some of our first beliefs, others just as imaginary prevail in our minds. We believe that the good guys are always on our side, and that we are always on the side of what is right and just, and that justice always prevails. We believe that justice makes us stronger than those whose intentions are wrong.
As we become adults, we try to place our faith in things we think we have tangible evidence for. We believe in Western medicine or natural healers to have all the answers, until someone we know dies of something inexplicable to doctors. We believe in our government, until corruption in the heart of our system is uncovered. We believe in God, or the sanctity of marriage, or the incorruptibility of science or in religion to show us the way out of this mess. We believe in everything, until something unpredictable happens and we can't believe anymore.
(And if you're thinking you can trust religion or science- recall the horrors of the Inquisition, or 16th century torture conversions of Native Americans by Spanish Catholics, or today's sex scandals among the Catholic priesthood, not to mention the violence produced by religious brainwashing in both extremist Islam and Christianity. And if you're thinking Science- people run science, and people sometimes make bad choices. Science is not exempt from corruption by people. It is very deeply disturbing to me that some of western medicines' useful discoveries were allegedly made by Nazi doctors doing experiments on concentration camp victims. Einstein said that the one thing he regretted in life was advising Roosevelt to pursue the creation of the atom bomb. He was horrified by the consequent bombing of Hiroshima. )
But people need belief. We need something to hold on to in a world where we are increasingly cynical about the outcomes. Yet how can we believe wholeheartedly in anything when it is increasingly clear that no outcome is absolutely foolproof, and nothing is sacred enough to be untouched by sickness, death, corruption, evil, and apathy? Buddhists call this state of the world transience, and samsara. Life can cause us much suffering if we don't learn to let go of our expectations that things we love will never change, or if we hold too tightly to our ideal outcomes or become too rigid in our thinking.
There are plenty of people who feel as I do, who have confronted the heart of their own darkness, seen the horror of what humans can do to other humans, and entered that godless place which Elie Wiesel describes in "Night". Elie Wiesel was a Jewish scholar whose experiences in concentration camps during the holocaust shook his faith in God and humanity to ash. Like many others before and after him, he had to come to terms with profound doubt. He became a dedicated peace activist as a direct result of his concentration camp experience. I think that this is a remarkable response. Resilience, true compassion, and a deep understanding of life's darkness drove him to become one of the brightest voices of reason in his century. I believe that every human has this capacity for choice, to choose light, or choose darkness.
So I believe in people. When I hear about natural disasters and learn about strangers going to great lengths to rescue each other, I believe. When I meet hospice workers who choose to bring comfort to the dying, I believe. When my partner gives the gloves he's wearing to a homeless person, I believe. I believe that we are both the cause and the cure for our own suffering, and that even God, if there is one, must work through the human heart.
When I start to feel hopeless I am encouraged by such warrior souls as Thich Nhat Han, Thomas Merton, the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, Ursula Le Guin, Pema Chodran, and Elie Wiesel. If I need to remember that I am not alone in the fight against apathy and ignorance, I read their words. As Elie Wiesel said, "Look, if I were alone in the world, I would have the right to choose despair, solitude and self-fulfillment. But I am not alone."
the colors change to golden brown.
Scrub grass and black trees
like ribs against a slate grey sky.
A swirl of snow, drifting with time
as white clouds pile like distant hills,
and the gathering storm turns into purple dusk.
Now the wind and the pines close in.
I grip the wheel, and the road and the sky
and the trees are all a soft cloud white,
And we come at last
to the edge of the sky, to drop like stones
into the inland sea.
Got this tidbit from an interesting site on Body senses (more than 20- check it out.)
"Anything you do a lot and pay attention to, your senses develop finer perceptions in that realm, and you tend to develop mental categories for ‘types of’ that phenomena.
The brain actually devotes a larger area to processing input from those nerve endings, and this starts to happen within days. This leads to an enrichment of experience."
...So keep drawing, keep looking, keep observing, and you'll get better!
Messing around in Photoshop... Used a model photo and a filter. along with many layers of drawing by hand.
(photo by Scott Schuman- for The Diplomat's Wife)
Garance is a fashion illustrator, photographer and fashion blogger of some notoriety. Got these from her beautiful autobiographical book called
Deep thinker, Problem solver, Illustrator, Photographer, Cyclist, Literature buff, Anthropology nerd, and Science fiction geek.