Humans need kindness.
Random Acts of Kindness Week begins February 11.
Once upon a time on a cold snowy day four years ago, I got on my boots, hat, and gloves and walked outside in my back yard with a shovel. As an artist I was searching for an explanation to pieces of me I had lost. And I was going to create it using the frigid frozen snow on the outside to match the cold empty loss I felt on the inside…
My mother’s body died four years ago today, January 26, 2014 but her heart died April 28, 2012 when her sweetheart of sixty eight years went to heaven. I began lifting heavy mounds with a shovel, then on my hands and knees began packing the snow meditating into my creative process hoping to somehow connect. My muscles strained from the weight of the frozen water. My body shivering. My breathing deep and rapid sent small clouds of steam that kept fogging and refogging my vision at each breath. The tall evergreens moved subtly in the wind and I could hear them whispering behind my back; I found myself looking up and around to see which was mocking me for being a grown-up “playing” in snow without a child.
Art explains without words.
It is a visual puzzle with clues and question marks spilling out to make some sort of sense of our world.
Most of the time we don’t know the message that our soul wants to surface–
but sometimes we do.
But it has to come out–somehow, someplace.
The art piece began to take form as it turned into a snow sculpture of my recently passed mom, so very very happy holding hands with my dad, both dressed in angel-white snow but wearing actual pieces of their own clothing, I had saved.
The piece began to take on a life of its own as my soul and their souls connected through art. My mother’s head tilted like it always did when she was photographed and her scarf fit over one ear like she always used to do, pulling it up to protect that one sensitive one from the cold.
My father wears that smirky-smile that goes straight more than up and finally looks complete with my mom next to his side. He was always so proud he got her! They both are waving like I remember so often when we would come and go from “our” home that we loved. When I finished the last of the accessories, placing mini-jam jar lids on for buttons, I stood back in silence. I was exhausted and chilled but feeling drips of sweat between my chest and under my arms–I also felt warm. The trees were silent. It was the three of us standing there on the planet waiting for something to happen. But nothing happened. So I gathered my shovel and walked inside.
I began to change out of my wet frozen clothes, put on a cup of peppermint tea, (my mother’s favorite) and get warm. As I began to do this, I missed the snow-people I had just placed a piece of my soul into. (This happens with artists and their creations.)
In the few minutes it took to change I ran to the window to make sure they were still there.
I needed them to still be there.
They were there…
What happened after this was quite extraordinary…
When I looked out the window I noticed the shape surrounding the figures. While I was sculpting them up from the ground with tenderness and as I moved around gathering up snow, I had somehow surrounded my parents in a heart without knowing it. …Or they sent it to me. No matter, I could feel their love so expansive and genuine… They were still here not only in snow, but in spirit!
“How strange to build snow men of your parents who have died.”
But I am not embarrassed I created this.
It has been six and four years since they left for heaven
and I notice every single day.
They are always together and when I look at this I know it is true and it makes me happy.
Four years later I look back and see them…watching and loving us; still waving hello and never good-bye. This feeling has never melted even though in spring the snow did.
Hello back, mom and dad…I love you too—
So very glad you’re still here.
Each of my family members has allotted an amount of money in our pockets, not for shopping but for giving, only.
On Christmas day we are going to share how we spent a dollar here or a few there to brighten someone’s day.
Here is a just a few: My daughter bought a cookie topped with ice cream for an older woman. She didn’t tell her, she just paid for it before she came up to order. She was so surprised and happy!
My son took homemade chocolate covered strawberries to an elderly home and passed them around. They loved them! He loved it too.
Everyone at my grocery store was impatient to check out and when the checker asked if anyone would spend $10 for a full bag of groceries to donate to the town food bank, each answered “NO.” When my turn finally came, I said no too, then remembered my gift pocket. “Oh, wait, yes, I will!” Her face lit up. But then the people behind me began to buy one too….
The gift pocket is contagious…
“He that doeth good is of God…”
(3rd John 1:11)
Have you ever accidentally slipped and cut your finger with a knife?
In that instant you know as the pain socks a punch, the blood begins to leak, and the shivers begin as you rush to cover and pinch.
But at Halloween, adding a jagged scar left over from a gruesome cut, perhaps with stitch marks achieves a great chilling affect to our costumes, decorations or pumpkin carvings that perhaps directly connect us to our own senses. We remember our own fear and pain. Scars are ugly and creepy…
But when Halloween is over some of us cannot remove those creepy imperfections by using soap and water; they are permanently a part of us and the true horror could be a mirror or the nightmarish memories.
But not for a brave teenage Nigerian girl
who looks at scars with a powerful perspective…
“…I ask you right here to please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty, okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.
God bless my sisters and brothers in cancer who are beautiful with scars.
Never forget, no one can cut your spirit!
Celebrating Cancer Awareness Month
I encourage healthy screaming.
Life gets weird, lonely, frightening, hopeless, frustrating, unfair, and so out of whack that sometimes we need to scream because we want someone to hear us.
But isn’t screaming a little extreme and impolite, you say?
If you do not have some type of outlet for things out of your control then it becomes extremely dangerous for your inside self. Most people who have experienced cancer in their lives usually have kept screams inside…
I have been analyzing from my own life and the lives of other people ways we can healthy “scream,” often without straining our vocal chords. Healthy screams are statements we make or actions we do which make a very LOUD statement about something we need to say or to just “let off steam.”
Many people scream out in different ways such as running, competing in or participating in all different types of sports, yoga, meditation, breathing, attending concerts, gardening, driving a car, playing music, dancing, creating something, dressing a certain way, dying their hair, shopping,…etc.
Regardless of how, if you need to scream choose a healthy safe way. Then let it go!
“Sometimes you just gotta yell and scream. Sometimes it’s the only thing to do. Noisy as a firetruck, you just gotta open up and get the crowds attention turned to you…” (Safety Kids Music)
Simple ways to live life creatively
Dear friend, sibling, spouse, or survivor asking this question...