Sunday, February 21, 2016

For the children

Give up every preconceived notion. Toss away the old and hang on for a great ride into the new. Why? All for the children.

When I was a child, I was told that the world would be around for thousands of years. I was told that animals did not think like we do. Their behavior was all instinct. I was told that you could not make a living in the arts. I was told that we had endless natural resources. Then I grew up. Then I got older. Then I got smarter.

I think perhaps this awakening began when I had grandchildren. My children are very dear to me, but I was so busy raising them and learning to be a parent that I failed to have time for reflection, let alone change. Yep, I knew as a child that animals did indeed have feelings and thoughts. Proof was in the loving. I figured that maybe Dad would figure that one out on his own one day. He never did. I know my grandkids understand.

Yes, making a living in the arts is not easy, but the rewards of each accomplishment are stunning. Finding an inner voice and expressing it in an art form certainly answers the call that was born in many of us. To deny those gifts is truly taking a gift away from God.

I learned not to think as others do or did, but to find out what was true for me, what my inner nature knew to be true. In this I found it easy to love everyone regardless of faith, beliefs and most of all race. I learned that my life is richer by understanding others and where they come from. I have no right to judge and love that I can celebrate that with kindness.

With open eyes and ears, the discovery of environmental decline hit me right between the eyes. I could choose to be a critic and a hindrance, or I could change the way I lived and be a champion for this old world.

Why? Why be concerned about any of this? Why take action? Who wants to change when it is easier to stay the same? Why should we be open to change? Well, my big answer would be: Because of the children! They deserve our best. They deserve to see us active and involved. They need to know we can be wrong. We can be caring. We can be leaders. We can change.

As a girl I observed and wondered. Somewhere within that child, I sought answers to questions I'd yet to ask. So now as that adult, I watch world news for this, too, is my world family. I recycle and conserve energy as best I can. The earth is calling to us. The people on the earth are calling, too. I share art and nature with my grandchildren and open conversations where I focus on what they have to say. Yep, I even talk to the dog. Life changes. We have our own questions to answer. In doing it for us, we do it for the children.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Round up your sheep

Hearts. They keep the blood pumping and, as the Greek once thought, they keep love alive. Well, over time the shape of the heart resembling our own certainly became a symbol of love. But, the heart cannot love. Love comes from the brain. So why doesn't the shape of the brain show up on Valentine's cards? A thought to ponder.

Obviously, the brain sends out signals to other parts of our body to react to feelings of attraction and emotion. It says, "Wake up! Something new is afoot!" (I am taking liberties with what the brain actually thinks). Maybe if we concentrated on the brain first and the heart second, we would have less break ups and sad endings. But again, who wants little brain cards in their Valentine's box?

Here is something to put into that brain that picks up romantic activity this time of the year. According to USA News, over $19 billion will be spent on Valentine's Day this year. Those between 35 and 44 are will more than likely celebrate the day, while less than half of the people at least 65 will commemorate the occasion. Now we know who is spending the most money. The average person will shell out around $142. Guys on average spend around $190 on loved ones while women spend $96. I personally have never received anything remotely close to $190 worth of goodies and laugh at the thought of spending over half  the average woman will spend. Call me cheap. Or, call me a woman that thinks you should not put a price on love. Again, using that brain.

I liked Valentine's Day best when I was young. The shoe box was decorated with hearts. A slit was cut in the lid. One by one the Valentines were dropped into the box. (I always dug deep to find the one from Dickie Neff first). One Valentine's Day I remember most was back in 1965 when my then boyfriend wrote on the back of each card in a kid's valentine card pack, then hid them for me to find. No flowers. No candy. A little imagination and adventure.

At the end of this holiday, we who work in the card industry will take all of our left over stock (as we do each holiday), negate it out for store credit then toss it into the trash. Thousands of dollars going into landfills. The cards cannot be donated nor can they leave the store before they are destroyed. Card companies are not the only ones to follow this procedure. Again, a dollar sign. Seems that the brain could work better on this one.

I would like to say that we should go back to the roots of Valentine's Day, but in my research, I find that might not be such a grand idea. According to the first story, the Romans invented the day in the 3rd century AD. the pastoral holiday honoring the god Lupercus. Shepherds would take flocks to the pasture on the outskirts of Rome where pack of wolves would surround them in wait for stray sheep to prey on. They believed the Lupercus would protect them.  I found no statistics on how well the wolves dined. While this was going on, girls in Rome put their names in a box and boys drew to find their new girlfriends. They would be a couple for a whole year. Juno was the goddess over this event. Definitely a cheaper way to find a girlfriend.

All in all, I guess it is up to us how we wish to show our love....or protect our sheep....or find a mate. It all comes down to that brain in our heads telling us to love. The God over my event says to love one another. That doesn't cost a dime.