Besides sharing an initial post and some friends’ posts, I haven’t shared much since the most recent mass shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I’ve just been at a loss for words. The expected debate on media and in social media has been the same as the previous times with lame comparisons to death by motor vehicles, the assertions that if a killer wants to kill they will kill, calling the perpetrator evil, scapegoating the mentally ill, blaming media, etc. all the while claiming with clenched fist that having horrific weapons is a right that supersedes life. It’s insanity. Of course the issue of gun violence is a complex one including issues of mental illness (and it is clear that this young perpetrator was failed in this regard), a culture that at times glorifies violence for entertainment, and at times encourages cynicism. These should have our attention as should other issues that have been brought up recently, issues of toxic masculinity, toxic individualism, and white nationalism. Yes, we need better health care for all that includes mental health services. All of this should be looked at, but much of this isn’t unique to the United States, but mass shootings at the level we are seeing are.
The elephant in the room is the AR-15 and weapons like it, created for one thing only – killing as many people possible in as short a time as possible. They are meant for war. But we aren’t allowed to have a debate about it even though the reality is most American and even most gun owners are in line with banning such weapons (not all guns! Just mass killing machines) and having sensible gun regulation. Yet, the NRA and some in political leadership won’t have the discussion and refuse to give up the “right” to have a killing machine, valuing that right over the lives of children, and life in general.
Seeing all of this come up again and again is enough to bring on despair and cynicism, but something changed this time. Like a soldier who has seen the unspeakable horror of war and speaks out against such atrocity, these children, these young citizens having seen the horror of gun violence first hand are not backing down. They are the future and their message is clear: Life is what is to be valued. There is a path being cleared within all of the usual insanity, with cutting clarity by these young people. I’m inspired by them, I want to reignite my voice to join with their strong voices, supporting them, standing with them.
There is hope.
“We serve life not because it is broken, but because it is holy.” ~ Mother Teresa
#GunViolence #EndGunViolenceNow #GunRegulation #MassShootings #FloridaShooting #Life #Hope #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #enso #JMWart
ink & acrylic on paper
again, more lives gunned down.
17 young people dead.
does this hurt? is their #empathy within our hearts?
the Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
this is not what is going on here.
much of this country has a sickness – fear, anger, aggression, isolation, self-preservation at the cost of other life.
our young are dying and we are only asking to have an authentic conversation about legitimate and fair gun regulation. and once again we are told this isn’t the time. it wasn’t after the other shootings either…still waiting.
#enough #GunControl #GunRegulation #now #ChooseLife #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #child #Enso #JMWart
there is so much pain, so much fear and anger. we can get lost in the suffering of it all. we can lose sight of the miracle of the moment, the love in the moment.
i have a practice i do (if i can step out of my suffering long enough to remember to do so!) that i would like to share with you.
when the suffering of the world, wars, poverty, discrimination, violence, corruption, indifference seem too overwhelming, i practice this. i bring my focus down to small stuff, the stuff we generally overlook. nature is a great aid in this. take a few moments to sit and breathe while observing nature, listening to birds’ song, the swaying of branches with the breeze dancing through, watching some insects (ants and bees are great!). even taking some time to observe your own body. have you ever stopped and looked at your skin for a while? fascinating! an appreciation arises naturally when we slow down, when we open and observe smaller, overlooked things.
when your personal suffering seems a burden too great to bear, go big. pull your focus out to a wider view, not centered on your smaller arena of life that can seem overwhelming. stand outside at night, be still, breathe, and observe the night sky as your eyes adjust and the stars begin to reveal themselves – spoiler alert, you can do this during the day as well, it is incredible how nuanced the blue sky can be and how magnificent clouds shapes can be. reflect on the good you see in the world, people opening their hearts, being kind, how history has a way of moving forward and improving even in the face of sometimes grave darkness and opposition. reflect on how the cycle of nature continues regardless – day into night into day, summer into fall and winter, into spring and summer. reflect even on your own life as a whole – observing all that has changed in your life from as a little kid until now. be aware of the rollercoaster of highs and lows, of drops and climbs. you have suffered before and have gotten through it. accept, forgive and love the journey thus far. everything changes. life persists.
love the moment.
#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveTheMoment #life #journey #suffering #meditation #zen #enso #JMWart
so impressed with the multitudes marching yesterday. looking through the pictures i see so much to be inspired by.
a lot of love, passion, light and humor.
this is what democracy looks like.
and the continued persistence of this movement will be needed.
despite my critic friends, i would have loved to have seen the President do an about face and grow into this job, but many of us knew that wouldn’t happen and it hasn’t. i’ve been called out for not being fair and not carrying a neutral position. i disagree with that opinion. i firmly believe that a year in, any fair assessment continues to shed light on the consistent destructive nature of this Administration and Presidency. i believe it cuts through to the moral core of our hearts and the very fiber of our democracy. so being neutral in the face of such harm is not my path and not an option. i will continue to add my voice and my art mindfully and peacefully to #resist any actions that result in the degradation of our planet, any actions that target those on the margins and most vulnerable, and policies that deepen the divide of wealth in favor of the most elite. and i will continue to do so from a place of love and fierce compassion, calling out all forms of aggression and violence as best and consistently as i am able.
the road may be long, but it is well traveled by generations of open hearts before us who stood in the light with love, as they faced darkness.
November 8th, 2018
#TheLongArc #TheResistance #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #WomensMarch #MindfulResistance #MeditateAndResist #StandUp #SpeakOut
last year i was marching, joining tens of thousands of others through the streets is downtown San Diego, joining hundreds of thousands in other cities around this country, joining millions around the world, rising up and speaking out.
i am unable to march this year, but my heart is there with so many courageous and caring souls putting their passion to the pavement.
it is still so necessary. the attack on our lands, on immigrants, on others in the margins – Muslims, people of color, women, LGBTQ, elderly, poor, sick is ongoing. not always in big ways, but in little ways chipped away and ignored with more salacious headlines. the Russia issue continues to reveal that it is much deeper and goes much further than thought. and a twitterstorm of fake news, insults, continues to stream out of phone coddling fingers of a leader who golfs and holds court at his private resort every weekend.
there’s a lot to be concerned about and speak to. may we of sound mind continue to retain focus, avoid false equivalence, persist in our resistance, and ensure our passion – our drive is motivated from fierce compassion and unwavering love for that which is true, kind, and open-hearted. may it be put into action with our feet, our hands, our voices, and our art.
truth will out, love will win, and light will shine bright.
#TheResistance #RiseUp #resist #StandUp #SpeakOut #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #FierceCompassion #MindfulResistance #MeditateAndResist
you can do this. your heart is stronger and more resilient than you may yet know.
#breathe #JustBreathe #YouGotThis #YouCanDoIt #StayOpen #StrongerThanYouThink #TheLongArc #TheResistance #MindfulResistance
Just as water, through consistent interaction, smooths the rough edges of the rock, so too can consistent love and compassion smooth the rough edges of our hearts as we continue to open to all of life around us.
#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #CompassionWins #OpenHeart #life #Zen #Buddhism
#BWphotography #photography #JMWphotography #JMWart
in response to the President, some wisdom from Thomas Merton. and may we, my friends, substitute “Christian” as “human” and/or “humane and sane” because all of us need to participate in this mission no matter our spiritual tradition or of we have no spiritual tradition.
“(the) task is to work for the total abolition of war. There can be no question that unless war is abolished, the world will remain constantly in a state of madness and desperation in which, because of the immense destructive power of modern weapons, the danger of catastrophe will be imminent and probable at every moment everywhere. The church must lead the way on the road to the nonviolent settlement of difficulties and toward the gradual abolition of war as the way of settling international or civil disputes. Christians must become active in every possible way, mobilizing all their resources for the fight against war. Peace is to be preached and nonviolence is to be explained and practiced. We may never succeed in this campaign but whether we succeed or not, the duty is evident.”
Don’t try to be someone else…
the cosmos has come together
and helped you manifest in this way, and you are beautiful just as you are.
To be beautiful means to be yourself.
Thich Nhat Hanh
you are. simple as that.
it takes courage to be authentic, to settle into who we are and all we have to offer through our talents and our open hearts, yet continue to open and grow. but it is our authenticity that benefits the world and connects us to others in a genuine way.
be you, be beautiful. it is your gift to this world.
#YouAre #BeYou #BeBeautiful #authenticity #courage #presence #gift #OpenHeart #beauty #PlantingSeeds #TheLongArc #Zen #enso #JMWart
The message of Christmas is so much more radical than the welcome and beneficial sentiments of warmth and familial love.
That a small refugee infant with parents trying to find safe haven in a foreign country, fleeing from their home and the danger there, poor and homeless, would become a symbol of divine and sacred love, a messenger of peace and generosity of heart, speaking truth to power, standing up for the vulnerable and powerless, giving space and attention to the outsider, the outcast.
An incredible message and life changing if we open our hearts to it.
We need this Christmas message today.
May it strike our hearts at their core, opening us to love all, including and most especially the refugee, the homeless, the foreigner, the poor, the vulnerable and outcast.
May it be so.
And may you and your family and friends have a Merry Christmas.
Wishing you all that is beautiful and beneficial today and everyday.
May you be happy, may you be safe and at ease, and may you be free from suffering.
#Christmas #NoBansNoWalls #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins