When violence happens in another town, city or state, it seems remote. Yet, when you stop the chatter in your mind you know it could be in your hometown, even on your street. Violence is anger cut loose. Violence doesn’t care who gets in the way, violence is revenge for real or imagined injustice… it is blind and it destroys. Violence comes from the feeling that no one cares, feeling powerless, and then it festers into brutal reality.
I remember about fifteen years or so ago I left my studio in Old Colorado City and was traveling west on Uintah Street. I had just started a painting that was causing me concerns so my mind was trying to solve the future problems this painting would present. I failed to notice the police car behind me with its lights on. As I pulled into the parking lot of the local health food store I got out and saw a tall, yet bulky, policeman get out of his car. I politely ask… me? He came forward in a brisk, aggressive manner and demanded I put my hands on the hood of my car. I smiled and asked “really”? This young policeman was serious and as people watched he patted me down. I kept asking myself why he was doing this. My clothes were clean, except for paint on the side of my top, my car wasn’t falling apart or causing pollution problems plus I was smiling as I asked what the problem was. As I am embracing the hood of my car with my hands stretched out I remember thinking… ”Oh, I am glad I am not a black male”. I was on the other side of the one with total power and it was scary. As he wrote the ticket he rudely informed me I should pay attention to the speed limit.
I stared at him trying to see some kind of caring, softness, politeness, but all I just saw a sad form of angry power. My crime? I was going 8 miles over the speed limit… (actually I was going the normal speed but they had just posted work to be done signs and I didn’t see them since I was daydreaming about my painting).
I think a lot about that policeman… his anger and his inability to connect. I wonder what he does when there are no witnesses, would he take a life and not think of the grieving family, the future of that person who desperately wants to live. Does he realize there isn’t a return policy with death?
We are all part of each other. We are One. Being One is an easy statement to make but how do you integrate it into your life? After all… there are just some people you don’t want to be part of. We are all different in our looks, beliefs, lifestyle, etc. and yet we are all the same. Think about how you, as an Artist, must look to others. You pick up chewing gum wrappers on the side of the street that would be perfect for your next collage, you stare at the clouds trying to mentally remember the soft colors and sensual edges so you can add them to your next masterpiece… to most they are “just clouds” …but not to you, they cause excitement and joy within your heart.
I would like to share something with you I have been doing for years and perhaps this is something that would appeal to you as well.
Each time I go out, even if it is just to the grocery store, I give a sincere compliment to someone… ”that is a great color on you”, “your children are so cute, “what a gorgeous smile you have”, “thanks for doing such a great job”, etc. It is amazing to see their reaction. This makes their day. I honestly think we can change the world by sharing our smile, listening without judgment, be accepting of others when they are different than us, and sending love to those who refuse to accept goodness. By doing this, “the pebble effect” is created giving everyone the power to touch and help transform the world.
The world is filled with unbelievable generous, caring, beautiful people just like you.