Friday, July 10, 2009

Opportunity For Practice

This Rocks
Photograph chroma-life ink on matte photo paper
8" x 10"
$25 including shipping in North America

I wish I had painted this but it was created by a prolific, mysterious artist I know you are familiar with.  An artist with enormous range, creating mountains,oceans and forests but also small, simple things like dandelion puffs and grains of sand.  To call this magical creator mother nature is to anthropomorphize and diminish so I won't go there.  The above piece is a photo of a rock I took on Quadra Island and it looks like a wonderful Asian abstract to me, complete with calligraphy and paint splashes.   I think I just blew my cover here.  I didn't cook this up in the studio today (oh, oh).  But I love it anyway.   Who can beat the palette of the natural world?  Everything blends and fits together seamlessly.

I am thinking of things that fit together less seamlessly, perhaps with tears and holes , and frayed edges and imperfections.  I am thinking of us humans.  It seems this week I have been noticing the small miscommunications and lack of communication that happen between us human folk and cause hard feelings and misunderstandings, ruffled feathers (who wears feathers these days?), stepped on toes.  None of the events really impacted me but it seems I was the recipient of a number of stories of so-and-so did this to me.  A visitor to someone's home forgets to mention how many nights they're staying.  Someone else forgets to make a formal invitation to a person that I know was meant to be invited to a special occassion.  One party is oblivious, the other feels slightly offended.  Someone else is miffed that a friend is using a cancer group to promote a multi-level marketing product.  Another person is offended at an authority figure's perceived prickly, impatient attitude. 

And so it goes.  Nothing provides more opportunity for practice than our human interactions.  We can be rubbed raw from banging into each other in large and small ways.  And always there are two sides to every story.  When we notice behaviour in others that offends us, we have the opportunity to look inside and ask why?  Sometimes we dislike qualities and behaviours in others that mirror our own.  In these cases we get to look at what we do and see where we might do better.  Do we run rough shot over other people's feelings just to get what we want?  Do we assume everyone should accommodate our schedule?  And what can we do when we feel someone has overstepped some boundaries of good taste or behaviour?

Difficult questions.  And always it seems to me such worthy places to practice, to stop and spend some time with it.  Should I let this one go?  Is it worth pursuing?  Each event has a different solution.  When the answer comes from deep inside of us and not out of anger or a wanting to retaliate we are more likely to make sensible choices.  Sometimes we need to simply clarify in a kind way.  And sometimes we need to say no, this is not okay, but without anger or malice.

I find that the ability to deal with miscommunications with compassion and kindness is it's own reward.  No residue of regret remains.  You deal with it and move on.  And each time I can do it, it feels like that skill is being strengthened.  Now that's not to say I always get it right, but I try as best I can to wonder "how would I like to be treated in this situation?"  And because I'm human I make mis-takes just like everybody else.  So if you find me mis-taking, give me a little poke or a wink and nudge or maybe just let me know where I've gone wrong with a pinch of compassion.  This reminds me of a game my daughter and her friends played that employed "good little pinches" as they called them!

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