Wednesday, June 2, 2010

nurture hope

 end of may 014
Even in the darkest hours, nurture hope.

I received some sad and distressing news recently (I'm fine, we're fine, don't worry) but it was news that really shook me up. I felt myself sort of sink into sadness, wondering about the state of the world we live in and all the sad stories I've witnessed in my lifetime. I've mentioned before that my parents were foster parents, so I've seen a lot of sad stories in my time, from a very young age. That said, I'm thankful for the life lessons that came my way through my parents' fostering. I've met amazing people, learned a lot about human nature, and best of all, gained 2 brothers through it. My life was altered beyond imagination from the moment that the first group of kids came to stay with us. I am in awe of what some children can live through and survive, emerging to become amazing individuals despite of all the challenges that life has thrown them.

Somewhere along the line, I've come up with this theory, that inspite of how much nurture plays into our development, there is something intrinsically linked to our natures that determine our maleability and resiliency. Kids that have lived completely sheltered lives with loving parents can emerge more fucked up than ever imagined, while kids that should be the most messed up, are resilient go-getters who are actively engaged in living their lives and making the world a better place. Yes, having a messed up background (be it rich or poor) increases the chances of going astray, but really, there seems to be no rhyme or reason sometimes to these things.

I don't come from a pretty place (literally and metaphorically speaking though even my hometown has its hidden beauties that I miss dearly) and I've seen a lot of messed up things in my life. Yet, inspite of all that, I know how incredibly lucky I have been in life. I tow the line between a sheltered privileged life and the dark world that I've witnessed, just enough to know how much darker it can really be out there without it simply being based on what books, movies, and media tell me. I went from almost being a suicidal High School drop out, to having a master's degree and a career in Education (oh the ironies: from hating school to teaching)! I can relate to the kids that come in and have so much on their plate that they don't care and can't see the point behind education. They are the kids I love working with most because when/if I get the chance to help them make that switch, it's an awe inspiring moment. I love their light bulb moments because I know what mine felt like and how it changed everything.(Just writing that brings tears to my eyes, you have no's so amazing). And it reminds me that we should never give up hope. Because regardless of our challenges, someone else is always facing something worse. And regardless of how frustrating it can seem, everyone has something to offer and the potential of a lightbulb moment is only a flick of a switch away.

Lately I find myself contemplating these ideas a lot. I think it's so important to remember that spark of goodness in everyone and to fight to bring it out. I know, such a little Pollyanna over here, aren't I? Again with the ironies, everyone thinks I'm all miss snarky when really I'm a closeted eternal optimist who can't understand why we can't just all get along!

As I play with paint, drawing ladies and backgrounds, I find myself drawn to affirmations, reminders to embrace joy and love, to celebrate what is good. Yet, when I was painting this lady, I was filled with these dark questions and contemplations, thinking about the darkness that seems to be everywhere we turn. I felt overwhelmed by all the sadness around me and didn't expect to come up with such an optimistic message.

But there you have it: even in the darkest hours, nurture hope. Exactly the words I needed to hear most.

Once I had this phrase in mind, I decided that the painting needed to nurture abundance too... so all the leaves and flowers were added to remind me/us that hope grows into abundance when nurtured. Without going all lit geek and analyzing what my little playing with paint project represents, I can't help but wanting to share this one more thing: even without intending it, I also noticed once I added the element of abundance into the scene, that my lady could be perceived as pregnant... literally giving birth to hope. Sometimes playing with paint amazes me. It really does. Just to get all spiritual on ya: it really feels a little like a moment of bliss filled synchronicity, straight from the source.

On that note, I'm off to play with paint at Squam! I've scheduled a few posts while I'm away but yup, I'm outta here until Sunday! Yay!

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