As a small child growing up in Chicago, one of my favorite things to do was to travel by public bus or train downtown to meet my mother after her days work. I loved this because on the way down I would pass lots of artwork. On the walls, on the floors, on the sidewalks. Some legitimately commissioned, some not. But the work was always there , visable and available to all. You didn’t need a special pass or an adult to walk you in. The colors , the intricate messages that the artist would intertwine in their work. The messages often echoed the concerns of the neighborhood it had been placed in.The messages sometimes ,I did not get , being a young kid and all… But this was my informal introduction to the art world and Oh, what a nice surprise when I would stumble upon something new. Museum visits would soon follow as I got older . The street artists were not necessarily famous or even locally known but were often very talented. Visionaries…. I am grateful that I had this type of early exposure. It truly gave me the inspiration to pursue art as a career. I learned that artists have messages that need to be heard and that visual art was an amazing vehicle to use to do this. Murals seemed impossible as their height and sizes were overwhelming yet the art was perfect in execution. Public art is available to all not just a selected few. Public artists level the playing field between the haves and the have nots. Take a look around you, it’s everywhere.No excuses , the inspiration is there for all. I love public art!
I was visiting South Africa a while ago. I was staying at a beautiful hotel in Pretoria. One of the most indulgent parts of staying in this hotel was the breakfast bar. Full of amazing and fresh eats, I loved the omelet station most of all. Not because I am especially fond of eggs but because I was especially intrigued with the omelet maker. She was an older black South African who had the most loving and pleasant eyes that I had ever seen. I surely thought that she must deserve a better job than this. How could someone so nurturing be stuck here making these eggs day after day so I thought. I was convinced that she must have been old enough to witness the brutality of apartheid. What atrocities must those eyes have witnessed ? What hardships must she have endured. How much loss had she endured?Surely no one could blame her if she was bitter or if her heart was cold. But that was not the spirit standing before me. I saw her carefully crack the eggs, taking special care not to rush the cooking process. Carefully scrutinizing her work the way an artist checks his masterpiece. Asking me daily, “How do you want your eggs today, Miss? Taking care of me in her own way with that brilliant smile and her gracious eyes. I was convinced that she knew first hand the power of God’s grace and mercy. Overcoming all things in her life. Taking great pride in performing the ” the simplest ” of jobs. It pleased her to give her best. To represent her creator , to bring honor. It was a lesson for me. No matter what God asks you to do , do it with all you have. Take pride no matter what. There are no small jobs. This lady often comes to mind , I am sure that she does not remember me, but I will never forget her wonderful omelette, her gracious smile, and most of all her amazing , loving eyes.
Moral: Take pride in the simplest jobs, you never know how you may touch someone’s life!
I had been slacking off in some parts of my life . I was feeling alone, detached ,unmotivated, and somewhat melancholy. I was not writing or creating art. I decided that it was time to shake these feelings. I could do better… So I started by cycling to work. I would see others speeding along. All shapes and all sizes of people. Young and old. So I researched types of bicycles hoping to find one that would fit my needs. I purchased one that I really liked, a sporty green foldable bike. Scared to start but not really scared, I took off. I was hooked from the start.I started feeling free and independent while navigating the traffic. I would come home tired but feeling really proud of my accomplishment. I just had to START! I would ride 4 – 5 days a week through all types of weather. I noticed from the beginning that I would sleep really well. This good quality sleep would translate into clearer thinking. This clearer thinking translated into better decisions about food and emotional stuff. This immediately translated into more energy. Wow! Who would have thought? I was getting so strong physically and now mentally. So as my clothes started fitting better and my health steadily improved, I decided to tackle other parts of my life that needed to be addressed. I decided that where I worked for a living was toxic. This toxicity was diminishing the quality of life that I was craving to have. I realized that this toxic environment was stunting my creative life. I had no energy to create the type of art that I wanted to create. The drama was taking up valuable space inside of my head. I started to pray more feverishly. I picked up my Bible. I try embrace the teachings and apply them the best way I know how into my life. After a while, the pieces started to come together, slowly the melancholy feelings started to disappear. I still ride my bike regularly. I have a great new social life with new friendships. I have a more active Christian life. I am going to leave my day job by the first of the year. I will fully immerse myself into an Art filled life. I realize that my Art is my connection to God. Before I had put these disciplines into place, I could not see this new life happening. I now know that if I see it , it will come. It’s gonna be alright. I am not going to let go of the practices that I have put into place. Happiness is a choice. It is up to each one of us to embrace it! It truly started with a bicycle ride……I just had to START!
I am in a place of transition, physically, mentally and spiritually. The life i am living no longer works for me. I feel that I have allowed things to become to complicated.I experienced a real burn out. Taking on responsibility way beyond my means. Falsely believing that If I don’t do it, it won’t get done. Constantly taking on other peoples problems. What I had failed to realize was that in order to be a better person, I needed to learn to nurture myself. To slow down and really embrace the simpler things in this life. It sounds so cliche, but yet it is so true. This transition for me is about taking care of self in order to be able to help others. This transition for me is about taking the time to really listen to what God is speaking to me about instead filling my head with other things that muffle his voice. This transition for me is about stepping up to my purpose. I know that I have been called to do more, so now its time to do it! Stop, breathe, enjoy the simpler things. The things we take for granted assuming that these things will always be here. Speak no evil, don’t gossip. Drop all things toxic. People, foods, habits that serve no purpose. Simple is best…Simple is peaceful…Simple can bring joy…Think about it, when is the last time you really just stopped to breathe and to listen to your own breath…That is God breathing life into you…Embrace it!
KEEP IT SIMPLE, SIMPLE IS BEAUTIFUL!
As summer was coming to a close, I was contemplating going back to work after a long vacation. I had just completed a move from one city to another. I had purged items from my life that no longer held meaning. I, somehow, lost all of the contacts in my phone, so I took that as an opportunity to purge people who no longer held any meaning for me. Of course, these are the people who only come around when there is a need. So one morning as I am walking down a beautiful block in my new neighborhood, I walk upon an overgrown lot. It appeared that there had once been some kind of community garden in place, but maybe the caretakers could no longer take care of it. So it sat alone,being overtaken by the strong presence urban weeds. As I got closer to the gate of this garden to take a closer look around, I saw several bursts of purple. The color was vibrant and there was a glow… The weeds although sparse could not hide the beauty of these flowers. The glow was amazing! This reminded me of how life sometimes seems to overwhelm us with the ugliness of everyday life. We feel that no one will be able to see
us,that there is no way out. But we must remember that inside of each and everyone of us there is an amazing power. The power to change any situation and turn it into a positive. That inner glow! That light that people see when we just simply start the process of change. That light that shows when we just begin to show up. Its there and through meditation, exercise, prayer and other means we can begin to tap into that glow. Through my move to the new city and all of the purging of things that no longer held meaning, I too unleashed my inner glow. I tapped into and unveiled that light that is within…Grateful to have had the summer to do this.