The second mixed media on paper came about as I looked deeply into the original photograph and began to notice more things in the landscape I had seen through the heart crystal in my window. This cool and gray day offered more possibilities to understand the Heart Sutra and explore gratefulness. I printed another photograph, a bit larger this time and gazed upon the image for a while.
I mentally transported myself to the warmer days and the people and animals that had graced the space, seating around a small table and feeling blessed. A dog walker would stop by and admire the blooms, or make a comment on a particular arrangement and the interaction would extend beyond the simple pleasantries and into a deeper, more meaningful conversation. Mugs of tea or coffee were exchanged over a discussion on my dreams and theirs. Home baked muffins came in the day after noticing how the flowers just bloom, or how incipient weeds need to be pulled at the stake, and then mulch thickly. The muffin recipe was copied for someone else who remarked about how even with the rich mulch, we still needed to be vigilant, for sometimes the mulch had seeds of weeds within it. Her friend added that much like with our thoughts, we need to watch the invasive life suckers!
In the over 12 years I lived in this house, I never met so many neighbors, nor connected with so many strangers as this past spring and summer. I hosted wonderful small gatherings, all marked by the ease and joy of being in the land. That is how I named the previous artwork. I was grateful for the small encounters, the flowers, the trees and bushes, the birds, butterflies, insects, squirrels and even a couple of skunks. I know the power of thoughts and saw how mine and the joy others felt and shared, seemed to help the ecosystem flourish. I saw that a grateful heart truly alters the land. In this second piece I wanted to focus on how we become grateful and affect each other. In the studio, I discovered that it is truly a matter of transformation.
Nature is always there, being simply… natural. The bud does not ask anyone if it is ready to bloom. The tree does not look at its neighbor and compare heights. Water follows the path of least resistance, only stopping until it overflows its container. The rest of nature accommodates and thrives around it. The birds make nests in the most interesting places, as do bees and other insects and creatures. None asks human permission to thrive, nor do they ask each other. No part of nature asks the other how the weather is, nor criticizes the other’s form. Nature seems happy. Humans on the other hand, seem to need to work at being happy. If we notice what it’s naturally occurring around us, we seem to get it and it rubs off. But we humans have to notice it. However, we can only notice it when we engage in mimicking nature’s behavior, and use our thoughts to elicit emotions yielding to what we call gratefulness.
Gratefulness arises when we become aware that everything, including us is a gift. When our hearts feel full in appreciation of this gift, and of our role in this gift giving feast, something magic happens; we are changed and we change each other. Being in a state of gratefulness is easy to share love, joy, recipes, mulching tips, laughter, time, and offer to help one another without possessiveness, attachment or expectations for returned favors. When we use the common phrase “it comes from the heart”, it truly is. It comes from the energy center within our bodies, the fourth chakra, appropriately called the heart center, which is located in the upper part of our chest, close to the organ with the same name.
Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto vividly shows in the The Miracle of Water, 2007-Atria Books, that our thoughts are so powerful, we can physically affect the molecules of water and clean a polluted lake. If we can change one of nature’s gifts by using our thoughts, we can affect each other and the whole of the Universe. It is truly transformational. Yes, we have to work at it.
In this piece, I conveyed the concept of a Big Heart field by printing the heart closer, appearing larger and the people rather small. I scattered the playful and funny characters evoking children’s joyfulness and how they in turn affect the heart of the world. I show this in the clarity and sparkling nature of the lower part of the heart, transforming the darkness above toward the light of the sun. The point of transformation, or when “we notice”, gives birth to a giant butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. Or our former constricted self giving way to the freedom of a grateful heart and the pure light of love that truly alters the people. The people are now free to dance about joyfully.
Where there is joy and love, there can be no war or discontent. Dr Sharron Stroud, 1991-1992 International Woman of the Year states that “…when we realize that all life operates on a vibrational frequency of energy [we see that] the energy that we bring to life is the same energy that returns to us.”
This piece will be loaded on to www.lidiascherart.com upon the posting of this entry. I encourage you to look deeply into your state of gratefulness and see what work you may still need to do to alter the molecules of water 🙂
Your questions and comments are always gratefully received. Today, go out and alter each other and the land around you!