The lotus…a symbol of hope. It takes root in the mud and eventually rises through the muck to emerge in the sun.
I really hadn’t spent much time thinking about the meaning of the lotus, but after a little reading I learned it was a symbol for hope. HOPE. Seeing and reading that word made me think about what Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey in her final interview…”We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like.” She nailed it for me. That’s exactly how I’d been feeling the last few months. I had lost hope. The election process had touched on feelings I didn’t even know I was capable of having. Feelings that totally overwhelmed me at times. Feelings that touched the core of my being.
For the life of me I haven’t been able to wrap my arms around how one individual who is a serial liar, bigot, racist, sexist (just to name a few) is now going to lead my country. Not to even mention how children have been shown that it’s perfectly acceptable to be a bully. (Oh how I feel for parents trying to explain that around the dinner table.) And by the way, before anyone says “get over it…your party just didn’t win”…it isn’t about parties and winning at all. As a registered independent, I don’t have a party. Over the years, I’ve always voted based on the most qualified person for the job. The operative word in that sentence – qualified. During 2016 I’d spent a considerable amount of time educating myself on the candidates. I’d invested a lot of time reading and watching various sources of news to ensure I made an informed decision. So by the time my month in Mexico rolled around in October, I was ready for a break. (Not to mention that my candidate of choice didn’t make it to the finals…and it wasn’t Bernie.) When I returned to the States, I knew it was something that I had to continue to do for my own sanity. However, easier said than done.
Around this time, Kat Sloma shared a Cherokee legend on her blog that resonated with me.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy, “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
So slowly, I’ve been weening myself off of reading and listening to the news. If you’re finding yourself in a similar situation, I thought I’d share a few things that helped me in this process.
- I’m reducing my time on Facebook. (too much fake news and promoting of conspiracy theories)
- I’m choosing reputable news feeds. (I’ve spent a lot of time comparing articles and news reports from various sources to determine who presents more facts and less drama)
- I’m consolidating my feeds using the app Flipboard. (with more emphasis on art, photography and travel)
- I’m staying out of the weeds – comment sections. (too many trolls and it isn’t worth it)
In all honestly, I’ve wrestled with cutting off news all together and just paint, photograph and travel. But after a lot of soul searching, I just can’t do that. So to start I’m heading to my city in a couple of weeks to join others by marching in the Million Women March to show my support of civil rights for every human regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion or creed. When I come across good journalism, I’m going to share it. When changes occur and I don’t believe in them, I’m going to call/write my local representatives. (Like right now to express my outrage of the elimination of the independent ethics office!) I could go on and on…but bottom line? No one should be silent. It’s time to rise up through the muck and do my part and I hope you’ll do the same…regardless of your party or how you voted.
p.s. I’ve thought a lot about my blog over the past few months and I do plan to continue it. But, I am going to try harder to be more consistent in my postings. Not for anyone else, but for myself. This is my diary, my journal and I know one day I’ll look back on this little space of mine and it’ll provide me comfort on how I lived my life. I’ve also made the decision to disable comments. If there’s ever a burning need to reply to something I’ve written, by all means I’d love to hear from you. You either have my email address or you can send a note through the contact portion of my blog. It’s that simple.
p.s.s. The above image is the result of playing around with a gelli plate, acrylic paint and collage materials and photographing it in black and white. It reminded me of the lotus when it was all said and done.