Friday, September 17, 2010

Take the journey back to your self...

Collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper Textures.

This week I was over in my friend Patti's Altered Attic, and I learned about National  Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.  Patti likens the experience of developing one of these chronic illnesses with being thrown from the merry-go-round of "human doing" where life is glittery, fast moving, and we forever chase the brass ring which is always just out of reach.   And once you are sitting on the ground you are more or less forced to become a human being, since all the glittery doing becomes nearly impossible.   Patti got me thinking about my own experiences with "reality".  The Buddha pointed out a very long time ago, that reality comes to all of us in the form of illness, old age, and death.  There's no one on this planet that hasn't known these three either personally or of a loved one.

Aside from the medical industry's very bad behavior, a very difficult part of all of this is that our culture places such value on doing and almost no value on being.  So while we are on the carousel we are given approval and positive reinforcement for the rather empty experience of chasing the brass ring.  The brass ring is something you can't ever reach.  You can try, you can get a better job, higher salary, but it will never be enough.  I remember this old merry-go-round very well.  I didn't  much care for it, truth be told.

When I was in my thirty's, my husband developed a fatal illness.  I felt as if I'd been thrown from the horse but was still on the carousel.  I looked around at all of the striving and I didn't have the heart for it anymore.  So I decided to step off and sit in the side lines, and consider where I had been and where I actually was.  It seemed to me as I looked around, there was a lot more real life going on in the sidelines, very interesting, real life.  And it's in these sidelines that the greatest art and creativity are happening.   And like Patti commented there's a tremendous amount of community, friendship, and wonderful humanity here in the sidelines, where the pace is slow enough that you can feel it and enjoy it.  For me, the experience of real life, was a heart opening experience.  I suddenly had the time for others, I found that without the cloak of denial, you can actually join the human race.  It may be heart breaking at times, but it is also a place where we can truly love and learn.

This week on the "Love Bomb: It Starts With Us" website, they (we) picked a girl struggling with Lyme disease, who wrote about her experiences with this invisible chronic illness.  The idea was to go visit her blog and leave a "love bomb," a comment that let her know that she was loved.  Very sweet idea!  So far I see 160 comments of a love bomb type.  So if you want to leave Victoria or my friend Patti a comment to let them know they are not alone, that they are human beings deserving of as much love and respect as anyone riding the merry-go-round, and probably more, then please do.  It's easy and it makes all the difference in a person's life!  Really!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lani! I just wanted to thank you for letting me be part of your pilot class-- I got all the lessons and did most of the work, but had some drama with yahoo and became unable to post!! I think it's worked out now and I will try to post some of my labors. I was reminded of all this and wanted to stop in and say hello because I just finished my 750 words today and your name was right after mine!! ;)


Lani Gerity said...

Thanks Heidi! Pretty neat to be writing our 750 words at roughly the same time. Wow!

William said...

You are such a neat person!

Lani Gerity said...

Thank you William! I hear that we often recognize in others what is in us, so I gather from that you are a neat person, too!

Erika C. said...

Hey, Lani!

I just went and sent "love bombs" to the two sites you mentioned. And it really cheered me up. Today started off with explosions of a different kind in my family but we are back on track. Remembering to take our own time off the merry go round and resting really helps.

And guess what? As my son and I were sitting and having a lovely lunch at our favorite local coffee shop, we collaborated on the outlines of the story that we are going to develop into a puppet show, book and who knows what else! It involves a boy named Simon, a lonely dragon, a magical old man and much more. Thanks for the inspiration and I will keep you posted.


Ps and thanks for giving me the push to join Susan Letham's journey. I am so excited!

pps So sorry to hear your story about your husband. I send you loving thoughts.

ppps I keep thinking of more stuff! I just submitted a piece for a show at the New Haven Council for the Arts in response to the question, "The 7 Billionth person is about to be born. What message would you want that person to hear?" I wrote "You are loved beyond your capacity to understand." I have gotten so much mileage out of that quote.I think I will post more about it on my blog.


Lani Gerity said...

This is all such a delight to read. Thank you for the loving thoughts. He was a very good man!

Patti said...

wow. for once I'm speechless. ok, not anymore:) your post is a beyond brilliant message about the community and understanding. friendship and being tuned-in that we all need and so many still don't have.
I am blessed to 'know' you and share projects with you, such an amazing person, artist, friend....

xxx ooo

meriel sea said...

This is beautiful Lani, thank you truly, Deana

paper-n-soul said...

Lani, what a thoughtful post. Thank you for bringing both the 'Love Bomb' and 'It Starts With Us' sites to my attention. I've joined both.


Lani Gerity said...

You are very welcome, Deana and Deb!

Lani Gerity said...

Oh and thank you so much Patti, I just found your comment languishing away in some hidden pocket in blogger!
I am honored to be your friend!!