I installed a number of signs today on the lawn of the Petaluma Historical Museum on Fourth Street with permission from its president. Originally, we had planned to work together on Superhero Unfolding Inspiration Station events in April. When I contacted him about cancelling the events in the aftermath of COVID-19, I pitched the idea of the signs. Which, he supported with great enthusiasm.
While I installed the signs today I was able to watch peoples' reactions to them. The worst was indifference and the best was interaction. Three friends in their twenties, ran up to the signs giggling, then posed and took some photos. One of the young women said... "I love Petaluma!"
The reaction of these young people really made me smile.
They were so fun and cute and spontaneous!
This morning, I mailed a package to my sister in New York. It contained inspirational materials, including Superhero Unfolding pins and stickers. My sister works as a physical therapist in a private in a hospital in NY. Two days ago, she called asked me to send some items to boost morale for her unit. I was SOOOOOO happy to be able to contribute something to SUPERHEROES working on the front lines.
Having no work, a mandatory SIP order to comply with and no one relying on me, I have lots of time to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. I am fortunate to have a little money saved and feel I can weather the storm without severe consequences. Like, being evicted or going hungry.
I realize that what we are going through now is the beginning of a new phase of our evolution as people, a nation and a species. The rate, direction and outcome of our growth depends on the choices we make individually and as a society. The most important question facing us is what to choose.
I have several ideas about this. I think we all need to move forward, together. COVID-19 is teaching us about connection. Connection to ourselves, our family & friends, our neighbors, our towns, cities, states and countries. It has also taught us about the heart-felt connection of people beyond the artificial borders of the nations on planet Earth. We can choose to see this and build upon it, or plummet into the darkness of conspiracies surrounding the virus and squander our energy.
As far as I am concerned, there are two ways to strengthen a system. One is to fight it. The other is to obey it. To weaken a system we must be willing to abandon it. We must work together to build something better. Without our support, the old system will collapse. So, instead of resistance, channel your passion into creative ways to support what is most important to you. Instead of hiding your head in the sand, look for opportunities where you can create something new. The size and scope of what you do is irrelevant. What is important is that you can choose to do it.
My desire is to work on projects which explore the limitless potential of the human spirit. Where life is seen as an evolution of our spirit; and to focus on what unites humanity rather than what divides us. My fear is that I will fall short of my goal. My solace is that I can't stop reaching for it.
Today's confession: I usually feel awkward expressing my opinions. Generally, because they are often ignored or misunderstood. Occasionally, they are met with resistance or scorn, and I am perceived as an uninformed simpleton. While I may find this unpleasant at times, I understand why this happens. Its because we are looking at a situation from different perspectives while employing different points of references.
I see a that a different way of living together on this planet is possible and within reach, now. But, change and uncertainty is still unsettling for most humans. So, the status quo is defended and maintained. A blanket "NO" covers the eyes, willfully blocking the ability to recognize the need to release compliance to antiquated systems. Consequently, extinguishing enthusiasm in the wake of squandered opportunities.
Today's insight: I don't have an overwhelming amount of fear. My fear has sort of dropped away over the past decade or so. A few years ago, I realized that I was not afraid of dying. I was afraid of the pain leading up to it. Now, I am not even really afraid of that. Mostly, I feel fear as it arises in situations.
Maybe, this is because I am learning to deal with things as they happen. I know that in every given situation, I am doing the best that I can and so, is everyone else. Consequently, I do not really believe in worry or regret. However, I find their appearance helpful as a measure of the trust I have in myself and in life.
Initially, I was sort of lost when the Superhero Unfolding Initiation Station was put on hiatus due to Covid-19. Unemployed... dream project on pause... I felt sad, disconnected and adrift. This, however, did not last long. I started to think about what I could bring forward during this time, since I am not a first responder nor am I a medical professional. And then, it hit me. I can bring forth the resilience and joy that got me through some of the toughest times in my life. Something sweet, fun, simple and true.
So, I started making inspirational signs for my neighborhood and seeking out venues to install them. The first group to respond was the First Presbyterian Church and Hope Counseling on B Street in Petaluma. I installed a number of signs there yesterday.
This group of signs includes the Petaluma Art Chicks. The little yellow chick is called Chick P. He is a cross over character with the Superhero Unfolding project. I think of him as "Petaluma's first completely unofficial, unsanctioned, unconventional and unstoppable Superhero!" He is an amalgamation of Petaluma's agricultural past, the tenacity, strength and bravery of a vulnerable chick entering into an unknown world and everyone's love for emojis.
I am looking for more venues and working on new signs and characters.
Today's confession: I started making these signs because I felt that I had something to say and to share that was important. Something that would offer an alternative to doom and gloom and fear, in a way that was fun, simple, and easily accessible to all. My goal was to inspire a smile and perhaps a bit of reflection on oneself and the situation that we are in. I am not afraid of being viewed as a simple-minded fool making colorful cartoons for other's amusement. My fear is that I will fail to communicate clearly the ideals of self-love, appreciation and personal empowerment. Or, that I will wish to manipulate the message somehow to gain wider acceptance. Something like the self editing that I have practiced most of my life.
Today's insight: Creativity arises from need. The need for me to create, and the need for that which is created. Which, leads me to a Rilke quote... "A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity. In this nature of its origin lies the judgment of it: there is no other."
Being born the second child, I am keenly aware of the role that competition, comparison and expectations can play in a developing self-image. The last time a teacher asked me why I couldn't be more like my sister, clearly implying that I was not measuring up to her as an ideal, I answered, "Because I am not her."
I discovered that what was clearly obvious to me, that I was not my sister, was also the source of my childhood problems. I was expected to me someone that I was not. To act in a way that was other than what I felt. When I expressed a contrary opinion, I was told that I had no right to feel that way. No "right." As a child I was confused. I felt alone and unloved. I sought praise and care. So, I adapted to fit in. I abandoned my vulnerability, originality and quirk. And, instead of thriving, I became self-conscious, insecure, afraid and ashamed. I kept myself from expressing who I was and what I longed for.
It has taken me a long time to understand that I am ALWAYS the one getting in my own way. That, my thoughts about myself limit my actions and options. I can choose to let fear, insecurity and judgement rob me of joy and opportunities, or not. And, if I feel the need to create inspirational signs of sweet little bird emojis in green shoes, so be it!