As is usually the case, to paraphrase Charles Dickens,
On the one hand, my daughter Mariel is graduating from college. This is such a time of hope and excitement -- her life lays before her, and it's looking full of promise. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and will spend all of next year in the Czech Republic, teaching English and being an ambassador for the United States. For her, it is the best of times, a season of light, and the spring of hope.It [is] the best of times, it [is] the worst of times ... it [is] the season of Light, it [is] the season of Darkness, it [is] the spring of hope, it [is] the winter of despair...
But then, as my heart is filled with joy, it is also filled with sadness. A dear, dear friend -- a person who has dedicated his life to charity and service -- is loosing his third bout with cancer, and now his time is running out.
How do I hold the joy and the sorrow, at the same time? How do I feel the exhilaration of a life picking up speed and taking off, while holding the grief of a life cut too short? Why must it be this way?
I turned to my journal, my place of refuge, where I can work out my feelings without judgment. First I covered a spread with lots of leftover book pages, and then started sketching with white paint. And who should emerge, but Lord Krishna. In the Baghavad Gita, Krishna, a reincarnation of Vishnu or God in a human form, reminds Arjuna (who, faced with a fratricidal war, turns to his charioteer Krishna for counsel on the battlefield) of his duty - his dharma - and shares the wisdom of yoga, the path to devotion, and the doctrine of selfless action. Krishna reminds Arjuna that everything -- the good and the bad -- is a manifestation of the divine:
He also reminds Arjuna to do his duty (which in this case is going into battle) with devotion, remembering that:I am the beginning, middle and ending of everything created. Of all knowledge, I am the knowledge of Atman [the Higher Self]. And in controversy, I am reason itself... I am time eternal... I sustain everyone as I dispense the fruits of all actions [karma]. I am also death who devours everyone and everything. Yet in the same moment, I am the source of all yet to be born... (Chapter Ten)
Whatever is born will undoubtedly die; whatever is dead certainly will be born... Beings are all unmanifested. At midstate they're manifested; and unmanifested again at the end ... The Self, which exists in everyone, the indweller, is invulnerable. Therefore, you do not have to grieve. (Chapter Two)These words inspired me, and gave me great comfort and permission to hold both the happy and the sad in my heart, remembering that they are both part of our sacred universe. In the end, my wish for my daughter and my friend is the same:
As the song goes, love is all there is.
I find painting faces quite a challenge - but thanks to all the amazing tutorials out there, and the most recent lesson on Lifebook, I am starting to get more comfortable. And the flowers and little orange bird on Lord Krishna's shoulder? Collaged from gelli prints and headed over to Carolyn Dube's gelli party.
Linking to the blog hops at Mandarin Orange Mondays, Inspire Me Mondays, Monday Mantras, Make it on Monday, Art Journal Journey (challenge yourself) and to the challenges at Simon Says Stamp (things with wings), Simon Says Stamp and Show (Inspired By).
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