Viewing entries tagged
Sandy Hook

Moments of Truth and Inspiration


Ah, it's been awhile... I cannot believe it is already January 9, 2013. Wow. Oh, and Happy New Year, by the way. The holidays were such a blur. I almost feel as if I'm waking up from a dream - it all happened so fast. I don't regret a second of it, but my head is still spinning.

In the midst of the holiday season our nation witnessed a tragedy - Sandy Hook. No need to say more. My heart still hurts for the families of the little ones who died that day.

As is the case in times of darkness, light bearers come forth to shine their lights upon us.

I was lucky enough to catch one of those light bearers in action when she offered an opportunity for fellow artists, or anyone really, to participate in making Inspiration Decks for the family of Sandy Hook. Her name is Jessica and she writes about her Sandy Hook project here, in a post on her blog, In Search of Dessert. I saw Jessica's post about her idea on Facebook and decided to participate. I had never done this before, but Jessica provided links to tutorials so I wasn't too worried.

Jessica selected quotes for each of the participants and we each made 26 cards (for 26 families - 26 decks). Just looking at the quotes I could tell that they were chosen very carefully and with a heart full of love.

I asked Jessica what inspired her to take on this project. She said the following:


"Everyone making something so beautiful and thoughtful - all this art being made for Sandyhook. I wanted to know if there was a way that our Inspirational cards could literally be "inspiring" for these grieving families. I deliberately chose quotes for the participants (unless they had a specific one in mind) that would both comfort AND inspire them to know they'd heal and grow from this horrible experience. That they are not alone, nor forgotten, nor have they lost their loved ones "for good." Many quotes made reference to the true love, which transcends bodily form." 

While I was traveling over the holidays, Brave Girls Club (an entire tribe of women bearing light) announced a project along the same lines - a Brave Girl Truth Card Exchange. I won't go into too much detail because you can read all about it here. Very, very simply, Brave Girls Club is partnering with Full Circle Exchange to do big, beautiful things. One of these things is taking truth cards made by Brave Girls all over the world to survivors of human trafficking all over the world. It's so incredible to imagine something like that, like the beginning of a worldwide love epidemic.

Spreading the truth about who each of is  - goodness and kindness, strength and beauty, and crazy fabulous love - at our cores, in the center of our souls is something the Brave Girls Club does very well. Making truth cards, again - little cards bearing words and art - is a big part of that, and is something done at Brave Girl camp and in some of the Brave Girl classes offered online. I love making truth cards for myself and I LOVE the idea of sharing these truths with other women.

When I got back from my holiday travels, after the New Year, I got to work.

First, the cards for the Sandy Hook Inspiration Deck.




And in between - truth cards for survivors of human trafficking.


I imagined a mother. A mother receiving a collection of card-sized pieces of art, and not really knowing what to do with them. She may set them aside. She may come back to them. I thought about the hole my dad's death (almost three years ago) left in my heart. Thinking about my own little 6 year-old son, I couldn't even allow myself to imagine the hole left by the loss of a child. It is an unimaginable loss. I have always turned to the words of others to help me make sense of things I don't understand. I remembered the comfort I felt when I read inspiring, hopeful quotes about grief. Like a warm cup of soothing tea for my soul, the words helped fill the spots in my heart that emptied when my dad passed away. I hoped that the mothers who would eventually hold my cards would feel some sense of comfort knowing that they were being held in the hearts of many.   

I imagined a woman. A survivor. I couldn't imagine what she had been through. Again, unimaginable. But I could imagine Melody Ross, who founded Brave Girls Club with her sister, handing this woman a truth card. Melody is without a doubt an Earth Angel. Loving kindness drips from her pores. I had the privilege of meeting her this summer, and am inspired daily by her art, her words, and her work. So, I could imagine this woman being moved by Melody's kind and loving ways. I could imagine the love she would feel in Melody's warm embrace (Brave Girls are huggers). I hoped that in the absence of Melody, my little truth card might remind this woman the truth of who she is when she doubts it.

What if each of us had some artifact that told us we were being held in the hearts of many? Or, that told us the truth of who we are? The impact of these little gifts is so powerful. As Jessica said, these are gifts of true lovewhich transcends bodily form.

Within a week of introducing the partnership with Full Circle Exchange, Brave Girls Club received 1500 truth cards. FIFTEEN. HUNDRED. That is true love.

In these small gestures, these moments of truth and inspiration, lies a great big, HUGE, DEEP, deep well of love. This love is there for all of us. People like Jessica and Melody help us to manifest that love. Thankfully. But we can manifest it for ourselves and for each other too. It's there waiting. A big well of love for all of us. There are no shortages. The well never runs dry. I promise. Jump in.


xoxo

Love and Be Loved

Angel of Love and Healing Light

I spent Friday morning working some Christmas magic for a friend of mine. She needed some magic. The truth is that I needed the magic too. As busy as I've been and as overwhelmed as I was feeling, I jumped off my crazy train and opened up to the possibility of making space to do something nice for someone. It was food for my soul.

So, afterward my fellow elves and I went out to lunch. We sat at a table across from a gigantic TV screen. I saw "BREAKING NEWS" flash along the bottom of the screen and didn't think much of it. All news seems to be BREAKING these days. I try to avoid the news. My eyes kept moving back to the screen.

I saw the story. I couldn't believe what I saw. Parents holding each other tightly. Panicked, grief-stricken faces. 20 children confirmed dead. Soon, tears were streaming down my face. We asked our server to change the channel.

After lunch I picked my daughter up from her pre-school. Then, my first grade son from his elementary school. The three of us headed home and waited for my fifth grade son to get off the bus. We drove home. I decided to check Facebook while my kids hopped around the kitchen - giggling over the multiple ways they found to torment each other after a long day apart. With each post I read my heart sank deeper into my chest. My oldest asked if they could watch a Christmas movie. I closed Facebook, thinking I might never go back. At least not for a few days. I scooped up my babies. We situated ourselves on the couch, weaving our arms and legs through each other's arms and legs until we were content in one tangled heap. I squeezed each of them. I wanted them close to me. We watched Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. They stared at the screen, our Christmas tree lights twinkling as the sky darkened outside. I wondered how I could keep us all together, safe and warm, until the end of time. Once again, tears rolled down my face.

Like so many, I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the tragic deaths that took place on Friday. 20 babies will never again fall into a cuddly heap with their mothers or fathers, sisters or brothers. My heart joins the many hearts broken for the families who lost a loved one in Newtown, Connecticut.

What happened at Sandy Hook is unthinkable. The pain is unimaginable. Those parents are living every parent's worst nightmare. To lose a child - it's not natural.

When I see the list of names of the sweet little loves who lost their lives on Friday, it is the age that most of them share that makes my heart stop. So many of them were just six years old. I have a six year old. He is in first grade. He is curious. He is silly and spontaneous. He loves to joke around. He might be laughing one minute and screaming the next. When I look at him, I cannot bear the thought that so many families in Connecticut lost someone just like him - such a big life in that small body, and so full of love.

How can life just keep going after such a horrific loss? Where do we go from here?

A lot of people say we need stricter gun laws here in America. A lot of people think we need to provide better mental health care and services to those in need. I'm sure both are true.

Here is what else I'm thinking though... In order to go on, we need something bigger than stricter policies and better care. I keep thinking about my kids and how they might wake from a nightmare. They are scared. No matter what I do or say, they are essentially inconsolable until they feel safe, until they are wrapped in my arms.

It is time for us to wrap our arms around each other.

Trying to identify the meaning of such tragedy is a fruitless effort. We can make it mean something though. We can stop fighting. We can put our egos aside. We can open up to our similarities, our humanity, and to our lives on earth together, and decide that we're just not going to buy into the fear that makes us think guns can keep us safe anymore. The fear that keeps us glued to violent shows and video games, the fear that keeps our leaders arguing instead of working together, and the fear that makes us think there isn't something more - something bigger and better and truer - out there. Love is the opposite of fear. It is time to love and be loved. To treat every day like the day after a tragedy. We can be raw, vulnerable, and quick to comfort our friends in need. We can wrap our arms around each other. We can love and be loved.

We fill ourselves with so much negativity - the news, the net, the aisles at Costco. Our souls are on a processed food diet. What if, instead of spending 30 minutes watching the news and surfing the Internet, we did that for 10 minutes, and spent 20 minutes praying? Or just repeating the word: LOVE, love, love, LoVe... What if we were quick to forgive each other? What if we hugged more? What if we smiled at each other? What if we looked up from our smart phones and stared into our children's eyes instead? We would see love.

20 little bodies are no more, but those beautiful spirits live on. They are smiling, giggling, dancing in the heavens, and they are whispering in our ears, telling us that love is the answer. They are telling us to love big and hard and real. To love like a six year-old.

May those sweet souls rest in peace. May their loved ones find the strength to carry on. May we all find ways to open up to love and being loved. xo