By now everyone has heard about the shooting in Arizona. While I always find violence upsetting, these events have upset me in a way I never would have expected. Hearing about it, and reading the stories breaks my heart. I've found myself a little obsessed, reading every article that gets posted.
I want to hear from my congressman, my senators, my president, I want to hear what they all have to say for themselves. We're all "sorry" and "sending our prayers," just as we should.
But what do we do now? What does anyone have to say for themselves? We've been all letting it go, passively accepting these things and look whats happened. People are dead. So what do we all have to say now? I don't want platitudes. I want answers, action and responsibility.
I am always upset by the use of violent metaphors from anyone but especially in politicians. To use cross hairs over a district in advertising campaigns, to say you want to "take out" your opponents, or suggest "second amendment solutions" to the country's problems is as offensive as it is irresponsible, and people onboth sides of the isle are to blame. I'm tired of people not taking responsibility for their actions. I don't tolerate it in my students (suggesting that they just made -fill in the blank- because they felt like) and I won't accept it anyone else. Words have meaning and actions have consequences. If you run around suggesting violence you can't act shocked and offer trite "well he/she misunderstood me...." comments when it comes back to bite you. Enough is Enough! In the wake of the mass shooting of some 20 people, including a NINE YEAR OLD GIRL, we must end the violent rhetoric that has exploded over the past few years. I may be young, but I'm old enough to have seen a change in American politics. Disagreeing, and spirited conversations are how we grow as a society, how we find the best options for all of us. When did we start deciding that there was only one way to be, to be an American? I think of my family, my friends and even those of you I hold nearest and dearest to my heart and I know that even we don't agree on everything, and I prefer it that way. Anyway, I signed this petition, its calling on every member of Congress, as well as the major TV news networks, to put an end to any overt or implied appeals to violence in our political debate, and I hope you will too.
I know, its a petition, not a solution. But its a first step.
This time of year everyone is making resolutions, cleaning house and taking stock. I, of course am doing the same. Trouble is, resolutions always fail me.
And it seems to me they fail everyone else. Over the week surrounding the holidays I was able to visit a number of greatly missed friends and family members. Of particular relevance to this is my friend T, a yoga instructor with whom I was able to spend a night where she was dog sitting and take a yoga class with. At the beginning of the class she spoke about sankalpas. Sankapla is a sanskrit word that basically means "will" "purpose" or "intention."
Resolutions are made because we feel something is wrong with us. We resolve to lose weight because we think we are fat. We want to get organized because we believe we are terrible slops, and so on. Each resolution holds in it a negative thought directed towards ourselves. Conceptualizing ourselves, and any desire for change in this manner will only lead us to disappointment.
A sankalpa is inherently positive, and focuses on the reasoning behind each wish or desire. It's about getting in touch with your wants. Rather than saying "I will never eat another cookie!" the thought becomes "When I am feeling stressed I will seek the root of that sadness rather than muffling it with sweets."
I related strongly to this concept as a practicing Nichiren Buddhist. The basis of this type of Buddhism could easily be summarized as "self-determination." Rather than self flagellation we seek to bring awareness to what is causing us pain and keeping us off our path and correct it by setting these determinations. Again, focusing on what I want in my life and not what I think is wrong or bad.
By conceiving of it in this fashion I am able to approach the new year with positive energy and am much more apt to stay on track rather than getting frustrated by not immediately shedding 20 lbs and stuffing my face with left over Holiday candy.
So, my determinations?
Most importantly, to expand my business.
I made a lot of really great inroads this past year and met some really wonderful people. I have my work for sale at Can Can Candy, Talking Leaves Books and Rustbelt Books. I opened my etsy shop and participated in 4 regional indie markets. I was able to find more sustainable ways of creating my work and this year I know it will only get better.
My business brings me a great deal of happiness and there are few things better than when someone walks away with something I made and a smile on their face. So, my sincerest thanks to those of you who help me make that a reality!
Personally? I want to take more time for myself and bring more attention to my own health and happiness. I will leave the specifics of how I might do that up to what I need or want on any given day. No more giving myself guilt about having a cookie or sleeping in if that's what I feel like I need to do.
So, what are your determinations/sankalpas for this year?
And then, it never happened. I never put anything in the shop and I feel terribly about it.
I've never been able to translate the tactility of my objects into decent photos and that's a large part of why I missed the mark this year. I took some photos and they just looked terrible...
BUT, there's an upside. Fortune has brought me not one but TWO photographers who are willing to help me photograph the work properly so I can get my shop back up and running.
The best part? If you have one of those little coupons the best part is that when my shop gets loaded (I'm shooting for the end of January) your coupon will STILL be valid! PLUS, I'm offering free shipping to those in the Buffalo/Rochester area.
I do hope you'll check in with me then and find a little something special to bring a little comfort and color to the post-holiday grey days!