To a Young Painter


Trust yourself. Your vision. Your hand.
And when your eyes wander in comparison,
close them.

When the world wants you to strategize,
do not apologize for letting your heart lead,
for letting your canvas bleed out
your questions and your fears,
all the desires that you clutch.
You can throw them into the world
like a great flying disc,
letting them land in light and shadow
and colors that surprise.
In images that do not apologize for their honesty.

Give yourself. Your vision. Your hand.
And when your eyes see what is true,
open them.

fall away

fall away, originally uploaded by jenleedotnet.
It's all about trusting yourself, You can trust yourself. You can trust the way you hear the words the first time, regardless of what so-and-so says about point-of-view this, or marketability that. You can trust your intuition, even when it's calling you to pioneer something new. I have the key! There must be something wrong here, they insist. However it is, is not how it should be. You're doing it wrong.

What Love Means

Photo: The fingerprint of LoveLove

Love means cultivating an environment in which every member thrives.  Everyone gets to experience being delighted in, being seen and known, and being respected.  If any of these things are not happening, the conditions of our little greenhouse must change.  Immediately.

Love does not mean suffering each other's sharp edges in silence.  Love means we brave the truths that are hard to speak, we gently dismantle the defenses that raise, and we muddle through our misunderstandings until we find a way to ensure we all feel safe.  And heard.  We can love one another's sharp edges because we know we're doing all we can to protect each other, and because we know we can shout "Ouch" when we need to.

Love means the only silence is that which is freely chosen. No topic of conversation, complaint, request, opinion or question is "off limits".  Even if your question is about tampons.  And you're four years old.

Love means that excessively worrying about another does not equal care.  It means trusting each other, even in areas in which we are prone to be afraid.

Love means it's safe to tell the truth about how much we mean to each other, and sometimes, about how much we hurt each other.  Love means we keep the door open for making ammends and giving or receiving affection.

Love means we are keepers of the treasure--our own and each other's.  This looks gentle sometimes, but it can also be fierce.