I saw beauty and magnificence today, with a side of inspiration. As I walked through my neighborhood, I smelled grass, trees, and flowers. I felt peace, gratitude, and, most significantly, awe. I got an energy infusion from the warm spring sun and air. I heard children laughing and windchimes playing harmonies across backyard fences. I felt God’s presence and my own. My mind slowed long enough for the rest of me to catch up.
During my walk, the usual static was replaced with the quiet certainty of knowing I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to do. I was happy without trying to be happy. I felt joy without praying to be joyful or undertaking a self-improvement checklist that promised joy upon completion.
We strive to be rational. We plan our futures. We plan to be happy tomorrow. But, happiness is only possible in what Richard Rohr calls The Naked Now. Buddhists call it the present moment and mindfulness.
We spend so much time trying to get God to love us! But, if we show up for ourselves just for this moment, we can forget trying to be perfect, productive, and accomplished long enough to let God love us and really feel it. That’s a game changer!
As Jon Oliver said recently, “ Look way up there in the sky. You see that? That’s rock bottom!”
Dear God, we need joy, laugher, beauty, and truth that cannot be tarnished or destroyed with “future revelations”. We need to stop for just a moment and agree on the myriad of things we actually agree on. We need to channel the intense emotions and angst we justifiably feel in this year that is nothing put a parade of horribles into something that isn’t tearing ourselves or others down. We need to see and be inspired by beauty, humor, and truth and let it heal us and change us and let it be enough. Because it has to be.Because that is the only remedy, the only antidote to this war of words.
We have seen how words can divide, destroy, corrode, and manufacture fear, anger, and despair. We have watched the experts at spin and distortion, and had to take note of their power. What we write, what we speak, has the power to damn us or save us. Fewer and fewer people read for enjoyment, as if it is pointless, but that precisely is the point. We need to see truth and beauty somewhere, so we remember what it looks like.
Writers and other artists, tell the truth. We have no choice. Special interests and money can’t corrupt most of us, because we have nothing to do with either. We reflect the truth of what is going on in our times. It may be our own personal truth, but it is authentic truth, all the same. It is an effective counter-balance to the land of lies that has become our political landscape. It grounds us to reality without shouting in our faces. It stands on its own, and really can’t be tilted or spun.
I am frequently asked why I write in the same tone of voice as someone would ask, “ Hey! Why are you strolling naked down the street?” The implication is, of course, the odds against monetary success are so low, why bother? The answer to me is, the times we live in require it. I have to do it and can’t back away from it.
2) Beautiful writing, like any thing of beauty, restores our faith in the universe, if only for a little while. It’s like a little meditation on hope.
Words are powerful, as are joy, beauty and hope, inspiration and finally, perspective, and words can create all of these good things. There is already enough invective, finger pointing, and anger. Almost everyone has had enough of it and is looking for the opposite, an oasis.
3) Writers can reflect the times in a non horrifying way, through crafting a work that is beautiful in its own right, shifting the focus from what is hopeless to what is possible, even if just for today. And that matters.
4) We will remind you of our shared humanity and the very good things about it. We will make you laugh and make you cry about something other than the state of our country. We will create something beautiful that cannot be destroyed in the next new cycle. Things that will endure no matter what happens on November 8th.
So, keep writing, even if it’s in a journal. That’s where many a poem, a novel, an opus began. Keep reading— we all need you.
I’m going to keep doing both. I’m going to keep trying to ignite the sparks that alight the beauty, sacredness, and commonality of our daily lives, and celebrate the beauty of our humanity.
L.E. Kinzie lives in Austin, Texas, with a ridiculous and ever-changing menagerie of pets and her family. A recovering ex-lawyer, she is a passionate observer of humanity and the common threads that bind us all together—beauty, creation, and creating art.