Pay it forward ~ Knowledge is power

We learn from the master’s ~ then we teach what we have learned.

The challenge is ~ we have lost sight of why we’re in this business of healing in the first place.

I totally crush on the brilliance of Toni Morrison ~ her writing sets us free

I’ve always admired the photography of Annie Leibowitz and the writing of Toni Morrison ~ a dream of something from both in a single meme ~ I had to share.

Especially when it so perfectly aligns with the sentiments of my life’s work.

When we express ourselves, but are surrounded by the wrong people, or strangers who forget they are part of the bigger picture of humanity ~ they are gaslighting us ~ now, it seems more than any other time ~ I blame social media and anonymous as a collective excuse but still ~ has this happened to you?

  1. You state a fact or experience that you actually had, and they come back at you with some random statistic to prove you were wrong
  2. You share something you like, love, or are interested in, and they respond with saying, “well that’s not as good as… blah blah blah, you should try this other thing instead”
  3. You discuss the thing that is within your mastery, and they retort with …. immediately trying to disprove or know more than, that thing you spent a lifetime becoming familiar with.

For example ~

I’ve painted for profit before but I hate it. I’ve been at it for 12 years now. I started it when my eldest child went off to college. I wanted to understand what she experienced more deeply. She is an artist so I wanted to understand her artists’ mind and I wanted to be able to discuss art with her.

I loved it immediately. I didn’t care if it was good. I cared that I found a flow with thought, action and a sense of peace while doing it. It wasn’t about the art for profit. It was about the union I had with unconscious thought.

Very meditative and soothing.

When I had too many paintings, I started selling them (upon a suggestion of someone I didn’t know well). The moment I did, I regretted it. What was once my soothing, private, personal joy was on display for criticism, critique and public callousness.

One guy walked by, casually saying to his partner, “Well this stuff isn’t really good. It’s garbage.”

Same painting, same day, someone else walked by and wanted to buy it saying, “I’m so moved by this. I love it. What’s the story behind it? Tell me your process. It’s reminiscent of the XYZ era…”

I didn’t have a response for either of them. Their opinion had nothing to do with my work.

This too, gave me a lot to think about and the ability to be consciously aware of humanity through a new lens.

Art is intimate.

Opinion is public.

The same can be said for happiness.

It’s nobody’s business what happiness looks like from one person to the next.

I know that even in my darkest, saddest, more horrifying experiences, I held onto a single glimmer of light that I related to my spiritual beliefs that were and are nobody’s business.

In that time, my face was stoic at the best. My appearance reflected the “just barely holding on” while my heart and mind lived in an internal land of healing. The way I looked had nothing to do with the way I was thinking.

To the outside world ~ it was everything. Nobody saw me but in truth, I was okay with that.

Who wants to be seen when they aren’t also being heard?

Healing, like happiness is an inside job.

Our thoughts are our masterpiece. They aren’t always going to be perfect for everyone to love.

They will sometimes be messy, complicated, tatters of what was, intermingling with the promise of what can be, should we choose that.

When we are free of the despair, we leave our cages with scars of that internal battle. But we are free, so care little for the opinions of others.

When I hear people say, “Don’t worry about what other people think.” Or, “Don’t care what other people think. Move on.” I know there are only two possibilities.

  1. They are sociopaths who harbor no concept of the feelings of others outside themselves (probably not true most of the time, as the statistical probability is pretty low in truth). Most likely, they are somehow wounded.
  2. They have never actually experienced something more horrible than a little squabble.

People who have experienced sorrow, loss, grief, sadness, mental health battles ~ they see each other. They walk among us as those who can see these things in others.

Photo by Min An on

We should have a secret hand signal.

It’s an acknowledgement of knowing what it was to be caged.

The pain of humanity is a learning opportunity to develop empathy, compassion, and even a gentler way to be. When we’re going through it, it just sucks all around. There’s no contest in that.

When we are free, it is our duty to help free others.

When we have power, it is our job to empower others.

When I read Toni Morrison, I knew that she knows that calling. The same can be said for many great writers of our time.

Great writers can be felt. Those who suffered can be heard in that artist’s intimacy. Not all have that gift.

We each have a unique way of aligning with that healing journey.

That’s what healing is.

It’s not to avoid or pretend that darkness ~ it’s to embrace it, then learn from it.

~If I could pay one thing forward ~ it’s not the rainbow, glittering, hopeful, joyful love bombing of the happiness movement. I enjoy that too, but my happy looks different from yours.~

My happiness is in art ~ in the deep rich colors of the palette of life. My happiness is quieter.

What I pay forward is the message that when you walk though it, always consciously know that there are millions of others who have throughout history, walked the path of darkness toward the light.

No matter how much pain you are in, keep going. Keep getting up. Don’t worry about those others who are out there judging your masterpiece that is your life.

They don’t know what you went through to be where you are today. They. Don’t. Know. You.

Another thing I want to pay forward ~ A healing journey …

Educate yourself from BOTH sides of every topic that comes up. Find the balance that is going to teach you about the experience. It may hurt, but don’t be afraid of that pain.

Emotional pain is poignant stuff. It lingers longer.

Instead of saying, “Don’t worry about what other people think”, try saying, “Other people are going through their own thing so if they say something offensive or naive, they are saying it for themselves, not me”

Unfortunately, and perhaps serendipitously, there is a trend where people are announcing ~ professional people ~ that if someone doesn’t agree with them, they are not even allowed to speak out or post to that person’s pages. People in the writing world ~ the professional pages ~ the psychology pages are saying, “agree with me or get out”

That’s some scary shit.

I GET it when the social media trolls are at it again. They are awful on purpose. Nobody needs that in their lives.

But get to know the other side of a topic. At least, learn and know where they are coming from. It can’t hurt or influence you unless you let it.

Like, when my brother died at the age of 47 after a lifetime of drug addiction and emotional darkness, someone said to me, “Well, at least he lived a full life.”

47 is not a full life. Tragedy does not make a full life.

I was so shocked and mad, I froze, for fear of being an abruptly rude person back. With cussing. I thought about it ~

They just didn’t know what to say so said the first thing that came out of their face. We all do that from time to time. Poetic sentiments are an art form denied to many.

People are awkward around tragedy.

We have forgotten how to be comfortable with the darker side of life. The stuff we don’t want to think or talk about.

When we know better ~ we do better.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is to learn. The more you learn, the more you know (I think that’s somebody’s tag line somewhere, but not sure who the original source was).

OH ~ here’s a thing you can try. Dare yourself to learn the opposing view of your own worldview. Don’t let it get under your skin, or head off to social media to get all shouty at it in ALL CAPS. Let it resonate with you. WHY did that other person say or do what they did. WHERE did their story lead them to that moment. WHAT were they thinking about. HOW did they get to be who they are. WHO are they, and what’s their backstory.

We can’t hate what we allow ourselves to understand.

Hate never did anything productive.

Love heals every time.

(c) @inkhoneypub @happinessnoir @K.ArenHenryMiller

Painting ~ K Aren Henry Miller, circa 2018

Published by happinessnoir

Writer | Advocate | Free Range Female | Change Agent | Essayist

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