Winter solstice is a time to honor the dark, and also celebrate the returning light. I've written before, in 2010 about hope and the winter solstice and in 2012 about new alignments; this year I'm thinking about the power of possibility and abandoning hope. Remembering that the light will return is not so much about hope, but about perspective and awareness. Hope tends to be about a desired vision for the future; possibility is about now. The root of "possible" means powerful, able.
Artist Diane DiMassa's painting, entitled Possibility Pods, invokes the ancient horseshoe crab, an artist's workspace, industrial landscape and more. Pods suggest creation from unusual sources. Hers is not the organic metaphor of seed and future- hers may be industrial 'seeds', for sure modified, perhaps traced from cans of paint, speaking to possibilities including those that come through art, new and old simultaneously, right now in the present. This painting inspired me to get on with my own painting, on a much larger scale than ever before. I bought it to give back and complete the cycle; for me, a possibility to step up right now. Her work is at Patty DeLuca Gallery in Provincetown, MA.
Vandana Shiva lays out the global struggle over seeds, over undisclosed genetic modification, patent rights imposed on seeds, corruption of political systems, and corruption of scientific research and discourse. We all know that money talks. If we think that seeds will continue to provide us with a fertile future, and remain a profound symbol of hope, let's think about activism that's needed right now. Shiva advocates a transformational activism motivated by love; she's not letting go of seeds. I'm thinking we need seeds and pods both, with a focus on the present.
In "When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult times" Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron writes that "hope robs us of the present moment." She suggests instead that we can be "nailed to the present." If we give up "all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship, one that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death." How about no longer ignoring excessive corporate financial influences and the degradation of the environment? For me, making art is one way to be in the present, and creativity is a crucial resource, one to nurture and invest in, so I can enjoy this precious life and act rather than react. So there's the practice of abandoning hope, and focusing on the present. The present is the territory of power, full of possibilities. Here are some simple steps for being the change right now: Buy local. Buy art. Make art. Be art. Be present. This winter solstice, enjoy the dark, and explore what's possible.