There was snow in Portland today, and the kids are all out of school. It was fun to wake up and feel like we have an extra Saturday this week, to see the quiet, white streets. The kids hung out and played — and I read the morning news, which I rarely get to do. It was a beautiful morning. This week’s pictures on flipbook were beautiful, but many were disturbing too, because they were of war and violence. Most disturbing for me was yet another picture out of the Middle East with an injured little boy being carried away from the scene of an explosion. The little boy was about three. I know because I have a three-year-old, and I recognized the size of his little body. This is someone’s sweet little child. The fact that this doesn’t ruin my day is most disturbing of all.
I thought later about how sad I do feel about violence and suffering in the world. I definitely have days where the economic injustice, the misplaced values, the violence and oppression of our world get me very down. When this happened recently, I thought about what Gandhi said about history, that it is the record of the disruptions of satyagraha, of soul force, or soul truth, the force that holds us together and expresses our truth, morality, beauty and goodness. Gandhi said that history is the story of kings and governments. It is about the disruptions of satyagraha and the shifts. News and media narratives are the same. They aren’t about everyday life, most of the time. Most of the time, they tell about the disruptions.
In our life, our real life, all over the world, people don’t harm others. They love and help one another. They create, form relationships, work hard, make beauty. It isn’t drama, it’s just life. The rule of law holds; we live by our moral values. We take care of our friends and our family. This is our life. Most of the people in the world live as peacefully as they can most of the time. This gives me a lot of hope.
I think some kind of similar process might be said to be at work with human creativity too. Most of the time, most of us are creative, all throughout are lives. People create, make things, celebrate, make things special. This isn’t art for sale, it isn’t design for a product. It is everywhere, all around, all the time. People make, because the things they make are beautiful or useful, regardless of whether they can sell it or not. This, too, makes me happy — to know that there is poetry being written, for no reason except that someone wanted to write it — right at this moment somewhere.