Thursday, October 30, 2008


I know; I already blogged today. But I wanted to share something I realized in a conversation this morning; a conversation that turns out to be directly related to yesterday's blog.

I was sharing coffee with a friend who pokes around in the stock market (he's been, not surprisingly, pretty depressed lately) and he said he thought the prime motivators in that environment were fear and greed. "That's what I'm feeling all day," he said, and he pantomimed typing in stock sales and purchases. "Fear, greed, fear, greed, greed, greed, fear, fear..."

"But aren't those ALWAYS prime motivators?" I asked.

He paused, then started to disagree, so I leaped in again and said "... for all our bad behaviors?" And that's when the revelation (and yes, I get that this is ridiculously simplified, BUT) kicked in. Isn't it possible that our bad behaviors can almost always be tied to the movement of grasping, holding, clinging, attachment, being closed, pulling in, gathering to the chest? (As a mother, and as a photographer with folders newly full of images of madonnas clasping babies to their chests, and Jesus hugging sheep, I HAVE to say almost, not always).

And isn't it equally possible, she says, having just left a retreat focused on Kenosis, the act of letting go, that almost all good behaviors are about releasing, not clinging, being open; about generosity and acceptance and non-attachment?

That said, I believe I may have found the stimulus for the dream of the open-handed monk the other day: this is a statue of Mary that stands at the entrance to the retreat center I stayed in last week. She is Mary, female, and white, not a monk, male, or gray, but the open-handed gesture of welcome is the same.

And if it is indeed that gesture of openness, of release and acceptance that is under consideration, then to make the wall art that wraps around and hugs the viewer is not quite saying the same thing. At all. It's all about opening, not about enclosing.

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