Sloth – a cute face with an everlasting smile. But his smile isn’t a proof of happiness or contentment as one might think. It is actually due to sloths’ lack of facial muscles. They are “doomed” to have a huge smile on their face no matter what their feelings are. I can’t imagine how would it be to have a happy face even when I’m dying inside. No one would know that something is wrong with me, everyone would think that everything is fine. That could be very frustrating. But, actually, people often choose to wear masks, happy ones, to hide their true feelings, to look tough and in control, to fit in, to be accepted, because who like a sad, depressed face, isn’t it? But, unlike sloths, they do this voluntarily. They have a choice. So, when you see a happy sloth, think twice: maybe he’s terrified, angry, in pain, or depressed. Don’t let their smile fool you. Look into their eyes. There, if you are empathetic enough, you might see what they really feel. And it is the same with humans.
And, since I’ve talked about smiles, I leave you a link to a dear song of mine:
There are many things that impress me deeply but one in particular comes to my mind today due to a discussion I had last week with some friends; and that is: seeing an old person, having a hard time walking (maybe leaning on a stick), feeding pigeons in the park (or wherever). I know that there are disputes regarding this kind of activity and that feeding birds had been prohibited lately in many cities due to the diseases they spread, the mess they do, the damages they bring to the historical buildings, etc but still… I cannot remain untouched when I see elders feeding pigeons. This image always melts my heart while many thoughts cross my mind. I cannot stop thinking of the old age and the very few things that brings people joy in their later years, I think of the loneliness of old people (and not only) and the need to love and to be loved, the need to feel that somebody still needs you, the need to be taken care of and to take care of someone, being that a person or the birds of the sky… Some elders face fines for feeding the birds, but some of them don’t stop, regardless. For them feeding the birds might be one of their last available pleasures in life, the little thing they still can do to feel they matter, to feel they contribute with something to this world. And maybe the birds that rest on their shoulder, their arms, their laps are the only beings with whom they interact to all day long, maybe they have nobody else, maybe the love they get from the pigeons is the only drop of love they get in this world. Who knows what story lies behind their refusal to stop feeding the birds…
Thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely, happy day, full of love and lots of friends.
Love, marriage, trust, betrayal, deception, suffering, and finally, death. This is the story of Cho Cho San. Many know her as Madame Butterfly (cho cho means butterfly in Japanese).
She put her trust in a man, the man of her life, the one who promised to cherish her forever. She gave him all her love, she abandoned her religion only to be with him. But for him, everything was a game. He soon left over the ocean, promising he’ll be back soon. He lied. He remarried. She waited for him on the shore for years. She had his son who waited together with his mother on the shore for his father’s clipper to return. But when his father returned, his new wife was on his arm.
This is the story of so many of us. We think we walk the same path, we think we look in the same direction only to find out that our partner had always wanted something else. In the end, he/she walks away, leaving behind broken souls, shattered dreams, crushed lives. One may wonder if love is worth all the trouble. It seems that the answer is always “yes”. People need love and they are willing to take their chances over and over again, always believing, always hoping.
I leave you a link to the Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Full Opera):
Nobody knows why the giraffe has such a long neck and legs. There are lots of theories, but the real answer is buried back in a forgotten time, a time when the giraffes were the link between earth and sky, where the spirits lived. Back then, when a man from Earth wanted to speak with the soul of a dear one, he had to whisper the message into a giraffe’s ear and then she raised her head up to the stars, getting the man’s message to the soul it was intended for and she always brought back an answer. But, in time, there were more and more men wanting to talk with the departed ones and the giraffes couldn’t handle the job anymore. They were tired and had less and less time to live their own lives, to take care of their own kind. That was the time when the God of the Giraffes, wanting to ease their lives, gave birth to a big giraffe island in the middle of the ocean. Since that day, any man who wanted to speak with the soul of a dear one that had left the Earth climbed on the Giraffe Island’s neck up to the spirits’ realm. ( The giraffes went back to their tranquil lives but kept their long legs and neck as they got fond of them. )
Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you enjoy it! Have a lovely day!
Nobody knows how to get to The Wolf Island. Few know of its existence and even these few people think of it more as a mythical island rather than a real one.
But she knows. She goes there every full moon. It is her favorite place on Earth: the place where the spirits of all the wolves that once lived on Earth gather and speak to her, telling their stories from the beginning till present. She learned about their ways, about their families, their pack hunting, their love stories, their friendships, their fears, their losses, their desires, their joys, their turbulent relation with humans along the history. She learned how her kind had hunted wolves to the brink of extinction many times throughout history without realizing that wolves are of utmost importance in keeping the balance of the ecosystem and that by exterminating them there will be devastating consequences to nature. Realizing that, humans stopped the hunting for a while, allowing the wolf population to regrow. But then… they forgot and… the history had repeated itself over and over again. People have short term memory and it seems that they are not capable of learning from their past mistakes once and for all. Maybe this is their curse.
But let’s leave these for now and, since it’s a full moon, let’s hear Lobo’s story: He lived a happy but hard life in Currumpaw, New Mexico, together with his life-mate, Blanca, and his fearless pack. In a time when the wolves had been deprived of their natural prey such as bison, elk and pronghorn by settlers, they had to convert their ways to the new reality in order to survive and so they started to prey on the settlers’ livestock. Lobo became the “King of Currumpaw”, the leader of a cattle-killing wolves. He had to learn all the humans’s ways of killing wolves in order to elude them. He and his pack escaped traps, poison, riffles, dogs for years, becoming a terror for the ranchers of that area. A bounty was put on his head and many bounty hunters tried to catch him without any luck. He always outsmart them. At their wits end, the farmers hired Ernest Thompson Seton a naturalist as well as a professional animal trapper to kill him. Seton tried unsuccessfully to catch him for more than 4 months. The mating season began and, therefore, he and Blanca were inseparable. And this was his doom. Seton, a wise and determined man, changed his tactics and lured Blanca, the love of his life, whom he finally caught and killed. Life became pointless for Lobo. He howl-mourned her for two days, trying every minute to catch a last glimpse-sniff of her love through the ranch’s windows. All he wanted was to see her one last time, to lay beside her and die. Finally, seeing no other way to be together with Blanca for one more time, he let himself caught in 4 traps around the house where Blanca was taken in and … that was it. Hurt, he was carried by Seton inside, he took a last glimpse of his Blanca who was lying dead on the floor and then… he let himself die. Their spirits united in the Great Beyond and since then they wander happily, always together, inseparable, through the stars, through multiverses, through space and time. Now and then, they come to the Wolf Island, the meeting place of the spirits of all the wolves that once lived on Earth and tell their story to whoever listens.
As for his Nemesis, Seton, his encounter with Lobo changed him forever: an immense respect for the wolves and for the entire nature grew inside him. He returned east and found new purpose in speaking out against the destruction of America’s wilderness. He lobbied for the creation of new national parks, and fought for protections for wildlife.
For Seton, it wasn’t just a question of saving the wilderness. He believed that people had to experience nature in order to care about it — that it should be a part of everyone’s upbringing. He wrote a book Wild Animals I Have Known, where he called himself the villain and Lobo a hero. The book became a worldwide success and turned Seton into a major celebrity.
This image and the story attached to it was inspired by the true story of Lobo – The Wolf That Changed America (as they called him).
The idea of opposites that dance together is an oriental concept that I like very much. The duality of existence (yin-yang, male-female, good-bad, bright-dark, old-young etc) is a complex relational concept. The opposed forces not only coexist but they complement each other. They rely on one another to exist. One gives birth to the other. They interchange and interplay. We cannot acknowledge one aspect of life without its opposite. The most obvious example is that there cannot be a shadow without light. The same way there cannot be happiness without sorrow, beauty without ugliness, power without weakness and so on.
When something is whole, it’s unchanging and complete. So when you split something into two halves – yin/yang, the equilibrium of wholeness is broken. Therefore, both halves are chasing after each other as they seek to regain balance.
The ancient Greeks captured this idea in a beautiful story in Plato’s Symposium: The Androgynous Myth. In short, the story states that in the beginning of time there were three kinds of humans: male, female and androgynous. They had four hands, four legs, two heads, two sets of genitals, and so on. They could move both forward and backward and would run by spinning themselves around cartwheel-like on all eight limbs. They were very powerful and vigorous and made threatening attacks on the gods, so Zeus decided to cut each person in two and scatter the halves into the world. After that, longing for their original nature, people kept trying to find their other half and reunite with it. When they found it, they would embrace very tightly and did not let go, not wanting anything else. This is the origin of our instinctive desire for other human beings. Those who are interested in members of the opposite sex are halves of formerly androgynous people, while men who like men and women who like women are halves of what were formerly whole males and females.
“Love”, according to Plato, is the name that we give to our desire for wholeness. But to restore our original nature, it takes more than finding each other. True love is not found somewhere on a bench, in a park, it is not discovered all of a sudden, at first sight, but rather, it is the product of immense work, constant attention, and sacrifice. If soulmates exist, they are made and shaped, after a lifetime partnership, a lifetime shared dealing with common duties, enduring pain, and of course, joy.
The same it is with my ballerina and her shaolin monk. As yin-yang dancing partners, they have to work a lot to find their own rhythm. Their life backgrounds are so different. Their cultures are so different. Their training is so different. Will they find their way to flow together, completing each other in a graceful unprecedented dance? Of course they will! They both have the discipline, the determination. They both have the will. And, even if they’ll struggle to get accustomed to one another, in the end, their dance will be the most graceful of all. And all the world will wonder watching this odd dancing couple that will perform this magnificent dance of opposites.
Thank you for stopping by.
PS: There are 2 background variations because I couldn’t decide which one I like best. Two different feelings. I love them both. 🙂
Life is just a dance: sometimes we dance with each other, sometimes we dance alone; sometimes we dance in the rain, laughing at our misfortunes, sometimes we dance the night away, having the most cheerful time ever. Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow, and, along the way, we learn, we get better, until, hopefully, we master the moves, the flow, the dance. And even if we don’t master it, we try to enjoy every step, every accomplish, every mistake, every fall that leads to a raising, to more knowledge, to more harmony in every step we make.
But we are not the only ones that dance. The entire world dances as one: the animal world, the mineral world, the vegetable world, the stars, the planets, the black holes, the whole universe. Entire life is nothing but a dance with space as its the dance floor and time beating the tempo, with galaxies that swirl and planets that spin as balletic as a ballerina dancer, as elegantly as a crane.
When I was little, my father brought me some silk worms to take care of. I don’t know if he wanted to teach me something or just wanted to keep me busy. Anyway, I watched them carefully, I fed them mulberry leaves daily, I created all the conditions for them to grow and cover themselves in those beautiful silk eggs that they left as soon as they methamorphosed into silk moths.
It was an interesting experience that thought me about transformation, about how things in life are in a perpetual motion and change. Back then, I didn’t grasp the full, deep significance of what happened. That revealed to me later in life, but still… my understanding started in that moment, in my early childhood. The moths and the butterflies are a well-known symbol of change, of resurrection, but to me, they are also a symbol of the fragility of existence. All it takes for a moth or for a butterfly not to be able to fly anymore is some rain drops on their wings. So little. The same drops of water that quench the thirst of a swallow, are a real threat for these little wonderful beings. And just like in their case, the entire world is threaten by something while moving and transforming constantly: sometimes by water, sometimes by fire, sometimes by earthquakes, or meteorites, sometimes by simple words. One day, while googling all kind of nonsense on the subject of transformation, I stumble upon a quote that remained with me:
“We are all just a car crash, a diagnosis, an unexpected phone call, a newfound love, or a broken heart away from becoming a completely different person. How beautifully fragile are we that so many things can take but a moment to alter who we are for forever?” – Samuel Decker Thompson
Of course, my next step was to follow this “adudewritingpoetry” (as he calls himself) on instagram. You should, too. He has some beautiful things to say.
And, while being so impressed with these beautiful, fragile butterflies, I have realized that their lives, their delicate beauty, their fragility is not by anything different than the fragility of the Universe and its constant moving and transformation. And of course, from this inner realization, my new painting was born: The Butterfly Galaxy. Because… what’s in a butterfly, what’s in a planet or a star? Same thing. Same changes. Same fragility. Same wonder. Different levels but, in the end, it is the same thing.
Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to read the inner process that led me to this painting. 🙂
PS: if you feel that your walls need a Butterfly Galaxy print, you can order it here: Society6, or, if in Europe, here is a wonderful store: Artflakes.
There are only few animals species whose lives aren’t affected by humans, if any. The bears aren’t one of them. If they are not hunted for trophies, they are hunted for their gall bladders or, even worse, they are raised encaged in bile bear farms. In those “prisons”, their bile is extracted out of them through tubes during their entire life. Sadly, this is the only life some bears (especially the moon bears) know, although they still have some vague memories of their far away childhood. Those faded flashbacks of the past belong to a happy time, the time before their mothers were killed and they were caught, imprisoned and raised in the tiny cages that soon became their homes. There, the only kind of affection they got was the one when they rubbed themselves against the cage’s bars… if they had the strength to do that.
If bile bear farming sounds horrible to me, shooting bears for trophy doesn’t appeal to me, either. Searching on the internet, I came across this definition: “Trophy hunting is the shooting of carefully selected animals – frequently big game such as rhinos, elephants, lions, pumas and bears – under official government licence, for pleasure. The trophy is the animal (or its head, skin or any other body part) that the hunter keeps as a souvenir.“ It represents the success of the hunt and it is usually exposed in special designed “trophy rooms” together with the weaponry.
Two words have imprinted on my cerebral cortex just near the “trophy” word: “pleasure” and “souvenir”. I wonder how can a hunter ignore the fact that his “souvenir”, his proud and joy, is someone’s mother that he killed only to put her head on a wall and show off to his friends?
But, at least, the bears have escaped the canned hunting. This kind is reserved only for lions and other exoticanimals, but, nonetheless, another, even more cruel and brutal practice directed against wild life. Humans must be really bored. I am, too, sometimes, but I have my three dogs’ tummies to stroke especially reserved for my boredom moments. Most likely, those hunters don’t have such “antidotes”, so I can understand their need to fill their days with something. And what is to do if they were raised in a specific manner and they don’t know any better? Usually, something powerful needs to happen in order for them (or any other people) to change their worldview, but, many times, not even a huge meteorite hitting Earth is powerful enough! I should make their acquaintances with my dogs… Who knows? Those three little musketeers move mountains with their cuteness, so there’s a chance to move one’s opinion on kindness.
This painting was born from the above related knowledge of the cruelty against bears and from the need to find a way to protect them. For the moment, I don’t know how they can be helped, I feel powerless in this regard. Until the humanity will make a conscience shift, if ever, this kind of practices will still exist. And I, as heartbroken as I am knowing this awful truth, I must accept cruelty as a innate part of our souls, a trait of our species and continue to live as beautifully as I can and do what is in my power. Today, a painting. May this raise some awareness to somebody, bring joy to others and, maybe, just maybe, the love and the good, caring thoughts I have put in it could somehow, bring some relief to the bears in need.
Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read these lines!