Beyond Brushstrokes

The recent relentless storm was devastating in its overwhelming size and terrible fury. The disaster damage was so vast that it’s difficult to quantify the losses — the lives, livestock, farms and orchards, and families affected.
It was Nature’s karma. For the past 50 years, the mountains and hillsides had been stripped of thousands of pine trees and forest cover. There were no more roots to hold the soil and protect the precious earth. Thus, the widespread landslide disaster. Who are responsible? What can be done?
Despite all the pain and suffering, the resilient survivors will pick up the shattered pieces and carry on rebuilding and restore their lives. Humanitarian and logistical help from experts, both local and foreign donations, are happening. And the bayanihan spirit prevails.
In the aftermath, rebuilding begins. We pray for the safety and thank all those who are contributing to the efforts to feed, save and rehabilitate.
Now the heat and humidity are enervating. Lethargy grips the body. A few drizzles bring brief relief but cause steam to rise from the pavement that turns into a heavy blanket.
On another level, we experience tremendous anxiety. In this season of discontent and pressure, we need a sense of order, security and stability.
We seek to regain a state of equanimity. Ideally, there should be a delicate balance — among the material, the spiritual and the emotional states.
Perhaps in the past decades, there has been too much emphasis on quantity rather than quality; on form rather than substance; on the self rather than others.
When we feel that we have so much to lose, we feel insecure. We have become too attached to worldly possessions to the point that these material, transitory things “possess” us. Soon they accumulate and weigh us down as excess baggage.
One’s burdens will ease when one becomes detached; learns to expect less. When one releases the negatives, the earth-bound spirit within us will soar and the imagination will be free.
To attain inner calm despite the storm, one should slow down and stop the frenzy.
Get off the wildly spinning carousel. Pause for a few moments of reflection.
We should count our blessings and think positive.
In quiet solitude, it is indeed possible to be Zen-like — “to listen to the rocks grow.”
Here are precious random gems, a few thoughts for the spirit:
“In youth, we learn; in age, we understand.” Marie Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) Austrian writer
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American stateswoman
“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin. — Grace Hansen.
“Integrity is so perishable in the summer months of success.” — Vanessa Redgrave, British actress
“They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.” — Dorothy Parker
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” _ Margaret Mitchell
“The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything…or nothing.” — Lady Astor
The moon develops the imagination. As chemicals develop photographic images.”- Norma Jean Harris (Sheila Ballantyne)
“Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.” Amelia Earhart (1898-1937) American aviator
“Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is cash in hand; spend it wisely.” — Anonymous
“It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living.” — Simone de Beauvoir
“Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is in spending oneself that one becomes rich.” — Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) French actress”
“A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.” — Mildred Witte Stouven
“When I am hassled about something, I always stop and ask myself what difference it will make in the evolution of species in the next ten million years. That question always helps me to get back my perspective.” — Anne Wilson Scheaf
Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.