Beyond Brushstrokes

“I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires.” — Khalil Gibran, poet and philosopher

We have entered a new year of beginnings. It is somehow a continuation of the past year but there is a difference. We are more aware that what is gone will not return. Our loved ones have moved to another spiritual dimension. We can only keep the memories alive. The life that we once knew is forever changed.

The liminality and virtual threshold are risky and full of uncertainty. After 11 months, we learn that surviving the crisis really depends on our own attitude and ability to accept, adjust, and follow certain strict rules and protocols.

Do we hold our breath and wait for a divine sign? Do we take a leap of faith? Do we jump into the void? Will this lingering pandemic claim more of our loved ones? There has been much collective suffering and grief. Sadness prevails.

We are all struggling to survive the multiple disasters on different levels. Will this chaotic whirlpool ever slow down? It seems that there is not enough time in this lifetime to do all the things one wants or needs to do. A cynic said, “It was never the right time.” When is the right time? Does fate or kismet determine all events? Are we not masters of our own fate? Only to a certain extent. It becomes clear.

Procrastination is passivity. It postpones and it justifies delays. In many ways, one postpones living life.

“There will be lots of time.” Or so we used to think. This idea has been shattered by successive devastating personal losses in some families within months. The optimist sees the hourglass as half full with sand seeping through ever so slowly. The pessimist sees the glass as half empty with sand rapidly trickling down.

When one is hopeful, one waits for the rainbow, the promise. The optimist looks for the silver lining, the radiance of the sun after a downpour. Where have all the years gone?

So many events have happened in a spectrum from white (the presence of all colors) to black (the absence of color).

It has been one long, dizzy roller coaster of sudden sharp curves, exhilarating climbs and thrilling dips and swirling colors.

Mostly, there were long, low plunges into dark gray and nuances of black. And yet, there were some moments when streaks of blue and silver lit up the dark ridges and crazy curves.

There is beauty even in darkness. The specks of light illumine even the blackest night.

There have been beautiful dawns and inspiring sunrises, spectacular sunsets with glowing rays of gold, copper and bronze. The moonrise, luminous against the velvet sky was a lantern guiding the way. The alignment of two planets that seemingly merged and appeared as a brilliant star — to guide one’s journey.

In distant places of the temperate zone, heavy fog would dissipate into fine mist that was so cool and refreshing. Dewdrops hung like crystals on the leaves of trees. A mountain lake would shine like a polished silver mirror reflecting the moods of the heavens.

Fragrant magnolia flowers would bloom overnight on the trees in gardens and street corners. Little wild flowers would sprout amidst the pines and evergreens in the mountains and fields. Even in winter, tiny buds would defy the frost and break through. Lavender and poppies, sunflowers, tulips marked the passing seasons.

Nature mesmerizes and invigorates the wandering pilgrim, the lonely nomad or the hermit in a shelter. Woven together, the threads of life have become a unique tapestry of textures, colors, flavors and scents. Viewed from a distance, with the passage of time, one can discern a faint white light that emanates from above. There have been a few miracles when the hopeless have started to show glimmers of grace and healing. These signs have made the months and years of prayers and sacrifices worth it. We stand at the brink of the future — on a dizzying precipice. The chasm below is dark and unfathomable. Above, the blue sky has drifting clouds. The sun is peeking tentatively. The moon is waning.

One looks back to grasp a new reality.

The simple and basic things really matter.

Love life, one day at a time.

How does one survive these painful, challenging times?

By flowing with the tide. By allowing nature to take its course.

By accepting that things always happen for a reason. We may not understand what is happening. We should learn trust, acceptance and have hope.

By letting go.

By facing and resolving difficult issues.

By forgiveness.

Healing follows. The mystery of the Divine plan unfolds.

One draws courage from deep within the soul — to stride into the future.

MARIA VICTORIA RUFINO is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.