Beyond Brushstrokes


Controversies whirl about like wild hurricanes. We are bombarded incessantly with nerve wracking news (real and fake) on social media — the health crisis with the rising numbers, the lockdown levels, the lists of confusing pros and antis. We listen to and watch the chaotic blunders in the political scene. There are scandals and exposés.

Due to the bad economic situation, people have lost their jobs. Students cannot enroll because they do not have funds for tuition fees. Those who manage to study online have difficulties adjusting.

There are natural disasters — earthquakes, typhoons, eruptions, floods, and environmental pollution.

People are anxious, depressed, desperate, paranoid, grieving. There are so many serious cases of mental and psychological disorders across the generations and suicides among the youth. The constant threat of child abuse is real.

We are caught in a nightmare of a perfect storm.

In the confusing, stressful frenzy, one is pulled apart by opposing forces. Amidst the spinning and the churning, one could become catatonic — a zombie walking through a surreal dark tunnel, searching for the light.

One needs quiet time — to calm the restless spirit — to discern, to pray and make big changes.

Sir Winston Churchill once wrote, “Change is the master key. A man can wear out a particular part of his mind by continually using it and tiring it… It is enough to merely to switch off the lights which play upon the main and ordinary field of interest; a new field of interest must be illuminated. It is no use to tell the mental muscles ‘I will lie down and think of nothing.’ The mind keeps busy just the same.”

An American psychologist warned, “Worry is a spasm of emotion; the mind catches hold of something and will not let it go.”

Human beings are classified into three groups. Those who are toiled to death, those who are worried to death, and those who are bored to death. Rational and useful people belong to two classes: “Those whose work is work and pleasure is pleasure… and those whose work and pleasure are one.”

Every human being needs an outlet — physical and spiritual — to express himself. Combining diverse activities — sports, hobbies, and cultural activities can effect a restorative change in rhythm. The shift in focus and effort provides an interesting depth and contrasting texture in one’s life.

Because of all the restrictions, we have very few options in isolation. A positive attitude plus the basics for healthy living — sunlight, exercise, meditation, a good diet, vitamins, and sleep. The virtual and/or physical connection with family and caring friends.

We should revitalize and nurture ourselves by turning off the noise. Switch from rational left brain and turn on the imaginative right brain. Expand the mind and enhance the spiritual aspect of one’s life. We need to wander away for a while… to forget worrying.

Here are some inspiring thoughts on life. May they provide insights to touch the heart and uplift the spirit.

“Our lives are like a candle in the wind.” — Carl Sandburg

“Where there is love, there is life.” — Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” — Marie Curie

“The great art of life is sensation. To feel that we exist, even in pain.” — Lord Byron

“To love is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. That is all.” — Oscar Wilde

“The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is dull without it.” — Pearl S. Buck

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create that fact.” — Henry James

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” — Marcus Aurelius

“The great goal of life is living in agreement with nature.” — Zeno

“You make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

“Live your life and forget your age.” — Norman Vincent Peal

“A useless life is an early death.” — Goethe

“In three words I have summed up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” — Robert Frost


Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.