Beyond Brushstrokes

AT midlife, an individual shall have experienced the waxing and waning moons, thousands of sunrises and sunsets, thunderstorms and disasters and moments of happiness and serenity.
We all go through the struggles of adolescence, the triumphs of achievements, the adventure and exploration of travel, the joys of having a family and close relationships.
Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro wrote this poem:
“Is it morning,
really morning,
or is it just another day?
A new beginning
Or just a continuing
How I wish for morning:
a light soft
and bleaching a night’s pain.
A new beginning
A new day…”
By one’s 50s, there shall have been more than one crisis, some failures, a tragedy, and a painful loss. All these phases are essential in the individual’s continuing story. It is the pilgrim’s journey to wholeness, self- integration and a spiritual goal.
The world is undergoing overwhelming upheavals — natural calamities, war and violence, political and religious struggles that may lead to forms of transformation.
There is never enough time to do all the things on the list. It seems that the minutes and hours, days and months pass so rapidly. In the blink of an eye, a season is gone. One feels the pressure to keep up on a treadmill, chasing goals and dreams. Some people live in a glowing make-believe world of fantasy. Far removed from the routine, and drudgery of struggling to survive many others.
We have been fortunate to have been given opportunities to focus our energies on a common goal for the well-being of the family, community and country.
Instead of being self-righteous, sanctimonious and critical about other people and everything under the sun, we should become positive. We should drop the crab mentality and the negativity to see the brighter side of life.
We should transcend ourselves, forget the pettiness and fault-finding, and subsume the ego. Nobody is perfect.
For once, we should minimize the self-interest (power, money, and turf), erase envy and make sacrifices for others, for the common good.
Altruism, idealism, kindness and compassion are esoteric concepts that are difficult to integrate in our attitude and lifestyle. Yet these are the essential values that can make a big difference in our national life and the world.
The mind wields tremendous power over our loves and our environment.
We can make good things happen — if we believe enough and if we apply that faith to whatever we do.
During the sparse, quiet moments, these verses are good for reflection.
“I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
The days of my life, already lived, and held like a legend, and understood.
Then the knowing comes: I am open
To another life that’s wide and timeless.
So, I am sometimes like a tree
Rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream of the one its living roots
A dream once lost
among the sorrows and songs.”
— Rainier Maria Rilke
In the spirit of fun, here are some witty quotes from famous personalities.
Vittorio de Sica, Italian director: “Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral, 48% indignation and 50% envy.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist:
“Living well is the best revenge.”
Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist: When he was a child, his mother told him, “If you become a soldier, you will be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as Pope.”
The famous cubist-expressionist genius replied, “Instead, I became a painter and became a Picasso.”
Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.