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Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Do Unto Others, Karma, What Comes around..." Children and Discipline

     I don't have a problem with the idea of Corporal Punishment. In fact, I LIKE it..... as long as it's administered only to adults who hit children. Before anyone gets adamant about their right to discipline their children through inflicting pain to the body, remember it was not too long ago here in the United States that it was common "love" for women to be "disciplined" in this way. Here's a common advertisement from the 1950's, before women's rights took hold. http://feministing.com/2008/11/13/vintage_sexism_heinz_soup_or_a/
     Ridiculous to most of us now, yet this is exactly how I grew up. I had to be in charge of all household duties from the age of nine, and if dinner or breakfast wasn't perfect, it got thrown at me, and I was beaten. This was  "Normal" for the subculture of a home I lived in, and not too far divorced from the times. So you don't hit your kids "that" hard. How hard would you like to be hit if it were called for? Can you hear this? The question was not, "Would you like to be hit?" or "Would you prefer not to be hit?" It's, "How hard?" Does this sound ridiculous or even humorous? Let's keep going.
     Most of us have heard of the concept of "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you." Most of us would agree with it, I think.
     Most of us adults would probably agree that if someone was upset with us, we'd have the right not to be hit in any way, further that if anyone even tried there should be laws in place to protect us, and maybe even get the aggressor off the streets where they couldn't do that again.
     We don't always extend these ideas to children. I'm shocked at the number of people who proudly talk of hitting kids, spanking, slapping or whatever you want to call it. It is a different area of the body, so maybe if we were out in public and someone was upset with you, it would be ok if they hit you, as long as it was "out of love" and on the right part of your body.
     Let me understand if I can. It's ok if the person is smaller, weaker and of a certain age to spank/hit/slap (on the right body part/s) if you don't like what they are doing and if it's "out of love," right? And only if it's a child, or maybe it's still women or perhaps people of a different color?
    I can't seem to think that way. What I can do is think ahead.
   Most people don't think ahead, rather they go retro with spanking with statements like, "My mom/dad tore my backside up, and I turned out just fine!" (They are entitled to that opinion, ofcourse. I'm sure by how they talk, it was a lovely experience. I just can't seem to identify.) They use their past experience as a way to justify hitting/spanking/slapping (the right body part, ofcourse) children today. I can understand using one's experience.
   I can see the logic, somewhat, but what if we apply, "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you?" That's right. Let's go *future* with this! Whatever you do to your kid today, expect them to do to you eventually. You may have a point. I'm getting on your side. This may work. I'm willing to have an open mind. Let's look at it.
  You're presently bigger and stronger, and if you don't like what children do, you *discipline* them with some form of a hit on a specific body part/s. It has an effect of changing behaviors sometimes and hey, It didn't mess you up as a kid, right? It's your responsibility to teach your kids, and that's what you're doing...More power to you!
    You are teaching them exactly how to treat you.
     Let's go far into the future. It's been a good life. You're old, not as strong as you used to be. You may even be weak and you may have shrunk some. You did a good job. You're kids are now big and strong.
     Now about spanking.
      What's going to happen when you grown child doesn't like what you do?
      Appaulling? Yes. Criminal? Yes. Heartless? Yes. (Unless they do it "out of love?" After all, you did it to them, "and they turned out just fine.") Besides, there is a big difference between a child and an elderly person. One is smaller and weaker, and ....wait. Nevermind.
       Maybe it's not all that bad.  I do try to see both sides of every situation. You'd never really want to hurt a kid. You're not that kind of person, afterall.  Maybe you're not five times bigger and stronger than your child. Maybe you're just twice as big and twice as strong. In that case, when you're say 94, we'd only appoint someone two times your size and strength to have a go at your backside...."because they love you."
      "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."
        Have a good laugh if you will, and enjoy your Karma. We always get back what we give.
        There's good news though. If you want patience, understanding and compassion when you're old and small, you have the opportunity to start stocking that account now. Give patience, understanding, and compassion the next time your kid messes up, and you'll teach them to give you the same. If your kids are grown, it's still not too late. Begin now showing them understanding, compassion and acceptance, and this will return to you.
   So the next time you hear someone say, "It didn't hurt me," ask yourself, "WILL it hurt me?"...and if you can, remember the disciplines of positive reinforcement, the times someone liked what you did and said so, remember the smiles, and a pat on the back that just maybe, had something to do with the good person you are today.
To my children: I'll let you go daily, and wait open arms for your return. I'll celebrate every achievement of yours, and I'll remind you that I'm proud of you if you feel you fail. I'll smile at the sticky hands, hair spray and grass stains, or play pat-a-cake with you for as long as you want. I'll listen to your stories, without judgement, and encourage your dreams, because one day I'll be small again, and you'll treat me as I've treated you, with love that doesn't hit people.
  Again, many defend their right to hit children (again, spank, slap, backhand, switch, etc.), and many still defend their right to hit women and people of other colors. As for today, neither I nor my children or grandchildren are property. No one is being hit, and to the dismay of avid hitters, no one has been imprisoned for lack of beatings. (Again, your word for hitting of choice may replace "beating," "hitting" etc.)
Below is a link to the "Children's Bill of Rights."

http://www.newciv.org/ncn/cbor.html
   How do you want to teach them to treat you when you are old?
tina jones

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Video: Autism and Me: There is Hope

 This is a video of me talking about some of my experiences with Autsim and Aspergers. It is just over 15 minutes in length.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz_2TLR7bfI

Description:
My Personal Experience with Autism. I need to thank my son's father and step mother for the immense love and care they show both of my children, for giving my children a home when I could not, my daughter for seeing her brother as her brother, and my son for his strength, humor, love and unending patience with the rest of us. His first "word" was not "water" despite my efforts. It was a whole phrase, "Hot coffee," exactly what I said to him each time he reached for my cup. hehe. 
   There were scarey moments. There were sad ones. There were exhausted ones, and I would not have missed it for the world! I would have missed love. Neither my son, nor I are "cured." We have simply grown. I made lots of mistakes, and I grew. There is room for more growth for both of us, and there is much beauty to our lives! We received real assistance from Easter Seals, Social Services and the Department of Mental Health. All worked to get him into preschool early, provide respit care, and family teaching. I cannot give these organizations enough credit for making a tangible difference in all of our lives. I know many want to help, and don't know where to begin. Easter Seals accepts donations. Local to you small organizations like churches, YMCA's, arts organizations, Scouts and schools may benefit from your talents. As always all people can use more love, and ways to be useful. Consider hiring autistic people where possible. Look for and accentuate the abilities in all people with disabilities.
My Blog: tinajonesart.blogspot.com
Website: http://tinajonesart.com
Many other videos may be found at my youtube channel. A few others are about Autism. Most are about Art, and some are for pure fun.

tina jones

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Healing From Divorce

  A few weeks ago, I had the strangest experience. I suppose it's a marker for growth in many ways. A site I visit suggests friends, and an ex-family member showed up, I'm sure unaware to her. She looked beautiful and pleasant memories of her went through my mind. I was pleased. Her photos also contained some of my ex-husband. I discovered then that he had remarried....a year and nine months ago.
   Here is the strange part. I didn't see my exhusband. I saw someone I used to call, "friend." He looked content, and the lady with him glowed of happiness too. I found myself smiling at his happiness, and I said a prayer to wish them well. Now, here's the really strange part: I meant it.
   One knows these things will  happen, but it isn't possible to predict reactions. Somehow, it was good for me. I felt weights fall off of me. I never had to, but the notion that I had to keep thinking of him to somehow be there to take care of him fell off of me like so many scales. I believed all along that the Universe would look after him, but seeing this lady, made me trust it more. I'm glad she's there. I know he'd have been ok anyway, but I feel more at peace.
    Now, lest this sound too wierd, I've never been one to be able to muster jealousy. I never wanted to waste my time or the other person's. If they could be happier elsewhere, then I probably would too. Such is the case, infact. The relief is in while he never was *my* problem, my worry or mine to care for, I somehow let that notion go only seeing a few photos. Small miracle, to me.
   Ofcourse, I didn't friend the ex-family member. Best to walk in peace, no strings.
   It's been a journey this healing from divorce. It's been near three years now. I painted during the last months of the marriage of my own internal censorship falling away. I'd blamed him, but it was mine.

"Emancipation of Corpus Stradivarius"
24x36"
Oil on Canvas

   Directly following the separation, I painted headlong into the feelings. Embracing them helped me walk through them.

 " Disconnected"
11x14" 
Oil on Canvas

    It seemed fitting to close this chapter with another painting, so I took to my solace of canvas, and found freedom there. What came was more than the butterfly with delicate wings of those three years ago. The heart that bled was left behind. I felt myself opening, unafraid. I showed it to a friend, and interestingly to me, they thought the wings looked more like those of a locust. Fitting, I thought, how they come every seven years, appear to die off, and reemerge stronger and more whole. I don't know what's ahead. For now I'm letting the sun warm my wings, and forgive a little self admiration, but I've grown, and I think they are glorious.


  "The Unfurling"
11x14"
Acrylic on Canvas

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prayer of the Surrendered

This day, may I leave drive and determination fondly to the puberty where I practiced it. May I leave the self will and self propulsion of leaps of faith, and never forget what it was to surrender, deserving only the best, as all do, may I retain my taste for free falls of faith. "Anything" and "Thankyou" are my prayers. What a ride....when I'm not running the show. May I let go of making "it" happen, and live fully, passionately in the discovery of innocense.
tina jones

"Emma"
18x24"
Oil On Canvas


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

72 Questions I've Been Asked (Humor and Other)

I'm amazed by the questions I get asked.
Some interesting inquiries and comments have come up privately, and sometimes they come up publicly. Often these come up in everyday talk of art, so they may be useful to others.
   Some are about Art. Some are about Autism/Aspergers, and some are about at the end of my limits!  It seems more time conserving to write the answers here, rather than answer individually.

Quickly, this should cover most of them:
  1.   How big are they? Think of your mother, your aunt and your grandmother, put them all together along with any vision you may have, subtract the b.s., and you'll be there.
  2.   How long are your legs? They keep my butt from dragging the ground.
  3.   You have no ass! You have no hobbies, obviously. Look up any picture of "The Three Graces," and get over it.
  4.     How do you grow your fingernails? I don't gnaw them off. I also eat a good amount of protein, and can't stand snags. Those are filed as soon as possible. They don't get a chance to catch on anything and break. I'm sure genetics are involved as well.
  5.    How do you get away with charging $900. for an oil portrait? When you charge $100, people tell you what to paint. When you charge $900, they're just glad you're painting. I average about 3 commissoins a year for several years now.
  6.    Why aren't you married? I tried three times. It's not one of my talents.
  7.    Where were you educated/who taught you to paint?  I have no formal education, and I didn't take lay classes. I have a neurological disorder (Asperger's Syndrome) that cripples me when around many people, and it also sets me in the 98th percentile intellectually when it comes to memorizational skills. (Yes it was tested.) I was born memorizing faces. Practice for decades followed by reading some books rather than chewing the backs off of them, led me to understanding and learning things like how to mix mediums. I was not born knowing what turpentine was. I also asked a lot of questions of other artists. Some of them will even tell you the truth.
  8.    How do you memorize faces when people with Autism have face blindness/forget faces? Many times I know a face, but have no idea who they are. I forget people, but I rarely forget a wrinkle, a freckle or the hair growth pattern of their eyebrows. Names, unfortunately don't stick.
  9.    Why don't you know about html, nuclear physics, and why can't you memorize the phone book like Rain Man? I have no interest in phone books. I don't like to talk on the phone, and I've no interest in being anyone's side show act. Physics of any kind, however does interest me, though I know little about it.
  10.   What kind of shampoo do you use? I switch between different kinds and brands, but I do have a liking for green bottles. No idea why... I don't shampoo more than once every few days unless I've done sweaty work, and I don't use a lot of gooey products in my hair.
  11.    Do you work out? Do I look like someone who likes to sweat?!
  12.   I still don't get it? How in the world is someone born knowing how to draw or paint?! Think of it this way. Let's say you were born somehow knowing on some level about your sexuality. Small examples appeared as soon as you were able to express and demonstrate liking for certain toys or people. Later, you instinctively knew  you were supposed to do something with this inborn ability. Eventually, you figured it out, and with dedicated practice even at times obsession, you got good at it. Now, the rest of the world had to go to college for six years to figure out what goes where and why or to even begin to play with toys and like minded people, but you just had it in you from birth. By golly, You're a natural! That is how I know how to paint.
  13.   Sexuality? You're a sex maniac like all artists! Ok let me try again. Let's say your grandmother was born with a flair for food flavors. She didn't know the names, but she knew what tastes went well together. Through passion and desire, she tried an idea or two, and at the age of five made one hell of a good cake. It looked like a miracle to everyone around. Dedicated, even obsesively at times, she practiced and became an excellent cook. Now, I was not born knowing any of this. I only ate one flavor at a time. I can, however follow your grandmother's recipe and make a pretty good cake. She was born with it, I had to learn it. She knows cooking like I know painting.
  14.    Do you think measles vaccines cause Autism? I don't know. I never had them. Scarey, huh? grins I had both Rubella and Rubiola in the first three weeks of my life, before the vaccines were scheduled, so there was no need for them. Can they cause Autism? I don't know. Did they cause mine? Obviously not.
  15.    Why don't you know everything about painting if you were born with it? I've not needed or been exposed to everything. I'm only 46, and I'm still learning. When I need something, I learn it, just like you do. I just learn better on my own than from books or others. It's neurological.
  16.     If you're so smart, then why can't you fix my car? I don't know anything about cars.
  17.    What were your favorite subjects in high school: Math of any kind and Science. Both break down the small parts of things, and are tidy precise works. I like that, and the same applies to my way of doing art.
  18.     Why don't you eat sugar and grains? When I did, I got horrendously fat. When I quit, my appetite went down, and I lost the extra pounds.
  19.    But the FDA Food Pyramid says.....: They also approve drugs that get class action law suits for dammages roughly three years after each drug is approved. My body says, "Don't eat it."
  20.    What the hell is that hum in your voice?: It's stim. Many people with Autism have them. That hum is a vocal stim.  I also flick my fingers against the palm of my hand, hand flap if very excited, rock to and fro, and have a go at tongue chewing when it hits me. Try it. It may calm you down too.
  21.     Did you ever try to stop stimming? Yes, I was punished for it as a child. For example, I used to thump my head on the floor gently and rhymically to calm myself. I was told by the person who "helped" me with that, "I just took the back of your head and slammed your face into the floor like a basket ball." They are quite proud of their achievement, and laugh about it. I don't find it funny, I find it abusive. As a teen and young adult, I tried to hide the stims and tone them down, but I was never totally successful. Aging, life experience and resetting my priorities, helped me let go of what other's thought, relax and just be myself. If stimming bothers them, they have a problem, and I can't help them with that. It works better to be true to myself.
  22.     Can you cook? Only if I'm hungry, and even then it's not pretty.
  23.    Are all artist really sex fiends? You do paint naked people.: No, but many non artists have a very rich fantasy life that extends beyond the bounds of logic. It is exceeding difficult to do anything else while painting, let alone consider having sex. Paint is a lot of hard work, inborn or not. It takes focus, and at the very least the other person would be cheated of my attention. I'm not someone who can read a book during sex either, by the way. I tend to get involved. Also, reading takes a lot of focus. I'm very slow at it.
  24.    But you look at a naked person for hours and don't get turned on? I know your musculature and your bones. I also know the inner workings of your kidneys. That doesn't turn me on either.  What I'm basically looking at is your particular dispersion of fat. That will determine how light plays differently on you than the next nude.
  25.    I can't draw/paint, because I wasn't born with talent like you: More than anything, I was born with desire. If you have that, anything is possible. I also practice a lot. If you do that, you'll get better. Further, I've seen many from simple Bob Ross type painting through portraiture without them knowing how I "learned" it. Talent or in my case a neurological bend doesn't mean anything without hard work.
  26.    But I'll never paint like you! No, and I'll never paint like you. The world needs all of us, and all of our art. Don't short change it, by not doing your very important part. And don't shortchange me. I may learn something from you.
  27.    Would you marry me? :Would you like to be slapped? What have I done to you?
  28.     Do you ever donate paintings? Yes, I do two charity works a year, but that is my limit, and I'm backed up until next year. I choose who I do them for based on how helpful I think they'll be.
  29.     So you're a self taught artist: No, again. It's built in. Are you a self taught breather? You knew it, not intellectually, but instinctually. Later, you may have learned controlled breathing exercises, later I learned how to mix mediums, colors and what not.
  30.     Will you meet me at..? Not a chance in hell or earth.
  31.     Why don't you charge for telling people how to paint? I wasn't charged for it. I'm sure given time, you could do it on your own, and I get joy from helping and seeing others get it. You don't need me to learn, I'm just here to remind you of that. The online stuff is free. What I have charged for is when people want to meet me to paint. The lessons are free, me being around people costs.
  32.   You can paint anything! No. I have trouble with multi-layered flowers. It's more an annoyance than a disability, especially if the flowers are pink. The color irritates me.
  33.    Are you into bondage? If you cannot sit still and pose while I paint you without the use of ropes, then I simply will not paint you.
  34.    Why aren't you in all of the competitions?: How does competition add to my desire to help others learn how to paint? I get as much joy if not more from seeing them succeed. Competing against them is counterproductive to my desire. I'd rather challenge myself, my last painting, than worry about outdoing someone else. I find it a waste of time. That said, I do enter one competition a year just to see if I can outdo myself. So far, they've not let me in, so no one is in any danger. grins.
  35.   Why won't you meet me? It's not personal. I just don't like you.
  36.  But I don't have any money to paint: Use food coloring or coffee, and a shoe string on a piece of news paper. Show me your results, and together, we'll make it better.
  37.    How did you learn to paint skin?: That one was harder. I had the misfortune of having bruises regularly as a child, and I had access to some old makeup. The 70's had a lot of different colors. I used them on my own skin to try to cover marks. I found that yellow for instance will cover a purple bruise, green eye shadow would tone down a red mark, etc. I got pretty good at it. The same works on a canvas. If the subject is too yellow, add purple, too red, add green, etc.
  38.   Oh sorry: Stuff happens. I learned, moving on.
  39.    Aren't you angry about this? I was for years, but anger is exhausting. They did the best they could. It was a crappy job. To remain angry is to remain enslaved. I'm free, safe, I've let go, I wish them well, I can't help them, and I'm content. Blame is a useless endeavor, and a good way to keep from being responsible for one's own choices. I'm a big girl now. I choose happiness.
  40.    I think you're a Light Seeker, Angel, an Indigo Child,  my Soul Mate! Sucking up about meeting is not going to make it happen. I think you're nuts, and suggest getting help, but not from me.
  41.    But don't you want recognition?! For what?
  42.     For teaching people how to paint? I haven't taught them anything. I show some techniques. The rest is up to them. I just remind them that they can do it. They always could. Something about life makes people forget, I think.
  43.    Fine! If you're an artist who's not a sex maniac, then how many people have you slept with?! Fewer than I've had sex with.
  44.    So I've read people like you have no empathy, are you mean? No, infact I feel so deeply that it incapacitates me at times. Other times, the way I feel empathy and act on it, is very useful. Picture a fight between two very rough boys. One is getting hurt bad. Normal empathy is displayed in a group watching. Some empathize with the winner, yelling to cheer him on, and others empathize with eachother at the horror by holding onto eachother in fear and perhaps crying. I do not have these kinds of empathy. What I feel is for the person being hurt. I do not join the crowd. My empathetic action is to run straight in and stop the fight. This makes me the odd one out to the group, therefore they do not see my empathy, but it is of little matter, if I stopped the harm.
  45.   So, do you think normal people are stupid by the way they empathize? No, I think different ways of feeling and reaction are useful in different situations. I wouldn't be of much use at a group comiserating over the loss of a hair product, and that need in society is met by those who can empathize with it. I just put my hair in a bun, but many are debilitated by what others think. They need the empathy of those who can relate better than I. People like this are much better at creating bonds than I am, and it's an inherent to them matter of survival, so I'm not trivializing by mentioning hair products. It's just an example I've seen.
  46.    Don't you care what others think about you? Ofcourse I do, but not much. I care more what I think.
  47.    Why aren't you medicated for your symptoms of Autism like anxiety? Along with Autism, I am also a recovering alcoholic/drug addict. Medications act in a way that is unpredictable in all of these. Basically, if the insert says, "Rare side effects" you might as well put my name beside them. In some of us, they do more harm than good. In others, they are life savers.
  48.    Why won't you come enter our show? If I did that, I fear, and have been even warned, press might be involved, and I do not want to choke anyone on camera! I do not like crowds or spotlights. Best to let paintings enjoy lights. I do not find myself nearly as fascinating as your paintings. Further, I am not a press opportunity. I am a person.
  49.    Do you paint naked? Do you do your dishes naked? Wait, I don't want to know. Pigments in paint that are toxic like Cadmiums, Titanium and Cobalts among others can be absorbed through the skin. It's wise to cover oneself. Further, don't eat while painting.
  50.   Why do you do glazing? Your paint is not thick enough! Thick paint was invented by the Impressionists. I'm not that impressed with it. Oh it's fine and even beautiful, but it doesn't offer the glow of glazing that I want. It's just a personal preferrence.
  51.    What kind of music do you listen to when painting? I often paint in silence, but I do love Andrea Bocelli, and if I'm painting for sheer silliness, I'll listen to Pop music.
  52.    Why the loose black and white paintings when I've seen your realistic oil portraits? When I had cancer, I was very limited to how much time I could sit up. Setting up with two colors, a medium and a canvas was quicker than the range of oils I needed, and Acrylics meant I could get a lot done in the short time I had. I set a goal of fifty, aware that I might not live that long. I've surpassed the goal by several. I've lost count. Now, they are just fun for me.
  53.    So...the cancer. Are you ok now? Yes, thankyou. I'm cancer free.
  54.    Can you still have children? I'm a grandmother! Back off junior!
  55.     How do you make time for painting? How do you make time for hugging, dancing, yard work, cooking. My time is spent on what I love, just like yours is. 
  56.   Will you paint my deceased Grandmother? No. I no longer paint dead people. It's hard to get them to pose (humor). Seriously, I found that the emotional reactions of those I painted for were too overwhelming for me.
  57.    Do you paint from photos? Yes. I take as many as 20 photos, and choose what ones work best. Something will show in one that does not in another. I also often do sketching from life along with the photos. Photography can be blurred, enhanced or otherwise enough off that I need life to see what I'm doing. The photos are there for reference, not for copying.
  58.    Do you ever use a projector? I have, but it's been years. Personally, I love sketching. It's my first love, and I enjoy practicing it. Not everyone does. I don't see a thing wrong with projectors, grids or what have you. They can certainly expediate the process, but why get something over with that you enjoy? Also, there will come a time in each painting where initial lines are lost, and an artist's ability to draw will save that painting. So, no matter the initial method, I do encourage continued drawing practice.
  59.   Are you rich? No, coupon cutting is an art form, and thrift shops love me.
  60.    How do you dress as an artist? I just cover it up.
  61.    Why are you playing with that wad of clay? It's called a "kneaded eraser." It can be formed to erase either broadly or precisely. It feels good to play with. Get your own!
  62.   Do you stand or sit painting? It depends on how high the work is, and if I can reach it. Also, for me, standing aides in looser work, while sitting gets me more precision, and is easier on my back.
  63.   Who is your favorite artist? It changes daily. Any beginner that I see trying stands out as magnificent to me.
  64.   Why do you paint people? I've not found anything more beautiful or fascinating by spirit or visage.
  65.    Can you paint in black and white, color, in oils, acrylics, water color, guache, egg tempera, spit and dirt, lasagne, etc.? If it makes a mark, yes I can paint with it. (so can you)
  66.     Where do you get your patience for painting? Again, it's built in, like many people's love for chocolate. Do you need patience to eat a candy bar? Same thing. You're hardwired to love what you love. So am I.
  67.    How long does it take you to finish a painting? Until I'm done. Glazing in oils, anywhere from a few weeks to about 6 weeks. Looser acrylics, a day or two. The rest are somewhere in between.
  68.    If not marriage, are you interested in being a concubine? I'm perfectly capable of painting anyone with horns and a tail, naming it, "!#*##(#*$##!" and displaying it publicly.
  69.    Where do you get your strength to paint? I meditate.
  70.     How do you meditate? I paint.
  71.     Can I paint you naked? I have no idea. Let me see your portfolio.
  72.     Will you let me paint you naked? No.

  
  
tina jones

Thursday, October 6, 2011

R.I.P to Mr. Steve Jobs

 ‎"Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." Steve Jobs
 
 I'm baffled and quieted why some of us survive cancer, while others go. Laid in our laps, the survivors is to me the duty to enjoy life. Worry is no longer an option, nor resentment. Such privilege is best relegated to those who've not walked with death. Responsibilities like doing exactly what is meaningful to the individual, be it painting, playing, enjoying, lifting the spirits of another are no longer negotiable. Seriousness has, at last been abandoned for the duty of ingenuity, fear abandoned for the responsibility of unbridled joy, and insecurity abandoned for freedom to live in full expression of Life. It is short, our time, and at end, may I say, "I have lived fully, felt every emotion, helped where I could, played in example, and loved life with relentless, voracious passion!"