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Polydactyl Press

Commit Acts of Great Heart Every Day

It can be tricky to remain positive while staying aware of things like global warming, spreading warfare, nuclear threats, loss of civil liberties, the apparent breakdown of civil society, police shootings of citizens, and the spectre of a Home Depot on the Eureka waterfront. Yet every day presents evidence that we are surrounded by beauty and grace, compassion and kindness, responsibility and diligence. People struggle to make ends meet, or just to get through the day, but we also take care of one another, make art, tell jokes, play music. The awful pit of depression can swallow me up and then I will be amazed at how lucky I am to live, to drink good local wine and eat lettuce from my garden.

These paradoxical perceptions show up in some of my work, such as the painting “Storm Shelter.” This has to do with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the criminal ineptitude of the government’s response, as well as the vibrancy of the communities that were affected, and the neighborly sharing of homes and food that followed the disaster. While I was painting “Record Heat and Cooling Stations,” people were sweltering in 115 degree heat not very far away from us. Public cooling stations may become a common feature of our society if we aren’t able to come together as global community and reverse the terrifying processes that we have set in motion. What depths of courage and ingenuity will be mined in the coming years as we work to solve this problem together?

Sometimes, just getting up in the morning and facing another day can qualify as an act of great heart. Other days, it can be something more momentous. We all do the best we can. I hope that we can all trust each other to shoulder our responsibilities: speak the truth, speak truth to power; deny the option of violence; practice loving kindness every day; choose to do ordinary things, like voting, paying taxes, driving courteously, considering future generations with every act. If we all commit these acts of great heart every day, then we will surely be able to tackle the big problems together.

November 11, 2006
copyright Diane Elizabeth Caudillo 2007