I'm acutely aware of what is going on with other people around me - their energy, feelings, frustrations, etc. I am an INFP (in Jungian/Meyer's-Briggs terms) and a highly sensitive person. When I was younger I used to see "fuzzies" around people and would literally feel what they felt. Ensconsed in my mind is one Thanksgiving family get-together, when I was about 8 years old. I walked downstairs from my bedroom and into the dining room, where my parents, 2 brothers, aunt, uncle, grandparents were sitting down waiting to eat. I was hammered with a flood of emotions. I was in tune with myself enough to know that all these emotions did not stem from me. It felt like I was channeled into everybody's emotions, all at once. I remember also being aware of the fuzzies or aura surrounding everybody that day. I thought to myself, I can't handle this. I don't know where I end and where others begin, which are my emotions, and which are theirs. I shut my aura-seeing, directly empathic skill off that day. I knew that I needed to define my own boundaries more, first, before I could handle others. I am ok with being there & am fascinated by human nature & have always striven to further understand people & society. But I get bummed out by what is going on, by the drain of cities, by concrete jungles, by endless billboards, run-down buildings, by grey despair. Part of me wants to transform it & beautify it all, help bring out the magic, part of me just wants to run off into another world & escape it. I think most don't want to transform it - because it is the world they know, it is the world they want to hold on to, even if it is a prison for them. Lately I am beginning to see beauty in all, even in the suffering, the concrete, the strife.

I would give up painting and writing if I could possibly change the suffering in the world. I've tried activism several times. I am most moved by the fate of the planet, animals, women's issues & balancing masculine & feminine values (this does not mean men and women, I know some men who are more feminine in nature than some women, and vice versa). I really devoted myself to animal & environmental activism at one time, but I could never figure out how to get at the root of the problem rather than the symptoms, and I became severely stressed out about all the problems in the world. I sampled various activities, like political lobbying and wildlife rehabilitation, but those activities weren't a good fit for the way I worked and thought naturally. I really don't care for the self-aggrandizement or the glory of being an artist. I do it because I love it and I compulsively need to. I don't feel good if I am not creating something - life feels meaningless & empty. I would really like to earn a living from it full-time at some point, so that I can be freed from doing day jobs that I find meaningless and devote more time to altruistic pursuits. I am currently trying to free up some time so that I can help out at an animal shelter. In the long run, I would like to create a collective, non-profit ad agency that is focused on "advertising the earth" - I even have a name for it: Gaia Media, but again, I am trying to free up some time and secure my "career." I think consciousness-changing is the crux of the solution to our myriad of symptoms of Western society. I believe in such movements as Buy Nothing Day - I have long felt that a powerful economy was not always a good thing, because our human nature tends towards acquisition and greed - even if we surround ourselves with junk. Jay Leno once said, doesn't the person with the most things at the end of their life, win? With other people, and even myself sometimes, I watch how someone will be so happy for maybe a day when they acquire something new...how they will wait with anticipation until their new toys come in the mail...How unhappy they are when something breaks....And how much stuff accumulates....I believe the Buddha was right about our attachment to desire, and how we have to free ourselves from it in order to reach heaven (although I feel we can create a heaven here on earth - I think all the current religions that want us to break away from the Earth to some netherworld is a later, patriarchal force. I think the old Goddess religions were all about honoring & maintaining a heaven on earth.)

< | >