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11/14/16Processing through art

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It was a strange weekend. Grabbing coffee at our local bakery between every bite of muffin, I heard soundbites from people sitting next to me: “The Canadian Immigration website crashed…” “We’re going to the protest tomorrow”,  “kids at my daughters’ school had an assembly to reassure children of immigrant parents that everything would be OK.”

It was very much a weekend of processing and digesting. The way I process and digest is usually through art. I don’t really set out to ‘process through art’ but I make art when I’m pensive, and often what comes out on the other side is an expression of my immediate thoughts and feelings. It’s most certainly therapeutic for me.

If I am to read my illustration, I am feeling vulnerable. I am feeling melancholy. I feel a both isolated and insulated here in California. I am also feeling close with my family and my community.  The light is on though. There is hope.

How are you processing and digesting all of this?

 

 

Justina Blakeney Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

19 responses to “Processing through art”

  1. segolene says:

    Thanks for asking!
    Like many of my friends I’ve been indulging, just a bit, in bad habits. Had more sugar in the past four days than I have in a month. It’s not much, just more than I’m used to having.
    I also slept almost all day on Saturday, and today I’m still super-tired.
    One good thing has come out of all of this: it has shown me that I really need to focus on using my gifts and talents to the best of my abilities. Removed myself from some things this week that were good but the enemy of the best.
    also I’ve decided to step away from social media for awhile unless it’s just the fun stuff. My FB friends mean well, but it’s all too much for me.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I went to Big Sur and slept under redwoods. I renewed my vow to help protect and save our planet for future generations, including my unborn child.

    I love your illustration.

  3. Libbynan says:

    My TV has been off since Wednesday morning. I haven’t talked to anyone but family and close friends. I’ve spent hours writing and doodling in my journal trying to make sense of the world I find myself in. My husband has brought white roses and chocolate-filled croissants to help me feel better….how sweet is that? So many people in my area are celebrating that I just can’t deal. At least in your area there are protests and talk of secession. I just feel so isolated. And my friends in the black, Hispanic, and LGBT communities are so frightened and I can’t really blame them. I’m trying to stay calm and confident, but it’s hard.

    • Tina says:

      Hi. I am Canadian and I hold you gently in my thoughts with protection and love! Please don’t give up there will be a better tomorrow but be wise and aware quietly and you will gain from it! I have American friends who feel the same my dear, you are not alone! Love to you and your wonderful spirit ! Don’t let anyone take your sunshine!
      Stay the course honey,
      Tina

  4. b.evy-marie says:

    roller coaster symptoms that i have experienced over the last couple of days : chills (when reading or seeing the news), fatigue, weak, feverish, nauseous….
    you’d think one was coming down with the flu (which may be the case since stress weakens the immune system)
    going to the farmer’s market and watching the peaceful protest in my community all at once made me proud to live in LA, scared of what could and may happen, sad, concerned, angry that it’s come to this … disappointed that we let it get this far…and hopeful that more people will act locally and be involved in making positive changes in our community

    thank you thank you thank you for being you and sharing your art your words and your feelings
    x0

  5. tammyCA says:

    It’s been so hard for me..I suffer from general anxiety/panic attacks (I empathize deeply & feel others pain, fear)..election night felt like a death..I know too much about history..I’m praying this is a wake up call for positive change & growth..for those blinded to see our freedoms were fought for and will always need to be fought for..love, peace, understanding, all stronger than anything negative in the world.

  6. Alexis says:

    Beautiful, evocative illustration. Thank you for sharing. This is such a difficult time and I feel so much for people who are not surrounded by people who can share and empathize with their grief.
    It is hard to see so much emboldened hate. I hope everyone, especially those who supported him, but not his rhetoric will help in the big project we now have to deter expressions of hatred of all kinds. As Angela Merkel said, “We cannot remake the past….but we can assume responsibility. We can assume responsibility by showing that it concerns us all when some of us are humiliated and excluded. We can show that we view a threat to the freedom and human dignity of any of us as a threat to the freedom and human dignity of us all.”

  7. This is so beautiful Justina. Thinking of you xo

  8. Gigi says:

    I’ve just been on autopilot. I wish I could say something prolific but the only way I could make it through and still be productive is autopilot. I’ve been trying not to hear those conversations you mentioned but I’ve caught tidbits too and I try to pretend that the world isn’t as bleak as it sounds and looks. I guess I’ll fake it til I make it for my kids’ sake. I want none of this to touch them.

  9. Sel says:

    I am not sure what to say. I have an Aunt and cousins that call America home. I hope and pray for them and for everyone that somehow differences can be put aside and people will come together to resolve issues. I worry for my country, Australia. We are headed on a similar trajectory to your country. Manufacturing companies are closing, people are losing jobs, people feel fear and despair. Your outcome has prompted me to look at myself. I am guilty of not being involved in my community’s issues. I don’t believe I even fully understand or know what they are. I am changing that about myself and getting involved.

  10. Libbynan says:

    Still thinking about this…. I feel guilty. It was people like me who elected him….older,white people. I don’t understand it….it’s like they know nothing of history…like they never heard of Hitler. I don’t want to go out in public without a sign around my neck that says,”I didn’t vote for him!” I just feel that others will look at me and think that I’m one of “them.” I’m a military brat….I never thought I’d be ashamed to be an American.

  11. Bbe says:

    I have been making lists, going to sleep early, keeping Facebook turned off, reading beautiful blogs like this, working hard, and planning a potluck next month. The hate and fascist posturing and misogyny are deeply horrifying.

  12. Sarah says:

    concerned from afar in Aust but LOVE the drawing- very beautiful x

  13. Mutaleni says:

    Thanks for sharing this deeply moving illustration. You are not alone.

  14. Rusty says:

    I felt numb. I still feel numb…and scared…and I live in Australia! I started reading to find a way to turn darkness into hope. Ghandi called it “TRUTH FORCE”. We can each,, in our own way, make a difference. Light a candle in the dark and shine some truth out into the darkness. Rusty x

    After Donald Trump’s stunning upset, Lion’s Roar reached out to a number of Buddhist teachers for their responses. Pema Chödrön, Norman Fischer, Roshi Joan Halifax, Ethan Nichtern, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Noah Levine, and more provide commentary and words of comfort. We’ll be updating with more reactions as they come in.

    Pema Chödrön

    During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, this is a chance to stay with the groundlessness. I’ve been meditating and getting in touch with a deep and profound sadness. It’s hard to stay with that much vulnerability but that’s what I’m doing. Groundlessness and tenderness and sadness have so much to teach us. I’m feeling that it’s a time to contact our hearts and to reach out and help in anyway we can.

    Norman Fischer, Everyday Zen Foundation

    I usually don’t completely believe what I think, so when Trump won the election I was, like everyone else, surprised, but not that surprised. Bodhisattvas are committed to their practice, which means to sit, to get up, and to sweep the garden — the whole world, close in and far away — every day, no matter what. They have always done this, they always will. Good times, bad times, they keep on going just the same. Bodhisattvas play the long game. They have confidence in the power of goodness over time. And they know that dark times bring out the heroic in us.

    For those older among us who hold liberal and progressive political views, lets not forget we survived Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. It wasn’t pleasant but we survived. We will survive Trump. This is not to say that the policies of those presidents weren’t bad, and that they did not make any lasting impact. They were and they did.Still, we survived. We will survive Trump. As of today, we don’t really know what will happen under Trump because nothing he has said so far means much. He seems not to have much commitment to his own words.

    “It’s OK to freak out, grieve, and vent for a while. Then we can get back to work, as always, for the good.

    We have been fortunate to have had eight years with a decent, intelligent, thoughtful and caring human being in the White House. This is more we would have expected. Lets not forget that the same people who elected Obama elected Trump.

    It’s OK to freak out, grieve, and vent for a while. Holds each others’ hands. Then we can get back to work, as always, for the good.

    Think of what the Dalai Lama has gone through in his lifetime. He maintains daily practice, he maintains kindness for everyone, though he has lost his country and his culture at the hands of a brutal regime. Yet he doesn’t hate the Chinese and finds redeeming features in them. He maintains his sense of humor. He has turned his tragedy into a teaching for the world.

    Lets do the same.

    Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Village Zendo

    We are all reeling from the election news. For most of us, it is unexpected and frightening. Naturally, we ask ourselves what teaching can support us and empower us at this time. I think of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion who “hears the sounds of the world.”

    “Perhaps we have not been listening to the cries of the world with ears of wisdom and determination.

    And I realize how vital it is for all of us to listen to all the sounds of this unhappy nation. What suffering has led to the anger and hatred that has arisen? And, why are so many of us surprised at this outpouring? Perhaps we have not been listening to the cries of the world with ears of wisdom and determination.

    This we must do, listen carefully, and while listening, we must move with determination to organize, to mobilize, and to find new ways to create change in civil rights, climate change, media ethics, and to inform and enlighten all the people, so that we can in fact relieve suffering and care for this planet, these peoples, all of us.

    Noah Levine, Against the Stream

    Here in the United States of Samsara ignorance is the status quo. The Buddha’s teachings guide us to go “against the stream” to develop wisdom and compassion through our own direct actions. As the path encourages, “Even amongst those who hate, we live with love in our hearts. Even amongst those who are blinded by greed and confusion, we practice generosity, kindness and clear seeing.”
    Meditate and Destroy!

    Ethan Nichtern, Shambhala Meditation Center of New York

    When I was a child in New York City, I used to imagine that I lived in an island off the coast of America which was neither part of the continent nor the country. In the middle of the night last night, that childhood fantasy came back to me, but it was only wishful thinking. In fact, the source of all this disruption hails from the same city, which is a great reminder that we are all connected. I am a citizen of the mainland United States and I remain a very proud and patriotic one.

    Right now my mindfulness practice is dedicated to my many friends who are expressing such unbearable hurt and fear at the hatred and abuse which this current version of America has directed at them. My many friends who are women, People of Color, members of the LGBT community, immigrants, and non-Christians are all rightfully expressing their fear and traumas right now, and I want to especially be there for them.

    Soon, perhaps, I will try to make contact with those I know who voted for this outcome and do my best to listen to their fears and desires as well. I have no idea how that will go but I will do my best.

    “It is OK to grieve the fact that we have taken a massive emotional and spiritual step backwards.

    I also feel at least some optimism that this outcome sharpens and clarifies where humanity stands in the 21st-century. All of us must come together with empathy and connection if we are going to survive this era.

    Tomorrow I will try to follow the lead of those whose vision I trust to see how I can help move our world forward with compassion. But today, it is OK to grieve the fact that we have taken a massive emotional and spiritual step backwards. Please remember, the point of meditation is not to suppress your feelings. It is to make friends with yourself. On days like this, meditation is simply a way to remember a glimmer of your own basic goodness. Please remember it is OK to feel exactly what you feel.

    In loving kindness and solidarity with the human race, Ethan

    Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center

    Today, after the 2016 elections in the U.S., we are living out the example of what happens when what goes unacknowledged surfaces and it feels like a new reality but you know in your heart it is not. To suffer based on expectations is to live haunted and hunted. But we are fortunate. There could be no other answer to our meditation and prayers in dissolving hatred than to be placed front and center with it and be exposed. When a shift in a system has occurred, especially one that causes fear and discomfort, it allows for something strikingly different to appear, furthering our evolution as people. We can only know where we are going when we get there.

    “Now is the time we have been practicing for.

    Many of us have been practicing Buddha’s teachings or walking a spiritual journey forever and preparing for every moment of our existence. We are ready and have been waiting for this time. Our rage, pain, and anger are to be exposed if only for us to transform and mature with it. In Buddhist practice we say congratulations because now is the time we have been practicing for. No more just practicing the dance. We must now dance. And this is not a dress rehearsal.

    Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

    Standing at the edge of this election, it’s clear we have our work cut out for us. It is the work of love and wisdom in the face of the terrible suffering of war, environmental issues, racism, gender violence, and economic injustice. We have to work together to shift the tide toward what will benefit our children, the natural world, the future. Part of this means that we have to change the mind, move out of harsh negativity, eroding futility and fear, and build toward the good and the wise. We also have to work to shift the mood of the country and of the world through compassionate education, deep practice, and service to others.

    “Let’s reach through differences, listen deeply, and “give no fear.”

    So please, stop and look deeply, and let’s work together in not building a contentious future, but a generative one. And let’s not pretend we know, but be open and learn; let’s bear witness to what is happening in our country, in our world, and take wise, compassionate, and courageous responsibility. Let’s reach through differences, listen deeply, and “give no fear.”

    Here are the four great vows of the Bodhisattvas in community:

    Creations are numberless, we vow to free them.

    Delusions are inexhaustible, we vow to transform them.

    Reality is Boundless, we vow to perceive it.

    The awakened way is unsurpassable, we vow to embody it.

    …. do not squander life!

  15. george says:

    Love your illustration JB. It is so sweet. It is always a time of uncertainty if we focus on the news. one might even think it is a ploy to cover up some other horrid event masked from the public eye. The worlds is always a changing place. We have our part and so we must continue to create positive environment for all those around us. The news is confusing and I confess I have turned it off- my coping mechanism. We should all place focus on family and community, and keep going with good intentions and fabulous inspiration….inspiration is to inspire is a powerful tool

  16. annton says:

    I can so relate to your illustration. So much. And it is what I am doing over here too, processing through and gaining that feeling of power back. Sending tons of love. Annton

  17. Jen Steger says:

    Dear Justina, I’m not doing very well. Trump’s election was a burst to the liberal bubble I thought more of the country lived in. I’m really concerned for my Muslim, Latino, LGBTQ friends. I am really concerned that the Trump administration will turn back time on environmental progress. I’m also hurt and angry by how Hillary Clinton was treated during the whole process. I truly respect and admire all the work she has done. When has hard work and experience become a bad thing? So yeah, a lot of sleepless nights at the Jade Manor. (My darling husband, our cat Emerson, and myself live in a green house–we named it the Jade Manor.) Take care of you! Thanks for bringing art into my life. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”–Pablo Picasso

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