Art Saves Lives, and _____________, Too
"The Women's Age" is Upon Us
You fill in the blank. I'll suggest one. How about "Monsters?" Sure, art can save anyone— monsters, too.
Yesterday, women's marches took place all over the world—including in White River Junction, Vermont, right here in our Upper Valley NH & VT region. Millions of people in cities all over got out and made their stand together, made their votes heard, and extended to one another the one thing so many of us need to survive—hope. It was this showing of community, togetherness, love, and strength in solidarity that makes me remember the days of Stalin and how the only bloodless revolution on record to wrest a nation away from the dark clutches of communism and bring it into the new, shining light of democracy was fought.
Havel wrote, “A spectre is haunting eastern Europe: the spectre of what in the West is called dissent.”
The Velvet Revolution was waged in then-Czechoslovakia by writers and artists. Their samizdat (clandestine publishing of outlawed literature) publications of literature, poetry, and art were the driving force that brought communism to its knees. The ruling party simply couldn't tolerate the strength of an entire country pulling together as one around its writers and artists who risked loss of all freedoms with jail time to help their nation overcome overwhelming rule. Vaclav Havel, the man who eventually became the first president of the newly-minted Czech Republic, started out as a poet in his youth. He moved to theatre, and then began writing scripts for plays that were performed around the country, and eventually around the world.
What took place yesterday, on January 21, 2017, helped me recall a few precious gems Havel wrote during his lifetime. For example:
"Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good."
"When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete."
along with a portion of poem he wrote back in 1954 at the tender age of 18 that prodded his countrymen who would not stand up to the leaders of their dictatorship to stop watching and waiting, hoping in his own way to encourage them to act by questioning why they just stood silently by:
•I ponder our time.
•Along the path rides a child on a tricycle.
•Then comes a gentle incline,
•At the top he pedals powerfully
•Now his pedals spin wildly,
•Then he lets his legs hang out
•As the pedals whirl with him
•straddling, and what will happen.
•I’m waiting to see, what will happen.
•We all wait to see, what will happen,
•How might he stop the atomic bike of today’s civilization
•designed by an inexplicable economic machine,
•which spins inexorably, just as we
•were once vital, strong and spinning with life, but today
•with our eyes wide open
•we watch and wait. What will happen?
In a much later essay titled The Power of the Powerless, Havel excoriated the notion of living within a lie, namely, all the propaganda and sloganeering the government wanted everyone to believe in the then-communist Czechoslovakia. Instead, Havel championed "living in truth" which is the concept of something much larger, and much more personal than any government can ever leverage against a society.
Havel talked about a "hidden sphere" in and between each of us that can never be extinguished by an external force, a government, or any individual. That "hidden sphere" in current terms, are the gatherings that took place all over the world on January 21, 2017. The hidden sphere of today is hope, given by one to the other to the other, to all who participated in or who watched the marches and gatherings of people hoping to overcome hate. And it was this sphere of hope that surrounded them and gave everyone the strength to move forward with their lives knowing there are millions of other people on earth of diverse backgrounds, ages, races, cultures, socio-economic situations, and genders who support them.
Women's Flashlight Vigil walkers in White River Junction, VT (a/k/a "River City) on January 21, 2017. make ready to do two laps around the downtown block, shining their light all the way.
Last night in White River Junction, VT, we held a small Women's Flashlight Vigil with people of many ages and backgrounds who came together to simply be together. They all stepped inside the "hidden sphere" by joining together, thereby making it visible, and palpable, and real. Once two laps of flashlight-carrying, newly-made friends walked around the downtown block in River City, VT, the job was complete. Their sphere of hope had become reality. People knew, even here in the Upper Valley, that there are others close by willing to support them as they strive to live in truth, and shine the light on the truths they hold so dear.
This leads me to the current age in which we live. Back in Havel's day, it was the Industrial Age that gave rise to so much misallocated wealth, power and ambition among the few who held power. Today, we're beyond the Ice Age, Stone Age, Iron Age, Industrial Age, maybe even the Information Age, all guided by men. We're now on the brink of the "Age of Truth". But, before we get there, we'll learn how to live within and appreciate the Women's Age, because that's what's upon us now. If we need any proof, just take a look at yesterday's women's marches. All peaceful, all powerful, all stunningly hopeful and empowering.
Today's world needs what women can offer in their multi-talented ways, with compassion, empathy, kindness, strength, wisdom, and love all in play at once within and between women. While men might be able to focus on one thing or the other, or the other at any one time, it is women, collectively, who will carry us forward into this new Women's Age with their specially-tailored, multi-tasking and always beneficent talents, then on forward to the "Age of Truth" that awaits.
With that, I'll enclose below a two-page handout made available last night at the Women's Flashlight Vigil in WRJ that may help you meet others in our region and do some things that will offer you the hope you need to gain strength and thrive as we move into this new Women's Age. And this all comes from a guy who knows what guys need most, which include the love, perspectives, insights, determination, drive, and emotional intelligence women are so primed and ready to offer the world. Let's accept what they have to share, and champion them as the leaders we need most.
Handout, page 1, above. Page 2, below.
Let's now begin to listen intently to the women around us, and to believe in them. The world, at long last, is ready to feel and accept the leadership and love that is theirs to deliver.
Oh, and about those monsters? Women can save them, too. Along with a good dose of exposure to art, of course!
Don't ever miss another post. Click here to sign up for an email alert each time Dave Celone publishes a new piece on the dailyuv.com. And do Click here to see Dave's previous post titled The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming about how Russian hackers may be turning us into a nation of cynics.
Dave Celone is NOT this beautiful strand of hand-dyed bamboo yarn wrapped around extraordinarily soft and luscious hand-woven scarves by Doug Masury of Henniker, NH. Doug's art opening/artist talk/reception will take place on Thursday, January 26th from 6 - 8 PM in the Long River Gallery & Gifts gallery space at 49 South Main Street in White River Junction, VT.
Instead, Dave's a writer who likes to share information about his life in the Upper Valley on a host of topics ranging from food and beverage, to art and craft, to politics, humor, and history. Dave is a freelance writer, poet, visual artist, art gallery curator, and consultant for the education industry. He co-manages Long River Gallery & Gifts in Lyme, NH and its new gallery space in White River Junction, VT with his wife Lisa where over 175 local artists and artisans now show their work. The new gallery is at 49 South Main Street in White River Junction between The Junction Frame Shop and The Hotel Coolidge. Dave is also principal of Advancement Consulting Services offering higher education institutions and private secondary schools global best practices and unique ways to increase alumni giving and involvement through programs that develop relationships and value holistically. His "virtuous circle" model on developing fundraising programs, and his strategic program development centered around "treating students like alumnae/i and alumnae/i like students" have gained favor among development industry professionals and higher education leadership on multiple continents. Dave is former director of development at The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, and former co-executive director of the Dartmouth College Fund. He may be reached via email at: email@example.com. Please feel free to add your comments below. Dave will respond.