Our Garden

I believe peace is something that first and foremost starts with the individual. We cultivate it everyday in our lives through our actions, thoughts, how we interact with people, what we choose to consume, our awareness and even in the way we breathe.  For the last 5 years I have been attending a weekly meditation group that is heavily influenced by the teachings of  Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches the art of mindfulness, which has been a great influence on my life.  To be mindful (fully aware) in everything I do, in every moment, is how I try to bring peace into my life. I do not judge myself in moments in which I am not mindful, which at times are many, I try to have compassion for myself as mindfulness is a practice, a process.

Mindfulness and the process of peace has shown up and influenced my artwork in many ways.  Two years ago I started creating small pen and ink paper pieces in a project that a friend and I were part of called Pen and Pudding.  We would go to different venues invite all our friends and make drawings on the spot.  Then we would give a percentage of the proceeds to the local food pantry in the area.  I started making flowers and trees adorned with peaceful and creative sayings and they eventually turned into a garden.  Soon after I started making “seed packets” and “seeds of change” which I gave out to people as reminders that everyday we have a choice to plant negative or positive seeds. Thich Nhat Hanh talks of this idea of planting seeds as a way to visualize mindfulness.
“Your mind is like a piece of land planted with many different kinds of seeds: seeds of joy, peace, mindfulness, understanding, and love; seeds of craving, anger, fear, hate, and forgetfulness. These wholesome and unwholesome seeds are always there, sleeping in the soil of your mind. The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water. If you plant tomato seeds in your gardens, tomatoes will grow. Just so, if you water a seed of peace in your mind, peace will grow. When the seeds of happiness in you are watered, you will become happy. When the seed of anger in you is watered, you will become angry. The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong.”
                                                                                                      -Thich Nhat Hanh