Be kind

Be kind.

This phrase has become a slogan, plastered across our consciousness in the form of T- shirts, online memes, and an assortment of pop culture forums. It beats inside us with the rhythm of algorithms, and truth- saying. It comes at us as an antidote for the hate and anger brewing around us. We try to grasp onto the multitudinous of messages, believing that they will somehow erase the ugliness that is in the world, and soothe the discordance of our heartbeats. This, in and of itself, is a symptom of our brokenness and disconnection; our ability to think that saying the thing over and over will cure the illness that threatens to take over.

I fear the constant bombardment of the message serves to desensitize us to the importance of the ideas. I fear we create a void where the true meaning of the message falls- on deaf ears, to the bottom of an endless well of pain.

I will make no apologies for donning my kindness as armor against the world, in the hopes that it will protect me and those whom I love. I too, wear it on my T-shirts and share quotes that I hope will land somewhere other than my FB ‘friends’ trash. I understand that my actions can have no effect on others, except to plant seeds that, when nourished, can feed those that choose a diet of truth and love. My intentions are to be as kind and full of love as is humanly possible. My actions are meant to bring joy and love- for its own sake. I do not view my attire and actions to be transactional.

I am aware that ‘being kind’ requires conscious awareness. I know that each full breath that I take is the opportunity to know myself better and to connect more deeply with all that exists within me, and beyond. I use the slogans to remind me that I can choose actions that may inspire others to make likewise kind and loving choices, and so, the ripple effect is launched time and again.

The current climate of anger and hate, within which we live, is scary and triggers waves of panic and anger in me. I feel the overt acts of violence as earthquakes that are shaking the foundation of what I hold dear. But those tremors don’t happen without connecting into our own sense of self- righteous indignation. Maybe somebody snubbed us at the office, or we are attacked for divergent beliefs, and in those moments we align with the angry mob.  I feel scared, and ashamed that my personal experience holds power to fuel the storm of hate.

I have the capacity for awareness. I am cognizant of the lessons I have learned in noticing, and letting go, and even more powerful- to transform my despair into beauty.

That is my solace. The power of transformation. The human capacity for creativity. These are actions that drive change as they ripple from my center, through my own hands and outwards. It is my humble purpose in making art, and spreading the possibility of transformation.

I work with fibre arts in different ways. My felting process is the epitome of transforming my anger, hurt and disappointment into beauty that is tangible. A tactile, whole body  process that includes ‘throwing’ the wet, messy fibres at the floor, with as much strength and energy as is possible, until they hold together, and become something new and beautiful. It is physically, mentally and spiritually rewarding as I shape the raw material into layers of beauty, and symbols of wholeness.

I took a very long time with this piece of felt, landing on an idea of what it wanted to be, and then deciding that it wasn’t quite right. I hope you enjoy the result of my process, as I transformed my feelings of fear and anger into the mandalas that you see.



1 comment

E Benjamin Toane

Yona, I love all your art with it’s wonderful bright colours and intriguing patterns. I particularly like your fiber art because of its feeling of immense depth, layers of expression.

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