Not every blog is easy to write. While on most days I truly enjoy sharing my thoughts with everyone here, there are some days when it is difficult. I like to be positive and upbeat and focus on good things that inspire others to be creative and happy. My partner Keith teases me and tells me I live on the ‘pink cloud’ because of my optimistic view of things. He is more of a realist and tends to see the world from a darker perspective than I do. Perhaps as it really is. While I know that my own thoughts and ideals aren’t always the most realistic, there are times when frankly I don’t care. There are days when I don’t like the reality that surrounds me and I feel that as long as I am not delusional in my thinking and actions and taking them to extremes and as long as I mind my own ‘p’s’ and ‘q’s’ I can think what I want. It is after all, my right.
But lately there have been some things that are bothering me that are hard to ignore. Most of the things aren’t directly related to me, but are happening to those around me. I am seeing something in people that I never thought could have existed. People that I thought I knew are acting out in ways that I would have never imagined that they would be capable of. And the sad reality that I don’t really know them at all is beginning to sink in. And it doesn’t feel good.
When I began my blog here, in one of the first entries posted (I forget which one) I compared people to icebergs. It seems like it was many years ago that I figured this out. People only expose a small portion of what they truly are and the rest is buried and hidden. In my younger years, before this was evident to me, I took people at face value and I suffered more than once because of it. Some call it being ‘naive’ and perhaps they are right. After all, it is with experience that we begin to understand that things are not always what they appear to be. As we grow from being a child to an adult, we learn that our trust is something that needs to be earned, and shouldn’t be given lightly. That goes both ways I believe, and I wouldn’t expect someone to trust me either without first proving myself worthy.
But as time goes on and we become more familiar with a certain person or group of people, we tend to relax a bit and let down our wall. Depending on the situation, this can happen very quickly or can take a great deal of time, but soon we begin to feel comfortable with others and we consider ourselves among friends. This happens in both our personal lives and also our business and work areas, and it is a good thing to feel comfortable with those who we surround ourselves with on a daily basis.
But sometimes, as we get to know these others on a deeper level, we begin to see sides of them that we don’t find to be attractive. Perhaps they too are becoming more comfortable in our presence and letting their guard down a bit. Or maybe the formality of the newness of the relationship is wearing off. But whatever the reason, we begin to see more of the iceberg than what is on the surface, and we are allowed to see a bit deeper beneath the line of the water. And we aren’t always happy with what we see.
I am sure this is true for me too. I am no different than anyone else in this respect. We all have a wall up initially and only through friendship and getting to know each other are we able to see beyond it. And I am sure that some don’t like what they see beyond mine. I am opinionated in my own private views of politics, religion and other things like the rest of the world. I have chosen not to share those opinions publicly though, as I share everything else. I don’t see how it would be beneficial for others or for myself to do so and I choose to keep that part of my thoughts to myself. I would be a fool though to think that everyone agreed with me all the time. Rest assured, I do not.
So what has inspired me to write this deep, dark blog today?
There has been quite a controversy in the scroll saw world lately. There are differences in opinions that have divided a normally cohesive community into ‘them’ and ‘us’. While the issues at hand are important, it is painful to see the lengths that people will go to in order to support their own views. The sad, destructive behaviour has taken on a tone of a lynch mob and it is getting out of hand.
I can’t help but feel sad about this because it is such a large part of my life. I am watching people who are my friends act in ways that I would have never expected them to be. At the very beginning, I decided to not get involved and to stay out of it, but by the sheer act of witnessing what has gone on, I feel deeply saddened and affected.
Those of you who have been here at the Lumberjocks site saw a similar incident happen last year when for a time things went completely out of control in certain areas of the site. While many of you refused to get involved with the nonsense, it still left a bitter taste in your mouth and you were still affected by it. I feel similar here.
The act of standing by and watching people you ‘knew’ do and say things you never thought possible begins to take its toll whether you participate or not. Not only is your faith in certain people shaken, but also your faith in the group as a whole, as you watch them claw and chew through each other. It is very disheartening.
The world is going through difficult times right now. It seems that many people are really struggling. To me (and my naive nature) I would think that this would be a time when we would want to circle the wagons and pull together and create something positive to focus on. After all (and I am going to get a lot of flack for saying this) it is only woodworking! It isn’t fighting cancer or deciding whether or not to detonate a nuclear bomb. It is something that is a past time to many and gives them pleasure and enjoyment. Yes, it is my livelihood and business, but really and truly there are things more important than business and making more money than the next guy. Really.
Have our values and morals become so enmeshed with having more and earning more money than our neighbor at any cost? I certainly hope not, because it would be quite a bleak and sad existence if that were the case.
I am not judging and will not judge either side. I am spending the time looking into myself and I am going to spend the day doing some positive things that will hopefully help the scroll sawing and woodworking and painting industries. I want to see these areas of creativity grow and prosper and be there for everyone to use as a place to be creative themselves and perhaps escape the harsh realities of the world and be happy for a bit. The only way I think I can help to heal not only myself, but also the industry is to give something back to it, not to try to grab more from it.
While the financial advisers may not think that is the most profitable answer, I know in my heart that they are
wrong, because they have no way of measuring the intrinsic value that doing this adds to my life and my soul.
So there are no cute kitties today. No funny jokes. When I awoke this morning and checked out my Facebook account, I did see a bright spot on my wall. It was a quote from a friend of my daughters’ who is struggling to find her way in this life. The quote read as follows:
”Worry about yourself instead of obsessing about other people, you’ll find life to be a lot more fulfilling…”
Thanks Izzy. You may not have it all figured out yet, but you are well on your way.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"