Sunday, August 08, 2010


Life is a gift, and every being is special and unique. Simply meditating on this can bring awareness of God. Each person carries gifts to share with the world, and although outer wealth varies considerably, I think that the richest people are those that abundantly share the gifts of their talents and innate abilities. A Navajo Indian saying goes, “A person may be lacking in hard and soft goods, but if he has a song, he is not poor.”

Each day I am aware of the gifts that come to me, and often hear myself saying aloud, “Thank you!” When I go to art openings at many of the local galleries on Friday evenings, I am able to stroll through rooms full of incredible artwork, made by the artists that have consecrated themselves to producing dazzling objects that broaden our appreciation and awareness of life and its possibilities. The crowds mingle merrily, partaking of refreshments provided by other people who also serve up their unique talents as organizers and brokers for the artists. Last Friday, after going to the openings, I went with a friend to an evening ballet performance at The Lensic, a stately performing arts theater downtown—made from the able vision of an architect and the skilled hands of craftspeople. To watch the dancers move beautifully and with √©lan to fulfill the inspiration of choreographers is sometimes breathtaking. Other talent comes in to play as well, such as set designers, lighting technicians, musicians and composers. All this genius consecrated to make the magic of a performance. This is true wealth.

Yesterday afternoon I received a rub down from a friend who is skilled in massage. I felt blessed receiving his loving touch that healed the soreness in my body and reinvigorated my tissues, muscles and bones. In the quiet of our communion, I could listen to the song of the birds outside, sharing their melodies with creation. Then, in the evening, I went with a friend to see a movie called Inception, a sci-fi thriller based on a concept of psychic espionage, directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. This film is the result of a huge collaboration of talent among a myriad of individuals, culminating in my being able to buy a ticket, walk into the dark hall of a theater, choose a comfortable seat and let myself drift into a fantasy world that looks and feels real—sometimes more than “normal” life, and then while experiencing this alter-reality, receive the gifts of beauty, excitement, knowledge, and inspiration that are gathered inside.

Today, as is my habit on Sunday mornings, I went to a nearby store that serves refreshments and sells newspapers and magazines. I bought the Sunday edition of the New York Times, and then sat on the patio under a clear morning sky, in the shade of an umbrella with flowers blooming all around, to read leisurely, drink a cup of coffee and munch a pastry. The New York Times is substantial, and it takes me all week to read the Sunday paper since it includes many special sections. Here again, I appreciate the work of many, from designers to editors, journalists and photographers—all sharing their carefully crafted gifts.

Tomorrow night I go to a ballet, Madame Butterfly, by Giacomo Puccini at the Santa Fe Opera. An entire book could be written about just this one composer and the gifts of endowment that he shared with the world.

I know that most of the world’s people live without the plethora of opportunity and culture that I appreciate. Yet they find their own songs to sing. And so, I leave you with a photograph to look at carefully. This blind man was alone on a street in Hanoi, Vietnam, when I snapped his picture. He played his song on a homemade flute, and around his neck were many more flutes, strung from a cord. I suppose if you asked him, “How is life?” He would respond, “Good! As long as I have my song, I am not poor.”


Nancy said...

Thank you, Steven, for generously sharing your awesome artistic gifts with total strangers. You have produced "dazzling objects that broaden our appreciation and awareness of life and its possibilities."

Nancy said...

Your photo/story of the blind flute player reminds me of Joni Mitchell's "For Free."