Jewelry in a Time of Necessary Revolution
written on June 16, 2020
The magic of these times contains the inability to look away from pain. We may still wish to pretend the pain in our collective abdomen doesn’t scare us, but there is a rising level of awareness that WE, AS A PEOPLE, NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR.
We are in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, an event which hit a nerve never before so vulnerable, with so many more people poised to fight back than ever before, in the midst of a pandemic affecting minority communities more than white ones. Not to mention, we are in an intensely important election year while also facing potential climate disaster and watching the government demolish old safeguards against the plunder of capitalistic growth. We are now experiencing a flood of information about police brutality, institutionalized racism, individual insidious implicit racism, and we are becoming more aware of the fact that the fundamental structures that build this country were seeded in a time of explicit racism and sexism, when not everyone was considered even a full human being. Not aware like we were when we were softly fed this information in grade school, tacitly packaged in a little paragraph in a textbook with colored illustrations. Aware, as in bodily disturbed and achingly present to the short period of time since people were enslaved in this country, and that then, it was normal.
If racism and sexism were socially accepted when the founding fathers planted the seeds that grew into the nation of the United States we know today, then what do you expect the fruits of the tree those seeds became, to look like? They sometimes unfortunately look like groups of people who are in power pretending to be for the people, acting selfishly or acting against some of the very people they are supposed to serve, represent, or protect. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, they say.
When humans start something, that something comes from somewhere. No matter what it is; a piece of art, a family, a business, a structure of political hierarchy, an invention. This “somewhere” begins with an expression of feeling inside of a person or amongst a group of people, which is just energy. An impulse takes shape as it expands inside of a human creator, fitting into the mold of who that person is, affected by their fears and doubts and biases as much as their positive hopes and dreams. As creative beings, we humans have the opportunity to use our huge brains and our big hearts to intentionally shape the things we put into the world… to water the seeds we wish to grow. If we act with careful attention to detail we can refrain from birthing ideas from our unconscious minds, where fears and suppressed emotions affect the shape of creative talents. If we are frivolous with this ability to create, or we are selfish, then we aren’t using the full potential of our advanced thinking centers, or feeling centers, to create something that will be of the highest good for all life.
Maybe there isn’t any way to really override the subconscious, and remain in human form. And maybe with every move we make, there will always be the impression of our fears, curtailing our creations from ever truly taking flight. And maybe that’s a good thing, or maybe that’s just what makes us humans (as opposed to gods). But I think that if one can hold all their truths at once: both their beautiful desires and embarrassing failures to be truly generous, then there is the possibility of consciously choosing which energy to express through their actions.
I feel a really strong desire to get back to some primordial beginning, the forming of the seed. The seed of who I am. I wish I could shape it myself, so it could be more perfect. I know so many of us wish we could go back and re-start the relationship that white people have with this land. But we are already rolling in a momentum, shaped by the mother and father who created us, all our ancestors, and the living beast which is our everchanging (but always coming from somewhere) culture.
I think that, as most spiritual teachings agree, in each moment there is the possibility to create something new. If you can just… BE, RIGHT here. Right now, and choose from all the possibilities of what you know you are capable of, or MIGHT be capable of. It takes so much practice. Every morning (almost), I sit to practice the art of presence. How long can I just focus on one thing? truly, After almost 4 years, I still can’t even pay full attention to my breath for very long without getting lost in a thought. But its a good practice. And the more I do it there, at my altar, in the mornings, I find it easier to focus throughout my day. And focusing, even just for a moment between whirlwinds of thought or activity, can bring me back out of my maelstrom mind and into my body, where I know what’s right, and what I need to do next.
I am still fascinated with the idea of the seed though. What if the perfect seed could be created, with all the best intentions of the world? The seed is in a limbo state, it has not reached its potential, and yet it contains all of the intention and information necessary to do so. That’s why it’s such a potent symbol for me, and I keep coming back to it in my jewelry. I want to create these seed pods where people can plant their intentions, and forget about them, and wear the jewelry that holds this impulse silently for them. Because metal is so conductive of energy, I am sure that if you whisper your intentions into these hollow, seed pod forms, they will keep your secret most beautiful desires for the world, and whisper them back to you when you need to remember. In this time, more than ever in our lifetimes, its important that we get clear about our intentions and let them guide our choices, long and short term. What are your intentions?
Listen, I know that making jewelry isn’t going to save the world. I’m as emotional and concerned about the environment and equal treatment for all humans as the next person. But I know that humans aren’t going to stop adorning themselves just because there is a revolution coming. In fact, there are probably going to be lots and lots of impulsive purchases made as people cling to the dopamine rush of capitalism from our relatively short experiment with the Neverending Growth Fantasy that modern Economics proposes for actual reality. For some reason, I have been in the jewelry world my entire adult life, since before I really woke up to how unsustainable our Western way of life is. And even though I sometimes wish I could just give up the effort of building my little business into something bigger that could actually go somewhere or support me, I don’t feel like abandoning my area of expertise is the right move… yet. So I’m committing to working to create change inside the world of jewelry. I am planting seeds for more earth friendly creating and engagement with wearable temples for your prayers.