I have tended over the course of my life to be easily overwhelmed by my inner shortcomings and imperfections, even more than by external hardships. If I am too afraid to submit a story or poem for professional perusal, or I am oh-so-slow to make progress in learning some new skill, and especially if feel I have failed at an endeavor, I tend get tunnel vision, to experience that failure as all of me, or certainly most of me.
I've worked on self-acceptance, self-love even, over the years. And I'm making progress. Mindfulness meditation, which emphasizes non-judgment of oneself during the meditation process--and beyond--has helped a lot. And the amazing, and loving, responses from my Higher Power when I have called out for support via my journal, and in various other ways over the years.
But recently I had a brainstorm. What if I am not a failure when I fail? What if I am not just an unproductive garden or flooded riverbank? What if...what if I am a planet? An entire planet? An amazing, huge, ancient, multi-faceted planet?
If a flood sweeps through a physical town it can certainly lead to a lot of damage and loss of life. But a river flooding cannot destroy a world. Even several flooding rivers. An earthquake may ravage an area, and bring great loss and heartbreak, but the planet survives, most of it untouched. Global warming could kill us off, along with a lot of other species, God forbid (and I mean that as a deep and heartfelt prayer), but presumably the planet itself will survive. And eventually flourish again.
I certainly don't mean to minimize anyone's suffering from these catastrophic events, or even to minimize my own struggles with insecurity and failure. But as an analogy for what and who I am, this planetary concept is bringing great hope.
I am fortunate that I can hold a truly lovely symbol of that hope in my hand. Enter Josh Simpson's glass planets. Think first of millefiori, the Italian technique using crosscuts of tiny, bundled glass rods.
Then think millefiori meets interplanetary/biologist/geologist/exquisitely talented glass artist! An artisan with 50 years of experience, Simpson sometimes spends days on the creation of a single planet including (but not limited to) fanciful continents, mountains, oceans, lakes, cities, and more, sometimes even a spaceship or satellite orbiting the planet. Magical realism embodied in a solid, heavy paperweight.
But it is oh so much more than a paperweight. A photograph can't do these planets justice (at least a photo by this amateur). It's difficult to portray the three dimensional depth, detail, variety and beauty and/or quirkiness of these features. But hopefully you get the idea. In our particular planet there are flat but textured continents made from gold foil and an earthy green. There's the deep, almost midnight blue of the oceans, and a whole chain of what could be active volcanoes.The green twist of a satellite sits far above the ocean and continents, near the surface of the globe (It's in the upper left quarter, just under the white area, which is light from my window reflected on the highly polished surface.) Just to name a few of the features.
This amazing artistry is not cheap. During his working days there was a time when Lawrence was feeling rather flush, but still he considered the purchase of one of these little planets
very carefully. But here we are, maybe twenty years later, still feeling wonder, amusement, even awe when we hold our beautiful planet in the palm of our hand.
I want to share something I discovered today when I was doing research on Simpson for this blog. It turns our that his wife, Cady Coleman, was an astronaut, now retired. So I had to include a photo Cady took of several of Josh's planets floating, weightless, around a portal of the International Space Station. Whimsical, lovely human-made planets looking out at our own gorgeous Earth.
May we each know ourselves to be a unique and amazingly complex planet, remarkably beautiful, and remarkably resourceful and resilient.
Until next time,
Earth from space, NASA
Small millefiori dish, D. Hunt
Planet by Josh Simpson, D. Hunt
Simpson's planets view the Earth, Cady Coleman, Josh Simpson website (scroll down, then over)