Global chaos is what I have heard global warming is called in Europe. It speaks to a greater understanding of what is actually going on here right now in the not so firm firmament of our universe. Tomorrow the largest hurricane ever seen will hit Mexico, warnings are to “get out of the way”. But how do we do that? Everywhere things seem to be coming apart at the seams; war, drought, floods, extinctions, governmental paralysis and even government extinction in many countries are creating mass migrations and distress. People are trying to get out of the way of so much trouble everywhere these days.
This blog is part of the Heaven is Here series and though I have not written a new post for quite some time, I have not forgotten to keep looking around me for the evidence of that statement. Yes, Heaven is Here, this is heaven – as a friend once said, “We live in God’s backyard.” With all that is happening in the world right now, I look out of my window and see a glittering sunny fall day, the trees are glorious in full fall color. This is heaven.
However, how can I ever tell those who have lost everything to war, flood or fire to look on the bright side? Life is so tough for so many and seems to be getting tougher and tougher. I feel a visceral pain in my heart for the children wandering through Eastern Europe now in search of a safe new home.
This turmoil, upheaval, shake up is not just about external events it is internal. It is about recognizing that we have all that we need, that we are all powerful, that we are all equal, that we are all connected and that we share a small fish bowl. What each of us says, does, thinks, promises, curses or prays affects every single one of us. I include all living creatures and plants plus the crystalline heart of this earth and every mineral or liquid within and on her in this statement too. We and everything that we encounter are sacred. When we acknowledge this and begin to cherish each moment and encounter, we may not begin to shift the actual circumstance but we instantly shift our perspective and our experience of the circumstance.
If only a few of us master this the benefits to all will show and will be remarkable.
I am so excited to participate in the 4th annual American Made Summit created and hosted by Martha Stewart in her NYC headquarters in the fabulous Starrett Lehigh building. I have an interesting history with that building because for many years the Costume Collection was there. Too often I had to find my way to that extremely distant edge of Manhattan and into the bowels of that wild outback of a huge, manufacturing building. The view from it was and still is fabulous and often a welcome distraction. I spent many hours browsing through the racks searching for the perfect garment then dragging myself and 17 or more shopping bags back into the civilization of at least 8th avenue before I could find a cab. Now the building is renovated and feels very trendy, upscale and in the center of the hippest part of town, the Highline is right there. It is nice to be back there in the new Starrett Lehigh for such a fabulous event.
I feel like the flags are a perfect match, Martha’s enthusiasm for American made products and her commitment to promote and celebrate them is very timely and needed. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in makers and in local products and that is really the best way to support our own economy, our neighbors, our local government and even artists like me. I hope that the new trend will tip us toward a culture that recognizes and cherishes the value of things and the people that create them more. We have had too many years of throwaway economy. That mind set has plunged us into a world of trouble, so valuing our neighbors and their hard work, their culture, their belief systems and ideas can only enrich our lives and make everything in our own lives more interesting. That is what the flags are about; celebrating the diverse offerings of all the cultures of the world and all the people that come here to offer their hard work and good ideas to the enrichment of life here in the US.
This is the beginning of the pile of flags that will be hanging. I hope you can make it to the American Made Summit.
This is a throwback moment. I was looking around for pictures of the flags and stumbled across this PR letter that I wrote to the old Steven Colbert show. I think you might enjoy it:
Dear Mr. Colbert, Honorable Leader of the Colbert Free Nation; or is it Free Colbert Nation, wait, I think it’s just the Colbert Nation,
In deference to your great sense of patriotism and love of country I feel it my duty to inform you of a radical, “IMMIGRANT” artist, Muriel Stockdale, who is defiling Old Glory.
Muriel’s dangerous artistic representations of the U.S.A. flag, which she claims celebrate the diversity of the people here in this country are made of different fabrics from cultures that invade this country every day. Right now impressionable university students at SUNY Stony Brook are being swayed by her radical ideas that all kinds of people of different cultures can contribute to the glory of this country. The flags are exercising their subtle influence at the Wang Asian Art Center until December 5th.
In addition her African American flag is owned and exhibited by the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut – is she thinking Hip Hop artists should be wearing Talbots chino’s with lobster printed belts? This Tuesday she is even infiltrating the Museum of American Finance with her Ghanaian American flag made out of trade beads. What’s next convincing the Fed to sell gold and buy cowry shells and Christmas beads instead?
Mr. Colbert we need you to take her radical ideas down, she thinks our culture is enriched by diversity; that different expressions of lifestyle add to the quality of life in this country. She also insists that the idea is only to celebrate the contribution of the world’s cultures to those of us living here in the U.S.A. That it is not a project to promote American Imperialism and not meant to imply that everyone around the world should have an American flag. Now wait, what an idea! That’s actually something you might want to promote: American Flags for every country around the world. Maybe she’s onto something. It could be brilliant, Indian American flags out of Indian silk, Russian American flags out of Russian shawls. Could this bring the world together? Could this idea redefine you as – Leader of the Colbert Free World, Free Colbert World, excuse me again; Leader of the Colbert World?
Either way this artist needs to be exposed for her radical thoughts and dangerous tampering with the sacred U.S. flag, but please don’t make her cry.
Thank you for heeding our warning,
Artist: Muriel Stockdale.