One of my oldest and dearest friends sent me this hand-painted image on hand-made paper from Mexico a few weeks ago. It is an image I’ve looked at over and over and over again. It’s called “Cargador de Flores” or in English, the Flower Carrier.
I have been in such a funk for the last few weeks. I refuse to let politics into this space, but I’m realizing that the divisive, aggressive atmosphere of this world that we’re living in right now is affecting me. And I don’t want to block it out. As much as I want to run away into the woods and my happy place, I know that wouldn’t be satisfying either. I won’t be caught unaware. I won’t be ignorant.
But I don’t know how to cope. Exercise doesn’t help, rest doesn’t help. Eating, drinking, even making art doesn’t seem to ease the anxiety, the lump in my throat, the bad dreams.
And then there is the Flower Carrier. He is my savior. He is giving me the little mental pivot that I need. It calms my brain because if I think too hard about the idea it doesn’t really make sense. So don’t think too hard about it, but just go with me here:
What if this burden we feel, this weight that is bringing us to our knees, was actually somehow an enormous basket of flowers. We just can’t see it because we carry it on our backs. Tied up with a yellow ribbon.
I wonder what that would feel like, to be struggling under a load of something so fragile and beautiful. And what it would be like, upon delivery, to discover what the burden had been all along. I imagine how very satisfying that might be.
And then I can almost smell the flowers.
And my mind is calm.
And I can see all the beautiful things in life, and the things that I can change, and the people who need me to help them tie up the yellow ribbon.
So I’m believing that this weight – that it’s flowers. And it helps.
(Original by Diego Rivera, 1935)