Breaking Through

Heather Schaefer
Combined Locks


Deep within we all contain a part of the wonder of the world that connects us all within our hearts. That light is always there but can easily become obscured through the inevitable challenges in life. This painting depicts the overstimulation and unrest within the mind that we experience as human beings. The mind is easily distracted and searching for more, rather than enjoying the beauty in each moment. We gravitate to repetitive patterns, and they can be created without notice or awareness. This can cause us to feel disconnected or go through the motions, never seeing our own magic or the magic within those around us. If we become aware of these patterns, we are more likely to keep our hearts open and our minds curious and compassionate. Seeing beyond our own mind helps us to realize that we are not our mind.

I feel there are many ways we are guided into making decisions that are not necessarily our own. This is the foundation of being a consumer, an entity to profit from. This painting portrays this by showing the base of money stacked above with binary code. This represents the system that we are a part of in today’s digital world, which uses data constantly to find ways to capture our attention, and ultimately our spending. The consumerism world counts on the fact that our mind is wired to make decisions based off of instant gratification, rather than long term happiness. This leads to challenges that build over time in our lives, which then can create problems that become profitable in a whole new way. This also leads to growing problems in the world and the earth’s ability to absorb our consumerism and waste. When we all take a step back, we begin to see that every holiday has become about buying unnecessary things and overloading children with toys and candy. At a young age, it’s easy for children to become part of the cycle because

they also know no different and become stimulated by new things, when the new fun only lasts for a limited time; and before we know it we have way more than we ever need. Then at some point we decide we need to purge and get rid of stuff, and we realize that all of this is so unnecessary as landfills, and ultimately the oceans are taking the brunt of our habits. It’s a vicious cycle that is easy to be a part of, because often we know no different and the world around us sets us up to believe this is completely normal.

Often, our lack of nourished and sustained connection to something beyond ourselves prevents us from making more conscious decisions. It’s easy to feel weighed down in life keeping up with all that there is to do. We likely all feel this way often. What do we choose to see on screens, or listen to that impacts our mind and heart? Do we choose what numbs us or what inspires? How do we nourish our body, or talk to ourselves in our own minds? Do we take time to learn how to make better choices for ourselves and the planet? So often we want what we can’t be disciplined enough to do for ourselves. We think our tiny choices are insignificant, but in reality, our choices are just a tiny part of a much greater whole. Our choices are what drive the world around us, and impact and influence one another. Just thinking differently and changing our beliefs will make a difference in the world. When we realize this, then we see the world in a different light, and know that we are a part of making a difference in our own small way. Many times, it’s a simple shift in our perception that creates an incredible difference in how we feel and see the world around us.

What keeps us feeling alive is growing and evolving as a person and finding purpose in the ways we spend our time, rather than how we spend our money. Letting go of the fear of change and learning new things will keep our spirit alive. We also must know when it’s time to slow down and take care of ourselves and enjoy life just as it is. What brings us close to one another is connection. Letting our guard down. Talking about real life struggles and opening our hearts and minds to each other without the fear of judgement, shame, or criticism. Instead, we yearn to relate, connect, and share together. We yearn to help each other, and to make a difference together. We learn that being grateful is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and the world. When we are stressed, we can encourage ourselves to remember that often our stressors are intertwined with our greatest blessings. This helps us know the ups and downs are always a part of life.

I hope that as an entire species, our choices in many aspects will begin to come from a deeper place. This painting portrays the hope that I have as more and more people are waking up to the world around us, in terms of how it’s easy to become a puppet to mega corporations. This painting depicts the hearts of humans illuminated, showing the ways we are all connected to each other, as well as the beautiful world we cannot see, but know in our hearts – exists. Although technology, social media, cell phones, etc. are a part of life that are almost unavoidable, and also provide many great conveniences and connections, we can still allow ourselves to disconnect and bring ourselves back to that core part of being human through our heart’s energy. This is something we have to cultivate within us and do the work to open our minds and change our beliefs and habits. I pray that the way we choose to live will be for the greater good instinctively, without the mentality that we alone can’t make a difference in the world. We are all connected through energy to every living thing on this planet, and together we continue to evolve and impact one another far more than we realize. Mother Earth is also a living thing, and we are her ultimate challenge. We as a human being, with our tiny choices are the creators of our inner world as well as the outer world. The outer world can only be changed through the momentum of people influencing one another. Time may not be limited because after all time itself is an illusion, but our time as a living human being is limited. What we do with it is totally up to us. As Gandhi said, “BE the CHANGE you WISH TO SEE in the WORLD.” Love to all.

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