Dear Global Family
I know you haven’t heard from me for some time. The coronavirus pandemic kept me at home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, focused on completing a film: Love*Sing*Embrace; a book of poetry, essays and art: Borderless; songs formed from my poems, as well as 5 earthworks entitled The Five Elements, Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Wood, and paintings. Finally, last month I left my cave for the first time during this period, drawn to the border of the US and Mexico.
For some time, I have longed to bring something positive to the border situation between the United States and Mexico. Over these past years my heart has wept for the families, children, teenagers and men, longing for a safe home and opportunity for a healthful job. But I could not see how, or when, or what I was going to do.
Then, one day, I heard the lovely voice of a woman, Sarah L. Brightwood on the phone, calling me to come to her family’s four-hundred acres situated on the border inside Mexico. She asked me to come and carve one of the giant granite boulders that were strewn over her family land at the base of the sacred Cuchuma Mountain, the ancient home of the indigenous Kumeyay Indians’ deity Kuchamayi.
To my amazement, her home turned out to be the beautiful Rancho La Puerto Retreat, started in 1940 by her parents, Professor Edmond and Deborah Szekely. Sarah, being an artist, transformed this simple spa through her artistic eye and loving heart into a heaven on earth. In its beauty, in the wisdom of the instructors who gathered together with their participants and in the lovely helpers from the town of Tecate, Sarah has created a joyful and loving experience for all.
The granite boulder chosen for the “Touch Stone of Peace” was in the area of Sarah’s childhood secret meditation cove with an old oak-tree as guardian of the enclave. I issued an open invitation for whomever wished to join me during the afternoons. After my own ceremony of honoring the indigenous Kuchamayi of that area, who had walked and lived for generations on this very land, I showed each person how to carve in stone. Soon the percussive sound of chisels against granite filled the air. I instructed each person to lay their outstretched hand against the stone. Then, with chalk, they drew the outline of their hands and carved their imprints into the boulder. It was a joyous time. Upon completion, we painted the hands and I made a garland of flowers to honor the day of ceremony, as each person spoke or sang their truth from the heart.
A friend of mine, Verona Fonté, founder of Iris Arts and Education Group joined us in the process and she created a jewel of a three minute film, Transforming Sorrow into Creativity, documenting not only my story, but the story of us all in the gathering.
It is my wish that every year, a day could be chosen to add hands to the “Touch Stone of Peace” through carving and painting, sometimes repainting the fading colors as a prayer of peace at the border, indeed the entire world.
Transforming Sorrow into Creativity by Verona Fonté
I leave you now to enjoy the film with a wish that each of us in our own way may deliver colors of peace into a world in much need of preservation and healing.
I love you all,
P.S.: Coming soon is my story of meeting the young and remarkable Catholic nun, Sister Esperanza, who is working with teenage girls at the border. Many of these young girls have been or are in danger of being stolen or forced into sex trafficking.