Healing the World, One Star at a Time

Over the table in my studio hangs a hand-lettered sign. Sometimes it hangs up there for a day, sometimes for a month. It’s not an affirmation, it’s a question. It helps me think while I work. My studio is my Place Without Noise–no music, no TV, just silence. The question right over my head is sort of  mental chewing gum.

The most recent question is “How Will You Heal the World?” No doubt the world needs healing–Ferguson, Missouri is just one town in a big country with its share of injustice, unfairness, and social imbalance. My own state, just 100 years into statehood, wants to shut down its borders and pretend that Arizona was not part of Mexico or that native tribes did not have a different idea of land ownership.

There is no shortage of damage in the world–in every town, city, country.  Isn’t is ridiculous to think I can help? Me, with no skills in sociology or law?

orionMy mind was a smooth blank as I pulled a piece of paper toward me to cut into shapes for a collage. The paper was a map of the night sky, and there, on one side, was Orion. The hunter himself didn’t have an auspicious, happy beginning among the gods. Orion was born from an ox-skin that various male gods had urinated in. He was blinded by his father-in-law, revived by the goddess Artemis, and then angered the Earth goddess Gaia, who sent a scorpion to kill him. Gaia then placed both Artemis and Orion in the sky as a warning to others not to harm the earth.

Not much healing there, and I don’t want to think about our punishment for all the plastic bottles we put in Gaia’s earth, either.

What I did notice was Orion’s sword. You can see a pinkish star in the knife at his waist. That’s not really a star, it is a whole nebula–an incubator for new stars. The young, forming stars are hot, and heat up the gas around them, causing it to fluoresce–so what we are seeing as a star is a cloud of gas and tiny hot stars 1,500 light-years away.

Maybe a small kindness, a prayer offered when someone asks for one, a small, unexpected orion_nebulagenerous act, maybe all that is the equivalent of a tiny hot star that helps light up the nebula. Without the star, and others like it, there would be no fluorescing nebula, no sword in Orion’s belt. And of course, if you are a star in a nebula, you don’t see all of Orion. You see something else when you look into the universe–dark sky with distance points of lights.

As my hands smooth over the paper, looking for a spot to cut into the paper, I wonder if the way you heal the world is one tiny, glowing act at a time. They add up over time, and eventually you have a constellation of healing put into the sky as a lesson to everyone else to help out, too.

Here is an excellent article about 12 actions anyone can take to reduce injustice.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer, creativity coach and artist who thinks art heals by scattering stars into the sky, one at a time.

12 thoughts on “Healing the World, One Star at a Time

  1. I pretty much ignore national news…and I admit I don’t know all the details surrounding that young man’s death…so when I went to the link you had in this article, I was disturbed by the absoluteness of the writer’s conviction towards the case. Something awful took place that night and there is forensic evidence concerning it — evidence that clearly shows more than a young man shot down in cold blood…The kindness steps are good and we need them…but the author’s conviction that it was “bad white cop killing innocent black young man” is off-putting!

    • We all have perspectives. Yours, mine, the authors. There is a much larger problem than just Ferguson that spurred the author to write that article. But it’s not a requirement that you agree with the author–or me. I’m pretty strident on social justice issues, and it’s built on my experience. Yours may vary.

  2. This is my way to heal the world that I am working on right now, helping Bruce with all the paperwork necessary to make it happen, http://www.fowlersrandr.org
    In my “former life” I helped clean up 85% of Vermont’s rivers and streams to fishable, swimmable from being the open sewers of the communities and also helped build good drinking water systems. And I got paid to do that! Life is good.

  3. My partner says “It doesn’t cost anything to be kind.” Sometimes I have a hard time living up to that. Marlo Thomas’ book The Right Words at the Right time and the sequel The Right Words at the Right Time Your Turn! give an amazing perspective on how every thing you do can have far reaching effects. Words spoken by someone who doesn’t even realize they are saying anything but making a passing remark totally turn other folks’ lives around. The lovely book “The Butterfly Effect” sends the same message. I highly recommend it as a gift to children in your life. In looking up the name of MT’s books I found she wrote one Thanks and Giving. I think I’ll look into that.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

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