The Illustration Friday word of the week is satellite.
A household word in the 21st century, satellite calls up my memory scrapbook of the bright and shining Space Age. You know… those big, shiny objects placed in the sky so that folks everywhere now have the magical privilege of communicating via laptops and watching Aussie soccer matches. All for the small price of having our every move watchable by Big Brother. I do wonder sometimes if technology is worth the cost in the fine print…
On a brighter note, the word satellite also evokes memories of elementary school planetary mobiles with tiny Moon, giant yellow Sun, and Saturn with her colorful rings–miraculously manifested from paper mache, coat hangers, poster paint and a little help from the encyclopedia. Those were the care-free days when creativity was simple… earning a living as an artist wasn’t even a fuzzy constellation on the night horizon. (For a fun look at an artist who has managed to hold onto those care-free days, see children’s picture book author/artist Douglas Florian’s Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings.)
This morning, however, the word satellite (loosely defined as something which orbits or follows something else) is a good description for my Conscience… that ubiquitous back-seat driver who is rarely content, and when she is, it’s only for the brief moment before something else is unsatisfactory. Psychologists say that this voice is the internalized judgements and criticisms of parents, teachers, priests, peers and the standards of our society at large. Some of what my dear Conscience says can be helpful, but most is not helpful because it is delivered with the very subtle message that I am remiss because of multiple and inherent personal flaws. She implies that only by the militaristic motivations of her guilt and shame tactics do I manage to survive at all.
Nonsense! A contemplative person realizes that the dark-hearted Conscience is a harkening back to that out-dated boogyman, Original Sin. And that guilt as a motivator (like modern pharmaceuticals) has a LOT of unhealthy side-effects. Surely humans have evolved enough to do the ‘right thing’ simply out of the goodness of our hearts? Surely we have evolved enough to do things out of love and caring?
In flower essence therapy, the model for treatment is not to attack, cut out, or resist the manifesting symptoms, but to flood out the negative with a consistent input of the positive frequency. This is a model for healing (and for living) that is based on a positive reinforcement of the essential goodness of humankind. It implies that we do know what is right, which are the best choices, what is kindness, what is love. And that all we need is a tiny push in that direction, a gentle reminder when we forget. Not a guilt-and-shame sledgehammer.
The next time my ubiquitous Conscience satellite guilt-trips me over the chocolate that I am craving, I hope I will remember to respond to her with a gentle reminder of my own. “A mango actually tastes much better, comes with no hangover, and won’t add to your cellulite!” It’s not her red-alerts that I detest… it’s her heavy-handedness…
“Of Two Minds” (watercolor)