Art by T Kurtz

I think I am finally embracing my role as a grown up.  When we are young, we have so much passion.  We burn with a fire that will flare up as we see injustice, cruelty, joy or apathy.  We jump on our high horse and race into battle and will rail at windmills if we think the cause is just.  As we age, we tend to pick our battles and sometimes, we will leave a little landmine as we walk out the door.  We learn to watch for karma to fight our battles for us or others.

Now, I just walk away.  I don’t have much more time to waste on waiting for the show.  What will happen will happen and I don’t need to be around to see karma in action.  I no longer leave a landmine for the transgressor to trip over either.  Landmines tend to injure the innocent as often as the guilty and I don’t want to be responsible for injuring people I have never met.  That is why I try to leave things better than I found them.

I don’t hike, I don’t camp as often as I used to but when I did; I practiced leave no trace.  It is when you walk into the woods and pick up not only your trash but the traces of those who have gone before you.  You don’t say, “It’s not my responsibility”.  You recognize that chances are you will be the only one who will consider picking it up and do so.  I apply that to how I live my everyday life as well.  I was recently a member of a group and the leader had to move away suddenly.  They left a huge hole in the organization and it pretty much fell apart afterward but the biggest thing was the mess that was left behind.  It was almost as if they said, “there are still members, they can deal with it.” and left all of us holding the bag.

Now, I wasn’t there for creation; I wasn’t there when everything was stockpiled.  I came into the group late and I wasn’t the last one to leave but, I didn’t leave everyone behind me holding the bag.  I did it for two reasons, 1) I like to help and 2) you don’t know who is going to see what you did.  Communities stretch far and wide and now with social media, your reputation will travel thousands of miles.  I know that those who treated us poorly will earn a reputation.  I also realize that others might say that they deserved the reputation they got if I had helped to leave a mess but, I have a reputation as well.  I’ve worked hard for it; I am a straight shooter and I clean my back trail.  People will speak to that effect; they will back up my reputation.

In closing I feel I should say; How you finish is just as important as you begin.  Be honest and truthful from the first handshake to the when you last close the door behind you.  No matter what you do, make sure you leave everything better than when you arrived.  Never sacrifice your standards because someone you were dealing with was petty or lazy.  Others are watching and nothing makes you shine more than a direct contrast.  Say please often and Thank You twice as much.  Offer to help, no matter who it is and try hard to smile.  If someone isn’t smiling, give them one of yours.  You don’t know the last time they saw one on another’s face.  Drop random acts of kindness when you can afford it and don’t make a big deal of it.  It is like those lovely painted rocks that people are leaving to travel anonymously, the rock artist doesn’t have to be there to see the smile.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.