Woman in Red by Zhang Yibo

Castelmezzano, Italy ↝ Russo Francesco


1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness.
Isaias 11:1-2


aw16 (by sali255)


I have about fifty different versions of my life, either concealed within my mind or written down plainly on paper in notebooks scattered in places I wouldn’t dream of searching for. These thoughts or words contain my fate— they hold the abstract mysteries of my future.

You know, like falling in love with a man whose voice happens to harmonize perfectly with mine. Playing gigs with him in mountain towns that snow in June. Owning an art gallery/ music store/ coffee shop in a tourist town, and sitting on the counter with my guitar on slow days. Kayaking across the lake, absorbing sun on the weekends. Or not…

I also wrote of the joys of living in New York, strolling the streets of Manhattan on a foggy morning amongst people of such great diversity. Dressed in street-style clothes, confident, coffee in hand, smiling at everyone. Being a dedicated member of a symphony, finding consolation under those warm lights on stage surrounded by warm, harmonizing sounds, becoming one with the orchestra and my violin. Or not…

…liiving in a yellow cottage surrounded by wildflowers next to a stream, alone. No sounds but the singing of the birds who harmonize beautifully, naturally… I would fit in so well with them. I would sing along with them, and when my voice became hoarse, I would be silent and listen to their stories of living above the ground for days. I would devour book after book until my  ten-year-old pile of used books was finally gone and I would have to take my bike out to town to buy more. Or

returning to my hometown after two years of ethnographic study in Africa, my skin dark and warm from the intense sun; absolute bliss. Wearing garments I received as gifts there— a long, print dress, beaded necklaces, braided hair. Having a thin and muscular frame, resulting from complete enculturation. Then experiencing the beauty of being welcomed back into my native culture again, feeling united with the world.



Suffering in Unity

Perhaps the most profound form of comfort is obtained through suffering in unity.

We might ask ourselves why we suffer sometimes. The reason is simple, and the key word to remember here is “sometimes”. We do not suffer all the time. While we are living a day of pure joy, someone around us is overwhelmed with misery. And we will not know how to comfort that person feeling miserable if we do not know what suffering is. 

We suffer to be able to give comfort to others. We suffer so that no one will be alone in their suffering. We suffer because without suffering, we wouldn’t know the meaning of joy. Joy is something that we can achieve most abundantly through relief. Relief is obtained only after suffering.