The instrument

Did you feel like your connections with others were heightened this week? Amidst the chaos and concern over changes in our government and their effects, I kept having these great and powerful meetings with people. I’m not sure yet where it’s going but…it’s going.

I also feel hopeful, but not in a light way. It’s a very forceful and determined kind of hope.

Along the way, I kept plugging away at these silhouettes. I was frustrated with the process of using the pen tool in Photoshop, which looks like this.


So I printed a couple of images and attempted to trace them by hand.




The sharpie was too big but also this was just not right. Thanks to a tip from a friend, I moved to using some much more expensive tools: an Apple pencil on an iPad in Adobe Draw.

I loved the idea of hand drawing, but in this case, it was well worth the switch. It also helped that my husband already had the pencil, so I didn’t have to buy it.

In any case, using the pencil (it’s really a fancy stylus) made it easy to get detailed, clear silhouettes. Shockingly easy. I spent the last day or two getting over 50 done. Here are those women talking:


So much better!

Here’s one of my daughter:


That one has a special meaning for me that is invisible: She was actually listening to me read her the Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial.

Then here’s my Dad:


And here’s a skateboarder:


And here are refugees with a wheelbarrow:


I’ve added a few people who are famous (mostly political) as well, and plan to mix those in with people from my personal photographs and all the rest.

And then I did some experiments like this:


And finally felt ready to remove the tapes from some of these:




But mostly I was focusing on getting those silhouettes done so they can get cut next week.

What an amazing feeling it is finding the right tool, or right instrument. It doesn’t just make what you were planning happen more easily, it expands your capacity and can even change your goals.

Talking with people this week had a similar effect on me. When I shared my authentic and at times vulnerable self, I found myself invariably in the presence of a person who in that moment was the right instrument for me, and not just for my reassurance but for my growth too. Perhaps that’s always happening, but I don’t always recognize it. Either way, there is that confounded bridge.

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