Giving and Receiving: Dialogue for Peace

by Mary Jane Miller

Christmas 2017 has passed and with it a wake of wrapping paper and memories. I woke up today thinking about all the gifting and packaging that goes on around the world, celebrating our capacity to give and receive. Literally tons of stuff, wrapped up with a bow, cards and lots of tape. What is our motivation for this tradition in which we all participate? Most of us at one time or another got that gift we did not appreciate, nor the person who gave it. Maybe it was a token obligation to give or maybe a gift we received because it was tagged incorrectly. A lot goes wrong on many levels at Christmas. The morning news of the 28th, announced that the USA racks up one billion dollars in returned gifts. Everyone exchanging the stuff for a new size or something entirely different. It can make you laugh, imagine returning the baby Jesus because he was the wrong size or color.

Sitting there over our morning coffee, my husband and I got talking about our Christmas memories. Valentin and his 14 brothers and sisters are from the rancho called the Joya, just outside San Miguel. He told me his dad only gave one gift every year so the entire family; all celebrated and shared one gift. His memory highlighted a shiny red tin truck. You can see the same ones displayed for their historical value in the Toy Museum on San Francisco in San Miguel. I asked him what other gift he remembers receiving. He said, "Well... once my Dad gave my sister and me a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush, we promptly ate the toothpaste and threw the brush away.

On a more serious note, my husband and I are giving the Installation for Art and Peace called the Dialogue  to the Muslim Turkish center in Houston. The installation has been on display in Cieneguita for the past 7 years. It has been surprising to me how much anxiety the decision to give it away has caused me. Strangers will receive our beautiful installation, made with so much love on the 17th of January, and I want to know what they will do with it. I want to know how they will get people to see it, who likes it and what they think. I am so anxious about the future that I am doubting if I have done the right thing. Hilarious really... ownership; imagine giving someone a Christmas cake and wanting to know what the future holds for it. What color is the plate they will eat it on, did they like it, share it, or give it away, was there any left and did that ended up in the garbage?

Come see the Dialogue and enjoy some time in the country -
Thursday, January 4, 12:00- until... (bonfire starts at 6pm)
From the SMA train depot, Kilometer 4, on the way to Cieneguita, but well before the actual town, a yellow building on the left by the first tope
Free

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This annual season of giving and receiving, the one we get so invested in through parties and correspondence may have little to do with the baby Jesus, but it does package a real honest and challenging opportunity for us all to analyze how to give and receive stuff. In theory, God (spirit, energy, nature, alpaa/omega, etc.) gave the gift of a child and all humanity has to do is say thank you and care for it best we can. Perhaps we can begin the process by being grateful for a sweater or a tennis racquet.

Peace be with you in the New Year.

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Mary Jane Miller is a Passionate artist, iconographer, designer, teacher and author. She had lived 40 years in Mexico, bilingual, Spanish/ English, bi-cultural marriage with Valentin Gomez 41 years, American-Mexican. Successful designer, real estate, quasi architect and previous art gallery owner. Master iconographer with 25 years experience.

Classic Iconography

Contemporary Icons

Installation for World Peace

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