A quiet force

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’m basing this Editor’s Note on a Facebook posting I made during a recent battle I had with insomnia:

“One thing I’ve learned is that if I work to create positive change—either in my home, other individuals’ lives, or in the community at large—when I’m at low emotional points, when the lows inevitably turn into a new normal, all the positive changes remain. My life and the lives of those around me are better. On a karmic scale, this peculiarly allows me to be my best when I’m at my worst.”

Now that I’m much better rested, I think it’s probably the smartest thing I’ve written in a long time. I guess I had to be at a particular depth to understand that insight about myself, and now I see it all around me.

One example is those knitters of Reno Yarn Bombing Brad Bynum wrote about in the March 10 issue. Those two men are both unemployed, but rather than sitting around watching Oprah, they’re making magic. Unsuspecting people might be minding their own business and happen upon an “art attack” and be transported into a different headspace of wonder by these young men’s efforts. It’s a WTF moment, but in a good way.

Hunter and I stood at a food line, one recent evening, watching the We Care Volunteers ladle out ham, corned beef, salads, drinks, and desserts to hungry people at the Tent City area. Every single one of the volunteers was unemployed, and I was struck by the difference in attitude between the people who handed out food and those who gratefully picked up plates.

People are often surprised at my industriousness at my house. They think I love doing “home improvements.” Here’s a secret: When I’m working obsessively to control my environment, it’s because I feel my environment is out of control. There are few who’ve ever come to my home that haven’t remarked how peaceful and mellow it is. I always smile to myself knowing that all that peace represents pure chaos. But when people, including myself, move positively through chaos, stillness is what remains.