I’ve spent a lot of time in LA because I use to have a job here in the summers and my dad formerly owned a house here. Venice beach seems to define LA as much as anything else. It serves as a microcosm of all that LA is. Homeless, tourists, multicultural, the uber wealthy, beach culture, the ugly and the beautiful.
You can find almost anything on Venice beach from new shades to tattoos, real estate, and Ferraris. There is even a gymnastics gym…well sort of. It has all the men’s events in the sand as well as a full floor made of grass. Many a gymnastic minute has been spent here. It was here that I really felt as if I had made it to LA.
While here I met Doug. Doug is originally from Kansas City, but has been here on the beaches for the last year and a half. His face is filled with character and he was fun to draw. The character was hard won however, and he recounted the number of times that he has had to stitch up the very face I was drawing. He was a kind man and was patient with my drawing.
I also happened by a group of kids that were feeding the homeless. They weren’t preaching or expecting anything in return, they just went around telling people that there was food for them if they wanted. I was humbled by their humanity. I thanked them for doing what they were for peace.
Finally, I met Jean. She was moved by what I am doing, and asked if she could join me. I told her of the miles and the cost both physically, spiritually, and mentally. I suggested that she do what she could with her skills to love others as best she could without expectation of anything in return. This is hard. I know first hand. Loving others, you expect to get loved back, but it is that simple concept of letting go of an expected outcome that is so difficult. The cost of letting every expectation go is perhaps more than any of us can part with. Every time I think I’ve done so…I’m humbled. We all want people to be kind to us when we are kind to them. It is hardest to let go of our expectations especially when it is family that we are most intent on receiving love from. But, in my experience, it is loving without expectation and despite what is returned that we truly experience enlightenment.
Love, Art & Peace to all.