Heartbleed bug, earthquakes, and how to feel secure


If you’ve read anything about the Heartbleed bug, it’s been around much longer than a few weeks. Reports say that our content has been open for several years now. In fact, when I did a little research online, Bloomberg News claims that the NSA has used this “bug” to gather intelligence for years. Reading any of this news makes me wonder why even bother changing our passwords. I guess changing them is always a good idea, but if you have four pages of passwords, it’s hard to keep them straight. Even more, how can we feel secure when we really don’t know what’s happening behind the news reports? Hearing the news only makes me feel vulnerable beyond my personal control. Yet I need to feel secure.

Then there are the recent quakes that may be imitating the shakes in the cyber world. The last few earthquakes in the world were located on what experts call the “Ring of Fire.” It’s where earthquakes and volcanoes occur along the edges of the Pacific Ocean. If you google “ring of fire,” images of maps will show you the ring. When the quake happened 30 miles from my home, I was alone downstairs, painting in my journal while watching “The Shark Tank.” I held my breath as I chanted, “Stop. Stop. Stop.” Once it did, my body shook. My sister and her family live one neighborhood over from the epicenter. They were already up in San Francisco for a long weekend. The news report wouldn’t go back to my show, so I finally turned the TV off. For several days later, small quakes woke me up every other night because they say it’s the after shocks that can be much bigger. I’m hyper sensitive to them and many times Roy isn’t even fazed. But how can I feel secure?

Thinking about feeling secure while painting this last evening, I heard the birds singing. It’s one of the best things about living in California. On my morning walks through the fields behind my house, with the mountains stretched along the horizon, the mockingbirds are happily singing their song. Their music is one of the most delightful sounds. When I hear their music, comfort rushes through me. That’s where I feel secure. Nature! That’s where I get grounded and feel the sureness of life. The resilience of nature reminds me to feel secure by just being alive.

This painting started with a pencil drawing of the word Secure. The bottom of the letters merged with the ground to symbolize feeling grounded with nature. I saw the word with roots going into the ground. As I painted in greens and browns, I felt the security of nature. As the colors seeped into roots, I asked, “Where does real security come from?” It’s not changing our passwords, that’s a tiny band aid on a massive bleeding body. It’s not moving to where earthquakes are infrequent. A natural disaster can happen any time, any where. It’s not relying on outside sources. We all know how fickle they are.

So then, feeling secure can only come from within. It’s a state of mind, a peace that fills our thoughts. Whatever comes our way and regardless of outside uncertainties, we are as resilient, and sometimes so much more, than the natural world. It’s a sureness that you are here to enjoy this earth. And when a secure feeling bubbles up within, others can sense it, too.