A Reminder from a Pen and a Sweater

Ink on Mixed Media Paper – Words: Tenzin Gyatso

Last christmas my husband bought me a special ruling pen, one that was hand crafted and only sold in limited supplies. A ruling pen is basically two pieces of metal craft to form a point, usually with a screw between the pieces to allow for reservoir adjustments. I have had it sitting on my studio table for eleven months taunting me to give it a go. I jumped in and began playing with it. A ruling pen requires dipping the metal tip into ink, which is not a method I do a lot, so I had to remember how to write, dip, write, dip and develop a rhythm with this tool. I liked it and plan to use it more often now that I am over the fear.

I am ashamed that it took me eleven months to get over my pride, my fears, and having to relearn how to use a ruling pen. Sad how we get stuck in our ways so much so that we do not use the “new” and exciting things right in front of us. This pen was expensive by calligraphy standards and we had to wait months for it to arrive, and once it did I let it sit and gather dust. I know that had much more to do with me than it had to do with the pen.

It can be hard when you are capable, well equipped and like your life to try new things. What’s the point? My life is good the way it is so no reason to rock the boat. Does that sound a like a real fuddy duddy or what? Not everything has to be new, and new does not guarantee better. The challenge occurs when we no longer see the opportunity in new things only the uselessness of chasing our ways. Remember when people thought no one would need a home computer or a cell phone? Where would we be without those things today?

It just hit me that I am having the same experience I had with the pen with a new sweater. I bought it and have not worn it yet, this one I can however blame on the weather…it was nearly seventy degrees here today. No matter the excuse the pen and the sweater reminded me that fear is a real thing, that peace only comes when we overcome our fears and punch right through those paper walls that look so daunting. And I am reminded that we are never too old to try new, do new, even experiment with who we are and who we want to become. New can change our world for the better but only if we try. The only limitations are the ones we set for ourselves and listen to all too often. Strange that it took a pen and a sweater to remind me of all this.

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