FEBRUARY'S LOVING SERVICE PROJECT
We're deep into our most cherished offering of art, connection and community healing medicine. For each of the past five years during the month of February, our favorite month, to honor all our love and friendships in their many forms, we've delivered 100 art heart cards into our local community to remind folks they are safe, they are never alone and they are always loved. At the beginning of each calendar year we reach out to a few beloved artists and put out the word we'll be doing some art crafting sessions. Prior to Covid, we met in person and played music and cut and pasted and painted and put our art on folded 8.5x11 piece of card stock and generally reveled in the 'common wealth' of artist commraderie, now we capture the spirit over zoom. When we've completed 100 art heart cards. We gather them, catalog and number them, matching the heart to the person, if we have a request or in other cases we'll hold space for our 'you are loved' message, that it will meet the heart of the recipient at the perfect moment. Once the card feels complete, we'll send or deliver them with all the grace and gusto allowed. In addition to direct mail, cards go out to community locations including senior centers, sober living facilities, foster care locations, places of purpose and care and support who all year long, give and give and give love to those in need. It is our way of saying thanks and being in gratitude for all the work being done to support folks when they need it, to care and bear witness to the community and collective hearts of those who choose service. Who choose love, every morning upon their waking.
We call this effort our February service offering, a joyful project creating art heart cards, crafting with community and sharing via the USPS and hand delivering the loving cards. Over the years we've sent cards across the globe and in most states in the great 48. The heart cards are designed to be kept or resent to another, we leave them blank with a loving message allowing for the recipient to imprint with the heart on each card. We've seen them become a part of an art collection, framed or placed on a shelf, standing up for love in living rooms across the world. Over the years we've had different colored card stock, but still find the majority of our loving thoughts emerge on white and black card stock. This effort is part of Mel's Love Land's commitment to media as medicine, to art and ecology to transform our reality and to the world's we co-create together through our love and affection, our care and commitment and our support for our neighbors, because on every level we are our neighbors. It is a heartfelt offering to give back, to raise the vibration of community and to remind of all the beautiful stories of connection, and service and power of coming together to do something from the heart.
YOU'VE GOTTA HAVE HEART (NO MATTER WHAT)
The idea of giving and receiving love started five years ago when my Father was diagnosed with a terminal cancer and the Doctor shared with us he only had a few months to live. We collectively worried, discussed the treatments and care available, we dug into all available options and ways we could assist and grieve and be angry and find ways to be a family as the truth of life finitude became a reality with a calendar and a ticking clock. We quickly came to some decisions, moving them to where their children had found their homes and careers, out West in sunny gorgeous California to be near and dear to all of our a processes of death and grief. In our shock we didn't have time to focus on Mom. There wasn't time. It was all about our Father. We'll think about that later, we'll think about it tomorrow, cause the sun always comes out tomorrow, right.
We all had deep connected time with my Father in his new 'home,' an apartment in Pasadena nearest to my younger brother. So much happened in a short time. He passed away almost exactly on the timeline the Doctor had outlined. When he was gone, there was Mom. Stressed, depressed and alone. Now. What about Mom. Sixty years loving and living with one man, the center of her universe, her everything. It wasn't long until my Mom needed assisted living, with help from God and determination we found the Regency Park Oak Knoll, a caring, loving place where we felt she was safe. That first year was rough and when Valentine's came up an idea of creating 100 heart cards and sharing with the residents at my Mom's new home with flowers and love would become a healing service project to all our hearts. A few artist friends joined in making and delivering cards. An idea shared grows stronger. We believe in a critical mass of thought, we believe in the inner power of that 100th monkey, in making a commitment to showing up and to doing the necessary work to co-create foundational health and wellness. We believe in miracles. We believe sending love brings forward more love. The making, giving and delivering of the cards had an exponentially loving effect.
LET THERE BE LOVE
Coming together to create art is part of the magic and miracles of collective healing. We infuse our time creating together with love and care. We utilize our crafting heart cards to laugh in community and the outcome of delivering love to folks is always full of surprises. The personal connections made, the stories of loves past and ancestors remembered. The joy of sharing in a deep listening, who know love is in need of love. We create a 100 heart cards and deliver into our communities to spread love. We've found love brings more love and have heard from folks they've done similar offerings and awakened a sense of sharing the gifts they've been given. We love to think of it as an activation and a gentle deeply peaceful process of creating connection through the collective heart.
Each year is different, we've expanded to different community locations. A sober living space in our neighborhood, another senior home in Hollywood and a domestic violence support center, but what remains in making hearts to give out, hearts of all shapes and sizes, hearts in collage, hearts drawn, painted, sketched, stenciled and empowered to express joy. Hearts held by monsters and wizards and friends is the joy of working with love. Our theme song for this year is Stevie Wonder's Love's in Need of Love Today "It's that love's in need of love today, Don't delay, send yours in right away, Hate's goin' 'round, breakin' many hearts, Stop it please, before it's gone too far." Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life was on repeat in our household growing up. Steve Wonder one of my Dad's favorites. You can't go wrong with any Stevie song and it is always heartening to play his music.
All Mel's Love Land efforts offer space for decolonizing, unlearning and opening the heart. Folks need space to unwind what has been wound up, to come to a different point of view and to allow for ways to let love to lead the way.
We love being able to support the post office through our purchases of stamps and every step to the post box is filled with joy, smiling at a neighbor, bending down to pet a dog or two and hugging the sun. So much love in every trip.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ARTISTS THAT DONATE THEIR TALENTS
What can you say about the individuals who continue to share the gifts and their hearts over and over but I LOVE YOU. I love your heart. I love your passion and I love your work. Some of the first cars this year included the loving sentiment "It's Never too late to say 'I Love You.' This emerged from a beautuful soulful artist spending time in Mexico, Mary Elizabeth Holmes and brought their traditions and artistry to the table. We read from the traditions of El Dia del Amor y la Amistad the day of friendship and love as we worked through our art crafting sessions.
With so much loss, death, suffering and the constant throng of struggle there is beauty, there is grace and there is love. Never forget you are loved. Always consider the opportunity to say I love you and give yourself the gift of love in open hearted joy.
BEE LOVING LINDA
This work from Linda Gabriel comes with joyful bursts of graphic power and love from the heart. Stamps of the garden, the life force of the bees and the eyes of the heart.
Throughout the sessions we share intentions for our loving cards, talk about what we wish for those who receive the cards and the ways we can expand possibilities for our worlds with our loving. Some of the cards are created for folks who send us a request for a card, for a loved one, for someone they care about and know need support and others have no intended recipient, just a free flow from the heart, others inspired by the moment, the cut of a heart, a person pops in with a heart as a prompt to share, yet others a complete expression of the moment of presence with the supplies prompted by love.
G'S MONSTER LOVE
All the monster love cards come from big Hearted Artist: Gena Kay whose redressingtheglobe offers travel inspiration and sparkling charm from around the globe.
KINDNESS AND EMPATHY RAINBOW RAVEN AND HER DAUGHTER LULU
When the going gets rough the OG founders of our kindness and art heart cards deliver, documentarian Tamra Raven and her daughter, Louise 'LuLu' Steinberg know how to giveback, collectively operating 52 Weeks of Giveback, where kindness contributes to a world reborn. These beautiful artists represent a strong lineage of women committed to uplifting our worlds.
There are two parts to delivering of the art heart cards, mailing and hand delivery, each has its own magic. We love the USPS. It is a rich part of our great United States, from the zip code system to the interconnected relationships between communities through our beloved mail carriers and the worlds they connect. One of the fun parts is getting the loving cards in the magical post box on the corner. You can request a card for yourself or a loved one on our site, click here.
Should you be inspired to send cards of gratitude and love and heart in your communities throughout the year you will need crafting and art supplies, card stock, different materials and 'stuff' to create hearts. Set aside time and allow for your gratitude to lead the way with any idea that moves your artistic soul. Once you have completed a few cards you'll experience the grace of sending, giving and receiving love, bringing alive the idea of being a bit more loving today than you were yesterday.
In honor of all of our loved ones and my Mom and Dad, never forget you are never alone, you are safe and you are always loved. Always consider the opportunity to say 'I love you' with a card made by you with love in open hearted joy.
This February Loving Service project is part of Mel's Love Land's commitment to love in action. It is one of many art healing initiatives we encourage and participate in. It is one of the featured elements of Mel's Love Land, an original Documentary Series that asks the question WHAT IF All Our Thoughts Were Loving?
We hope you experience more love, more joy and all the ways we are interconnected in the space of the heart.
An Original Documentary Series
S1: MEL'S LOVE LAND - WHAT IF All Our Thoughts Were Loving?
Streaming Spring 2022
Melanie Lutz – Mel's Love Land
All Systems Love