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A Red Line Connects Us:

Drip.                 

Drip.

Drip.

At the painstakingly Zen pace of 450 dph (drips per hour), Abby Sher walks the streets of Santa Monica every evening from 6-7pm, leaving a red, painted line in her wake.

Drip.

Her pace matches the rate of a drop of blood dripping through an IV – roughly six to seven seconds between steps. An almost uncomfortably slow pace for an urbanite…which is precisely the point. Sher’s project, “A Red Line Connects Us,” invites the public to slow down for a moment, and reflect upon “the toll of war and violent conflict on us all, regardless of our politics.”

Drip.

Owner and President of the Edgemar Development on Main Street, Sher describes the inspiration for the project on her website – www.aredlineconnectsus.org:

“…I have become increasingly aware of the violence in the world – the devaluing of human life – until I could no longer go about my life as usual, without acknowledging it. I chose this very public way in order to provide a means for others who might be feeling this same need, to join me.”

Accompanied by a steady, simulated droplet sound, the website provides some broad guidelines for participation, and offers photos of the project in action. Still wet, the line bears a chilling resemblance to fresh blood.

Drip.

Anyone who shares her desire to acknowledge our current global trauma – war, ecological devastation, widespread suffering, intolerance – may take part in Sher’s project. She recently invited artists, musicians and interested supporters to join the vigil – using red tape as a placeholder until she is granted a city permit to resume painting.

Those wishing for a more private ceremony may walk at home, across the living room or through their neighborhood, preferably at the suggested pace. Or one may simply pause for a moment in peaceful thought, ideally between 6-7pm, creating a critical mass of consciousness:

“Together, through our shared participation, we can create a shift in consciousness, where no humanity is devalued and human life is held sacred.”

Drip.

Walking at this pace is challenging, at first even a bit awkward. It reminds me of a meditation walk with Buddhist monk and world-renowned peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. Our destination lay close, an orange grove several dozen yards away, yet we crept along like human glaciers, making little discernible progress. Upon (finally) reaching the grove, our sense of time, achievement and simply being present had shifted.

Not surprisingly, Thich Nhat Hanh is linked on the project website, leading to a page of his writings. One strikes me as particularly relevant:

“Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.”

Drip.

For more information, including Sher’s route and schedule, see www.aredlineconnectsus.org.

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