The Artwork of Michael Divine

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For the Patriarchs of the World

June 18th, 2017

My dad and I at my parent’s home in CT, 2016.

Today I honor the patriarchs in my life. I’d like to redefine patriarch. It has, for too long, been used the wrong way – especially by the men who wield its power as a form of subjugation, control, and personal gain. The patriarch is the balance to the matriarch. The patriarch takes a role of securing a space, defending it, helping to sustain it. Rather than being a binary gender role, it is an archetype in our human experience.

When it comes to the home, there are many things to defend against: the home must be defended from the elements, the bugs that seek to eat it apart. It must be secure from the madness that lurks in the shadows and if you’ve been in any city, you know the madness of which I speak. The beings within have to be secure in their space – this helps foster the greatest health and well being. And it needs to be sustained which takes consistent and dedicated work that seeks to be the best it can be. There is a gentle but firm hand that this requires. It is being a father to the world. And even if the world is only the space within one’s reach, then it is the world that must be tended to and cared for. A thriving world is a successful world.

I was blessed, from the beginning, to have had a real Father who did these things well. He welcomed people into his home with grace and care. He created a solid home space for us – both emotionally and physically. Along the way, I learned so much about caring for that home and what that means. It’s not about making it more or better or nicer than someone else’s – it’s about the feeling of solid ground under one’s feet, creating a space that can be as free of concern as possible, and sharing that with others.

Over the years, in my travels, I’ve encountered other such individuals – men, usually, who were older than I. Their home worlds, their work, their purpose was an extension of themselves and their stewardship of their corner of this planet. Some created space for me to live and work. They took care and interest in my well being and did what they could to help foster my creativity. At the same time, they tended to their own homes, farms, estates with a kind of compassionate stewardship.

I don’t have children. I have cats, plants, endless paintings that I nurture into being. I have a wife for whom I am in a constant state of space creation with. I have a home. It is my duty to care for these things and creatures, this human whom I share my life with, and all of the other humans I share this world with to the best of my ability. The world does not stop at the edge of my studio or the border of our property. It doesn’t stop where I becomes you or where mine becomes yours.

That’s what true patriarchy is. To be a steward to the world such that it can help nurture a balanced and vibrant culture and planet.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Fathers of the World.

My dad and I, 1993.

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