Notes on the Journey

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Power of Art

One never knows the vehicle that will transport one to another awareness, or deeper awareness, or release, or transcendental moment.  Tonight, for me, it was a book called "A Sudden Light" by Garth Stein.

I was in the process of reading when I suddenly felt free.  Free, as in unhinged from the normal strictures of my being.  Free from efforting, or trying to be anything, or accomplish anything, or heal anything.  Just free.  I'm in the residual energy of this moment of striking clarity, and so I'm struggling a bit for words.  Because this moment was outside of words.  It was as if the title of the book became a reality for me.  In this moment, in this light, everything was okay.  All the anxiety slipped away.  All the concerns, all the thoughts, all the veils let go.  Everything opened up into this deep expansiveness.  I had no limits.  I was everything and I was nothing.  I just was.

It was like some gear shifted into place and the lock clicked one second.  And, all I was doing was reading.  Yet, I don't want to discount what I was reading or its power.  The character in the book was having a transcendent moment, and it's as if the book transmitted that moment to me.  I have read other books that are transmissions of energy and/or information, although it's more unusual for this type of transmission to be embedded into a novel.  But, that's just it.  We never know where the keys are.  You decide to read a book and your reality changes.  Such is the power of art.  In this case, the art of writing that is so connected, so deeply felt, so authentic, that it has the ability to touch you and change you at a cellular level.

Another work of art that has changed me recently, releasing me from a wound so deep I thought I might never be free of it, is a painting that I've been in relationship with for most of the last year.  When I first saw it, it pierced my heart and brought me to tears.  The vibrant life it held reminded me of the life I had stifled within myself for so long.  I'd go in to the gallery to visit it, even before I bought it, and was always reduced to tears when I saw it.  After I bought it, when I'd go in to make a payment on it, because I'd put it on layaway, and the gallery owner would offer to bring it out to show it to me, I often would turn her down because I knew I would be reduced to tearful incoherence.

While the painting was waiting for me, a friend who reminded me of the person in my past who I felt had inflicted the wound I was unable to resolve, triggered an awareness within me that allowed me to forgive that person.  And, that allowed me to forgive myself for blaming them for something that wasn't their fault, but that had pushed me into a limitation of my own making that had lasted for years.  A pain that had been so all-encompassing that it had shaped my life, suddenly opened up and lifted off.  I was free.  And, the person I had held responsible for my pain and perceived loss for decades was free as well.

After this long-time pain moved through, I no longer cried when I saw my painting.  It no longer pushed me into my pain, because the pain was no longer there.  Now, when I look at my painting, it only gives me joy.  It makes me happy.  When I see the life in it, I feel the life in me.  And, I'm grateful to the painting, and to the artist who painted it, and to all art everywhere.

We're going through a global transformation that will push us to the limit of our endurance.  But, it's an alchemy we must be forged through.  We are in the birth canal, using all our strength to push ourselves into a new way of being.  And, we're going to be in this process for a while, so we're going to have to get used to the pressure.  We're literally reshaping our reality and creating a new world.  No small task, but this is what we came for.  And, one of the things that will help us through it is art.

Art reminds us that there is beauty when we've lost sight of it.  Art lifts us up and helps us see the best that Life has to offer.  Art lets us express the deepest parts of ourselves in ways that heal not only the artist, but the ones who receive the art as well.  Art crosses all boundaries.  It pays no attention to nations or races or religions or to any of the things that separate us.  Art brings us together, opens our hearts and connects us in ways that nothing else can.  It's amazing the power that a song or piece of music has to transport us and inspire us.  Sometimes, all it takes is a look at a photograph or a painting to lift us out of despair.  A few lines of a poem or a good book can touch our soul.

I'm grateful for every person who continues to create art and express themselves in a way that lifts us all up.  I'm grateful that artists are able to imagine and create in ways that are able to set us all free.  I'm grateful that artists can see into the essence of things and bring them into being in the world in a way that benefits us all.  I'm grateful to every person who lives their life as a connected whole, whose life is art itself.  Each and every person who is able to live life in this way is an inspiration to all of us and lifts us all up by their example.

I know there's a lot going on in the world right now that is hard to make sense of.  But, there is also beauty and kindness and compassion and understanding.  There is love.  And, there is love incarnate, which is art, however it shows a person, in a painting, in a song, in a book, in a dance, in a look, in a touch, in a leaf, in a snowflake, in a wave.  The ways of love and art are endless.  Love and art are always expressing.  And, all we have to do is open to receive and perceive them.

My heart has been breaking over and over and over, day after day after day recently.  It has been pummeled and cracked and worn away and smashed into mush.  But, maybe that's what I needed to be able to open it, to be able to let the hardened parts of it be chipped away, to be able to feel the pain that has kept it closed for too long.  An open heart, and the inherent vulnerability that comes with it, is not comfortable when one is used to numerous layers of hardened protection.  But, for Life to be able to flow through us unobstructed, the protection has to go at some point.  Life has been brutally cracking me open lately, and I'm on my knees in gratitude.  Sometimes it's "A Sudden Light," and sometimes it's a long-time-coming light, but however the light comes to us is exactly the way we need it.  Hallelujah.            

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