Resolution

When I was in 7th grade my parents told me that we were going to the beach for New Years Eve and I could take one friend. If you have never been to Galveston, Tx you won't know why I was a little disapointed with this plan. It is a beautiful part of the world the ocean is tame and still on the Gulf. It is a place where I can reliably find peace. However, my 13 year old self wanted anything but peace. Those myths about New Years had already set in. New Years Eve was supposed to me raucus, wild and anything but peacful. The word that came to mind was BORING.

Anyway, I grabed my old friend Nicole and we tradged along to the calmest little peice of our worlds. When we arrived Nicole and I went to Walmart. It was the only place arround that was open with bright lights. I was despratly looking for a way to make this evening special. At Walmart Nicole and I talked about our 7th grade lives. She had a lot on her plate, I knew that. Her parents were in teh midst of a divorce and she was about to be uprooted. We had lived across the street from eachother our whole lives and both of us knew that was about to come to an end along with so much else; childhood, inocence, imaginary powers on magical abandoned islands. Soon, if not already, Nicole and I would be playing very different games.

Of course I couldn't articulate that at the time. In the midst of transition we only felt a need for something big this New Years, something memorable. I had an idea, we bought candles and returned to the house where we were staying. I don't remeber the ritual we came up with but I know it inovlved lighting a candles for what you wanted in the next year. We decided that saying what we wanted was much better than coming up with traditional resolutions, wich ussualy require judgement and sacrifice. In the midst of a vast ocean of unknowing, what we needed was a place to swim to not a thing to leave behind. We did not want to make resolutions rather we needed a resolution.

As midnight came we retreated to the loft and began our little ceremony. I still remember the way that the light looked on Nicole's face as she lit her candles and talked ernestly of what she wanted. If we went back and listened to ourselves we might even laugh at what those girls said. It wasn't brilliant or particularly well put, but it was the truth and we heard eachother say it. How powerful it can be to speak your truth and be heard, to have it rembered maybe not in content but at least in context.

This afternoon I am running the first workshop that PassageWay arts has hosted. I am runing it with another good old friend and we will be lighting candles for our intentions. I hope that those who have wondered there will find what I found that night in Galveston almost 15 years ago; a new years resolution.

Winter Traditions

(I promised another post on The Sacred Arts. That stalled me for a little bit. I promise to return to that eventually.)

Over the Christmas break I have been contemplating the winter rituals that surround this exteremly cool season. Regardless of your religious leanings it is hard to avoid the traditions associated with Christmas and Hannakah. The idea that this is a season of warmth and joy is not coincidental.

Like all of our rituals, current winter traditions have arrisen out of human need. The shorter days and cold weather draws us indoors to hearth and family. There we find Christmas and all it's trappings bringing light into a darker world. Hannakah and Kwanza are also festivals of lights, illuminating those long cold nights. It is so clear, as we plug in our Christmas lights each night and pour our warm coco, we are enaging in ancient rituals of warming the soul.

What traditions do you and your loved ones share at this time of year?

Regardless of how you do it, may your holiday season be merry and bright!

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The Sacred Arts

What are the Sacred Arts?

There is a lot to unpack here, so let us start with definitions. What do I mean when I say "the arts"? What does that term mean to you?

My background as an artist grew from my love and studies of theatre arts. The theatre is a unique place in the art community because a theatrical work it is made up from multiple art forms. There is the wordsmith, the poet, the playwright who gives the piece its voice. The musician or DJ composes and compiles a score. The director and choreographer are visual storytellers, pulling out the narrative and enhancing the rhetoric. The scene, costume, and light designers are the visual artists contributing color, texture, composition. Finally, the performers use their bodies and voices to enact the art, bringing to life the creative choices of the entire group. Within the theatre show you have all "the arts" enfolded together; music, literature, movement, visual, and performance.

It is the theatre that made me reconsider myself as an artist able to work in multiple modes of expression. I have written, painted, sculpted, danced, crafted, cooked, gardened, decorated, performed, and sung my creativity. Each of these modes of expression serves a different purpose in my life. From authentic expression in each modality a new perspective can be gained.  In her book, Walking on Water, Madeline L'Engle wrote it very simply "art is communication".

 

Through my graduate studies in Expressive Arts I have learned how to use the arts and the connection between creative processes to heal myself and others. Sometimes words can not hold an emotion and it must be danced or enacted. Poems can be used to contain and conceptualize thoughts. Watercolor allows tears in paint to flow onto the page and oil pastels can bring the color of our dreams to life. Songs are sung to build community. The arts are a tool. They are an alternate way of listening to a problem, of letting a process unfold, and of communicating the truth of the matter.

In my next post I will go into the connection I see between creative process and spiritual process.

Was there a time in your life when you used a creative process to heal or serve? How are you accessing your creative energy right now in your life?

 

 

 

Sacredness

Autumn is often full of transition. As the world turns darker and the days shorten, life prepares for the cold months ahead. This happening in nature is reflected in our inner lives. Sometimes the Fall can bring depression, anxiety, and even hopelessness. However, the world has set up systems that pull those feelings out of us and place them in sacred traditions. We light candles, carve pumpkins, dress up in costumes, and get a chance to believe (even if just for one night) that the unknown is knowable. The holiness or sacredness of these traditions push deeper into life, past fear and confusion to the heart of the season; preparing for the next thing. When something is sacred it is “oh, so much more than it seems”. Simple wood and string becomes prayer beads. Wax and thread transforms into a candle lit in the darkness. A date on the calendar becomes a special anniversary. And someone simple and ordinary, that you pass on the street, transforms into the voice of your heart.
That is how sacredness works. It is a window clarifying that the world and all that it contains is “Oh, so much more”.

I invite you in this season of transition to notice the sacred rituals that surround you. How are you transforming the simple in your life to see the sacred?