Monday, August 02, 2010

Hello, Goodbye, Hello

After five pleasant days in Canada, visiting where my great-grandfather was born, I came back home prepared to get back to work, only to succumb to a summer cold, which was brought on by an herbal detox that I had started taking.  I took this as a cue that more rest was needed.  So last week I moved about very slowly, only doing work when I felt up to it, but mostly resting.

During this time I thought about my relationship to the hummingbird, to the painting of Etain, to some writing I have been revising and to the planet we live on.  Everything around me seems to be speaking about rebirth and renewal.  I assumed it was just related to the theme of the art I am currently working on, but then I realized it is more than that.  The world is changing and it is changing fast.  Society is crumbling, though many people are expending a lot of energy to resist this truth.  Climate change has already begun re-shaping the weather and the geography around the globe.  It is beyond the time to make corrections to prevent climate change, it is now time to adapt to what has resulted.  It is now time for a planetary wide rebirth and a renewal of our thinking and living habits.

Dream Lynx drawing by DoAn

Rebirth is a painful time.  But it is also a joyous event.  Clinging to what we know, fearing the unknown, only prolongs our suffering.  I often experience these feelings of fear and clinging when creating a new painting, or a sculpture.  Fear of doing the wrong thing of not being able to create another successful piece always hovers in the back of my mind. Clinging as I am afraid to try a new thing.  Now suddenly, it seems we are all facing this kind of fear and resistance in some form.

It is easy to become sucked into despair, as we hear all the bad news out there.  The oil spill, the loss of income, the instability of the economy, wars, the collapse of society...I don't need to go on.  I admit that at times I get bogged down by the overwhelming inflow of bad news.  I wonder, sometimes, why does making my art matter.  Does it really matter?  Who really cares about what I am working on?  There are so many other things that are more important.  Maybe I should stop and move to the Gulf and clean oil-slicked birds for the rest of my life.

But, part of rebirth, is also about trust and faith.  Giving up is not honoring the process, it is accepting the status quo.  I don't think obsessing about the negativity really honors the wonders and richness of life.  The planet is changing--has changed. Nature is designed to adapt.  Change is the reality that touches us all, for to believe that things can stay the same only invites suffering. The planet is working to readjust, heal, and continue to evolve.  It will do so with or without us humans.  Society too is changing.  It is likely collapsing, but it doesn't need to be perceived as the Big End.  Instead, it can viewed as a rebirth process, and we can enter into the collapse with grace.  Societies are similar to a cultivated field, for they grow beyond their capacity to sustain themselves, collapse, and new societies grow out of the wreckage. 

Instead of feeling helpless and frozen with fear and despair. I have chosen to see this time as beautiful and inspiring.  It is not easy.  Change is hard.  Especially when that change is forced upon you.  But, change can be the catalyst of tremendous growth.  My art is a way to process this change.  My art helps me to understand the world, how I fit in with the world, and how we all are connected during this time. My art is a vehicle of communication to others who are interested in learning about the world around them and how we can relate to each other and to all living beings.

Does my art matter?  Maybe, maybe not.  But I know it teaches me how to navigate in the world.  Art quite literally keeps me sane and centered, when all around is chaos.  I believe that art is how I can contribute something positive to a society that is overly addicted to the negative.  If we are to leave a legacy behind, I would like it to be one the resonates positive positive energy with the changes in the world.  I do not feel comfortable adding to the fear, anger, frustration and resistance. 

Rebirth is always easier when it is viewed as sacred, when it is respected and is assisted with loving spirit.  We can all enter this rebirth time with helping hands, rather than clenched fists or flailing arms.  When we reach out and embrace those around us contributing to each other in whatever capacity we are able, rebirth into the new world becomes an act of love and healing.

Now is the time for support, coming up with new and innovative ideas, and sharing resources.  This is why I do my art.  This is why, despite the bad news already, I stay positive and seek out the good stories.  One doesn't need to wear rose-colored glasses and cling to an outmoded way of being to exist in a changed world, rather, it is best to open one's eyes and see the whole picture and trust in the process, even if that process is so much bigger than little 'ole me and you.

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DoAn Art is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of DoAn Art may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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