Many of us are noticing a deep call – to live a more authentic life, to be more intentional, more creative – to “be the change”. We look around us, and we see a world in serious trouble, a world filled with extreme divisiveness, polarization, fear, mistrust, tragedy and horror.
How do we respond? This is a huge and vital question.
This morning, I offer some of my own thoughts and feelings about this.
I find it almost impossible to avoid getting caught up in the external polarization. Sometimes it seems like the only way to fight for what I believe in.
And yet, I am sure there is a deeper call. Something that echoes and reverberates within, and also in the world around us. A call to a new way. A call to gather, in the equality and inclusiveness of the circle, on behalf our planet Earth. An urgent call that demands us to use our imaginations, our creative wisdom, our best selves. A call that demands us to stand up for what we believe in, and live it, fully. A call that asks us to look into the darkness, our own darkness, and feel the power that lives there. A call to harness that power, to engage with it, to be vigilant with ourselves in our own quest toward integration and wholeness.
As I look around, I imagine that the world is cracking open. Sometimes this cracking open seems like nothing but death and destruction. In my better moments, though, I imagine that is it cracking open to reveal the birth of something new. This is really what I believe in my deepest self, and I know that I must go into that place, to be willing to crack myself open and find my own deeper truth. To discover, in a sense, what I am truly made of.
My most reliable path to this deeper place in myself is through the activation of my own creative process. Through art-making, movement, writing, and being in circle with others. Through taking a little time each day to get quiet, check in with myself, invite and allow an image and writing to arrive on the page, and perhaps to explore it by moving my body in response. By making this commitment to myself, I am making a commitment to my own authenticity, and to showing up in the world as the best version of myself that I can manage each day. It seems like a simple commitment, but it is not easy. It is a commitment to conscious living, and I meet this commitment with varying levels of success. When I step off the path, I take a breath, and begin again. It is my practice.
If I commit to you to share my practice, it will help hold me accountable, and hopefully it will inspire you to find your own practice. I plan to keep sharing, through these blog posts and Facebook. I really want to demystify this change process, and let you see how it works for me.
This practice is not so much about the art, as it is about the discovery. Sometimes I love the images and sometimes they disturb me, at least at first, until I listen deeply to their messages, and then they become guides.
The day after Solstice, we held an Expressive Arts Discovery virtual gathering.This is the image and writing that came for me. It came unbidden, as I tuned inward and listened deeply.
“The darkness is here, and I can’t live only in the light. The light comes only when I am willing to enter the darkness. lose my way, forget my map. In the darkness, I go deep within and discover the resources I may have forgotten that I have. In the darkness I stumble upon the opening to a cave that holds a long-forgotten light. I pick up the light and carry it with me. It guides my way home.” Kathleen (through the image)
As I reflect now, a week later, I think the Solstice called me into the dark, and that call was working within me, even though I wasn’t consciously aware. The image and writing tell me that only by being willing to go into my own darkness will I ever be able to know the fullness of my own light. Only by unearthing the light that may be buried within, hidden away at some earlier time when it might have been too scary, or risky, to own it, can I live fully. Only then can I live in the world in from my own place of power. I believe that the Earth, that our future, is demanding that we show up, in life, now, as fully as we are able.
At Expressive Arts Florida Institute we have created virtual, live, online expressive arts gatherings, in the spirit of the circle. We see these as opportunities to join in community for brief and profound personal check-ins and sharing. We believe that part of our own journey is to create circles of connection that are not restricted by geography.
Our next Online Training Retreat – Embracing Change through Expressive Arts, Jan. 6-7 – is a 24 hour virtual retreat space that includes guided meditations, art-making, witnessing, sharing, some expressive arts training, journal prompts, and an online sharing space. It is all about how we create change – first inward, then outward, through this work. We hope some of you will join us.
You can also join in to Expressive Arts Discovery, virtually. These are brief, 90-minute circles of creative expression. The schedule is here.
If you are local, consider joining us for Open Studio, every Wednesday from 10 am – 1 pm, by donation.
All of these are powerful circles of inquiry and change. Circles such as these are needed. Join us or create your own.
Kathleen Horne, MA, LMHC, REACE