Friday, November 18, 2016

Artists For Love

Browsing through the blogs I follow, I have noticed a common theme lately. Many of us are searching for a way to deal with and heal from the images and words of soul-draining discord, hatred, and fear that surrounds us. At times it has just been too difficult to watch the news, to see the mess that humans are making of the world, and the unrest that plagues our country. As someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, it can have a negative affect on my health, and I need to disengage from it from time to time. Some friends have said they are taking a break from facebook and/or other social media, or that they're staying offline altogether.

Strategy: Focus on the good things - like this gorgeous sunset.

Ironically, however, I have found much comfort from my blogger and facebook friends, as they share not only their fears and doubts, but also their encouragement, love, and inspiration. There are many wonderful people in the world, whose words of hope and inspiration are like healing drops of wisdom that have washed over my soul. Words do indeed heal; in art there is much power if we choose to see it.

For instance, I found these wise words on Terri Windling's beautiful blog, Myth and Moor: "... Stories do not give instruction, they do not explain how to love a companion or how to find God. They offer, instead, patterns of sound and association, of event and image. Suspended as listeners and readers in these patterns, we might reimagine our lives. It is through story that we embrace the great breadth of memory, that we can distinguish what is true, and that we may glimpse, at least occasionally, how to live without despair in the midst of the horror that dogs and unhinges us."    ~ Barry Lopez

Terri also shares these thoughts from Toni Morrison:
Troubled times, she says, are "precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
"I know the world is bruised and bleeding," she adds, "and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge -- even wisdom. Like art."

Don't forget that the world is still filled with breath-taking beauty.

I found great inspiration in these and other words by Effy Wild, who is a facebook friend, an artist, a teacher, and a wonderfully articulate writer. In a recent blog post, she writes: "I realized, thanks to a few shining lights in my universe, that all I could do in the face of this was *what I already do* but more fiercely. With more love. More compassion. More emphasis on mutual understanding. And better boundaries....
But before I, personally, could do anything, I had to give myself space to feel what I felt. Rage. Mistrust. Deep, feminine wounding. Fear. All of it had to rise up, and all of it needed expressing.
And once I'd done that, I knew that the right answer for me was to do more of the same, but more fiercely.  I knew that the right answer, for me, was to treat everyone like they are God In Drag (thank you, Ram Dass), and to remember, above all else, that We Are All Just Walking Each Other Home (more Ram Dass)."
I agree. More of the same, but more fiercely. Please read the entire post; in fact, you'd be well served to read everything she writes.

The world is still full of random beauty...

 Then, I found this on Seth Apter's blog, The Altered Page.  Seth has always been an artist and blogger who has focused on bringing people together, generously coming up with exciting projects that promote collaboration among members of the art blogging community.  In this blog post, he says, "We are all individuals with complex experiences, unique ideas, personal histories, and our very own baggage. This guarantees that life will be complicated and challenging. However, this post stands as a reminder of the importance of support, love, acceptance and respect. Always. And the rejection of bigotry and intolerance to difference. Always.

For me, this is not about who voted for who -- although I know for many that cannot be dismissed. For me, this is about something bigger than the election. This is about taking an individual step toward a collective healing. Naive? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely.

In that vein, a group of artists have created the hashtag #artistsforlove. Use it, embrace it, share it. I first read about it here and then here.  Take the time to click the links and see how you can join this movement and create your own poster that celebrates rather than diminishes inclusivity and love."

Thank you, Seth, Effy, Terri and everyone who promotes tolerance and love.



  1. soul on deck shining with deep heart and fierce love

    1. More fiercely than ever. We cannot give up, but show more love in the face of adversity.

  2. I have been struggling to find empathy and common ground with those who elected this frightening new government. How any decent human being could… Then I saw the final words of the #artistsforlove piece above: “anyone feeling alone and scared”. I want to flesh that out, because it was people feeling alone and scared who voted for the man who provided scapegoats and told them they were worth listening to. So to the list above, I’d like to add:
    We stand with you: the disrespected, the losers in the changing economy, the small towns bypassed by the busy highways, the unfashionable, the left behind. Your pain is real. Your lives matter.

    1. Very astute; you make an excellent point, expressed with conviction. Thank you for pointing out the irony here.

  3. Thank you for an amazing post of hope .

    1. Thank you, Chyfey. It's my hope that everyone will pass it on. You don't have to make your own poster; Kelly Rae Roberts has many beautifully designed posters that you can download and share here:

  4. You are right, we are experiencing so many negative emotions... like shock, fear, shame after the election... but artists are more fortunate in that we can go inside our selves and in our studio and shut out the world ... to find the dignity and grace of life through our art.

    1. I agree, Donna; I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the sanctity of my studio and the grace, as you say, that I find in making art.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I'm happy to reply here, but may not always have time for individual emails.