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Strong Roots and Limbs

In starting this blog, it is my desire to explore not only the idea but also the practical realities of how we as artists survive — in what I think is going to be the biggest change our society has seen in more than two generations. Already, since Donald Trump has become the President-elect, we have seen a rapid rise in hate crimes. All this hate and divisiveness is not good for the fabric of our nation. While others are still exploring how we got here, I am more interested in how we survive it.

This is especially a problem for the artist and the spiritual soul, which in my way of thinking is one and the same. It is hard to be an artist if there isn’t a spiritual being lighting up your craft. So as I was editing some of my pictures yesterday, I came upon an image of a tree I took this summer. It was a beautiful maple in a Japanese garden. After I had gone through all the things about lighting, form, color, etc., that all photographers and digital artists go through, it dawned on me that this tree had strong roots and limbs. And with those things it could weather any storm.

Strong roots and limbs… that’s what it takes to weather storms. So what are the roots that an artist needs to weather a storm: a sanctuary, a support system, and the food of creativity. To me the tap root of my life, that is, my sanctuary, I call home. For my husband and I, it took moving from the state we were living in to find this true sanctuary. For the artist the need for a sanctuary can not be over stated. It is the very life blood of your work and sanity. Even in the most politically red of states, there are places that are more nurturing to the artist. Find them, choose one that calls to you and go let it nurture your soul.

Artists need the support and friendship of other artists. This is every bit as important to our health as are our sanctuaries. Spend time together, even if it is only a few minutes on Facebook. What is the food of creativity… It can be many things from going to art shows, to listening to music, to a walk in the woods. Find what is the food for your art.

What are the limbs of our trees? To me these are embodiments of our craft. Whatever form your art takes do as much of it as you can during this strange period in our country. In part, the act of creation — whether it is taking a picture, writing a poem, painting a landscape, or singing a song — is prayer. The spirit of our art becomes the leaves that will shade us in this drought that our nation is entering.



So where now

The other day, I had a very strange experience: During a discussion with a friend, I found I was being belittled and spoken to in a very demeaning way. Our political discussion changed from one of ideas to my being personally attacked. After trying to bow out, the personal attacks went on. I had no choice but to unfriend her on Facebook.

Our country is in a very strange place. We have become very fractured. Everywhere we turn, hate seems to be coming out of the very walls. People are filled with fear. We must change this but how: kindness and living within the feminine principles.

When I was growing up, my family seemed to be in two camps – those who kept tons of “stuff” because they might need it someday and those who were more Zen in their possessions. I became over time one of the more Zen members. I found more happiness if I only kept things that served me well within the seasons of a calendar year.

Now, I find that I am letting go of things and people in my life that are not nurturing to me or the other person. To me this is kindness, setting both possessions and friendships free that are naturally of better service to another.

We are at a cross road in this country, and I believe even in our own personal lives. Which path, which bridge is right for each individual is a personal choose. For myself, I see that my life and my world need to be restored to the balance of the masculine and feminine principles. As the world seems to be rushing down the path of the dark side, let us restore it with beauty, kindness, and creativity.