Popular Section: Confidence

How Many Hats?

how many hatsThe word “artist” is disarmingly deceptive as a singular noun. It gives the appearance of one thing, like “chair.” Or elephant. Or electrician.

And because we humans are hard wired to use language as our core form of communication, words have a pervasive psychological power on us consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously.

Without being aware, we sleepwalk into language traps all the time.

Since the word “artist” is singular, we feel as if the artist must also be singular. A painter. A sculptor. A jeweler. Singular, in the same way an electrician sticks to working with electricity.

This sense that, as an artist, you are one thing morphs into another sense, that you should, by all rights, only be doing one thing (like an electrician).

Then, when the reality of “doing,” as an artist, flies in the face of this singular feeling (all I should be doing is making art), a sort of righteous indignation – or resentment – creeps in.

And so begins….

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What Gets In The Way?

There were 36 hours this week when my normally plucky self completely derailed. You know, the equivalent of a dozen bad hair days slamming into you all at once.

Thank goodness, when that happens, I have a coach. A smart and compassionate one who doesn’t let me get away with much.

Her first question, when I confessed I’d woken up feeling like a failure, was: When did that start?

Well, of course, the part of me that preferred wallowing to working drew a blank.

I woke up that way, so hey, did it start in my sleep? (heading down dark paths of the psyche brings out my cheeky side)

What followed was a volley of questions (hers) and non-answers (mine). My coach is remarkably patient, or tenacious, depending on how “oh,-I’m-not-feeling-resistant” resistant I’m being.

I still don’t remember the exact moment I gave myself permission to…

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What Do I Really, Really, Really Want?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a chunk of my lifetime asking, “What do you want?”

I ask my daughters this. I ask my clients. I ask my neighbor.

Tonight, in the kitchen, returning from a date in Northampton (a ton of fun!), I leaned on the counter, hung my head and heard myself ask out loud, What… do… I… want?

I had been pouring myself a glass of water when a weight seemed to drop onto me, out of nowhere, and then…

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Part 1: Art As Spiritual Sanctuary

For a long time now I’ve been intrigued by the many correlations between the visual fine arts and spirituality.

In times past, art was an extension of that uniquely human branch of spirituality: religion. It married the power of vision to the power of institutionalized religion, especially that of the four world super religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Moslem, and Judaism.

A variety of art forms were also core to the traditions and rituals of native cultures – masks, totems, body paint, body adornments, dance, theater, costumes – where spirit was an ever-present reality threaded throughout daily life and initiating or supporting major life transitions, such as birth, death, marriage, life-as-service, and so much more that I can’t even conceive.

When humans shifted the locus of their attention from the tribe, clan, and family–where individuality was invisible under the cloak of the group–to the beginnings of self-awareness.

At this point, the crest of human development used art to pour forth even more testimony to all aspects of the human-as-spirit condition, as envisioned in the private spaces of a single mind and heart, one being at a time.

And with this rise of individuals as aware of self came…

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