Make Something Worth Seeing...
It's a recurring theme. It comes back to me again and again. And I write about it often, because it keeps telling me it's most important. Keeping my vision front and centre. Spreading light as much as I can. Using my creative gift to speak to hearts and souls.
I was talking with a very close friend this week about how women are portrayed in film and other media, specifically the romance film, the chick-flick, and this is something she shared. We had a great laugh over it! Truth is always easier when served up with a little humor. :)
I said to her that they forgot to include "Pretty Woman" which to me has always been the ultimate rescue bulls**t. And then I saw this trailer later that same day and thought this might be something more like real love. I haven't seen it yet, but it looks promising.
Part of the conversation with my friend that day was about a couple of high-profile divorces happening right now. They are public people she and I have both appreciated for various reasons, and so it was disappointing to hear the news. Being divorced myself, I realize there is a lot that goes on behind closed doors that people outside the situation never know about. And I know about getting to the end of a road after spending years trying to fix something irretrievably broken.
But we also recognized that marriage, and love for that matter, are not what they could be. And even though I don't want to go back to everything that the 50s culture stood for (see trailer above), things do seem much more disposable now. People walk away more quickly than they used to. If it doesn't continue to stroke the emotions or the ego, if it isn't romantic anymore, or it's gotten to the place where it requires going to difficult, deep and vulnerable places, then it's time to jump ship. Casual everything has made living on the surface very easy.
To me, the vulnerable, harder places, are when you are just getting to the place of real closeness, of bonding with someone on the soul-level, of honesty and safety to a degree never before experienced because you've trusted each other with your deepest selves. That place you've spent a lifetime protecting and running away from. The only place where real communion lives.
So what does this have to do with making art?
Something else that brought an answer was the Kabbalah class I go to, taught by my Rabbi. I love this class. And he has got to be the most high-energy Rabbi on the planet! I love his insight. And I love that he loves being who he is. He inspires me. Anyway, he was talking one day about G-d's mission statement. Huh? G-d has a mission statement? I hadn't thought about it before but when he mentioned it I assumed He/She was just the One who ultimately called the shots. But he told us that day that G-d's mission statement could be found in the first few verses of Torah and it is this: "Let there be light."
It knocked me flat. It still does as I write these words.... At first I was shocked and then, "Of course!" He went on to say essentially that since this is G-d's mission, it is ours as well. This is where our gifts, our vision, our longings step in. For me, that takes the form of art-making. It requires digging very deep, being really honest with myself, and putting down what I see and feel in such a way that it truly brings light to others.
This is what we are all meant to do. Whether it's through film, writing, painting, mothering, fathering, "spousing" or whatever it is you know you've been called to do. It might be spreading light and love through the job you already have. Or it might be through something you've always wanted to do but have been too afraid to try. My life needs to be one that spreads the light, and spreads it further than it could otherwise go, if I did not do what I know I need to do.
We're here to spread light to each other in all things. To embrace and love at a level we all know is possible and we all secretly want. The reality is, we have to give it to receive it. And a good part of the time it will require hard work. It will mean commitment and going places we like to shy away from. It will mean saying no to the plethora of other choices. As my Rabbi said that day, maturity means you've learned what to say no to.... But living this way will spread light. And I know, as with G-d's light, it will embrace us and never let us go. What we can do is an eternal thing. It has that kind of everlasting staying power.
What an amazing life this is, that we get to take light and love to everyone and everything we do. It's stunning! I am called to be brave in everything. And so are you. We are called to be there for each other. It is no small thing this mission. But what incredible reward there is in it.
So make something worth seeing. Make of your life and work something worth sharing and giving away. Make something of your art and your life that speaks to people, whether it's someone who sees your painting or your film, hears your song, reads your book; or someone you make a meal for, someone you go to work for, someone you embrace every day, someone you share a bed with every night, someone you send off to school every day and teach life lessons through the example of your own life.
G-d came up with an amazing, wild mission. We haven't been given something impossible to carry out. G-d is not counter-intuitive.
We can do this!