Maintaining Spirit

Maintaining Spirit

From childhood on, one of my biggest struggles has been how to deal with the disillusionment a person experiences while navigating through the channels of a less than perfect world. In other words: how could I keep my spirit alive and vibrant, continuously growing instead of diminished by the harsh truths reality often deals out?

At an early age I found myself gravitating towards art and writing instinctively, almost like a blind sprout slowly feeling its way through a cracked rusty can. It wasn't until my early twenties that it began to dawn on me that creativity was not just some sort of eccentric character flaw or outlet, and it wasn't until my late thirties that I began to realize that this quirk in my nature served a valuable purpose: care for the soul.

Daily, in our modern day culture, a great majority of us have our senses bombarded with stimuli that is, more often than not, toxic, toxic and artificial, rather than a way to establish substantial roots. Greed and envy can be bred from what the televison sells, what the advertisements push, that and a prevailing subliminal miasma whose message is this: You are just not good enough.

Surely there is nothing new about me pointing this out. Surely many others must find it odd that in our newspapers running next to real tales of genocide and warfare, there are also ads for clothing and cosmetic surgery. How to make sense of that??

Gravitating to the arts, and also to "day jobs" predominantly in Human Services, often as a direct caregiver, was my attempt to do precisely that, to not only reflect, but to clarify what it means to recognize and feel every facet of existence, both light and its opposite. Still, existing in a vacuum, the artistic spirit can not always necessarily thrive. To live in a shell can be healing but also, at times, cramping, and the only way to keep staying fresh is to try and find out what others are up to, what messages their spirits carry.

Do we need one another for the articulation to occur? Do your bones resound with an answer of "yes"?

I am in my mid-forties now, working mainly in mixed media and enjoying the experimentation process. Glues, glitter, bits of jewelry, buttons and stickers and fabric in addition to paint...These have become part of my tools as much as simple ink scribbling across paper. These are the means to childhood doorways seen with new eyes, and I notice so many others who are also after the same knowledge by similar means.

They are busy making scrapbooks and photos, haunting craft stores and yarn shops. They are passing down recipes, journaling for truth, jotting down home and garden tips. They are getting their hands dirty and laughing, breathing sighs of satisfaction.

From that the spirit rises cleansed and ready to go again, thriving amid chaos.

"Making Hoa Binh", mixed media, from the series "We Are More Than Our Wounds"

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Erin M profile image

Erin M 8 years ago from Portland, OR

Art is an amazing tool for creating your own sense out of a senseless world.

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