I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows, or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room. Ray Bradbury
The current suffering around the world, the suffering of so many marginalized people in the past, the suffering of the earth, and the suffering I foresee in the future if we don’t make some major changes—all leave me heartbroken. But even more so, I feel tired, angry, impatient and disgusted, particularly with what I see as greed, ego, stupidity, lies and shortsightedness.
At the same time, a fierce and ancient Truthteller roils around inside me who longs to speak in service to a new, life-affirming way of being. She is disgusted and angry, but she doesn’t want to rant; she wants to embody, or create, something that honors all life. But how?
Perhaps by doing what I love?
During a zoom conversation the other day an art teacher I respect said that our “artist soul” guides us to what we care about, wants us to love what we love and create from that place. In art, and also in life.
Not so easy. Recently something I had known intellectually landed deep in my body for the first time in a flood of grief and rage. I understood that much of what I most love in the world and what I most value about myself—dancing, singing, clothing and costumes, divination, ritual, ghosts, psychic phenomena, mental illness, color, rivers, prairie grasses, wildflowers, faeries, ancient archeology, talking to birds, flowers, trees and dead people in cemeteries, staring at the sky, writing silly rhymes and stories, sensing I am part cat, creating greeting cards and other art projects, decorating my rooms with shells, stones, sticks and flowers, and changing them with the seasons—has been ridiculed, trivialized or ignored by mainstream culture my entire life. Being a woman, an intuitive, a mystic and an artist breaks a lot of “rules.”
Now I see how that led to deciding that what I love and who I am isn’t “enough”—too childish, too girly, too amateurish, too frivolous, too loud, too weird. So I worked on “worthy” activities and developed “worthy” skills, but all that did was sap my vitality and keep me from what I loved.
I suspect this is true of just about everyone.
Because in a culture of control, dominance and greed, the heart must be suppressed. (And for many, their entire humanity must be suppressed.) Because honoring what we deeply love and who we are makes it easier to honor what others love and who they are, connecting us to each other, paradoxically softening differences, and making us harder to control. Creating a contagion of joy, excitement and creativity instead of shame.
We may have more power during this painful, chaotic time than we know. What if we refuse to be diminished by conventional wisdom, and instead dare to live in the particular way that we love, following the call and pulse of the eccentric heart in our unique body?
What do you love that mainstream culture doesn’t value? What aspects of you are “not good enough”? Can they come out to play?
(Click on any photo to see a larger, clearer version.)