To Live A Life That Matters

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“C.G. Jung once wrote that creativity is an instinct, not an optional gift granted to a lucky few. If you don’t find a way to be creative in life, that instinct goes repressed and frustrated. You feel its loss as a deflation, the spirit leaking out of your sense of self. You feel empty, disengaged, and unfulfilled.”

~~ Thomas Moore

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“Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years.
And for this reason, some old things are lovely
warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.”

~~ D. H. Lawrence

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“The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.” Tennessee Williams

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“Evidence of the failure to love is everywhere around us. To contemplate what it is to love today brings us up against reefs of darkness and walls of despair. If we are to manage the havoc — ocean acidification, corporate malfeasance and government corruption, endless war — we have to reimagine what it means to live lives that matter, or we will only continue to push on with the unwarranted hope that things will work out. We need to step into a deeper conversation about enchantment and agape, and to actively explore a greater capacity to love other humans. The old ideas — the crushing immorality of maintaining the nation-state, the life-destroying belief that to care for others is to be weak, and that to be generous is to be foolish — can have no future with us.” — Barry Lopez

If you are any kind of artist, you have decided to live by the power of love. You have committed yourself to the task of putting beauty into the world. Seeing beauty in the external world is relatively easy. It’s there in front of us. We just need to work out an adequate way to represent it. Discovering it inside ourselves and cultivating an expression of it that communicates it is not necessarily easy if we have been raised in a culture that promotes utilitarian ugliness.

In the past, in the old world, we lived more slowly. We could take care to embellish and dress our surroundings in beauty. We hardly have time for that now. Functionality and utility has overwhelmed grace and decoration.

I have been in search of beauty all my life, and not just visual beauty. There are elegant concepts and ideas, there are abstractions that have a beautiful soul, believe it or not. If an idea is awkward and ungainly, it’s probably false, from my way of thinking. I think the Force that is creating this Universe is an artist on a grand scale. It is incapable of creating ugliness.

Yes, I know humans manage to do that in spades, which is the result of living in such a way that we are disconnected from our truth, our soul. But if you decide to create art you have put yourself on the road to your original self. That self is connected to God, for lack of a better name.

A focus on depth in living is a way of discovering both the inner and outer realms. It opens both the physical and the spiritual eye. Art is connected in this way to psycho-spiritual awareness. It fosters a meditative mind.

Over time, art making can make deeper, more consequential humans. Art makes the artist.

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