Why paint, why celebrate?
I don't really know why. It's an urge, an inspiration, a force that makes me move forward when I'm stuck or defeated.
A need to connect, a desire and delight of the heart.
There isn't a reason for art, but the human heart glows alive when engaged in creativity.
I'm not particularly religious. My spirituality in nothing anyone would recognize. I don't use spiritual phrases or cite spiritual texts or proselytize. I only believe because I experience. Those little miracles that reaffirm a path are what help me believe in a state beyond perceived reality.
I started painting Mary Magdalene out of intellectual curiosity. The more I read, the more I painted, the more I felt the energy that moved me to lean more and do more. The more I learned and did, the more people I met and connected with, until today, and after tomorrow. It is in the connection of souls that I find meaning.
Now that I have been living a normal life for too long, I understand deeply the need for inspiration. I did not seek to understand, and it's been really painful. But I accept that it will be important, now and in the future. How can I connect with people if I don't understand how they feel every day?
I prefer the solitude of the studio, the ecstasy of creation inside my own mind, the sharing of completed work... but that's not what most people experience in their everyday lives. That is a privileged way of experiencing existence, the way I aspire to live every day, and what I aspire to share with others.
The process has been long and difficult. Getting used to a routine, feeling the desolation of the creative soul that seeks to glow but necessarily mutes it's light in order to produce countless little facts. Or in order to hold the hand of those in greater need. How do we refill our souls with the joy of living when life has turned into a series of chores that take all our time?
I know the answer is creativity, although not everyone is creative in the same way. But the first step is the same. Moving toward the light.
My light has always been the process of art, the joy of a conversation that brainstorms an idea, the act of making something out of thought and materials. I understand that those who cultivate the body, or engage in study or pursue anything with a passion, as taking the same steps.
The important question for all of us is: How do I allow myself to take that step?
It is possible that what works for me, may also work for you. I think a lot. I dream and imagine, and delight in imagining and sharing what can be. Sometimes I have a hard time staying with an image. Sometimes stress and busy-ness overtake me, but I come back to it as soon as possible, especially in the morning, when my mind is clear. I make lists, I write my vision of myself. Then I take actions, small actions and sometimes big actions. I commit to sharing it.
I have used the Mary Magdalene Celebration for this purpose since 2016. Before that, I was creating something with a friend, but since 2016, it has been an act of will. It helps me focus, connect with kindred souls, co-create. It gives me impulse to finish a painting, it gives me something to share and talk about. It helps me launch myself out of boredom and obligation. It must be similar to deciding to run a marathon and running every day with that goal (only easier!) It reminds me that I can do difficult things. It gives me hope and focuses my mind.
This year I told a few good friends I was relaunching myself on July 22. I wasn't sure what that meant, just that it was necessary. I have already recovered a sense of inspiration and joy in creation. I have already started experiencing those little miracles of life that give me confidence to move forward.
How do I allow myself to take that step? Leaving duty aside and embracing joy. Celebrate, and paint, and surround myself with kindred souls who glow with healing love.