Sorrow & Pain & the Artist

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In the morning when i open my eyes, after a night of pain, after a night of desperate prayers for consolation, birds sing outside in the sunlight. Outside a window filled with silk colors hanging, prisms on string dangling, blooming violets of pale pinkish lavender in a blue willow pot on a dusty ledge, with quartz crystals in varying hues tumbled together in a pile–all catching glimmers of daylight–the pale sun dares to discretely stream into a darkened room.
The birdsong is a natural sound of joy that serves as a reminder that life is bittersweet. nothing is truly this way or that. Light or dark. heaven or hell.
Beauty is everywhere. It can be found within anything when we choose to look. But within a certain mind all the vibrance of brilliant color is drained by the experience of a hard sad painful life turning everything into homogenized tepid gray. it suits our bad humor, our morbid habitual lack of imagination.
a broken heart sees a colorless broken world, yet a broken heart can accidentally or incidentally fill the world with a type of redeeming beauty that is beyond essential.

An artist takes the bleak mirage and out of necessity recreates–like magical ancient alchemy–an inner vision from whatever caustic despair may block the light. that’s how some of us survive. and in turn, that’s how artists share the art of survival.
an artist offers a vision of recreated determination back to the world as a challenge to its indifference.

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Creative Butterflies in Need of Saving…

Sept 29, 2014

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Something odd, personal and colorfully imaginative–as well as presently relevant–is that I often dream of butterflies. Not only do I dream of butterflies, but I dream that there are many in need of being saved. It has not escaped my notice that these dreams are a modern day parable for beautiful winged colorful creatures which inspire the world; and how they are in danger having the life sucked from their fragile bodies.

I’ve heard it philosophized that when a culture reaches a level beyond struggling for day to day food and survival, the birth of artists, poets, master musicians and other creatives comes into play like never before. Simultaneously, when artistic creatives thrive, culture, higher education and societies more dedicated to peace thrive with them. This concept isn’t something I came up with. The credit goes to the ancient Greek philosophers. I believe even one of America’s founding fathers, John Adams, said as much when explaining the reason why he felt our country should be a place where freedom and personal rights should flourish.

This is not political. This is just a foretelling of my dreams…

In my first dream of butterflies, I saw my ex-employer standing in front of me smiling. While she smiled at me, I felt an eery unease. And I noticed her eyes dart quickly to my right side and then back to my face. And yet, she kept smiling. I could tell it was one of those “Keep looking at me smile…Pay no attention to what unpleasantness might be creeping up behind you! Don’t look at what I don’t want you to see!”

So I turned, despite her “reassuring” fixed smile to see a large black spider dropping down beside me. It was a very “porridge and whey” moment. And all though I was now alarmed, because I knew she did not want me to see the spider, I slowly turned around and saw a huge web filled with all sorts of unique and splendid butterflies.

The spiderweb was spread out across a vague indistinguishable roof ledge of a building and hung down to the ground.

Many of the butterflies were dead. There were all colors, shapes, sizes and varieties. To see what I saw gave me a sense of great sadness. It was too late for most.

However, I saw one that was still alive and I gently pulled it free from the web. Then I woke up.

I knew what the dream meant then. And it’s still relevant now.

Specifically, the dream foretold of something going on in my then current situation which I did not yet understand or even think could be true. But I understand it now. We’re either a butterfly or a spider.

There are those who will use a person for every good quality, suck up their vitality and drain them dry until there is nothing left. I now realize this wasn’t just my situation, but rather it is our modern day work culture. On all levels of employment rank, we’ve become conditioned to accept a corporate mentality that manipulates every aspect of “getting the most out of every employee while giving the least benefit in return.” The big greedy spider then spits out the remains to move on to its next prey.

This is how we do things now. In some manner this mentality has always existed. But now it’s the primary way of doing business. And management in businesses are expected to adopt this kind of non ethical work strategy because big business thinks it improves the bottom line. It will improve the bottom line short term or until there are no more butterflies to feed on. Then it will fail. We saw the banks fail. They ate too many butterflies. But spiders will be spiders.

The only way we will rise above this is if we use our wings. Yes, that may sound like a greeting card inscription, but it’s true.

I have learned that I have the power to live as a creature of inspiration. I am not willing to sell myself short anymore. I won’t say I will not end up working for a corporation. I hope that’s not my only choice. I have to have faith that it’s not, but who knows. Maybe we have to learn to be stronger butterflies that keep high above the reach if things that try to suck the life out of us.

My power is my own in that it is the divine infinite and it will not be misused.

Since my first dream of butterflies, I’ve had many dreams of a like nature. I am one of those butterflies, and I intend to remain free.

I was taught that we must suffer and work doing whatever meaningless thing we have to do to get by. That is really crappy advice.

We do often have to work in less than perfect jobs, but I don’t think we need to give up on life because things aren’t terrific in the moment. It is monumentally important to keep our dreams alive–to keep our hearts on fire towards doing the wonderful things that are important to us. Why else would we be given life? Are we just suppose to settle into despair and give up?

No one can give us the determination to live a meaningful life. But it is easier to find inspiration when we see great masses of brilliant colorful wings above our heads dancing on the sky.

We are all butterflies in some manner or such. Spider or butterfly–it’s a choice we make.

I don’t hate spiders. But I don’t care to be eaten by one. Nor do I want to work for one or coexist with one.

So how can we be the butterfly and survive? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s just a matter if courage and faith.

Maybe just being aware of the beautiful nature of who we are is the best place to start. If we consider how incredibly inspirational it is to just behold a little winged creature that merely by its existence causes awe and gratitude, maybe we all would be living a better life. We would, in the knowing of the simple beauty of a butterfly, see the sacredness of our own ability to inspire by being the unique person that we are.

To me, that is enough.

Save the butterflies. Pull them out of the web. Lift them up and enjoy the experience of seeing them fly. Be one.

Life is short. Even for us.