I am in Sayulita, Mexico teaching a workshop in the beautiful hillside retreat hideaway called Haramara. Our days begin with making Art outside in an open air “shala” and close with the sun slipping behind the sea. It is a short walk down the hill to the candle lit tree house-like-dining area where dinner is served. There is no electricity, nowhere really to go, nor reason to leave so our dinners are long. Conversations wind around all manner of subjects. However, the other night, we wound up, for a good portion of the evening, trying to answer a single question.
It related to the feelings of self-indulgence that sometimes arise around making one’s Art. After all, what exactly are we doing except pleasing ourselves? No one really is benefiting from our indulgence, except maybe the art store. It is not like we are saving some small part of the world, or helping to eradicate some virus somewhere. Might there be more something a little more beneficial to be doing with our time?
At times I have wondered this as well. But in no short time my answer comes back solidly in favor of pursuing one’s art. I feel it is tremendously valuable.
There are three primary reasons why.
Making Your Art brings you Alive.
I don’t know of any other activity that so powerfully chronicles an individual’s journey of becoming more like themselves than their Art. I believe this life we have been blessed with is to be lived fully. We are supposed to figure out what brings us alive. There are many obstacles in our way, of course, but Art isn’t one of them. Making Art is the telltale sign that we are on the right path. Our path. It offers us visual evidence of who we are and more importantly who we are becoming. It is simply a thoroughly, worthwhile undertaking. It takes courage, discipline and a degree of optimism to continue making Art. It is our own personal story of coming alive.
Making Your Art creates Abundance.
Following what truly your heart asks of you is a tremendous act of self-love. For many people, the siren song of their art must be answered. If it can be, there often follows a tremendous lift and a spiritual prosperity. Our Art fills our life and quenches us in a way that few things in life can. It literally completes us. This, in turn, catalyzes a new generosity of spirit that overflows to those around us. Happiness and well-being tend to spread. Finding joy in what you spend your time doing is just the first step towards serving others. This can take many forms but I see again and again that when someone is personally fulfilled they then naturally turn towards giving back. I know first hand how my own art making has given me boundless energy to help others with theirs. This is just my way, but there are countless others. When you answer your Art it creates a spirit of abundance not just for yourself but others as well.
Making Your Art gives others Permission.
Making your Art is not a solitary endeavor. It only seems that way because often there is no one to follow. Your work is, in the end, your work. The path in front of you is never clear. It is just not well worn because no one has walked there before. However, behind you is a different story. Your actions serve as inspiration for people in your life. If you can do this then so can they. Your art serves as a permission slip for others to possibly pursue their desires too. The tremendous value of your efforts, your courageousness is sometimes easy to overlook, but it is vitally important for the creative development for others around you.
In the end, your art might, at fist blush, seem entirely for yourself. But make no mistake, this small pebble of creative effort, once dropped into the still waters of your life radiates far, farther out than you can possibly imagine.
What has your journey been with Art making? Why do you make your Art?
With gratitude, Nicholas