I think we can all admit, it’s been a DOOZY lately.
Hurricanes, Forest Fires, and the anniversary of 9/11.
I stared up at the sky to see twin lights over Manhattan this week and was reminded of the sirens and smoke, and so many lives lost on that day.
I had one client show me a picture of raging flames outside her property, and two others re-building in the wake of Harvey and Irma.
How are you doing?
How is your heart?
In the face of these disasters and devastation, it can be so easy to feel heavy-hearted.
So often in these moments we feel out of control. The devastation can feel like waves crashing over and over. How do we weather the storm?
Today, I want to offer a healing balm.
Take a moment, wherever you are reading this, and place your hand on your belly. Bring your attention back to the rise and fall of your breath.
You are ALLOWED to feel.
I’m here to remind you.
Disaster can be overwhelming, and it’s so easy to just disconnect and shut down.
In this uncertainty, where is your Art?
Where is your expression?
When you look at your brushes, your camera, your pencils, the stage or blank page…how do you feel?
The real question is, how do you create in the storm?
In 1982, sculptor Seward Johnson completed work on a piece called Double Check.
Double Check is the life size bronze of a business man sitting on a bench as he sifts through his briefcase, seeming to make final preparations for an upcoming business meeting in a nearby office building.
Installed in Liberty Plaza Park in downtown Manhattan, the sculpture soon became a fixture in the downtown landscape, a symbol in honor of the thousands of people who work every day in the financial district.
For 20 years, this art brought enjoyment, inspiration, and joy to all who witnessed it’s life-like form.
All in the shadows of the World Trade Center.
Until September 11, 2001.
The destruction of that day covered the figure in ash, and though all the moorings were loosened, the figure endured as a still object in a world of chaos.
Afterward, it became a memorial, with mourners leaving notes, photographs, candles, and flowers on and near it.
Seward left all visible damage the piece had sustained in the attacks, and the sculpture was re-installed on a granite bench in the plaza it had occupied before 9/11.
To remind us all.
This is the power of Art.
It inspires, and it gives you AND your audience the reminder of something far more powerful than any storm, fire or attack.
Having that sculpture gave great comfort to every person who visited the site, offering a safe place to mourn and remember. The art allowed each witness to cry, and ultimately heal.
The sculpture helped people to come back to a core need that had felt torn apart in the face of deep despair,
Think of the immense joy you have felt reading your favorite book, or seeing your favorite singer in concert.
You have been captivated.
Something comes alive in you at that moment. You feel like you are a part of the experience. You feel connected, and a sense of belonging emerges bringing the sweet flow of inspiration.
And when we are inspired, we can do great things.
This is the same for your audience. They connect to their humanity through your work.
Seward Johnson didn’t “tidy” things up! It was messy, it was real, it was exactly what people needed at that moment, and it struck a chord.
His art was honest.
So, translate today INTO your Art.
This is the gift we have as Artists. We can take our experience and allow it to speak through the medium of song, dance, words and pictures.
And when we do translate, it actually heals us. We feel connected to our humanity, to our gifts, and to what lights us up from within.
Pick up your brush, pick up your journal, go to your instrument, and ALLOW.
I’m here to remind you.
It’s all there inside, enduring in the fire and storm.
Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography