There is as much art in creating life, your life, my life, as there is to creating a beautiful painting, or a marvelous sculpture. A life that is beautiful to witness is the life that has been filled with well thought-out choices of working, playing and loving. The “work” becomes easier deeper and fuller when its’ master trusts his or her ability at artistry, their careful considerations, the clear messages from their heart. It’s the call one answers when they hear the music and the message and have their own way to make it alive and powerful. And real!
This blog has been growing in me through a sharing I did at Del Val College on “Life As Art” to a retirement class. Then the death of Gabrielle Roth happened, and it all began to come together.
If you don’t know her, Gabrielle Roth is a great example of what I’m calling an artist. She brought dance off the performance stage and into life. She made dance self-expression, prayer, and a tool for freeing oneself.
As I understand it, Gabrielle became struck by dance as a powerful force early in her adult life. In this awareness she kept moving and feeling dance herself, slowly growing and understanding that pulling rhythm and music through all of her limbs, and feet, and hands brought her huge joy and healing. She began getting a very clear personal message of dance as God. She shared it, taught it, lived and danced it all for her own expression, and certainly for our enrichment. She was an artist at work, creating her life. She didn’t just do it for us. She did it for herself because it made her come ALIVE. We were merely the benefactors.
It takes a lot of time to know your call; time to feel, experiment, and decide your own “artful living,” the looks, the activities, the expressions, the messages that you are compelled to portray. It takes years of honing, testing, and feeling your Truth. And as one does that, lo and behold, healing happens because we move away the demons, the ego, the resistance to expressing ourselves.
I know you’ve been struck at some moment in your life when you’ve observed someone who is doing something with great care, great presence, and abundant energy. It’s a joy to watch. Perhaps they were sweeping a porch, planting a garden, setting a table, cutting a head of hair, or yes, creative parenting. And you saw how they were doing it as if the result was meant to be their masterpiece, their best.
I remember a concert at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Andre Previn was the guest and I traveled to the city to witness this man whose music, romance, and creativity had always captured me (not to mention his gorgeous brown hair!) I bought a ticket and took my seat with great anticipation.
Suddenly a figure emerged from stage right, and the crowd applauded brilliantly. I strained to make out who the person was. He was round, gray haired, walking with a cane as he struggled across the stage. “Who is that?” I thought, knowing in my next moment that it was Andre Previn!
He sat down at the piano, raised his arms and began playing the most heavenly music, with great grace, energy, and power. He played as if he was 25. I squinted at my program and saw that this concert was a celebration of his 80th birthday!
He raised his arms again, bringing in the full banquet of instruments. He now divided this energy between his own magnificent rendering and the incorporation of all of the instruments, different parts, crescendos and melodies. What he was doing was a feat for anyone, and he was embodying it all in his 80 year package of creativity, precision and practice. Andre Previn was living full out! An artist of life, breathing the power of Self into the hearts of all.
I want to be like Andre and Gabrielle, sculpting all the feelings, thoughts, messages coming my way, into a creation of felt observation, illustrated message, and directed energy, modeling LIFE from the very source of my own being. Then I will know I have lived my life as an artist!