Hope and HeART

From the Sacred Art Studio May newsletter:
Welcome to all the new subscribers, many who signed up during Earth & Spirit Council’s Earth Day Conference at PCC Sylvania. It was a sacred gathering of like-hearted beings that brought together our youth and elders to honor the Earth, learn from our indigenous teachers, and find hope and heart during this time of evolutionary transformation. I facilitated one of the many workshops that were presented throughout the day: “Opening the Heart through Art.” Expressing our gratitude and/or grief for the living Earth through the creative process, we created personal heart mandalas.

One of the participants shared with us afterwards that during the visualization, she was feeling fear but through the process of creating her mandala she was able to move through it. For me, this once again affirms what I believe to be the power of art to heal our hearts and our world. This illustrates that it isn’t about the denial of the fear (or grief, helplessness, anger, etc) but acknowledging it, allowing ourselves to feel it, transforming it through our creativity, and ultimately, inspiring us to action. 
When I arrived for the opening ceremony I wasn’t feeling very hopeful (climate change, species extinction, political rhetoric…you name it) but by the end of the conference, I walked away inspired and believing that, yes, art matters more than ever now. That we indeed must harness all of our innate creativity in order to serve the healing of our world. Each of us a role to play and it is our job to claim that in whatever form it may take. To quote Buddha, “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” 
At the conference, when asked what can we as individuals can do, Grandmother Agnes Baker-Pilgrim, one of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, said, “Use what ya got. Keep your eyes and ears open. Then act on what you see and what you hear. Use your voice.” Seems pretty straight forward to me! A friend just shared with me an example of this. Walking in a local nature preserve recently, she encountered a father and son carelessly walking through a bird-nesting area. She saw this, and out of deep love for the birds, pointed out the situation. They essential ridiculed her for this and a confrontation ensued, with the father shouting that she was insane. Bereft by their lack of concern, she continued to speak out and though it might not have changed their behavior, she is now in the process of working with local organizations to create some form of protection for these creatures whether through fencing or signage. A small act perhaps but as Mother Teresa said: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
What is your work? 
What can you give voice to today?
I’m currently having fun preparing for an Art as Sacred Journey workshop that I am facilitating at Unitarian Universalist church in Vancouver on May 5. An annual retreat day for the women of the congregation, the day will focus on reclaiming art as our sacred inheritance, exploring the awe and wonder of creation, opening the heart through sharing our concerns/pain for the earth, practicing art-as-meditation, and finding ways our creativity can serve our world. For more information on my workshops visit my web site here. I’m no longer offering day-long workshops at my studio due to space limitations, but I am available to come to your church, organization, or community. Contact me for more information.  
I am also excited to be in the process of filming my large scale painting “Lovers of Creation” or a short documentary/video currently titled, “Journey into the Creation.” Thanks to filmmaker Deb Rodney for co-creating this vision with me. As many of you know who have been following the creation of this triptych (3-panels), it was inspired originally by my grief during the Gulf Oil spill. The painting brings together symbolism from both earth-based spirituality and the Garden of Eden narrative in order to illustrate our interconnectedness in the web of Creation, reclaim our indigenous roots, inspire us to be good stewards, and to raise awareness (and funds) around of the plight of endangered species. And for beauty which I believe can awaken us to new ways of being, new ways of seeing.  
“Humanity’s materialistic worldview must transition to a sacred view of Oneness with the environment and cosmos or risk self-destruction due to continued abuse of the life-web. Great works in the creative arts call us to imagine our higher unity as humanity evolves toward a sustainable planetary civilization.” -Alex Grey, spiritual artist.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.
For love of the EARTH!