What one determined woman can accomplish
Rosa Parks was right. We need to each live our lives to the best of their ability. Actually, there are ordinary truths and eloquent truths. The ordinary truth is that some artists can earn six figures for their work. Most of us can’t make that money with our creative endeavors. The eloquent truth is that this harsh fact does not mean you can’t live a authentic life.
Our creativity is a gnawing within us. There is something within that wants to come out. The really bad times is when it is scratching at you to get out and you are blocked. The ordinary truth is that you will make mistakes and not be able to produce what is alive and well within. We all fall short sometimes.
The eloquent truth is that this need not defeat you. Artists must never give up. You were given a gift and while you may not be Monet, you have a gift that must be expressed. What others say or don’t say about this doesn’t matter. The important thing is to use what The One gives to you. It is a part of you and it is a large piece of what makes you authentic. Being real not being or doing what others tell you, but being loyal to yourself. This is authenticity. As we reckon with our existence, we become more real, more authentic.
Love is real
Another part of being authentic is loving yourself, loving the gift you have been given, refusing to think of it as a burden. And the hardest part is to not compare yourself to others. We are brought up to be competitive and that is not the way of the creative soul.
To live an authentic life is a challenge as well as a gift. And it is also a spiritual practice. Not in the sense that you are attending a church, synagogue, or temple. But in that you allow your talent and your spirit to meet and create. Art is a practical skill, a relational skill, it is gripping and consuming. It is genius and shines like a starry night.
It is also confusing, confounding, tedious, exhausting and frightening.
“The dream is always running ahead. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that is the miracle” —Anais Nin
We have freedom to create, to write, to sing, to paint, to draw. The challenge is to use it. Use all of it as long as you are still drawing breath. As long as we can draw breath, we can create meaning in this world. I have often thought about all of the artists who receive no credit for their work while they are alive. It is as if the work is insignificant. Then when they die, people are sad and they miss this creative being. They open their eyes because of the hole left because that person is not there any longer. They open their eyes and see, really see what has been there in front of them for so long. They declare it beautiful, stimulating, moving, heart stopping. That creative person can’t hear the compliments but they flow through the air like invisible rose petals on a breeze. And then the truth becomes eloquent. This person had a beautiful talent. I didn’t realize. I am speechless, but your creations are not speechless and will speak for you always. And someone will come along and they will see or hear your work and it will give them the courage to pick up their gift and dust it off. And they will speak with authenticity because you did.
Being creative is not easy. We are different from so many others, our lives are not always easy but you leave a shimmer, a glow in this old world. You create and it makes the world sparkle. So get out there and shimmer and shine.
Sculpture garden in Windsor, Ontario. Photograph taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 1997