The changes this year seem much bigger than other years. The political landscape has suddenly shifted. The absence of such luminaries as David Bowie, Prince, Robin Williams, Sharon Jones, and Leonard Cohen to name just a few, hasn’t even settled in yet. On a personal level, the passing of my father, Clifford Wilton, this year has profoundly changed the fabric, the routine of my life. The Sunday calls between us, now absent, have left an open patch on that day that can’t seem to be filled with anything else quite as meaningful. When I look beyond my life, I see a planet that is powerfully signaling monumental change in her shifting patterns of extreme rain and drought.
I am not sure of many things as this year comes to its close.
The only thing I am sure about is that things will continue to change.
And in a way, it is this idea that leaves me feeling grateful.
Oddly, I feel on terra firma with many aspects of change. Art making is the practice of Change. It is where I have learned to take what is in front of me, even if it is not something I desire, and move it towards something I do. It offers us all the possibility to take an outcome and repurpose it into something far better than we imagined it could ever be.
It just takes Faith. And Art making is the practice of this Faith.
In art, and in life, if we are faithful, and willing to risk a little, we can pivot. We get a re do. We can take a challenging outcome, whether it is political, social or personal and use it. It is possible to harness the momentum of a change, a new reality and use it to renegotiate, to re purpose it into something more in alignment with who we are and what matters to us.
This very act of choosing how to frame our reality based on any outcome is a creative one. Regardless of the shifts and changes in our lives, we do ultimately, have tremendous choice. It can, of course, feel daunting and overwhelming to proactively try to change a situation. It often takes energy that, at times, we don’t feel we have.
However, in my life, in the times that I have felt that deadening sensation that the possibilities for myself were growing less, I have discovered that the root cause of this had to do more with the smallness of my own thinking rather than the lessening of my opportunities.
Thankfully your own pattern of thinking can be changed. Time and time again I have learned it takes barely a push on any door to realize that most of them have been unlocked the whole time.
This year, possibly more than any other year in my life, I am so thankful for those who are in my life who remind me, who teach me of this fact.
It helps keeps my head up instead of down. And when looking up I can see more clearly, my art, my life, that is the practice that almost daily reminds me that change can be pulled off with grace, creativity and joy.
And for this, especially today, I am tremendously grateful.
What are you thankful for?
the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.