On being an ArtMonk
This is a dynamic moment in time for pilgrims and seekers. Many facets of spiritual life on a global scale are actively changing. From these changes a call has emerged to support theological openness and dialog, spiritual intimacy, new ways of coming together in sacred kinship, a re-inclusion of the Earth as sacred, more feminine presence, more integration of our shadow and our mess into our collective and personal spiritual identity. There is a desire for more mercy, more awareness, more wholeness, and there is growing unrest with keeping the sacred separate from daily life.
Fully awake and fully aware.
But what does this actually look like?
I'm not sure there is a single answer, and I'm not sure there should be.
For me, the process of acknowledging my need for silence has opened me to the generous reality of contemplative practice. My deepest desire has been to experience and remain close to the Beloved and to get beneath my chatter and bullshit. This desire is most met when I am actively listening for the Beloved. In silence there is a constant symphony of creation and it's there my sincere love for all life as an expression and extension of the Divine grows. As that love grows, I'm lead to more of the Beloved and to more love. There is rich beauty in ceremony and practice, attachments and language, all deeply important and potent, yet underneath there is something equally important that truly can only be found in silence and solitude. And though solitude is crucial to this practice, contemplation is at its core about union; the deepest self seeking intimacy with the Great Mystery.
Listening is the ultimate ceremony of celebration! Listening is communion.
Silence and other expressions of contemplative practice have lead myself and many others to the deep well of holy inspiration.
In the words of Beverly Lanzetta,
“True contemplation always overflows into creation—it becomes a creative act.”
Which leads me to the art part of ArtMonk. Making art has brought me immeasurable gifts of awareness. It's in creativity, in making all kinds of art, that I have found the purest expression of my spirit and theology. The blank surface can be as intimidating as silence. Facing myself and my inner dialog while painting has empowered me to make bold choices on and off the canvas. Noting ques from my consciousness as they emerge in color and content, form and design has provided me with a language that extends from soul to sight. Also, beauty delivers transcendence. There is an alchemy to art, ordinary components and process resulting in lasting magic. The magic is not particularly reliant on what is produced, but instead the process of creation. Ultimately, the artist is the art. I have become so much more of myself by the risks I have taken to create and share my art.
These two branches, Contemplation and Creation, call a third in: Connection. In these times where things appear to be falling apart, we are invited to find new ways of coming together and share our gifts and wisdom, that we might make a more merciful and gentle world for all. Dropping in together to create conversation, art, ceremony, love, friendship, community -- fuels our inner lives and provides opportunity to intentionally shift our perception and see with clarity our sacred duty to participate fully in our lives and nurture the well-being of all that is around us.
Inter-cultural and interspiritual, my faith has never been authentically or wholly named in tradition. I'm aware of the potency of walking between worlds and in border spaces, and though the edges get blurry sometimes, it's an honest and legitimate path. I'm tugging on the threads of the tapestry of all that has been, and creating a container that is richly informed as well as soulfully contemporary. I have spent most of my life studying and experiencing what I can of other's holy knowing, and my appreciation runs very deep. It's my prayer to walk beside everyone I encounter with holy curiosity, wonder and respect.
I keep holiness alive in my life by making, practicing, and calling community together over art and Spirit and holding space for whatever comes up.
What turns Your light on? How are you navigating the border spaces of your life? I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below about anything that has come up for you in response to this note.
With Great Care,
Mimiges -- Woman Who Goes Between Two Worlds