Midlife crisis, art, and saving the world

Warning: I cuss in this blog post. And it meanders. Sorry.

Why make art? Why dance? Why sing? Why write? To make a living? To show off? To heal? To relax?  To be comfortable? To have a pretty home? 

Did I ever tell you about my mid-life crisis? 

Boy, did I love mine.  I don't have the patience to write about the details of it in an interesting way.  There was just this moment, one of those unforgettable moments of looking around at the life I had built for myself and thinking, "if my life is still like this in ten years, I'm going to kill myself."

Oh! to be at a point in your life when you realize your limits in terms of talent, energy, vision, discipline, responsibilities, stupid mistakes, and then to say FUCK THAT! and to not tolerate it anymore? Shit yeah!   

Do you remember this scene from Thelma and Louise?  It's my favorite.

Have you ever had that feeling that "something has crossed over" in you? 

That was my midlife crisis.  

Since then, I have been slowly reclaiming old dreams, and going after them.  One of the effects of this is that I am amazingly energized.  When I was younger, I mistook my fear for laziness. What's fun, and oh so tricky, is that at that time I even considered that my laziness was in fact fear!  That realization did nothing to change it, and it took another decade of self induced misery for me to finally get it. 

Looking in the mirror, looking out the window

So, the big idea here at Dive3 Studio is that we can heal ourselves through the arts. But we can also do a lot more than that. We need to do a lot more than that.

Now that I've healed myself out of a crisis state of being, more deeply than I ever have, I yearn to teach and inspire others.  I'm kind of hyper about it. But how?  People are busy, its really hard to take time out just for yourself. And it isn't exactly easy, to look at yourself.  Not a lot of people are willing to do it.

I am not a therapist, and while I feel comfortable helping others to look at their lives and using the arts as a vehicle for transformation, I can't help but feel that whole reason for doing that is to serve a higher calling: to use the arts to help facilitate a deeper community change.  It is not enough that I healed myself and now have a content little cocoon. I'm still searching.

My long neck, and the deep hole my head is buried in

I live a profoundly wasteful, green-washed, huge carbon foot print life.  The only thing I do is recycle. Sometimes I buy organic. I watch documentaries like Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa and wonder what my life is about. Am I really just supposed to buy a bunch of stuff, and then buy a bunch of containers to store it in, organize it and clean it?  Is that what I am supposed to do with my life?  

For a while, if I thought about what is going on with global warming and all of the other human-created horrors, I would become paralyzed with fear.  What horrible future will my kids have to endure?  I would listen to the song Idioteque by Radiohead and just wallow in terror for my kids.

In one of my art education graduate courses, I did a project to confront this fear. I was also in my expressive arts training, and we had recently done mask making. This video describes how I used expressive arts to confront my apocalyptic fears.

Healing the self. Healing the family. Healing the community.

I recently met a woman who is interested in eco-spirituality. She has a blog called Inscendence and is exploring how we "discover our true nature in nature" She asks questions about who we need to become to live in a sustainable way, how should we live, what is important to do now? 

All week I've been indulging my love of permaculture, reading, watching a webinar put on by Permaculture Voices. My partner and I explored our area, looking at the landscape, observing how different parts of the mountain have different ecosystems, and debating how to smartly transition to a more self reliant way of living. I planted my autumn garden (in the raised, gopher-proof beds, on top of a properly built retaining wall!  I did indeed learn from my earlier mistakes!) and built a little worm farm.  

I'm just beginning this journey of joining these two passions.  Permaculture is dominated by white males.  Its overarching vision highlights the importance of the arts, but so far I have not seen much discussion of how the unique approach to the creative process that only the arts can foster, can help us transform our lives to be more in tune with nature and less destructive. 

 Wow!  That was a long post, and it felt kind of pointless. I am in transition, I am figuring out my vision. I would love your comments, and if you got anything at all out of this post, give it a like or a share. You're wonderful!

I end with this: