Shuttered Vision

Wisps of glimmer, shards of luminescence, chaos and silence – my mind is a mashup of weird and unsettling elements. The emotion fatigue and dread brought on by the incessant “breaking news” media notifications leaves me with a sense of shuttered vision, not to mention a weary soul.

Much of my art, and my essence, is derived from inspiration, love and a longing for equity, justice and peace. In the last two weeks it feels as if the world has tipped on a new axis. I am no stranger to hate or bigotry, but current events have thrown lighter fuel on the world I thought I knew. Silly me.

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I have no idea how to fix the world in this particular moment and time. The violence, hate, fear, pain and despair are palpable. I don’t know how to fix that. With each new act of violence or hatred our human potential is compromised and the realization is staggering. The thread of my artistic inspiration is dampened under layers of grief, anger, concern, heartbreak and this painful process of consciousness expansion.

I can’t unsee the callous disregard for vulnerable human beings who have done nothing to be caught in harm’s crossfire.  I’ve exhausted my current capacity to explain why we should care about refugees, women’s rights, Black Lives, LGBTQ communities, those whose faith is different than mine and our ability to protect the Earth (just to name a few.) The explaining doesn’t do it. It doesn’t touch the mark or soften hearts.

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Love is all around

My consciousness bucket list includes seeing the end of war, hunger, violence (especially towards women and children,) homelessness, achieving equality, justice for all, mainstream acceptance  and treatment of mental health issues and love, love, LOVE! Yes, I am Pollyanna, The Kumbaya Kid and any other snarky retort that comes to mind. I want to live to see peace on Earth. I do and I’m unashamed to admit that my heart weeps each time we take steps further away from that paradise.

How do I take the emotional turmoil and infuse it into a piece of work that “says something?” Hell, how do I use the skills I’ve developed to drain this emotional morass so I can connect with my creative source? I can’t seem to get away from Nina Simone’s words about an artist’s duty…”An artist’s duty is to reflect the times…How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times?”

Those are haunting words, an artistic call to action. At it’s core it comes down to the fact that the inspiration behind the art can not be beckoned with a checklist. Inspiration seeps into my heart, soul, brain, dreams through mysterious and elusive means. When my vision  is shuttered the wisps of thought, light and creativity struggle to find the pathway. In such turbulent times I struggle with finding the head and heart space to nurture the creative being inside.

With acting they tell you take whatever you are feeling and use it. Intellecutally I believe it’s the same principal, yet my vast ocean of feelings are solely generating more feelings – loss, grief, exhaustion and at times hopelessness. The “work” for me is to manually turn the corner. Since I can not seem to shake this space, I have been sure to make it to the gym, to more eat fruits and vegetables, hydrate and get more than my traditional 5-6 hours of sleep.

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My hope is that by consciously invoking self-care I will be able to manually reboot my creative ignition and begin to see possibilities, new worlds and magic once again. We have a long road ahead and it is expressions of art that will help guide and sustain us. Make no mistake, art is everywhere. It is part of the fabric of our lives and so I send the artists of the world, wherever your are, love, light and strength to continue on through the darkness.

 

 

Alas, My Twitchy Heart

Today one Twitter engagement was my undoing.

She only knew that Brene was one of her aunt’s favorite author/speakers. Although she has been struggling with identity, snarky comments from peers about her appearance, intelligence or whatever criticism du jour and general tween embarrassment about …everything, she had no idea that she was talking to THE expert in shame, human connection, vulnerability and so much of the stuff that makes our hearts twitch.

A long time ago, in an uncharacteristic aha moment, I realized that I had a ridiculously smart, sensitive and empathetic child. She seemed to be wise beyond her years and at times both fragile of spirit and courageous of heart – my little lioness. I was a newly divorced mom trying to find myself in the dark and often very scary emotional place that was my new reality. I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to handle the over the top needs of a gifted mind that was raging with curiosity. I just wanted her to be quiet. I wanted her to sit down, be quiet and let me think. Let me grieve the loss of my marriage and wallow in the shame of being alone, broke and afraid. If you’re a parent, I don’t need to say another word. For those of you who are not, I just described Fantasy Land. For most of us, you don’t get to turn off being a parent because you’re in a tough spot – I’m sure that’s part of the master plan. You are forced to find a way to the other side, often while falling apart into a beautifully authentic mess.

This isn’t about the mess, but about the breakthrough. Thankfully I had a moment of clarity where I recognized that I needed to empower my daughter to step into her voice, mind, heart and soul. I needed to be her champion in a world of images and messages that didn’t include girls that looked like her or thought like her. So we embarked on a journey about five years ago to empower her to get the answers to every question her little brain could conceive. In order to maintain my sanity, I decided the best way to do that would be to partner her up with experts who would delight in sharing their knowledge with a precocious little girl. Because I was an actor turned filmmaker I realized the power of the medium to connect with all of the other young curious minds around the world.

It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. We continue to build our show, On the JOB with Lani Lou, where she gets to interview experts in their field about how things work and how she can become that type of expert. In the last four years she has interviewed a restaurateur, pediatrician, attorney and paleontologist and has developed an ownership for this program. We come across a lot of people, and we tell a lot of people our story, but not everyone takes the time to make the connection and let the significance of who she is and what she’s doing land. That is what made her moment with Brene Brown so special. Brene saw her, really saw her.

Each time another human being recognizes her sparkle and celebrates with her, a criticism, doubt and emotional wound is tended to. The one thing I know for sure is that my worldly success, material gain and sense of professional fulfillment would be hollow if that little girl was left behind. It was beautiful to watch her step up into all that she is and to make an authentic connection.

So, Brene – Thank you from my heart to yours for being a blessing in a haze of crowds, marketing and the frenzy of commerce. The loving encouragement you offered in those few moments will arm her to go out and slay the next round of dragons.

Tearfully and gratefully yours,

The mom of an awesome girl!