Showing posts from October, 2017

The Spirituality Effect

Spirituality How do you define it? What is it to you? These are important questions to ask in order to create art as a spiritual practice. For many, spirituality is religion. For many others, it has nothing to do with any religion. And for some, it is a combination of both. It's important to define it for yourself before you can connect your art with it. For me, I see spirituality as a sense of being a part of a larger whole, like I'm just one grain of sand on a giant beach. I am separate, being just myself. Yet I am also a part of this larger existence. For me, the important thing is understanding how I connect to this larger whole. And I connect through my art. Art As Connection My life has been an ongoing series of awakenings . These have been both ordinary and profound. Many of these have been centered around the art I do. Each one has allowed me to feel, and understand, a deeper connection to the whole. It's as if in reaching out for experience, something has

Product vs Process

I have those days. Those days when I really don't know what to do. The ideas just aren't flowing and I can't seem to get started. I think we all have them. I think we all sometimes fall into that artistic void. That blackhole of unknowing. That fear inducing moment of, “There's nothing here.” Trust me, I live in that blank space sometimes. One of the big problems we have in modern society is being product oriented . That is, everything that we do has to result in some product. For artists, that means a song, a dance, a painting, a poem, etc. PRODUCT . This puts a lot of pressure on us and helps make that artistic void even larger: “I have to create something, but I don't have any ideas.” The 1st thing is to get away from product thinking and move into process thinking . The difference is that in the 1st one, the end result, the product, is the goal. In the 2nd one, the journey , or the process , is the goal. This is often a difficult concept to grasp and ch

Chado…The Way of Tea

Japanese Chanoyu or Sado (Chado) is translated as The Way of Tea. It’s not just about drinking tea. The Way of Tea is a traditional composite art regarding the tea ceremony including the philosophy, mode of behavior, and materialistic elements. The Way of Tea has had huge influences on Japanese cultures. (from  Tales of Japanese Tea ) Tea. It is something that I enjoy immensely. When I travel, I always look for tea shops in the cities I visit. I love finding new teas, new flavors, new experiences. I love learning new things from the shop owners. For me, shopping for tea is a spiritual practice. So too is making tea. I have my favorite cups and tea pots. I love the whole ritual, the whole experience of making tea: picking out the tea, heating the water, pouring the water over the tea, steeping it and taking in the aroma, and finally, taking that first taste. That first taste is always magical and takes me to some other place, a tea space . I have teas for different times o

Small Gestures

Our society is obsessed with size. The bigger the better. And when it comes to art, the grand gesture seems to be the only one that is noticed. It's gotten to the point where everyone is competing to out do everyone else. Big Bigger Biggest I find myself inhabiting the other side of the spectrum. I've always been interested in small gestures . I love the microcosm. In music, I love the small sounds, the ones most people don't notice. I love when things subtly change. The same in literature. I love the subtle meanings behind words and phrases. It's the same in nature, like the beauty of a single leaf or flower.  It's also the same for me with spirituality. I like the simple things, like a single breath, or the sun shining through clouds.  A Sense of Unification I used to do my art. I used to practice my spirituality. Then I realized they were one in the same. And my genuine expression of my spirituality was through my art. They are really one in the

The Practice of Non Performing

There seems to be this idea among artists of all disciplines that you must always be on , that you must always be either working towards something, or actually performing. There's a sense of guilt if you aren't actually doing something meaningful.  Why is that? Our society is in a perpetual state of striving . We are told to keep moving, keep climbing, always with a purpose. We are told that in order to win , we need to always work hard. Whatever happened to doing something just for the fun of doing it? I was reminded of this at a picnic I attended yesterday. There was a young 6 or 7 year old girl there, and at one point she was just dancing around, all by herself, with no music. The look on her face was one of supreme bliss! None of the other adults around her seemed to take notice, but I did. Part of me was jealous, jealous of her innocence and how she just danced for the pure pleasure of dancing on this wonderful September day. The other part of me wanted to take her a