Showing posts from March, 2018

Art and Practice as Refuge

It's a hectic world out there. And today things seem even darker and more out of control. But what better anchor to our security and sanity than an ongoing spiritual practice? And even more so for someone who is involved in the arts of some type. I know that for me, when I feel lost or drifting, writing these words, or making music, connects me to something more. Even in the darkest of spaces there is the light of my art. In one way, writing these blog posts is a  meditation . I don't just type out the words in a mechanical matter. I feel the keys under my fingers. I feel the weight of the words I'm writing. I feel the words wrap themselves around me. Often I get lost and lose track of man made time. I shift into  no time .  A spiritual practice can be an island, a place where opening to uncertainty and doubt can lead us to a refuge of truth.   — Joan Halifax,  The Lucky Dark Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan. Photo © Matt Bettine Writing is my island, it

Art And Practice As Fear

Mankind has come a long way from primitive existence on the savanna. Back then, fear was an important resource. Wild animals, weather, food, shelter—all of these were constant difficulties to overcome in order to keep existing. Fear was necessary to help keep us alive. It served a purpose in making us move away from danger, seeking safety. These dangers were very real. Image courtesy of Pixabay Today, much of the perceived dangers are not real. Yet we perceive them as real because the fear reflex is deeply embedded into our DNA. For artists, we often perceive fear from one source or another, and it paralyzes us. Fear can easily stop us in our tracks. As mankind evolved socially, and moved more towards a collective society, one of our main fears became not being accepted by a group or collective. No one wants to appear different, and thus not a part of the group (herd). Sometimes this reflexive fear is difficult for artists to move past, yet the nature of being an artist is b

Art And Practice As Expression

Who is the Real You? Are you being your authentic self? Are you creating art that represents that self? Some of the best advice I've ever gotten as a writer is, write the book you want to read . Think about that. Write the book you want to read It's so simple and can apply to any artistic practice: dance the dance you want to dance, paint the picture you want to see, write the song you want to hear, etc.  This idea is great if you have no idea of what to do. Ask yourself, “What would I want to read/listen to/watch/etc?” Most of us probably have a list of things that we wish someone else had written, recorded, filmed, etc. Look at that list and find something that YOU could do. I've always been a writer, since I was a little kid. But my “professional” writing career started after I read a magazine article and said to my wife, “I could write better than this.” Here response was, “Then why don't you?” I then put together a set of proposals and sent them off to t