How do you feel about engaging in joyful activities, like creating art, when there is so much pain and chaos around us?
Something shifted inside of me when I read about George Floyd’s death in May. Racism is a deep soul sickness that is very much thriving in America today. Since then, I have done a lot of personal reflection and reading to educate myself, a process that is ongoing and lifelong. During those first few months following Mr. Floyd’s death, I was reluctant to share my artwork on social media. It felt like a distraction from the more serious posts I was seeing.
Now, though, I am realizing how important it is to engage in activities that bring you joy. Here’s what I’ve found:
Engaging in a joyful activity, like creating art, is an act of resistance. Finding joy is challenging when the news is anxiously reporting the many horrors in the world. Doing something joyful is a way to push back against fear-mongers. It is a way to recognize and honor the beauty that is around us even though there is pain and fear and hurt swirling around us too. I realize I am speaking from a place of privilege because my life and my circumstances allow me to look away from time to time while I seek out activities to balance the chaos. Not everyone has that luxury.
Also, by sharing colorful images on my social media accounts, hopefully, I am brightening up my little corner of the world and all who encounter it. A friend, a first responder in a hospital setting, shared that seeing on of my images on Instagram during a work break gave her a smidge of reprieve from the relentless pressure in her work environment. She said it was like a breath of fresh air. And so, I decided to keep posting my art.
Engaging in a joyful activity, like creating art, is an act of self-care at the deepest soul level. Doing what is important to you is an acknowledgement that you recognize your own inherent value: you are worth it! Your personal wellness needs to be a priority. Ignoring this advice is an express train to burn-out. The airline attendant’s advice is right: you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.
Engaging in a joyful activity, like creating art, gives you something better to do than endlessly watching the news or scrolling social media. As a Libra, I crave balance! I cannot stare at a computer all day. I should not sit on the couch and read all day. I do not want to listen to bad news all day. Heck, I can’t even stand all day at the easel. My max there is about 2 hours. After that, I need to switch it up. Change the scenery. Give my eyes a break. If you need some balance in your life, mark your creative time on your ‘to-do’ list or your calendar and guard your time fiercely because I guarantee that any creative activity mindfully done is better than mindlessly absorbing bad news.
Engaging in a joyful activity, like creating art, showers you with positive energy. I am very sensitive to the energy or vibes other people put out into the world. It is hard for me to just let go of, or ignore negative energy when I encounter it. I need to avoid it like the plague (or like the pandemic), or balance it with a whole lot of positive, nurturing energy, like those I get by doing creative activities.
In these vexing times, perhaps even more so now than ever before, I invite you to engage in a joyful activity. For the world. For those you live with. And most importantly for your soul.
God cherishes you!