When you lose faith in humans, there's always art.
Toward the end of summer my tail had lost a bit of its wag. Conversations with my parents around the grim assisted living house we had toured made me feel frustrated about the general topic of growing old and dying in style in the U.S. of A. Argh.
When I was in the midst of my death-thoughts (an unusually common place for me to hang out), my husband and I ventured downtown Seattle to see The Rep's production "The Odyssey" that happened to be free and involved a cast of almost 100 non-union citizens in the play. I didn't really know what to expect, so I expected nothing.
I left the production in tears. Not sadness; I was just so moved by the creativity and humanity of the performance. It was one of the most joyful shows I've ever seen. It was a musical with great songs; it had a generosity of spirit with amazing talents playing the lead roles; there was everything from kids to senior citizens in chorus and secondary parts. It was funny, charming and moving. Such big imagination went into this piece of art. It was so much fun, and made me want to crumple up in a corner in a state of mysterious weeping that comes from some arts experiences.
I also felt like I came out of a state of death-thinking and into a place of pure aliveness, creativity and community. Holy moly did I need that! The play reminded me how important Art is to remain human and hopeful; to see the wonder we are all capable of. To be open to big stories--to learn a little, laugh a little, stand up and applaud together. Commune together in one of the best ways.
What do you love? Fringe theater, dance, live music, abstract expressionists? Glass art? The statue of David's perfect bottom? Books, indie movies?
If the shadows of today get you down, treat yourself to something artful and public and beautiful and fun and playful. And support a local arts community today. They could be our saviors.
P.S. Seattle's Benaroya Hall has this Aaron Copland quote carved into the side of the building that I've always loved:
SO LONG AS THE HUMAN SPIRIT
THRIVES ON THIS PLANET,
MUSIC IN SOME LIVING FORM
WILL ACCOMPANY AND SUSTAIN IT
AND GIVE IT EXPRESSIVE MEANING.
You make a difference. Don't you forget it.
This month is dedicated to Feeling Better in a Troubled World: Simple ways you can catch a breath and remember a bit of beauty when the news is getting you down. If you want to talk more about feeling better in troubled times, email me for a conversation at firstname.lastname@example.org . There's no need to feel alone! XO