The act of making art exposes a society to itself. Art brings things to light. It illuminates us. It sheds light on our lingering darkness. It casts a beam into the heart of our own darkness and says, “See?”–Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
My favorite topic covered in week three is synchronicity. I remember, when I worked through The Artist’s Way the first time, I easily dismissed the concept of synchronicity. It seemed too absurd, the idea of God, or the universe, or some other forces beyond me in the world willing (or allowing) events to fall together in a manner specifically ideal to me. I like science. I am not particularly naive. So–how could that possibly be a thing? But it is. I can’t explain how or why life is able to line itself up in positive ways. However, I do know one primary aspect is simply a willingness to accept good; remaining open to possibility and following up on any good opportunities presented. Once the possibility of success seems genuinely tangible–it is daunting. I don’t know why succeeding is scary. I do know that I am, therefore, prone to self-sabotage. However, I can usually keep myself in check.
One of the best examples of synchronicity that comes to mind is when I worked through The Artist’s Way for the first time after I had recently arrived in the Azores–
Our first Christmas in the Azores, our fantastic landlord and his lovely wife invited us to dinner in their apartment below our rental house. After dinner, their son, Tiberio, and his beautiful fiance stopped by. We invited everyone up to our house for coffee. While we were chatting, Tiberio noticed my artwork. He was impressed, and soon he was texting photos to his friend, Rogerio, the gallery curator at the Academia de Juventude e das Artes in Praia de Vitoria. Rogerio was very interested in my work, and we arranged a studio visit the following week. (At this point, I was so nervous, I wanted the meeting to fall through. I was scared he wouldn’t like my work, and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Maybe the language barrier would be an issue and I would embarrass myself? My mind was reeling over all the idiot possibilities of what could go wrong with such a simple meeting.)
As planned, Rogerio met me at my house, and I showed him work. He was a very sweet man, who ended up loving my work. His English was fantastic, therefore communication was not an issue. I was delighted (and felt like a silly human in my head, for being so unreasonably nervous). We were sorting out the potential ideas for a solo exhibition before he even left.
The result of this interaction was my Momentary Visual Autobiography solo international exhibition. Rogerio and I remained in contact for the remainder of my time on the island. In 2013, I had my second solo exhibition at that gorgeous venue, Ancient Gods & Contemporary Circumstances.
From there, other local people started to take notice of my work. More and more opportunities seemed to present themselves. I was invited to take part in group exhibitions with local Portuguese artists as well as art and wine tasting events on the Lajes Field air base. I had a larger art setup at the base open house, where I met two women who had seen my first show at the Academia, and been meaning to get in touch with me.
It turned out they worked at the Angra Museum, and within several months I was meeting with the museum with them and the Museum’s director (which was also super scary for me). I presented my work, we discussed the possibility of a show, and decided on a date. I was elated–I was about to have a solo exhibition (Seven Social Sins) in a stunning museum (a converted monastery) in a city that is considered a world heritage site. How did this happen?
It happened because we invited my landlord and his family to coffee, and a series of lucky coincidences and unexpected connections.
So my point is, simply, synchronicity is a thing. And that is awesome. I have to remain positive and open to possibilities. Working through the Artist’s Way the first time helped to place me in a position to effectively share my work while I was living in the Azores. I suppose that is why I would recommend the workbook to anyone. Now that we have moved, I am remaining positive and open-minded. Hopefully, more good will fall into place?
Week 3/Task 2:
Describe five traits you like in yourself as a child.
-I was always very nice to everyone. I was super into the golden rule
-I could keep myself entertained for hours on end, and I had a very vivid imagination
-I wasn’t shy
-I would sing and dance in front of anyone
-I could make art out of anything
Week 3/Task 4:
List three obviously bad habits.
1. I drink alcohol even when I don’t really feel like it.
2. I eat delivery pizza about once a week out of convenience.
3. I nap instead of being productive.
List three subtle bad habits.
1. I get absorbed in the internet to unintentionally kill time.
2. At times, I let my depression dictate my actions.
3. I let my mind wallow in sad, and convince myself I am not generally good enough at life.
Week 3/Task 8:
List five people you admire.
1. Stephen Hawking- That man is amazing-smart. Seriously, who doesn’t admire him (with the obvious exception of people who don’t believe science is a fact)? He also seems to have a fantastic sense of humor and outlook on life despite the whole stuck-in-a-chair-not-able-to-move-thing
2. Barbara Kruger– I have always been drawn to her unique style and inspired by her statements on American culture.
3. Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling– Of course these women are all different and not, by any means, interchangeable. However, I admire them all for the same reasons, they are confident, hardworking, intelligent, passionate about their work, crazy-funny and seem like generally neat humans.
4. Banksy– He challenges our social structure through thought-provoking art, regardless of what is considered legal.
5. Michelle Obama– She is just an intelligent and elegant woman. She uses her positive to create positive change in areas she is passionate about.
List five people you secretly admire.
1. Pope Francis– I am not Catholic, however I certainly do admire this man, and the way he seems to work in the light of kindness and love, instead of institutionally promoting hate and corruption.
2. Russell Brand– I like his confidence, his open-minded nature towards people, and blatant criticism of corporations and flawed government systems.
3. Hilary Clinton– I think our entire political system is incredibly flawed, however, she is a woman who has made a name for herself in a male dominated structure.
4. Pete Holmes— He just seems super-nice and positive about life
5. Rainn Wilson– Because SoulPancake makes my heart happy.
What traits do these people have that you can cultivate in yourself?
I suppose the main unifying traits among these humans are a confidence and intelligence. As well as, maintaining a positive while working towards what they want to achieve, despite any setbacks, challenges, or negative criticism. Most have a strong sense of humor and an obvious compassion towards others while examining the faults of our culture.
I am under the impression, based on several of the task questions associated with this week that my who I openly admire and who I secretly admire lists should have some rather strong trait disparities. This causes a person to consider what our culture tells us we should admire versus what we truly admire. However, I didn’t find that when I was working through these tasks. I suppose because the term “secretly admire” seems to imply a sense of shame–as if I am not supposed to openly admire those people? I am not certain.