2017 is finally over and, like most of you, I’m looking back on what another bizarre year we've seen. That relentless howling wind called Chaos continues to claw at our tranquility, shredding any semblance of peace, throwing us off-balance, leaving us anxious and afraid.
Last year showed us the face of chaos in all of its gibbering glory. From an election full of such hateful rhetoric it scared the pants off of even my most non-political friends, to unimaginable world-wide wars, bombings and acts of desperate terrorism brought to us in living color via the internet. Sound-bites and headlines that made no sense, yet were accepted as truths. The deaths of family, some in their right time, some unexpected, and the deaths of musicians, writers and actors left us reeling
As another year slams the door on more "alternative truths", flat-out lies, senseless deaths, hatred, and fear, I give thanks for our peaceful warriors who fight to protect the most vulnerable of us, standing up for the poor, the disenfranchised, the exhausted. I celebrate the brave women who joined together to say, "Enough!" and was proud to add my voice to theirs. I give thanks for every kindness we spread like a healing balm, giving each other the gift of the best of us.
I thank artists most of all.
Art is how we as a species tame the chaotic thoughts and emotions of our imperfect humanity. Art is how we conquer fear and birth inspiration and hope. Art, and cousins science, mathematics, philosophy, and logic, give us a matrix where we can sort our pinball thoughts and feelings and give rest to our screeching animal hindbrains. Art shows us the ways we can feel empathy and gives us permission to laugh at ourselves. Art tells us we aren’t alone.
Our artists spend years perfecting their craft. While they learn the techniques that make expression possible they are opening their hearts to all that is good and all that is messed up in living life as a human being. They take that stew of humanity and distill it into a concept we can accept and understand and then give it back to us as story, poem, song, dance, painting, sculpture. I believe that every time we create, Chaos takes a time out, giving us a moment to collect ourselves and find our balance again. For that reason alone, I believe art will be our salvation.
We should sing at the top of our lungs, dance to exhaustion and play music until our fingers bleed. We should paint and draw and weave and sew and sculpt and knit and laugh and write write write all the beautiful poems and stories as if our lives depended on it, because they do. In that place of creation we transform Chaos to Peace and in peace we find our true selves.