When doing community art, you build community by surveying a community's assets. Instead of focusing on the deficits, a community sums up all that they have to offer one another -- their knowledge, skills, spaces, gardens, businesses, artists, etc. From there, the community can create solutions for any needs they might have.
These last two years of developing my own business have been fraught with many life lessons, trials, and tribulations. It wasn’t until recently that I have realized (through the help of podcasts and other wise - minded souls) that I have been operating from my own lack instead of my assets. I have been stuck in my deficits.
When I began two years ago, I was in need of healing. For a variety of reasons I was angry, wounded, depleted, and creatively starved. I was desperate, eager, impatient and ready to begin. This neediness meant that I was expecting certain outcomes from my work, which was largely unfocused and exploratory.
I was reacting to the years of taking care of kids, teaching others art, and looking enviously over the shoulders of students wishing I could be making art instead of teaching it. Although I did make art whenever and wherever I could, I felt starved. It wasn’t enough. So, this is where I located my creative business, in this hunger to create -- this desperation to feed my soul.
So, that is what I did. I have been gorging and indulging myself in creative projects (night and day), but there was still on emptiness, a sense that something wasn’t right.
I was still feeling the lack -- lack of sales, lack of time to do all of the things that I wanted to do, and lack of purpose. It felt self-indulgent. There was a sense of entitlement, too. I felt like I was putting in all of this hard work, I should get something in return -- sales, attention, or a pat on the back, and when I did receive these things, it didn’t feel deserved. Even though, I intellectually knew that nobody owed me anything, I was stuck in the lack, the hunger for some reward.
I own my sense of entitlement. I own my hunger, but it is also good to step back and see the expansive view of our culture. We are raised as Americans, in our glorious capitalist society to want - to yearn. To be reared in consumerism means that we are only satiated from external sources. We do not look for our own internal assets. We are taught to dwell in lack, because living with a sense of lack means that we will be consumers for life. The fact that what our soul truly yearns for can not ever be bought ensures us that we will continually consume, forever in search for the thing that will take the hunger away. We live in the lack, because it’s good for big business.
So, I began to wonder what would happen if I operated from my assets. It turns out I have a lot to offer. (We all do!) Instead of asking what the world owes me, I look for what I can offer.
One such offering is my belief in creativity. I believe that we are all creative people. Creativity is a huge part of our humanity. Like anything, creativity has to be practiced, developed, and nurtured. When we have creativity in our tool belt, we can literally create the worlds that we want to live in. We don’t have to buy our worlds, we can make them ourselves. It is truly a superpower that big businesses would love for us to forget. So, I have begun by sharing my own creative process in hopes that my experiences inspire and give courage to others to make and do their wildest dreams.
Moreso, I want to offer further support (to be determined) that will help all of us to do more of what our soul calls us to do. If we all pay attention to that voice inside, our lives will be enriched as well as all of the lives around us.
I want to spread the love that I feel when I make art. I want others to feel the wholeness that I feel. I want everyone to realize their creative selves, because it's in the creativity that we can heal ourselves, heal others, reshape and rethink our worlds, and be full of joy and wonder.
So that’s it! Let’s make and do our creativity until the cows come home!
Thank you for listening!
You are here! So, go forth and create!!
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.