After co-leading a wonderful weekend workshop looking at the ways we internalize our defeats and let oppressive messages stop us from going after our deepest desires, I am still asking myself “do I have the courage to be happy?”
Do I know what makes me most happy and am I able to see it and feel it clearly? By clearly I mean am I able to see past the layers; the media images of happiness, the broken record of social messages about happiness, the fear that covers any impulse to disbelieve the imposed voices.
While the U.S. is meditating on thanks and having (we talk about giving thanks but isn’t it always focused on what we have — a series of things on a checklist — like a Christmas list?) I’m walking away from the deeply held notion that I need more money to do what I most want.
It’s a big intention and it isn’t easy as an artist (and as a raised working class immigrant woman). I have a clear understanding of how most artists are devalued, ignored, not seen as having importance in society unless their work comes with a huge price tag or media fanfare.
Art is our human heritage and our birthright. It goes beyond economics. In fact, human beings are drawn to art not from a place of money and commerce but from a place of human curiosity, zest, emotion and connection. Values which are necessary for human growth, social understanding and transformation.
These values, are given little monetary value and we need to examine why. More importantly, why do we go along with it?
Most of how we assign monetary value has little to do with what we truly treasure. Human connection is what makes much of life bearable, livable. Our relationships (to each other and the planet) give us the sustenance we need to blossom and grow. Yet we spend so much of our time cultivating relationships with things – thinking that this hamster wheel will get us to a better place.
We end up worn out and alone, frustrated at ourselves for not following our intuition, for not acting on the knowledge that our liberation doesn’t sit at the edge of a dollar bill.
So I’ve decided to give up. I must live my values. I’m giving up on holding back my energy, time, love, and creativity from myself and others because there isn’t money attached to that exchange. I’m going to work on cultivating relationships with people who will make me a better person, I am going to think big no matter what!
I’m in the process of writing a new play, and somehow it’s blooming.
Being held up by others who are putting their creative minds into a project they believe in, for no money. I am grateful for that. For human reciprocity, sharing, community, and love.
May you all give up. May you have the courage to be happy.