Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ George Santayana
About a year ago, maybe a bit longer, I started to hear my intuition say, “Write that story”.
I have always (rather secretly) considered myself a writer. I daydreamed…so very quietly, way back in the hinterlands of my imagination…of seeing my name in print. The dream was so big, so bright, that I couldn’t look directly at it. It seemed so far out of reach, and it seemed like I should be doing something so much more important with my mind, my energy than writing stories and poetry. I believed the faded voices of my teachers and other adults who told me I needed to use my intellect to BE something…doctor, lawyer, activist, teacher…something big that would change the world and move it closer to the ideal I knew it could be. But I couldn’t choose a path (because I didn’t want any of those paths, and they were not for me). And I beat myself endlessly for it. Until a few years ago when I gradually started to adjust to the idea that I could be, do, and have what I wanted. Full stop.
It hasn’t been an easy adjustment. I keep noticing that, while I love and admire and completely understand the value of other artists’ and creatives’ work in the world, I have not been able to accept that my own work is valuable and necessary in the same way. I had an epiphany this weekend, though.
It was born of a discussion with my husband, as so many of my most valuable insights are. We were talking about how when one country invades another, one of the first things they often do is burn or destroy the art and culture of the invaded land. As we talked about why, it started to really sink in that the art and culture of a people is how they remember their emotions. And not just one country, but the world… the whole world does this.
As humans, we can only hold so much emotion in one lifetime. It would be too overwhelming, too paralyzing to hold all that in our consciousness. I see people all the time who are burnt out or desensitized by trying to feel compassion for all the things in this world that deserve compassion and trying to care about all the things that need to be cared about. They can’t help but compartmentalize…”This isn’t happening to me, so I can’t look at that right now.” It’s human nature; it’s a necessary survival instinct, especially in our current culture. We all feel the need to distance ourselves from the pain, and even the joy of others because it is just so overwhelming to feel it all. But there is a risk inherent in doing this: we become unable to empathize with others who have different experiences than our own.
Why is that a risk? Because in a world of almost 9 billion people, those with vastly different lives from ours are everywhere, and humans are well known to develop profound fears of what they don’t know and don’t understand. And fear of the unknown and different is one of the underlying causes of almost every major social ill known to mankind.
So, what does this have to do with the importance of artists? The answer lies, for me, in a definition I once heard of Art: Art is anything that evokes a strong emotional reaction. Art reminds us of emotions we have forgotten. It allows us to step into the shoes of another for a moment, to feel their pain or joy or giddiness or sorrow. It plunges us into empathy. We begin to connect with each other again. And do you know what happens when we do that? Of course you do. We begin to treat each other with greater compassion and understanding. And do you know what happens when we do that? We raise the vibration of the entire planet.
Many of us believe we are here to anchor Love into Mother Earth at this time, to raise Her vibration to a level that is more harmonious, closer to Love, for the good of Her and all Her inhabitants. Just like with any cause or organization, there are lots of roles to fill. There are the Activists, who go out and march and write letters and make phone calls. They remind us we have to take action, to implement what we believe and make it a fact of life for all of us, not just those who can speak. There are the Healers and Teachers. They ensure that we are able to return to the field again and again. They remind Body and Soul and Mind of what needs to be done and how to do it. There are the Organizers and the Farmers and the Nurturers.
And I wanted to help, but I could not find my place among them, until I realized that Artists are as vital to the cause of Anchoring Love as any other role…of course we are…because Artists remind us of what history felt like.
So, gradually, I am settling into my place as a Keeper of Memory, a Guardian of Emotion. This is my role in the changing world, my specific lightworker job. It is my honor, and my duty. It’s what I came here to be and do. And do it, I will.