“The process of making art is the process of becoming a person with agency, with independent thought, a producer of meaning rather than a consumer of meanings that may be at odds with your soul, your destiny, your humanity….”
~ Rebecca Solnit
The process of making art is a process of reclaiming your power.
Every year around this time I begin thinking about what it is I want to create in the coming year. I clear everything off my schedule and spend about a week getting very quiet. I let whatever wants to bubble up come forward. If the idea/goal fills me with a surge of excitement and joy, it goes on the list.
Toward the end of the week, I winnow out the list, put all the remaining pieces together, and create a final set of goals. I get clear on all the feeling states that are at the core of each goal and write those down. I then search for images that represent each of the feeling states and put those either onto a goal card, vision board, or into a mind movie.
Each year, I have a chuckle to myself when I look at my list of desired feeling states. Regardless of the goal, it turns out that what I’m really after is freedom. For example:
1) Optimal health and fitness (freedom of movement, lightness of being, confident and free centeredness)
2) Learn French (freedom of expression and freely connecting with others in one of my favorite countries in the world)
3) Financial abundance (freedom to spend my time as I choose)
4) Finish my book (freedom to do the work I find most meaningful; freedom to impact the world)
5) Travel to Provence, Paros, and other European destinations (freedom of exploration, adventure, and discovery)
Making Art Precedes Power
This year, as I began gathering together my cravings for 2020, I realized that underneath my desired feeling state of freedom was one, central concept: agency.
Agency – the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power.
Now, let’s be clear: I am talking about reclaiming your power. Power over the self, not over other people. Power to craft one’s destiny. Power to create, moment to moment, how you want to feel. Power to choose. Power to align your soul with meaning. Power to bring your true self forward. Power to experience the ecstasy of being fully present and aware. Power to positively influence and impact oneself and others. Owning and reclaiming your power for good.
And guess what lies underneath achieving agency?
Any art. Any medium. Good. Bad. Recognizable. Unrecognizable. Fancy. Plain.
The Magic Is in the Making
We can choose to head to the kitchen, the dance floor, the canvas, the blank sheet of paper, or the typewriter. We can pick up a chef’s knife, a pair of dancing shoes, a brush, a pencil, or a pan of paint.
The medium doesn’t matter. One’s skill level doesn’t matter.
The act of getting going and making art is the only thing that matters.
As you will see in the video above, in fewer than 7 minutes, you can learn how to get started doing watercolor painting. You can pick up the materials you need at Walmart for under $20. Stay out of the weeds with worry over technique and tools. Just get going.
I could have given you a video on how to make a beurre blanc. Or how to do your first sketch. Or how to square dance. Again, the art form is irrelevant. You choose whatever calls to you. What sounds like fun?
We are on the edge of a brand new decade. Wouldn’t reclaiming your power bring joy? Wouldn’t it be delicious to live with agency and create our own personal renaissances that will ripple through our lives and the lives of those we love and cherish?