In times of angst, what do you do to change the world?

I played in the studio yesterday. I intentionally sat at my art table without a plan, without a real vision and simply experimented.

It was freeing. Calming. Peace-making.

And, fun!

I didn’t know what else to do. In a world seemingly turned mad with natural and man made disasters, I was feeling the angst of too much binge watching on CNN, tracking hurricanes and wildfires and flooding, earthquakes and what the United Nations is calling ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

My heart was heavy. My mind foggy with sadness and sorrow.

I needed to clear it out. To remind myself that in the midst of madness, I have a choice in what I create in my world.

My inspired play-time started with an hour of drying flowers from the garden. With three trays full of delicate leaves and flower petals, I carried them down to the studio thinking I’d make some cards and affix them to the card stock.

My muse had other ideas.

I started with making a background with watercolour pens but wasn’t finding my groove.

While the secret of play-time is to never get trapped in judging the outcome, it’s also important to not get too stuck on the medium I’m using either. If something isn’t really grabbing my imagination, it’s okay to switch!

I decided to switch to alcohol inks.

I could tell it had been awhile since using the inks. Several of the tops were stuck and needed to be coaxed open under hot water.

As the watercolour card stock is not conducive to the free-flowing nature of the inks, I wondered what would happen if I applied a coat or two of matte medium.

A perfect surface for experimentation is what happened!

The beauty of inks is that while they are not very forgiving, they layer easily. They’re also beautifully transparent and once put down on paper, offer a short window to blend them and move them around with alcohol (and no, I don’t mean the alcohol you imbibe! I mean the alcohol you apply to the inks to get them to disperse!).

Staying in the flow of creative expression requires a willingness to give up judgement and give into the art of creating freed of mental chatter.

In these seemingly madcap times in which we live, it is vital to take time to create beauty for no other reason than, in the act of creation, we remind ourselves of our human capacity to create love not war, peace not anger, hope not fear.

I gave myself the gift of an afternoon of play yesterday and in that space, found myself flowing once again into the art of living with peace, hope, love and joy filling my heart.

The world out there has not changed. Fierce winds continue to blow, fires continue to burn, and guns continue to fire. There is little I can do to change those things except donate where I can and send prayers of love and healing into the world.

The best way I know to do that is to ensure my ripple is not filled with angst and unease. After an afternoon of play and creative expression, my space in the world is calmer, more at ease. And from that space, I can go out into my day and create the more of what I want to have in the world knowing that my angst will not be adding to the angst around me.

I not powerful enough to stop winds from blowing, fires advancing or guns blasting.

I do have the power to stop contributing to the angst and anger, the fear and horror by creating oases of calm and beauty within and all around me.

We all have that kind of power.


PS. As to the dried flowers… when the cold arctic air swoops in, I’m sure they will inspire me to create signs of spring in my studio, and my heart. 🙂




8 thoughts on “In times of angst, what do you do to change the world?

  1. I think ‘playing with the unexpected’ for a few hours sometimes is great therapy for whatever ails us or whatever rut we’ve found ourselves in; I spent what was supposed to be a few minutes on the phone with a stranger yesterday. Three hours later we ended the conversation because we both had things to do, yet I could have happily gone on for hours more. Yes, my pile of work can wait. I feel fantastic this morning … and the pile is staring at me. Can’t wait for the next phone call …

    Liked by 1 person

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