It’s been an amazing experience so far doing these interviews. They’ve been mostly conducted with artists, of varying mediums. I’m fascinated with the process artists use and one of the connections I’m looking to make note of is how art-making can support living authentically, as a process, in addition to being an important means of self-expression, catharsis, and a vehicle for joy and beauty. (The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is an important reference for how to physically enable the artistic process, especially for those experiencing some degree of stuckness in their creative flow.)
I’m also very interested in addiction, and especially recovery from addiction. Why? Because I suffer! I want to live out the true purpose for my life. There are a few things that make this difficult and addiction is of the most difficult. Mainly because, as it is said in many a 12 step group, addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful. Also it is pervasive in our culture, so if you are susceptible to this, it is hard to exist outside of the matrix that breeds more of it.
There’s a brilliant book I draw from often, called Witness to the Fire: Creativity & the Veil of Addiction by Linda Schierse Leonard. Leonard is a Jungian analyst and she addresses addiction by looking at it through archetypes, which she finds examples of in literature and the lives of artists (I love this!). She writes:
“The artist receives the inspiration, feels the call to create, accepts the burden of the tension of opposites, works to shape the vision for others to receive. In that process the transformation that occurs in the creative act is given to the recipient. Thus, the recipients begin to experience in themselves the same call to creativity the artist felt. In this way the creative work or act becomes a spiritual form of communion.”
“…This energy of creative love through spiritually transformative giving is the very same thing that happens through the twelfth step, the act of gratitude and giving through which a person shares experience, strength, and hope with others. This helps enable the process of recovery from addiction.”
These interviews I’m doing with people are focused on Authenticity rather than focused on Addiction. But underpinning this whole discussion is a conversation about addiction. Soon I’ll be incorporating more talks with people who are in recovery from addiction. I suspect many more connections will be drawn. I write memoir as well as poetry and it’s natural for me to see people in terms of story. These interviews in some ways are like mini-memoirs.
So, the primary reason for my doing this, and for making art in the first place, is because of what the process does for me. It lifts me out of the matrix of my addictive systems and into one of a higher order, in which I am connected to and operating out of something much – well it seems to me to be this way – healthier and certainly more purposeful. I call this “something” higher mind, higher power, God. You can also think of it as Nature and witness it explicitly in the natural world. Everything works, both separately and together, resulting in so much beauty. (This recognition of beauty feels like something resonating in the core of my being. When I feel this resonation it’s like a tuning fork to the higher mind, to God. I also often call this Poetry – where the poet is a witness to this force.) My secondary reason for doing these interviews (and making art) is for the privilege of communing with others in a context that relates to my Authentic Self, my True Nature. I have some deep-seated drive to want to help people in this way.
This, as it turns out, is part of my calling.