Even though at Damanhur we hold optimism as a spiritual value, so much so that it is mentioned in our Constitution, and usually I am the first one to wave the optimism flag in any given situation, in these weeks I’m finding it really hard to feel and believe that everything is going in a direction of growth, toward union and peace on earth. Looking at the political situation in the country where I was born (United States), sensing the rage and division that’s behind it, seeing that the movement for protecting the Native American sacred lands and waters of Standing Rock in North Dakota has a lot of support, but also a lot of economic interests in opposition, and victory is not yet certain, knowing that a fire has taken the lives of many young people who were at an event at the Ghost Ship, an artist space in Oakland, California in an area where I used to go when I was living a similar creative life there 10 years ago…
A fire that wouldn’t have started if only a small percentage of the money that goes to wars and oil went to artists and the spaces of beauty and freedom that we create with determination while the cost of rent rises, along with the risk of eviction. It all makes me wonder if there is a reason to feel hope for humanity, if what we are doing at Damanhur is making a difference or if it is all in vain.
With this turbulent cloud of grief and thoughts circling in my mind, I remember that I need to find the energy to go to another dance practice tonight, for a performance of music and dance of the indigenous peoples that we are holding in the Temples of Humankind. In overcoming the inertia, finding the strength to be with my brothers and sisters, to practice and sing and dance, to express ourselves, to laugh, to value the native cultures of the earth, to seek beauty and emotion, continuing to make art and create like we’ve been doing here in Damanhur non-stop for more than 40 years… I find an answer, a point of light and clarity:
Art is an antidote for the shadow that surrounds us and sometimes enters into us. Thanks to art, I’m still alive to write this thing today.
Art is a revolutionary act that is just as important as signing a petition, going to a peaceful protest, voting, taking things to court, changing the law and organizing social change movements.
If we make art and do what we do every day with a pure heart and consciously directed thoughts, it will change the direction of the events in our lives and all around us. It will change the future of the planet.
Take heart, Popolo of artists!
Forza, Popoli di artisti!
Anche se a Damanhur manteniamo l’ottimismo come valore spirituale, al punto di averlo inserito anche nella nostra Costituzione, e personalmente faccio sventolare in ogni situazione la bandiera dell’ottimismo, in queste settimane trovo davvero difficile sentire e credere che tutto ciò che accade nel mondo stia andando in una direzione di crescita, verso l’unione e la pace nel pianeta… Continue reading