BY JEFF BETTGER
I have noticed that when my life is emotionally difficult or a new transition happens that I feel a burst of creative energy. During these times I can’t seem to contain the ideas percolating in my brain. They need release.
Art is a healing mechanism. When I create something, whether it is esoteric, existential, or conceptual, it is a way to get myself out of the stress of everyday life or a traumatic situation. When I create for the sake of creating, I find myself refreshed, invigorated, and ready for the rest of life. The purge leads to a sense of renewal and freshness.
Abstraction helps us relate to the mysterious things that we don’t get. Things we can’t understand, but want to find meaning in. The miraculous, the supernatural, the science of life, and the universe are all around us. We stand and live in mystery. We can deal with this tension, the paradox and the mystery by confronting it head on and calling it what it is.
The creation can be as simple as a blog post or an edited photo or as complicated as a composition, a record, or a film. I’m not talking about creating things as a pragmatic means to an end, but rather as a way to process and to put perspective on life by getting inside yourself and pouring yourself out.
I love that as human beings we have this ability to make things.
We are always moving, ebbing towards something we cannot see. The tides of change turn for good or bad, but the consistent factor of human life is that we suffer and die. We all experience pain and suffering, and end with death. This, one might argue, is a large part of being an animal. A large part, if not all, of being human is that we can find ways to turn all this death into life and joy.
We can spur on hope for each other and ourselves. We can process our pain and suffering and we do not need to live in it. Yes, we have imagination. That imagination can turn things around emotionally and empower us to deal with this bi-polar thing of everyday dying while living towards an inevitable end that we can do nothing about.
I think what we make of this inevitable truth in the midst of it matters the most. Do we turn inward and close off? Do we ignore it by wearing rose-colored glasses? Do we look horror in the face and yell: “You won’t have me, I will purge you!”?
When you experience the difficulties in life, slow down and tap into that place deep inside. Look into that place of hurt and brokenness. Know it and purge it.
The cynicism of discomfort and lack does not need to be the basis of how you live and work. There is more for each of us. I believe the proper place to put all of this death is to put it out. Kill it. Don’t let it take over.
The best way that I have dealt with issues in my own life has been to be the creator that I was made to be. I was made. I make as well. We need to make things to deal with ordinary pain and suffering. We need to make things to deal with the hypocrisy of ourselves and of others. We need to make things to remember. We need to make things to spur on hope and to put to death all of the death that is around us.
Find something to put your hands to, and do it with all your might. Get out the death and put on the hope of what could be. Make it happen. The healing and purging process of creation always leads to hope and life no matter how despairing your circumstances may be. We are human beings and we can make, so do it.
Ca·thar·sis noun \kə-ˈthär-səs\:
The act or process of releasing a strong emotion (such as pity or fear) especially by expressing it in an art form.
Full Definition of CATHARSIS
2a: purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art.
2b: a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension.
3: elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression.