08 Feb KARMA AND THE ARTIST
Karma and where it can take “you”!
Informal Definition (Google Dictionary): Good or bad luck, viewed as resulting from one’s actions.
I would like to share something that makes me hugely sad but has also inspired me to be more than I ever thought I could be right now. Eighteen months ago something enormously, insurmountably tragic happened. I am not unaccustomed to tragic things happening as I had lost three, young, inspirational siblings to tragedy before I had even reached the age of 30. When someone very special to you dies it is very hard to ever imagine you will feel whole again. You soon come to realise that nothing will ever be the same again and it takes a long time before you can even begin to think that a life that is different now is going to be good enough.
When you have experienced loss of any kind it does not make you an expert on the subject but it makes you raw and exposed. It leaves you asking the hardest question ever “How will I go on?” Well in my experience the fundamental and constant factor of survival is having others walking alongside you as you seek out new meaning to give this different life that has presented itself.
Some say that time is a great healer but I would say that time simply offers the space to continue existing alongside the everyday challenges that we face. From my counselling training I can inform you of the phases of grieving but I think it would be more helpful here to focus on the phases of existing. We all need meaning in our lives and so much meaning comes from what we create in the form of experiences, families and tangible things that we come to value.
If I take you back now to this more recent tragedy that so many of us felt locally and to the inspiration, I know that comes from us sharing the enormity of a loss then I will tell you why I have linked this post to Karma and why I am writing it. I also hope that I can translate sincerely why I will always follow my heart and guttural “need / instinct” to reach out sensitively and ask someone if I can help. This is something I believe my younger, less able bodied sister taught me. When you have to try a bit harder and think a bit deeper to ascertain what is needed and wanted, you learn to look beyond your own often misguided assumptions and consider from the other person’s point of view.
See there it is again PERSPECTIVE- it’s everywhere! It was pointed out to me even clearer about 15 years ago when I noticed a homeless man sleeping in a bush not far from our house. That night as the temperature dropped I went up to the attic and found a jumper that belonged to my late, elder sister. It was a beautiful cable knit! I took socks for his bare feet and I raided the cupboards for cereal and food that we didn’t want and ran round the corner to give it to him. Nothing pleased me more the next day when my baby daughter and I went to check on him and he was wearing the warm jumper and the socks and when he stated “Those cereals are disgusting!” I felt really guilty because I had given him something we hadn’t wanted because we thought they were disgusting and it had not occurred to me that just because you are homeless it doesn’t mean you have to take just anything. Your point of view still counts because you count. I love that story!
This post has taken so long to write because it’s significance and message is so enormous. It is also very difficult as I want to ensure the clarity of the meaning is there. Throughout my posts I have been referring to and suggesting there is a new, exciting project looming on the horizon. Well there is and I want to explain the reason why it is looming and why it exists at all. My next big project is the result of an Icelandic Roadtrip and an exhibition of a small proportion of the beautiful Icelandic landscape. And this entire project has come about because of an extraordinary, young person-Rhys Rubery.
In response to this tragic loss the Rhys Rubery RR81 Fund was announced in honour and memory of his enormous spirit. The RR81 fund has facilitated some wonderful, heartfelt actions that have raised huge amounts of money to fulfil ideas, dreams and so forth that Rhys, himself had voiced throughout his short life. One such fundraising event was The RR81 Fundraising Ball that took place in February 2017.
When I saw this advertised I was in Cornwall for Christmas and never in my life have I acted so swiftly in doing anything. It was like a light bulb being lit. My husband and friends will all vouch for my lack of dynamism when it comes to organising even a trip to the supermarket. I am usually the last to commit due to all the possible things that may get in the way and prevent it happening!
Well not on this occasion! Within minutes I had used Facebook and email to buy tickets to the Ball and to inquire if they would like one of my paintings to put up in the auction for sale to help with the fundraising. I remember feeling really awkward as I am not a famous artist or anything I am just a local artist and whilst I have had interest in my work I knew that taste is very subjective and I didn’t expect everyone to want to bid for my work. I can’t tell you how out of my comfort zone I felt. The organisers were very kind and supportive of this idea and chose a painting and then I just waited until the event got nearer. And as the the event got nearer I got more and more nervous and on the night I would have given anything to have gone down with a sickness bug just so I wouldn’t have to sit there and wait to see if the painting sold. As artists we have to take that in to consideration. It’s ok if things don’t sell. Art is a very personal thing.
It was my lovely husband who reminded me that we knew why we were going and why we wanted to go and why I had donated the painting. He reminded me that we hadn’t donated it for any other reason than to try to generate funds for the RR81 fund. This wasn’t a business transaction it was a heartfelt transaction whereby I was trying to communicate my support in a way that was personal to me. I thought it would end there. This was not the case! And yes the painting did sell and yes it raised a truly respectable amount of money for a truly worthwhile fund!
That night we met some of the family’s closest friends and they welcomed us with open arms. The evening showed not only how many people had been inspired by Rhys but how much heartfelt support was there for his family. I felt really inspired by the enormity of it all and left feeling really pleased I had fought off all the angst. Furthermore, I reminded myself that sometimes you have to overcome fears as often they are truly misguided and over exaggerated. This can apply to so many facets of life. Attending an event when you don’t know many people or looking at a blank canvas preparing to make the first marks. Every step we take poses challenges but the more we do it the easier it gets. I was to get lots of opportunity to do just that a few months later when one of the friends at the Ball invited me to attend their business network meeting as he felt that others may be interested in my work.
Talk about stepping out of one comfort zone and into a “zone of unknown”! Well you see that is what happens when someone like Rhys Rubery has inspired you. It would seem that Rhys was a great motivator and if he had a motto His motto would have gone something like this “Why aren’t you doing it?” It seems he would never assume something was exclusive but that everyone should have the chance and take part in events.
The spiral of events that have unfolded for me because of my one kind gesture is seemingly endless. I have met so many new people who have embraced me and my work and in response to the title of this post: “Karma and where it can take you”, I can clearly state that it can take you anywhere you desire- it took me to Iceland!
I now feel ready to begin sharing the trip with you and unveiling the experience through my sketches and observation on the best Family Road Trip we have ever taken. (Although, in the words of Homer Simpson “…….The best so far”! ) And let’s face it knowing what I have come to know from the inspiration behind the trip, this is just the beginning.
- Have you ever asked yourself why you are not doing something?
- Whether it be starting a new activity, even a new painting or embarking on an adventure that feels like it’s beyond your wildest dreams.
- It doesn’t matter what it is but at least ask yourself “Why aren’t you doing it?”
- There are always reasons why we do and don’t do things but I am now trying to ascertain which ones should stop me and which ones I don’t need to hide behind. I keep quite basic thoughts at the forefront of many decisions: Be kind to yourself and be kind to others but don’t be afraid to try something new.
Ps. I don’t mean to suggest it’s always easy but it’s exciting and whilst I do climb back inside my safety zone, it’s liberating knowing I can step outside it when I want to.
I guess I need to re-call a time when it didn’t go well just to balance this out. It is Karma after all! I’ll see what I can do!