It’s been a tragic 12 days. After a short 12 days many seem to be “jumping right
back in”. You can see it here in most of LA - at least on the surface. Being 3000
miles from “Ground Zero” makes it less real. Those closer to the tragedy, well it’ll
be a long, long time before things feel better or make any sense. If that’s you I
hope you’re making your way through them little by little.
YouCanDraw.com is a site that promotes learning to draw and learning to
draw by drawing caricatures. Funny thing though - and you’ve probably
discovered it too - it’s hard to do caricatures. Somehow, it doesn’t seem
quite right. That’s really not so hard to understand: who wants to make
fun of anyone right now? Drawing funny pictures of people can be an act
of affection though too. And humor can be lifesaver. Still, the interest hasn’t
been there. In time, I know the old funny bone will come back.
Drawing is therapeutic
But I have been drawing. And you know what? I’ve found the drawing a powerful
antidote - even if it’s temporary - to all that’s going on around. Is that escape?
or denial? I asked myself that too. If it is, I don’t think anyone would criticize me
or you for that. But more than that, I’ve found it an anchor - even if only for a
half hour one day, 45 minutes two days later. Art therapists have found it’s
easier to get troubled kids to talk about what’s bothering them by getting them
to talk about what and who they draw. Adult or child, drawing is therapeutic.
“Facing adversity introduces us to ourselves”.
That’s a quote president Bush used in his speech 1 week ago. That’s a wonderful
statement - even if you’ve heard it said 50 different ways before he said it. It still
brings up a powerful point: It’s easy to tip toe around our gifts, our desires. I’m
talking about big “D” desire - as in big LIFE desires like “I want to be the greatest
writer, greatest painter, I want to the best surgeon or statesman/woman or most
insightful poet or mother or father”. Big desires. As opposed to little “d” desires
like “I want to go to the mall, I want a new car, I want / need a new purple
polka-dot and gold Bullwinkle baseball hat”. It’s easy to ignore what’s important
until we realize how easy it can all be taken away, how easy we can lose
everything. Our lives included.
The "Bigger Picture"
James Hillman talks about big “D” desires in his book "The Soul’s Code". He called
it “The Acorn Theory”: The idea: we’ve all got a mission in this life. It’s this idea we
all have a pre-outlined pre-chosen map for our lives that God and us figured out
before we were conceived on earth.
When you’re off track, you know it - sort of. You start having symptoms: all that
flitting around, Band-Aid sorts of little “d” desires start popping up, we drink, party,
avoid commitment, snap at people, get cynical, get paranoid blah blah blah.
They’re symptoms because they’re uncomfortable, painful, they’re never really
satisfying. And if they seem to be, they’re always very short-lived.
Getting back on track
When you’re on track, all sorts of invisible helping hands start appearing. Now
maybe you’re meant to be the world’s greatest caricaturist, maybe not. But
maybe you were grabbed by those invisible helping hands or by your own
roustabout version of a guardian angel (a “Daimon” as Hillman reminds us the
Greeks called it) when you were nabbed by the deep inner urge to start drawing.
Or maybe drawing is just a piece of a larger version of who you’re supposed to
become. Whichever it is, whatever fits your original reason for learning to draw,
now more than ever, don’t let it go! Fit it in. If you’re so grief struck, give that
your time - but eventually weave the drawing back into your life. It IS therapeutic.
And it, along with the other things you know you’re supposed to be doing, helps
rebuild, helps reestablish your own firm foundation. Honoring those old hopes and
dreams can get you back on track. I going to wait until next week for the next
caricature - but I will have it for you :-)
Warmly and with Peace, Shalom, Aloha, Salem Alechem,
PS: link to James Hillman's "The Soul's Code":
4702-C West 130th Street
Los Angeles CA, 90250
"Once and for all getting you drawing faces and caricatures"