Thursday, May 29, 2008

Black and White and Red All Over

Several times recently the issue of mental health and art has come up in discussions with friends. Robert Genn has written a recent artist's letter regarding the over-emphasis on happiness. And I've been on my own path of discovery as well in this realm. There does seem to be an incredible emphasis these days on being happy, and being "normal". But what is happiness? What is normal? For everyone these interpretations are different. Nature and nurture have a role to play in how we see the world.

I've been reading about Highly Sensitive People because for the most part I fit in this category, but in examining it I realize I also fit into my own category. Each one of us sees the world from our own perspective. In a way, we are all speaking our own language and trying to understand each other at the same time. Not always an easy task. No wonder that we have so many issues with cultures clashing these days. First there is the language, the culture and then there's the individual. I'm thankful that we are not all the same. That our different perspectives challenge us to understand others.

Art can help us in this realm. It can give us ways to define our vision and also share that vision with others. Without the ups and downs of life where would art be today? Where the vibrancy? Where the life? Nope, I'm not ungrateful for the experiences I've had, especially the the tough times. Those experiences molded me into who I am and give me what I need to see and create with the intensity I feel.

Happiness and normalcy are overrated. We don't live in a generic world and I hope we don't manage to make it so. Accept the differences in yourself and others. Learn from them. Try to understand them though you don't need to incorporate them. The colors of the world are my palette. It just ain't all black and white. Get the picture?

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