Once upon a time, a man named Miguel de Cerantes wrote an amazing book called "Don Quixote." I am a book fiend and an insatiable reader, so I've always loved this book and found it deeply moving. Anyways, if you have time to read it, you'll be better for it. But the short story is that it will make you laugh and cry, and you will find it altogether inspiring and maddening and most of all, a marvellous crazy adventure akin to pretty much anyone's life.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is "Until death it is all life."
Just take a moment to absorb that thought.
"Until death it is all life."
It's so simple that it almost makes me laugh outloud. It means that until we are dead, we are living. Seems so logical, right? But it's one of the easiest things to forget and to take for granted. As long as we're here and breathing, there's a chance and there's hope. Even in the darkest moment, we are alive and that simple fact alone is reason to celebrate and feel joy. As long as we live anything can happen.
We have time.
We have time to live and laugh and experience life.
We have life, and that is the most precious thing.
Right now in the USA we are experiencing unprecedented times. With the COVID-19 pandemic, all of our lives have changed virtually overnight. Our world, which was filled with travel and movement and social interaction just a few months ago is now almost completely different. Almost unrecognizable. That freedom we cherish as Americans has virtually vanished overnight. Many have lost hope and lost their way in the process.
Sure, we can't interact like we used to and go wherever we want, and of course, there are changes that make it difficult for us to feel as free and empowered as we used to. Some folks have completely lost their jobs, some people have been furloughed with no end in sight and some folks are just waiting and waiting, hoping to wake up one morning and find everything normal again. Some people are sick, some have died, some are overwhelmed with fear and financial hardship and the list goes on and on. People just like you and me. People we know. People we love. It's hard not to feel the heartbreak everyday and it's hard not to lose courage. We've have to rely on technology more than ever to talk to friends and family, to do our work, to communicate with one another and make things happen in this virtual reality. It's not an easy transition to make even now, after months of changes and constant adaptation.
But, that's just the physical world.
What about the mind?
In our minds and in our imaginations...freedom is boundless. If you can control what you think about, you truly control the world. You can choose how you want to interpret this story. You can choose how to think about your story in your life right now and in this time. You can choose to be afraid or you can choose to find a path through the craziness and persevere. You can choose to have hope and remember that eventually everything will change again and time will pass.
But not everyone can just do that. It's not easy.
So, this is where the arts come to the rescue. Music, painting, dance, literature, sculpture...all of these wonderful things open our minds and fill us with life. That's what the arts were created to do - they were meant to lift us up, make us feel at one with something greater than ourselves and share in its beauty with other people. The transcendent quality of the arts is why they are so essential to human life. We all need to escape the day-to-day once in a while and go someplace else. The arts let you go there in your mind. You don't even have to leave your house!
Art truly does save us from our own darker selves. How does it do that? It's simple; art reminds us we are not alone and that always makes us feel better. Art reminds us we are capacle of greatness for when we see and marvel at the work of artists, we know anything is possible.
Listen to a symphony recording and then tell me you don't feel something bigger than yourself whne you hear all that amazing sound and vibration wash over you.
Turn on your radio and dance to your favorite music for an hour, and tell me your mood hasn't completely changed, tell me you don't feel joy.
Look up your favorite artist online and lose yourself in the images for a while and tell me you don't feel better, tell me you aren't inspired.
And so on and so forth.
The world we live in and out lives were never guranteed to be easy or safe or happy all the time. So we create, we enjoy, we share and we love. We don't do these things alone. We are all part of a greater whole that is the human race. Art is our collective greatness and ours to enjoy when we need to remember.
Art is the timeless medicine that heals the mind, body and soul.
Why not indulge?
Because..."Until death it is all life."