Right now struggle seems to be in the air! APEC has come and gone in Honolulu with cordoned-off Security Zones and some planned protests. In many Mainland cities the Occupiers are protesting banks and commercialism’s rape of peoples’ lives. What is clear to me is that no matter what is wrong in our age, Government cannot solve the problems central to my soul; that is my struggle and mine alone! When I hear people talk about spiritual life so many of them equate being spiritual with being unruffled! This has not been my experience these past 40 years!
My spiritual life has been the struggle to attain and maintain interior balance despite myself! Like walking a tightrope there are times when I am right on balance and times when I am in peril of falling off! I find a real resonance in my own thinking with the term kuleana… a sense of responsibility for maintaining a proper relationship with the land and with people. A “proper relationship” implies balance, and balance requires the struggle to stay balanced. My point is that spiritual life is not passive! To live spiritually requires the struggle to resist fogging out and yet to stay attentive; to resist the false glitter of lying to myself and yet to be brutally honest with myself; to resist the temptation of easy answers and yet to insist that I live with the mystery of the unknown in my life!
Beginning a new piece of artwork is often an experience of struggle for me, but a struggle which involves a degree of enticement! I am aware that every decision that I make determines to some extent what other decisions will be open to me further into the work. And by the end of the work… well, it is often like leaving home to go to Miami but winding up in Chicago, with no clear recall of how I got there… and yet, discovering that I like being in Chicago! The older I get the more I like the mystery of struggle. Struggle IS the journey that we take, and it does take us somewhere. All I know for sure is that I will not arrive at the end a blank canvas, as I began. Somehow that thought comforts and excites me!