I'm different... yet the same. Every few years I set out on another new artistic endeavor. I just can't help myself - nor should I, I think. It just IS who I am. People are starting to call me "the entrepreneur".
What I do know is that even though I start up new endeavors, I am speaking the same message. I've always expressed myself through art and used it in ministry. As a child, ministry was in my dad's inner city church. I would get up and play my piano, or flute and lead music. I decorated the sanctuary with felt banners (which were the rage then, don't judge). Using music, drama and art, I brought a message of hope. After college I used my gifts at Yosemite National Park, in a huge church in Florida for 500 children and taking teams of college students through North America using the arts to share love. I loved it! Unfortunately, I became very ill, and I had to put that particular expression of me on the shelf - but I never stopped being me and singing my song.
I don't do "ministry" as I knew it back then. For me ministry is always about the people... it is about love and connection and helping others find peace and joy. It's about healing, mind, body and soul. Whether it is in a church or through some other mode, people are what matters.
My dad's expression as a pastor was never about proselytizing, control or shame. It was about love, service, acceptance and grace. He raised me to be that way. It's no wonder then that I've come to love yoga so much. Yoga is like dance and self-expression sometimes set to music. Yes, the poses(asanas) are specific, but your expression of those poses is different than the person next to you. In yoga, we breathe and move, getting in touch with our own uniqueness. On the mat we learn love for ourself and others sprinkled with a ton of acceptance and grace. Physical, emotional and spiritual healing is a byproduct of this practice.
Healing... hmm. We spend our lives healing and becoming wounded and needing more healing. It's kind of tiring to be honest. But healing leads to wholeness and that feels great! Helping others pursue healing feels great too. We can only do this when we understand that healing looks different in everyone and we can't force healing on others. Our expression of love (as we believe it to be), may be wounding for others. We step on people's toes sometimes when we dance!
We all MUST dance if we want to make the most out of our short lives, just do it graciously! Go forth and express yourself! Love and accept who you are, your size, your looks, your skin color, your culture, your history, your present challenges and joys. There is only one you.... and you are beautiful! The core of who you were born to be resides in you always, no matter how old you get! Get back in touch with the real you and love and accept yourself! Out of that acceptance, do the same for others. Embrace them in their uniqueness. Together we can be warmed by the fire of embrace.
I'm putting the links to my older expressions via blogs below in case you are interested.
Anne Clay's Art and Soul
This was a series of musings and self-realization that I went through the year before my father's death. He was bigger than life to me and his sudden death hit my like a brick. After he died, I wrote a few bleeding posts and gave up all together. Grieving is such a private thing. I had to go inward and deal.
The other blog is the one I started last year when I bought the house and broke my foot. It's just got interesting historical facts about Quinnbrook Farm.