I was just reading about how The Beatles uplifted America after President Kennedy was assassinated. Their looks and sound were a diversion from what America was feeling, they offered hope and connection to people everywhere.

Art in all forms has this power, offering a necessary shift from thinking to feeling. As Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Art touches our intellect, but it mostly appeals to the heart. It’s not always about taking sides or arguing to be right, it’s creatively offering that pain is pain, disconnection is disconnection, love is love. It’s common ground.

It’s music, poetry, painting, dance, writing, humor, theater, acting, film, drawing. It’s any medium that makes our insides visible.

Art keeps us vulnerable and real. And when we offer ourselves this way, people hear. They can relate.

I believe so deeply in art, I’ve spent my life being in awe of what it can do.

I fill my home with my children’s artwork, I deeply contemplate the messages of poetry, film and music. I use it to heal myself and to learn more about how others might feel.

We all get to write our own poetry, sing our songs, dance our dances – in public or in private, to share with others or just to learn more about ourselves. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Writing this is my art today, a sharing of my insides, a gentle encouragement to stay open.

I’m also listening to The Beatles while feeling gratitude for all the people I love. You’ve probably done this, too. On this we agree.

 

Cathy is host of Zen Parenting Radio and the founder of the Let’s Get Real Zen Parenting Conference. She is author of the award-winning Living What You Want Your Kids to Learn: The Power of Self-Aware Parenting, and is mom to three girls, 13, 11, and 9.