Anarchist, Artist or Arsehole (Which Are You?)

(Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 54 seconds.)

I am an artist.

There, I said it. I was born into a dubious, ahem, an eccentric tribe. These bizarre ones have been known to chop off an ear (one of their own) and give it to a prostitute, reside for years in a funeral home with a coffin lid for a door, and appoint a horse as a personal representative for the opening of an important art show. They are insomniacs, hedonists, drunkards, hoarders, and perennial paupers. These unconventional people tend to be messy, undisciplined, and at times, repulsive.

It’s no wonder the admission is so hard, even to myself, that I am an…artist.

Recently during one of those enchanting walks through the woods at Kalien, a visionary was telling me he struggled to call himself a CEO. Even though he founded and now leads a successful company, the title seemed foreign to him somehow. Ah, the irony of it all.

I have never had a problem calling myself a CEO or an entrepreneur. But to  brand myself an artist, be still my soul. I can barely summon the courage to type the word as a descriptor of myself even now. Why did the gods,  Jehovah, Buddha, Allah, the Great Spirit, or whatever the f&%k is out there, create me to be an artist? And even more asinine, purpose me to encourage other artists.

I’ve been doomed to an existential and living hell. A thankless job. Just call me Sisyphus or Ixion.

Is this artist thing a name or a moniker? This raises all sorts of difficult questions. I once heard a really cool guy (I think his name is Randy) give a talk, “Be Who You Are, Not What You Do”. Agh, I suppose you should add schizophrenic to the list of descriptors.

I feel I am to be an artist, but my other psyche tells me I am to be an encourager. Can I be both at the same time? How to get rid of these damn split personalities? But then again—a personality disorder might be an asset—if I really am an artist.

What about Kalien? Is it to be a sacred space for artists? For CEO’s? For ministers? Is it a retreat to encourage the wounded and weary? Does anyone even care?

Am I an artist or an encourager? Could I really encourage artists if I’m not one? Who the hell could understand (hmm, does anyone really understand artists?) or at the very least empathize with artists except a fellow tribe member? And does any artist even know they need encouragement? Do they care?

Back to me. Well, one of me, at least. I recently read a book, Modern Man In Search of A Soul, by psychologist Carl Jung in which he described utilizing a mandala to penetrate his psyche and to analyze and focus his persona. So of course, I immediately began an in-depth study of mandalas. Hmm, perhaps I should get that really cool guy (that other Randy) to do a talk about this extraordinary and relatively unknown tool. Something like “How A Mandala Can Help You Discover Who You Really Are”.

I utilized the symbolism of the mandala in my own way. First, I used watercolors to paint a personal mandala. And another, and another, again and again, until I began to glimpse a window to my soul. It was like peering through stained-glass, truth gradually revealed from the light within. Good lord, maybe I am an artist after all.

Words began to materialize. Important words. Words that described everything about me. Some were evident and others surprised me. But all of them were true, and seemed to describe the essence of who I am. You may remember from philosophy that essence(es) is a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.

These properties, these essentials, of my being included freedom, sensuality, imagination, curiosity, knowledge, communion, nature, home, health, aesthetics, meaning, and encouragement. I then began to arrange them around a center. In quadrants of meaning that make the most sense to who I am, who I have become, and who I am becoming.

These quadrants were placed in synergy and relationship to each other to form a vibrant and healthy whole. A picture, a window if you will, of a cohesive person that is naturally and logically (can an artist even use those words?) connected.

So perhaps the artist Randy and the encourager Randy are one. The artist is an encourager. I am the sum of my parts. No split personality here.

But complex, yes. A misfit, yes. A rebel, yes. A trouble-maker, yes.

I’ve always been a round peg in the square hole. It’s my destiny. I see things differently. I’m not fond of rules, and I loathe the status-quo. And I do believe with all my heart the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Why? Because I am an artist.

How about you?

One Response to “Anarchist, Artist or Arsehole (Which Are You?)”

  1. Great thoughts. My son has always been an artist looking for a canvas. When he finally found it he also became a CEO, business owner and encourager. It seems that when we find our canvas all the other things come together as well. None of us bear just one gift or title. When we find our canvas all the stars align and we finally discover ourselves.

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