Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spirit: Resonance


In its simplest terms, resonance is the amplification of vibrations, and the smallest vibrations can build and build upon each other and have the greatest effects. Just check out the mere act of wind on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge causing its ultimate collapse in 1940. A similar thing can happen to an individual when he or she is doing the thing they most love to do - small things come together and amplify the satisfaction, the rewards, and the results. There is a resonance of the spirit in those moments. Deepak Chopra calls this “align[ing] with the force of dharma,” and though I most often associate dharma with the teachings of Buddha, in its most general sense dharma is “virtue or right living.” Ken Robinson calls it being in your element, and when you are in your element, you feel that you are doing what you were meant to do. For me, these are the moments when I come most alive - when I feel the resonance of the moment and I feel the most connected to the universe.

What resonates with my spirit? What causes that amplification of vibrations within me? What am I meant to do?

As I have mentioned before, art is my core and I am most in my element when I am connecting to my art. I feel completely present, completely at home, and completely at peace when I am making art and it just seems to flow from me. However another aspect of being an artist is sharing my love, my passion, my methods, my madness. In essence it is about teaching. I see my role as a teacher as an extension of my art. It comes from the same creative space.

But not all teaching elicits that deep satisfaction or resonates profoundly with my spirit. I earn most of my living from teaching art at a public high school in Northern Virginia, and unfortunately, in many ways it dims my spirit and doesn’t resonate with me. It is because teaching school is not solely about teaching. There are so many things that dilute the purity of the teaching experience. My educator friends probably know what I mean. Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when I come alive, when I see a spark in the eyes of a student, when a young artist “gets it.” But these moments are few and far between.

My spirit really lights up, when I am in a pure teaching experience. At conventions, conferences, workshops, retreats, and seminars where I can share my art, my experiences, and myself, I come alive. It is quite evident when I move people, when there is a dawning in their minds, when something that I share sparks something within them. The feedback is quite instant. Dave and I always have excited people coming up to us after a workshop or presentation and sharing their reactions, and fortunately, they have been overwhelmingly positive. We have also received countless emails about the impact that we have had. This makes it so apparent that what I do is having an impact.

But its not about the accolades, it’s not about selling more books or getting more opportunities (though all of that is good and I’m not discouraging it). It’s all about that sense of being in the moment doing what I feel I was meant to do. It’s about that feeling of being in my element and having an impact on the world. Quite frankly, I am out to change the world, and slowly, I am making a difference. I think of the thousands of teachers, artists, and students that I have impacted, and I think of all the people they have influenced. That is real resonance, and all because I do what I feel that I was meant to do.

What I do is simple, but it resonates with me and it resonates with others. These small ripples spread out amplified by what others do - what others bring to it. As the impact and the effects spread, the world changes, and I know that I am a part of that change.

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