It's been a hard week around the world, hasn't it? The earthquake/tsunami/radiation state of emergency in Japan, the fighting/bombing/war-ing in Libya and in so many other places... There is so much tragedy and turmoil around the world.
Thoughts and ideas flutter around my head energetically. The predictable questions of life - its purpose and meaning often come up. And for me, the questions comes in the form of: "What the heck am I doing, being an ARTIST?" Shouldn't I be out there saving the world, somehow? Makes oodles of money to donate to charities? Save lives? Clean up the planet? What contributions am I making, to make someone's life better? Is the business of making "pretty things" a frivolous pursuit? Is it selfish? Self-serving and self-satifying?
Often, when my thoughts finally spill into audible words of frustration, my husband will tell me that being artist, doing what I do specifically as a jewelry artist, IS a good thing in this world. Delivering someone a piece of joy, happiness and excitement in a piece of jewelry, counts.
Despite him being a wise and brilliant man of integrity, it still took me a while to fully understand and accept this idea. To complement that, I stumbled upon an essay by Edwidge Danticat, called "A Place of Refuge" in the March issue of Allure. In it, she described how some of the women in her homeland of Haiti (even after the devastating earthquake in 2010), manage to beautify themselves, despite living in poverty and chaos. Beauty in the midst of ruins...
Here are some of their sentiments:
Your face is your passport. You should always look as beautiful as you can.
I don't want to look like the chaos around me.
Looking beautiful might be one way of exclaiming to the world that you are doing more than breathing, that you matter.
If those women, who have so little, can live by those words...
It has been 248 days and counting, since I've become a full-time jewelry artist, doing "good" in my own way. In my business, my life, I will continue to do good. I have so much more than what is needed to survive in life, to breathe. So with all that abundance, I will share beauty through a piece of jewelry or art, through sharing time with people I love, through a lovingly prepared meal or words of cheer and kindness. And I will be proud of this, of what I do and of what I can contribute to this world.