Beauty is Oxygen

I inhaled deeply when I heard Bruce Long say “Beauty is Oxygen”. The coronavirus is taking our breath away, literally and figuratively. Do I wonder why I paint when people are dying? What helps us catch our breath these days? How do we breathe deeply the breath of God?

What is the role of beauty?

Splattered

“Beauty is breathtaking, yes, but it is most evident in the midst of suffering, alienation, exile. Beauty, Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, will save the world.”

The “I am from…” reflections are the gifts we bring to our lives, our community and our world with both their beauty and their brokenness. This season of covid-19 these pieces rise as pain and creativity within us like splatters on the canvas. What do you notice rising within you? Around you?

Art has power

“Art has the power to render sorrow beautiful,

make loneliness a shared experience,

and transform despair into hope. “

       from Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness 

After the trauma of August 11/12, 2017 in Charlottesville a hummingbird visited me on the front porch. How do art and beauty speak into your pain, loneliness and frustration?

Where does it hurt?

painting by Christy Baker

I am from Charlottesville

burning torches winding their way

through trauma ancient and new

embodied, colliding, rising

Where does it hurt? Ruby Sales asked

truth revealed while always known

O God, we are the problem!

Eyes opened I wrestle Jacob like

Who is the God I worship?

Olam chesed yibaneh (we will build this world from love)

There are events and times in our lives that cause us to reevaluate everything we thought we knew or believed. What have been those moments in your live? How have they changed you?

I am from Iran

painting by Hasan Abu Talib

I am from Iran

9 yards of black polyester

slowly invisibly suffocating

anger waiting to explode

amidst beautiful, hospitable people

picnics by the side of the road

fragrant rice, gourmeye sabzi, shirin-e pollow

pulling my chador off while walking into the airplane – 

leaving … to Fairouz singing …. kifak inta? (how are you?)

Where have you found challenge and beauty together in one place?

Breathing deeply

I am from Κοβρος – (Cyprus)

stepping off the plane – 

breathing deeply… letting go

ocean blue nourishing the soul

Lebanese Cheese pies in the Ayia Napa Monastery

resting, belonging, connecting

laughter, food, friends

nourishing, sustaining, renewing

What refreshes your soul? When or where do you breathe deeply?