I took a class last month about removing blocks in our lives. There was a unit about our living space — how an uncluttered, pleasant environment affects our mindset. There were units about financial, social, physical, and mental blocks. Each unit encouraged me to review my context with a critical eye and discard what’s not working.
Today I thought I’d write about some things that occurred to me during the social unit, which was called “Relationship Blocks.” The material talked about how supportive, like-minded friends can have a big impact on one another’s progress towards goals (in addition to making life a lot more fun). This is certainly a familiar lesson; I know many of my accomplishments have been possible because of support from friends and family.
The class made me appreciate the powerful friendships in my life. And it got me thinking about how these connections are established.
I really enjoy the process of getting to know someone. I like the surprise of where connections are found. Sometimes it’s a similar sense of humor or the same taste in music. Often, after years of knowing someone, we find we share deep-seated beliefs or worldviews.
It’s this latter, deeper connection that has been transformative in my life. There’s something really magical about having a friend who just “gets” you. In those friendships, we tend to share so generously of ourselves because we trust the other person to understand. It’s an opportunity to invite someone into our innermost thoughts, and to experience theirs.
Time is probably the most common ingredient in these relationships, but there are other tools, too. Anytime we join a group with a shared passion or mission, we connect very quickly. The more directly we share our core thoughts and beliefs, the easier it is for others to see themselves in us, to identify with us.
One of the most effective ways to do this is through creative expression. This is why I write and create artwork. It’s a way of depicting what’s meaningful to me, getting it in front of people and asking, “Do you feel this way, too? Is this a common experience?”
We all have big motivators in our lives, whether it’s to find love, effect world peace, protect the environment, or simply enjoy a quiet existence. And when we express those motivators, we attract people who want the same things.
Creative expression is such a wonderful opportunity to do this. If you spend months designing the perfect house for your family, revising every detail and studying proportion and light, it tells us you believe architecture matters. You believe life is better in a beautiful space.
Further, it shows us what beauty means to you. Maybe you use materials salvaged from historic homes in your city because you want a connection to the past. Or you plant a vegetable garden near the kitchen so nature is a part of daily life.
Art is a vessel for our beliefs. It carries intimate pieces of us to broad audiences, to people we might never meet otherwise. When someone you don’t know responds to something you create, it’s purely for the appeal of answering a resonant call. It’s a chance to connect from the deepest part of ourselves, in the very first interaction.
So use art, and any opportunity for creativity. Put yourself in, get it out there, and see who responds.
Photo by m4tik.
© 2011 Sara Martin
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“Sara Martin is an artist and writer based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Learn more ways to maximize your creative life at ModernSentiment.com/blog.”