Instead of an end of world scenario.
The book of Revelation describes the apocalypse as the complete final destruction of the world. And for centuries there have been fringe groups claiming the end of the world is near. Some may even consider recent events as part of this calamitous scenario. But, we have been here before.
Because I do not follow any religious doctrine, I prefer the less dire original Greek definition of (apokalypsis) which means to uncover, to reveal. Opportunities for discovery and most especially when we are forced to change. Unless, of course, we prefer to fall into the pit of despair.
Apocalyptic events can certainly be chaotic and destructive. They happen anywhere, anytime, individually, within a subgroup, a region, a nation and/or universally. They impose upon us a need to re-evaluate current routines. These types of changes are not met with open arms. Because as a species, we do not like change. We embrace a certain level of comfort even though, much to our chagrin, each day brings with it new challenges.
My take on many of these apocalyptic-like encounters is that they can often be so nuanced we may not notice the change or transformation taking place. Not at all catastrophic, but instead, a gradual unveiling.
Nature offers good examples of gradual transitions. When in nature or observing it from my writing or studio window, all appears as it should be according to the season. There are times I notice the subtle changes, sometimes not. It all depends upon my frame of mind. The river ebbs and flows dependent upon precipitation and the irrigation season. The trees shed, pause and bud each spring. The birds and other creatures either acclimate or hibernate.
Just as nature, humans have shown consistently that we are resilient during the stormy, apocalyptic events of our lives. Especially if we see them for what they are; a necessary change and a means to discover more about ourselves and our place in the universe.
As I reflect upon the changes that occur daily, weekly, monthly, my awareness is constantly reaching new heights. And in most cases, I choose discovery. Wallowing in discomfort may come first, but the light bulb will eventually illuminate.
Instead of blindly following rituals, we are challenged to re-up our game. Prior to the pandemic, I went places on a whim without much thought as to why. I wasted gas and time each day because I did not plan ahead for what it was I needed or did not need to do.
Now there are times I do not leave the conclave of my studio for days. My desire to preserve my health and that of others is eminent. The need for food is usually the impetus for venturing out and always come with a “must do” list for maximum efficiency.
Even my material consumption has become a whole new experience. I buy less. One, because there may be less to choose from on the shelves or online. Two, because I realize what I used to consider a staple, really isn’t anymore. Three, scarcity breeds ingenuity. Less has assuredly become more.
Wearing a mask has taught me to look more closely into someone’s eyes and listen more carefully, deliberately, while also observing the nuances of bodily expressions.
I do admit a low level of denial still exists regarding the current state of the world. But the twilight zone we have been experiencing is beginning to transition into a different way of doing and being. And because of this revised perspective, I think more intensely and consciously about many of my daily actions. I consider it a win for me and those with whom I come in contact.
Personally, I view this time in history as a challenge to my ability and courage to adapt. Granted my station in life is allowing me a level of privilege not experienced by everyone. I am not job searching, seeking child care or dependent upon a social network. I have more latitude when considering options and use life experiences as my guide.
Accepting the Transitions
Being open to change has been my modus operandi since I can remember. Which does not mean I embrace it each step of the way. But more that I have come to understand these transitions as consequential to personal growth. Accepting and allowing upheaval has led me to some places externally and internally throughout my life. Places that have forever changed my perspective. See my blog: Expectations: Life and Death Part II
Apocalyptic events reveal to me the beauty beneath the chaos.
The revelations that the universe is currently presenting will affect us all for years to come. For some, this may prove to be too much. Many have not survived while others are either willfully or forcibly coerced to the fringes of society. The realist in me knows that with each catastrophic event the world loses a segment of the population. My hope is that empathy will play a part in the restoration of our humanity, so more will survive.
Connecting to our communities on a personal level is what will ultimately help us survive and eventually thrive under these new parameters. As history has shown us, apocalyptic events reveal who we really are underneath all the 24/7 noise that surrounds us. While we may want to curl up in the corner of denial, we need one another. Individualism does not work in this climate of global disruption. The rogue player on the field will not win the game on their own. Going it alone is one of the greatest barriers to connection. See my blog: Rugged Individualism
Resilience is about problem solving, managing feelings, coping, and connecting with others. Resilience also includes our common spirituality, knowing that there is something greater than all of us. Working as a community, in whatever form that takes, is how the game will continue to be played.
Apocalypse — The Creative Journey
My creative journey has taught me much and literally saved my life during the apocalyptic events of my journey so far. Now when entering my studio or sitting at my writing desk, I no longer force myself to make marks unless I feel compelled to do so. A few strokes of the brush or a single paragraph written on the page is enough. Allowing the pause as I learn to appreciate the current state of the universe.
These pauses are also intuitive. Sometimes guided by the energy forces around me or the subconscious energy within me. Often I do not know. Which is the beauty, the darkness and the mystery beneath the apocalyptic layers that are part of my existence right now. I respect this new way of being and am grateful I can see and feel it for what it is. Which I truly believe is possible for others.
Image: An Unveiling, 50″ x 42″ mixed media on canvas
“An Unveiling” was chosen for this article based upon its title and what the piece revealed to me. My titles provide a kind of closure and are the result of where my intuition and soul led me throughout the process of creating the piece. I rarely know what the outcome will be until the work is near completion. I did start this painting with plastering my 1980’s wedding veil to the surface of the canvas. Material that was asking to be repurposed into something more relevant to me now. Symbolically, it served as a bridge between who I was then (30 plus years ago) and who I have become and am still evolving into. A true unveiling.