Hozho – a concept found in Navajo Native American culture. This idea references the interconnectedness between beauty, harmony and goodness in all things physical and spiritual. Resulting in health and well being for all things and beings.
In education, Hozho is a construct that asks the learner to embrace their surroundings, actions, interactions and their being. In addition, focuses on spirituality and self awareness, being a part of the universe.
A strive for balance.
Walking in Her Beauty
As my daughter struggled with her substance use disorder, she was/is on a continual journey. Opening up and feeling the underlying beauty of her experiences. With each relapse, obstacle, loss, recovery and self discovery, she recognizes the hopeful prospects of managing her anxieties, depression, and trauma. Which empowers her to rise above the fray.
Embracing those lived experiences as vital to her being, allows her to walk in the beauty that is her life. She is becoming part of the universe and striking her balance.
As I Rise
Writing about addiction and mental health issues from the perspective of an artist and parent has become a positive coping mechanism for me. Using words as my voice continues to be a necessary and natural transition. A result of my personal experience through my daughter and those she has met along her journey.
When meeting my daughter’s friends and acquaintances, I am always humbled. They are working through their addiction, mental illness and striving for balance in their lives. All these folks have stories to tell about how they came into their substance use disorders. Personal narratives that I could have never imagined in my wildest nightmares.
My heart aches when I think of how they have all struggled. I have lost count of the number of my daughter’s friends I have met, no longer walking on this physical earth. I feel an emptiness within and empathize with my daughter’s feeling of loss.
Pain and suffering is a part of life. If we are able to move through it, we can reach a higher level of humanity and empathy toward ourselves and others, as we offer guidance, strength and love.
Just as my daughter, I am striving for balance and learning to walk in the beauty that is my life.
The Universe Guides Us
Recent global events are revealing truths that have always existed about disparities among and within us. Truths that continue to be denied, unheard and unchecked. We are exhibiting deeply engrained emotions, beliefs and realities that we’ve been too preoccupied to confront or refuse to acknowledge still exist. History continues to repeat itself and we seem to be none the wiser.
Balance alludes us. Hozho seems difficult to obtain.
The responses and behavioral changes on the other side of these crises will be varied. Our mental state of mind during and after may largely depend on how we entered into all that is currently happening.
If people were in a basic survival state of mind, living day to day, moment by moment, these crises may be business as usual. Being experienced in not knowing what your next day will bring, may be the best modus operandi. For those close to the edge, feeling voiceless and hopeless, these events may break them completely.
There will be folks who strive for peaceful assistance from others. Those who lash out in anger, seek revenge and claim victimhood. And those who will wallow in self pity or fall off the radar, never to return.
Events such as these often move people toward a stronger desire and sense of duty to connect with the broader community getting beyond their bubble. This is where Hozho is attainable and possibly sustainable.
Real Life for those in Addiction
For people in addiction, the pandemic and social unrest mirrors the daily existence of someone with a substance use disorder. If my daughter felt behind the eight ball before all this, she certainly felt that eight ball in her throat during the past couple years. The normal safety nets available during her recovery were not there. AA/NA, counselors, therapists were virtual. Stay at home orders, city curfews and lockdowns, joblessness, financial stresses, societal anxiety, isolation, all add fuel to the internal fires of addiction.
Isolation can be a death sentence for those in addiction and recovery. They absolutely need to be part of their tribe. I have been to enough of my daughter’s meetings to witness the camaraderie and love that exists between those in attendance.
It can be and often is their life line.
Finding Self as a Life Line
A pandemic silver lining is that life slowed down, forcing many of us to sit still and ponder our daily existence. Add to that social unrest, and we are uncomfortably asked to go deeper. What is of real value in our lives? Have our beliefs altered? What should stay, what should go? Our usual routines, some robotic, come conscious, have been thrown to the winds of physical distancing and curfew rules.
My daughter was forced to view herself as her own potential life line because the usual connections had been put on hold. She began to practice Hozho. Began feeling the interconnectedness of her physical and spiritual self in relation to the simplicity and beauty that surrounds her.
I know this because of the many conversations we’ve had about how the universe provides us opportunities to go deeper. Prompting us to delve into our understanding of what we value right now.
Real Life as an Artist
During any global, regional or individual crisis, work does not stop for me. There are periods of overwhelm and physical inactivity. My subconscious mind never takes a break.
My subconscious continues to provoke personal narratives. Stories prompted or inspired by the past and present. The stories ruminate within before they are released to the canvas or the page.
I am one of those folks that lives day to day. Flexibility plays a more prominent role, especially now. See blog “Outside My Window”.
Much of my life has been spent adapting to change. I learned early on that little can be controlled and certainly not what happens outside my bubble.
Retreating from all the noise and getting to a more nonviolent and reflective place is good for the soul. This is not easy. Yet, a sense of peace emerges when seeking the truth no matter what the outcome.
Finding truth in reflection through the colors, shapes, textures, movements I consciously and subconsciously create is what my work is about. The story lines to my work reveal themselves. My Hozho.
Image: “Landscape Revelations”, acrylic on canvas
I chose this image because I see the layers of colors, textures, movement, shapes representing the intricacies and complexities of life. This seems to work together in harmony, in Hozho. They become the landscape of our lives. The revelations we encounter each day as we allow the universe to be our guide.
Another beautiful blog! Artfully expressed in both words and vivid color!
Thanks for your loyalty in reading my blog and responding.
There were a lot of nuances in this piece that I will probably address in more detail in other blogs. This is what I love about writing this way, one word, line paragraph, one idea spawns others, just like my artwork. 😊
Love reading your blog!
Thank you for taking the time to read it!
Thoughtfully written. This pandemic has forced me to simplify my life and that has been a very good thing. I spend long hours alone with my work, knowing that at any time I can take a break, go out for a cup of coffee and usually find someone to talk to briefly, and then back to the work. Life feels very full and connected in this dis-connected time. This summer has been, I think, the most creative period in my life. As much as there is the constant threat of possibly getting sick from Covid, there is also the gift of time being given to do…something….
Yes, the simple things are so much more appreciated these days! I, too, feel more connected to those things that matter and creativity has been at the forefront in many different ways that I would not have expected. And I agree with you that because there is a high level of insecurity or lack of control, we are more apt to make better use of our time. Keep on creating Paul and many thanks for your continued support for my blog.
I experience Hozho in your calmness, caring, and concern for your
daughter and in your art. I admire your thoughtful reflection, your writing your
commitment to health and your desire for the well being for all things and beings.
Blessings to you! Billye
Thank you. My faith and love for her is returning to me tenfold. She moved back to Bend in August and is doing so well. Teaching me all sorts of things as she always has, but now as a young woman in recovery, full of life and a strong desire to be her true self.