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Art as Truth - Confessions of a Tree Hugger

March 29th, 2010

Art as Truth - Confessions of a Tree Hugger

I don't know why it has taken me almost 60 years to realize that being who I am is who I'm supposed to be. It should have been obvious right from the start, but of course we all get bombarded with messages about how we should be different from who we started out being... as if everyone else knows better. I was constantly trained to wait for permission to speak, permission to act, even permission to eat when and what I wanted, and most of all permission to believe.

It was all meant well. My parents, teachers, and other authority figures really did think they knew best. Unfortunately, they really didn't in many ways. Though they managed to teach me how to read and write and balance my checkbook (which reminds me I forgot to write down a charge yesterday!), and include fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet, for which I am very grateful, they also managed to tie me up in knots of fear, confusion, and limitation that have continued to riddle my adult life.

Only now am I beginning to realize that my innate instincts were excellent. They still are. However, I now have to dig them up from the shadow layers of my psyche where I hid them for safe keeping. I have to give MYSELF permission to be the unique individual I was born to be. That individual is, and shall always be, a tree hugger. Not only do I actually hug trees, I stand for everything the words "tree hugger" have come to mean in modern English. I am committed to environmentalism, because I love nature. Some people are environmentalists because they want a safe place for themselves and their children to live. I want that too, of course, but I also love nature just for itself. I would strive to protect it even if there was no personal benefit for me.

As a child, I spent as much time as I could running around in nature. I felt like part of nature. When I had to stay inside, I drew pictures of animals. Then the world of school, jobs, media, and politics slowly pulled me into the chaotic human reality. Imposed religion, artificial ethics, and stifling philosophies closed in on my sensitive childish mind. I could see their flaws and contradictions, but I was trained to look for answers in rational logic and formal education. Those logical answers only created more confusion.

But art... thank goodness for art. Here is a direct hot-line to my authentic self. With art I can reconnect with the innate instincts buried in my psyche. Through art I can bypass the rational mind with all its confused logic and go directly to the heart of authenticity. It is no accident that the word "art" is contained in the word "heart," because true art really does come from the heart. It is a labor of love... a spontaneous expression of who we really are. That is how my Tree Hugger painting came to be. It is simple, almost childish in its style, but it holds the essence of who I am in a unique way.

I do believe in tree devas and faeries. It is not a belief like the religious beliefs instilled in me by others, through years of schooling and parental example. It is a belief that comes from my own deep heart-centered experience. It is a knowing born of my connection with nature - a primal knowing that was there before language or rational thought. That knowing is so intricately connected with being who I am that this painting has become a reflection of all that the world has not been able to scare or punish or stifle out of me. It is truth bursting through the cracks of my limiting beliefs - a truth that is growing stronger and brighter day by day.

I think, when my daily life aligns with my art, I will be truly aligned with who I am.