Life is hard …*

Imagining possible futures is also where we must face both our deepest fears and greatest hopes.*
(Alex McManus)

There is that in me … I do not know what it is ,, but I know it is in me.^
(Walt Whitman)

We become more who we are by leaning into our challenges and the difficulty rather than trying to avoid these.

Beyond these lie possibilities that will never appear through avoidance.

We are also changed, and the imagination is where all of this begins, as Alan Lightman alludes to:

‘One thing I have learned: the mind is its own place.  Regardless of natural conditions and circumstances, even of biological imperatives, the mind can contrive its reality.  The mind can make hot out of cold and cold out of hot, beauty from ugliness and ugliness from beauty.  The mind makes its own rules.’^^

Perhaps the most powerful things we can work upon in our imaginations are our values, what we want the world to be and begin to see the little iterations and steps forward.

In reflective journaling, we have a powerful tool to help us and when we add illustrations to our writing, we stay with the important somethings even longer, as Tom Hart opens for us:

‘Through the process of writing and drawing our story, we can understand ourselves, communicate with parts of ourselves, and sometimes find ourselves face-to-face with our own complexity.  With our own largeness.  Through sharing, we assert our individuality, our expansiveness, and our humanity.’*^

Furthermore, when we become more adept at using writing, and even illustrations, we become more truly what artists essentially.  I use Wallace Stevens words to embrace artists in the widest sense –  meaning, when we find what we love and make this available to others.  By the way, Stevens believed we must bring the power of our imaginations to challenge the pressures of reality:

‘[The artist’s] function is to make his imagination … become the light in the minds of others.  His role, in short, is to help people to live their lives.’^*

(*The first of Richard Rohr’s elemental truths learned in ancient societies by boys moving into manhood, but true for us all.  I think it is needing to be completed: ” Life is hard but …”.  How would you complete this?)
(**From Alex McManus’ Makers of Fire.)
(^From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.)
(^^From Alan Lightman’s Mr g.)
(*^From Tom Hart’s The Art of the Graphic Memoir.)
(^*Wallace Stevens, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Wallace Stevens on Reality, Creativity and our Greatest Protection Against the  Pressure of the News.)

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