So many of us in the arts, and my area of personal experience doing just this through theatre, turn to our art form when we want to respond to the need we see in our world.

It may be to ensure the arts remain in the local school, help the homeless, or to bring comfort to those who are ill and dying. We look to even larger stages; promoting peace, protesting the ravaging of the environment or bringing awareness of the plight of any number of dispossessed peoples for a myriad of reasons throughout the world.

At some point we feel we are in a war, and we are sure we losing. The struggle for money, for audiences, for visible signs of real change apart from the brief encounter between actor and audience threatens to overwhelm and belittle our work.

We begin to think in terms of waging war, winning the hearts and minds of the people at least. We curse those who could do so much and don’t seem to care let alone support our efforts toward a ‘better world’. We can descend into a siege mentality, us against ‘them’ and we want to force ‘them’ to see the world how we see it, to care, to act. We feel as if we are engaged in a fight and ‘they’ hold all the cards.. We lose sight of the art.

Art is not a sword, it is a branch of a tree, a pool of water, earth  and air – it is love and hope and a gift. We cannot fight ‘those people’ on their terms but have to create our own. We have to see little drops as creating a river and not be trying to unleash a Niagara Falls upon the world.

What you do with your art, your theatre or dance company, in your community will be adding to the work and output of all who do good work. It is self-defeating to try and change it all at once.

As harsh as this sounds, there is nothing we do that affects ‘the world’ in measurable standards. However, everything we do, from our work to our lives, our prayers to our loving, our laughter and our tears, will affect those in our piece of the world and who knows (and we can never know) how that ripples out. Believe in the unseen – as well as the seen.

Go out and create art. It will at the very least empower your Soul and heal your Heart. And that is the beginning.

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