Endangered Arts Ecology

Of the plethora of e-mails that flow through my In Box, this one feels like a particularly critical articulation that would probably not be sensed by most people, considering everything else going on in these transitional times. I believe almost anyone who appreciates the arts – as well as artists – would be interested in reading this Washington Post article by Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

My two favorite points in the article are:

We are losing the entertainment and inspiration we need more than ever during this terribly scary time. As we try to rebuild America’s image abroad, we are losing our most potent goodwill ambassadors. As we reshape our economy, we are losing the organizations that teach our children to think creatively. And as we celebrate the diversity of our nation, we are losing the voices that have traditionally helped change society’s thinking…

…As John F. Kennedy said, ‘I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for our victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.’

As we print billions of dollars in bailout money, isn’t it time to ensure that we are saving our soul as well as our economy?

Read the whole article, No Bailout for the Arts? (12/29/08)

Summary reflection:  In these transitional times, it is more important than ever to support the arts – and as directly as possible, the artists that make up the arts!


Love is the New Religion

Rose © Susan Slotter

Below are a few sections of Brian Piergrossi’s poem “Love is the New Religion” from his book The Big Glow. Of course, there is nothing new about love being “the way.” And it has taken humanity a long time to get to this  place of it becoming the priority in order to survive and thrive!

They say “the longest journey is from the head to the heart…”

On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and things seem dark
But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something 
else is happening underground
An inner revolution is taking place and certain individuals 
are being called to a higher light
It is a silent revolution
From the inside out
From the ground up…

…We are slowly creating a new world with the
power of our minds and hearts…

…We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking:
Kind words
Meditation and prayer
Social activism
Random acts of kindness

We each express ourselves in our own unique ways
with our own unique gifts and talents

‘Be the change you want to see in the world’
That is the motto that fills our hearts
We know it is the only way real transformation takes place
We know that quietly and humbly we have the power
of all the oceans combined…

Love is the new religion of the 21st century…

…All are welcome
The door is open 

Read the poem in its entirety

Choose To Unite

Choose To Unite Barack Obama Music Video

“…An extraordinary and beautiful manifestation of your prayer for our country and specific intention to make both an immediate and lasting difference for all of us.”

I love that the song and video were called a prayer, for that is what Choose To Unite really was – and continues to be! A prayer that we may bring forward the highest within us, in particular the values sung about in the song of “Diversity… Unity… Community… Love and Equality – We are the change…”

Watch, listen, hold the vision, share!

From YouTube: OUR NEW PRESIDENT!!! With God’s help, We Can… We Did… We Will!! Uplifting, celebratory Song and Music Video infused with energies from 150+ souls on fire for Obama in Santa Fe, New Mexico – a swing state that swung! Written, directed and produced by Susan Slotter, with Eric George (Arranger, Performer), Madi Sato (Female Vocals) and Grant Taylor (Videographer). Entire project executed on a pro bono basis – a true model of “By the People, For the People!”

“Choose To Unite is not just a campaign song, but a song of universal support for the birth of our new world…”

Song/Video Website: http://www.choosetounite.com

Prayer for the New Year

I have been reading this prayer every morning in this New Year, and thought it might be inspiring to others. It is by Joyce Rupp, from her book Fresh Bread: and Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment. It feels especially relevant on this new day that the Inauguration marks for us:

Bosque Del Apache © 2008 Susan Slotter

Come to meet me, God of life,
reach into the mystery of my self.
Take me into the heart of this year
and give me the confidence to
journey freely, lovingly, with risk,
wonder and laughter.

A New Day – Varanasi, India

After returning home from a month in Varanasi, India in 1989, this image was striking to me because of the essence of peace it carries. Anyone who has been to Varanasi (Benares) knows that walking on the steps of the Ganges at sunrise is far from peaceful, with throngs of tens of thousands of people engaged in a myriad of daily morning rituals. But the image conveys a truth – that deep inner peace is possibVaranasi Prayer © 1989 Susan Slotterle in the middle of chaos.

This beautiful old woman was standing in the water, scooping water into a brass pot, raising it above her head, and pouring the water back into the Ganges from which it came. So much reverence for the sources of life: the rising sun, the water, God.

People who know I worked for 7 straight months on a creative project to bring positive energy to Barack Obama’s campaign ask if I was elated when the results came in. Actually, I felt like this image. Still. Filled with gratitude for the opportunity for a new day, over and over issuing a prayer of “thank you.”

This image feels timely for this moment. No matter what chaotic cacophony is going on around us, we can (must!) find our inner center, the still point in the middle of the vortex of life forces swirling around us.

This images takes me to Rumi’s poem, Clear Bead:

The clear bead at the center
changes everything.
There are no edges
to my loving now…

(Visit the www.ChooseToUnite website to see the inspired music video, and the Choose To Unite Blog to read my Nov. 5  Hallelujah! Our New President! posting.)

Grace in the Desert

First Mystical Heart blog post. What could be more appropriate for a mystical heart than grace, in the desert? I’d love to know what image that title conjures up in your mind…

I was in Chaco Culture National Historic Park on my birthday in mid-October. It is always so hard to leave once there, out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to soak in but sun and vast skies, rocks, stars and the stunning architecture that still stands, created approximately 1000 years ago. I was just at the park boundry, ready to leave the Chaco magic behind, when I saw a lone man playing bagpipes near the entrance, his bicycle leaning against the fence. Nothing else around for miles.

Although I was under a time crunch to get to my next location before dark, I could not help going back to find out why a man was playing bagpipes in the middle of nowhere. He saw me turn the car around, drive back, park, get out and walk over. “I was wondering what you’re doing way out here?” I asked. “Well, I’m a volunteer at the park, and I ride out here so I can practice my bagpipes without disturbing my neighbors.” “I LOVE the bagpipes!” I exclaimed. “And, it’s my birthday today – how would you like to serenade me on your bagpipes with Happy Birthday?” He responded, “I actually don’t know how to play that on the pipes, but let me try something else.

He then proceeded to play, on the bagpipes, in the middle of nowhere, Amazing Grace – one of my favorite songs. It was my grandmother’s favorite song; holding her hand, I had sung it to her the night before she died.

What a gift! As I drove away, looking at the happy lone piper in the rearview mirror, seemingly placed there in that moment for no other reason but to send me on my way with an amazing gift of grace, I realized: the more open and receptive and curious I am, the more surreal and wild and delightful the gifts and surprises become.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…