April 27, 2019 Julie McColly Hill
I sat down to write about the healing power of art, and to tell the story of how I was inspired to help other people express themselves. I barely got the first sentence out when my phone alerted me to yet another public shooting in a sacred place of worship. My heart sank. I asked myself, how do I respond? Can art heal this? My first thought, was that a simple act of creation, whether it be a song, or monument, or dance performance to memorialize those that have been sacrificed would not bring about the kind of change that is needed. And, I don’t see how changing laws will really have much effect, because these destructive acts are already against the law. So.... I thought to myself, how can I change society, how can I change the way people think? And then, I heard the echo of my grandfather’s voice inside me, telling me that you can’t change anybody but yourself. So.... I asked myself. How can I change?
The first time I recognized the healing power of art, I was in my mid-thirties. I was visiting my maternal grandmother, Irma Ruby Malloy, who was living with dementia in a skilled care nursing facility in Warren, Indiana. My grandmother was sitting in her room in a wheel chair, hunched over with her head down as if she had lost all connection to the world around her. And, the world around her appeared to have lost all connection to her, as my mother and the nurse stood discussing her plan of care as if she was not even there. Her loneliness made me feel lonely, and I desperately wanted to connect to her. I was afraid that this might be the last time I would ever see her.
As a child I had spent a lot of time with my grandparents, and when I felt sad, lonely, or afraid we would sing together to make me feel better. And because of this, I got the notion to sing an old familiar song to her that we had sung together many times before. I sat down on the bed beside her and started to sing, “Let me call you sweet heart, I’m in love with you. Let me hear you whisper that you love me too.” Half way through the song she started moving her hand in rhythm and as if she was conducting my singing. “Keep the love light glowing in your eyes so blue, let me call you sweet heart,” then at that moment, she lifted her head and looked me in the eye and sang with me. “I’m in love with you.” She sang it in perfect harmony. It was indeed the last time I saw my grandmother, and it was also one of the most memorable moments of my life, because it changed me.
One simple act of kindness or expression of love might only change the people involved, however each of these actions create an energy frequency that fills the collective consciousness. A collective consciousness fueled by empathy and love, I believe, will inspire more acts of kindness and expressions of love, which will then create the frequency needed to bring about a positive change. So… I encourage us all to keep this in mind when it comes to our thoughts and actions. Are you raising the vibrational energy in the world or are you lowering it?
When they first began to work together, the elder asked her apprentice,
"why are you in such a hurry?"
Many years later, when the apprentice was practicing her craft, the elder asked,
"what are you waiting for?"
Path of Mastery, JHill 2018
I walk a path of mastery through the garden of my dreams.
Where I have learned to weed away the demons
making space for sun and moon light beams.
There the seeds from my visions are planted in the spring, and in the fall
they are harvested to serve the greater good of all.
I ask my god for guidance in sharing the abundance of my plate
The answer is always, "just be patient, wait."
It takes time for the unfolding and to put things in place
Watched pots never boil, young shoots don't care to race.
And so I fertilize the soil, prune the weakest branch and bow
Tie up the stems, dead head blooms, and save the seeds for when it's time to plow.
I cover up perennials, shore up the garden gate,
Paint the fence, burn the brush, sharpen tools, and wait.
A neighbor is inspired to grow a garden of her own,
So I share with her a pot of sage, and a journal for her poem.