Be Brave

I like to choose words or themes to focus on for my year.  This year I've been thinking about the words "brave" and "bold".

As I've reflected on these words I have been reminded that they often show up in the small moments rather than the grand displays I associate with them.   

And I wonder if bravery is more about a willingness to take the daily steps towards the good and beautiful when there is often much that is hard in our world.  To believe that creating things of beauty matters and investing in people matters even when there is war and threats of war and violence.  

I wonder if being bold means taking action and doing the small difficult steps.  I wonder if bravery is like those I witness who are taking small hard steps forward in the midst of difficult illnesses.  I wonder if bravery is loving people and investing in people even after being hurt.  I wonder if bravery is creating and investing in the long process of a new project even when it isn't going to create financial value.  I wonder if boldness is living with a willingness to take risks to try new things even as you make mistakes and feel uncomfortable.   I wonder if being brave means learning to stop and rest and appreciate what is good in the moment. 

None of these pieces of bravery or boldness feel especially glamorous.  It feels a lot like work.  Hard daily work.  But work that perhaps sees all the pain and says there is something more.  

Makoto Fujimura's words sum up this practice of bravery well.  It is what I hope my art can be.  It is what on my best days I remember that I am working towards in my work.   

"I wonder if Osama bin Laden and his fellow terrorists ever anticipated that the children of 9/11 would become artists, musicians, and creatives. They probably imagined more soldiers and "greedy, materialistic Americans" but certainly not artists. It occurs to me now that becoming artists would be the greatest repudiation of their evil acts. These creative children instinctively resist terrorism, seeing it as a failed mechanism of imagination. Terror does not birth something generative into the world; instead, terrorists steal away dreams and hopes, holding the world captive in fear, breathing death out the poisoned well of their ideological fantasy."  http://www.worldmag.com/2011/08/children_of_9_11