Because there simply are not words
to appropriately introduce the edgewalking spirit
of our next Artist~Healer Circle guest,
I simply leave you with the wisdom, beauty and art of presence that is
Shamsi Charlie Pettus!
"Art is Tricksey"
Art slips in under our radar.
Staying with us,
art plants seeds
within our sleeping minds.
It transforms us from our depths,
feeds our Souls,
and connects us
I suppose I would say, "I have always been artistic," but I haven't always considered myself an artist, and definitely not a healer. I believe that in order to keep myself as humble as possible, I just think of myself as someone who feels comfortable enough (finally) in her own skin to create the kind of space that allows for true healing to occur. I best create these spaces through dancing, playing rhythm, and teaching. In addition to dance and music, I often take pictures, or paint, write, cook, bake, and more to create my personal healing spaces.
I began my spiritual path with Native American practices and through these practices, the core of my beliefs says that we are not just our bodies. We are our bodies combined with our emotions, our minds and our spirits. Because of this I have come to understand "being well" or "healthy" as being balanced in these four aspects of our humanity and connected to Source.
Throughout our lives we build walls, put on masks, ignore pieces or even entire aspects of ourselves. Often we give over control of our lives to people we love, respect, or fear never realizing how much we've given away. All of this can leave us deflated and riddled with voids. Healing happens when we "pull ourselves together," when we are whole; body, emotions, mind, and spirit.
Healing always begins with awareness... but of what?
When we become aware of our feelings - when we feel, why we feel, and who makes us feel.
When we become aware of our thoughts - what we think, why we think what we do, and where did those thoughts come from.
When we become aware of our surroundings, those in it, how we got here, and what we enjoy and what irritates.
When we become aware of who we are, who we think we are, and who we want to be.
Healing requires relaxation and space, and art has a sneaky way of creating the kind of space in which both the artist and the witness are lured into a different world. Maybe that world isn't drastically different than the one in which we live, but even a subtle change in perspective can move a person enough for them to experience a change in awareness. And this is all that is required. From subtle shifts in perception that allow for an awareness, to the actions taken based on that awareness, healing occurs one subtle shift at a time.
All ways to create Space involve focus and attention. When someone practices with focus on their actions (or non-actions) until finally, their perception shifts, they have created a Space. I believe that this is the experience of any artist, this creation of Space through focus on their practice.
Once within this Space a person has the ability to transcend their everyday reality.
The Space created by art allows the conscious mind to quiet and slip loose the bonds of everyday life. And in this transcendence we are often able to see our lives as third party witnesses; changing our lives often without the realization of what has actually happened.
(The following is Shamsi's "optional preface", which I decided to include as a candid clip because I love the spunk of her spirit that comes through, and know you will enjoy it, too...)
Hali sent out invites like we were all going to a party… a LOVE PARTY!!!
Seriously though, at the beginning of the year, the lovely-fellow-instigator Hali Karla, creator of “LilyWheel Slide“, asked a group of us if we would be interested in joining in her “Artist~Healer Circle”. I know many of us jumped and said “YES!” I also know that a large number of us then said, “Holy cow? I have to write about being an artist~healer? DUDE! Can I do that?”
;-) Yes padawan, yes you can.
After sitting for a couple of months, the submissions began to post… and I realized – my suspicions were well founded – “HA! I knew I didn’t belong in THIS group… they’ve got rock-super stars like Chris Zydel! and Heather Plett! And Jane Cunningham! GAH!!!!! AND HOLY MOTHER OF PAINT-WIELDING-PRIESTESS-BATMAN! She’s even got NATASHA REILLY!!!!”
See that? See how I justified my way out of needing to do this? ;-) As my Dad says, “Damn! I’m good!”
Well. My strategies grew worse. I listened to, read, and witnessed all the posts of my fellow-Artist-Healers, and decided that they had just said it all for me. “Yup, that’ll do! I totally agree with everything, that every one of them had to say! Nuff said, mischief manged, GAME OVER MAN! GAME OVER!!!”
Yeah, my ego went into full-on, “Someone (anyone) out there can say this better than you can.”
“Yes.” Said the small voice, “But no one else can say it as you could or as you will say it.”
Have I mentioned that I am a reluctant servant? Ah well, so it goes.
Finally, after I was able to pull my ego out of the sandbox in which she had entrenched herself, I just wrote. I wrote what that crazy, scary little title “Artist~Healer” means to me. And I made a little video too. (My ego says to tell you all.. “So Nahhhhh :-p)
Thank you Hali, for giving each of us this platform and asking us to be a part of it.
You can visit and learn more
about Shamsi and her offerings at her site...