Broken Truth and Toxic Beauty

October 17, 2011

This truth streaked down from the stars,
trailing a tail as long as the sky.
But as it fell, it broke in two.
From Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglass Wood

The Truth and Beauty Cycle has a shadow side.

Not all of the truths in the world are whole. Not all of the beauty is nourishing.

Our beliefs can be limited.
Our values can be damaging.

Broken truths are incomplete, cut off from the larger reality.

They may seem sparkly and attractive, but their jagged edges stop up our flow. When we share them, others are wounded.

Broken truth arises in the isolated mind. Ignoring the world around, the mind gives unfounded meaning to our experiences and emotions. What we’ve lived and how we feel is never wrong, but the mind is tempted to distortion in order to protect us.

We feel our rejections and clutch at martyrdom.
We see our failures and cut ourselves on perfectionism.
We sense our limits and buckle down with self-discipline.

The pain and alienation of broken truth hurls us into a vicious circle of addiction. We search for toxic beauty that will comfort us and numb our feelings.

Toxic beauty looks good but goes down poisonous.

It leaves us feeling empty and despondent, saps our energy, and leads us further from our true purpose.

I’m not just talking about the obvious:
gossip mags / crap TV / cigarettes / alcohol / porn.

Anything beautiful can be toxic when we’re using it to buffer a broken truth:
work / travel / volunteering / sports / religion / romance / children / art.

How heartbreaking that the very things we value in life can pollute our creative process.


But there is a way out of the vicious circle.

The cure for broken truth and toxic beauty begins with curiousity.

Opening our minds to question the truth fragments we grasp so tightly. Widening the aperture of our senses to feast on what nurtures us and marvel at its diversity. Returning to our studios and translating our discoveries into words and images.

Artists change the world by making broken truths whole.

We bring fractured stories together and smooth their edges. We dip into light and dark to paint the full spectrum. We seek out healing for our own minds and show the way back to the Truth and Beauty Cycle.

Do you ever doubt the significance of your art? You are doing crucial human work. You are creating wholeness and reconciliation between people, ideas, cultures, and all of nature.

We need you. The world needs you.
Your story makes us complete.

 

This is Part 2 of my creativity manifesto (read Part 1 here). If you find this manifesto galvanizing, I would love to have you claim your artistic license when you subscribe to my mailing list.

My mission is to coach accomplished creatives to redesign their lives in support of their art. Find out how you can work with me and get in touch.

Photo by Marlon Bunday

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Capital Mom October 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm

“No! Not gossip mags” she says clutching them tightly to her chest. :-)

Reply

Alison October 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Hee! Of course, the converse applies ~ gossip mags can be truly beautiful too. Have you read the blog Celebrity Gossip, Academic Style at http://www.annehelenpetersen.com/? It’s terrific.

Reply

Jeannie October 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

The part I liked best about this post were these words–
“Do you ever doubt the significance of your art? You are doing crucial human work. You are creating wholeness and reconciliation between people, ideas, cultures, and all of nature. We need you. The world needs you.Your story makes us complete.”–
because I definitely wonder at times whether my stories & poems matter to anyone but me. Recently I read a piece by architect Raymond Moriyama who said his guiding principle was a one-sentence poem his father had written for him:
“Into God’s temple of eternity drive a nail of gold.”
So maybe the world really does need every one of our golden nails.

Reply

Alison October 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Oh Jeannie, I just got chills when I read that quotation. Thank you! Yes, our golden nails hold everything together.

Reply

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