On Hope, Art, Dismantling & Rebuilding


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by Kayce Stevens Hughlett

Editor’s note: Kayce is one of the co-presenters of a new SDI webinar series ,called Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Companionship – Awakening the Creative Spirit. She”ll be presenting with Betsey Beckman. It starts January 7, 2021. Learn more aquí. The following post captures her affirming approach to art and the creative process.

Hope. Dismantling and rebuilding. Pausing and painting. Staying with it. Trusting the process and the internal nudge that invites me to pick up an older canvas and play with my non-dominant hand (often seen as the hand that reveals beginner’s mind or a childlike spirit and sense of curiosity). Blossoms and a heart emerge over mashed colors from earlier “failed” attempts that have become the backdrop of what is now emerging.  

Blossoms and heart … that is how I choose to see the world. It is my Hope.

When I ultimately hold the painting to the light, I notice what is underneath. My hand. A remnant of the American flag. A feather.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Emily Dickinson

Messiness. Chaos. Beauty. Hope. It’s all there, in and on my hand, my country, my complicity in the chaos, and my always overreaching message of hope and beauty for all the world. 

I remind myself that art matters. My voice matters. Black lives matter. You matter. Like life, art is messy. It’s a process, not always clean or clear in its meaning or pathway. Often misunderstood or disappointing if looked at from the perspective of imperfection or what’s not there or the dismissive ‘I don’t get it.’ 

In Hope, I see it all. Strain, Battle, Judgement. Forgiveness. Beauty. I acknowledge my part in the making.

I welcome what is uncomfortable and know that I will keep practicing, keep stepping into the muck, keep trying unfamiliar practices and techniques … and keep reaching for heart and beauty in the world.

May I never stop.

A Few Resources for the Journey …  

“Our numbness to racial injustice that occurs daily is key to holding it in place. But our grief must lead to sustained and transformative action.” Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism   

PODCAST: Brené with Austin Channing Brown on I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

BLOG from my friend and colleague Kanesha Baynard – 6 Key Things to Know About Anti-Racism https://www.boldlivingtoday.com/blog/2020-06-08-6-key-things-to-know-about-anti-racism/

This piece is also posted on Kayce’s website aquí.

Kayce Stevens Hughlett, MA LMHC is a tender, a healer, and an artist of being alive who believes in everyday magic and that complex issues often call for simple practices. An author of both fiction and non-fiction, her 2018 memoir, SoulStroller: experiencing the weight, whispers, & wings of the world won the prestigious Nautilus Book award for positive social change & spiritual growth as well as Chanticleer’s Journey award. Kayce is co-creator of SoulStrolling® ~ a movement for mindfulness in motion, and creator of the magical SoulStrolling Inspiration Deck. Kayce is also a member of Abbey of the Arts Wisdom Council and co-leader of Awakening the Creative Spirit. Raised in the heartland of Oklahoma, she now resides in Seattle, Washington with her family and muse, Aslan the Cat. www.kaycehughlett.com

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