Ever feel like you were running on empty? Anyone can get to that place where their personal gas tank is empty and there isn’t much left to give. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’ve hit empty until I hear harsh and irritable words coming from my mouth and the main thought of my day is “geez! leave me alone!” I found this great old picture of empty tanks (can you see the “OUT OF GAS” sign on the left tank?), they almost look like they are comforting each other in their emptiness. They need comfort, because being out of gas feels pretty bad. It makes me an irritable and resentful person.A while ago I decided to head this empty gas tank thing off at the pass by purposefully and regularly filling up my tank BEFORE it got to empty. I certainly wouldn’t go through a mountain pass without checking to make sure my car had a full tank of gas, so I could take the same view of myself and the myriad mountain passes that come up in my own life. I thought it would be a good practice for me to post about filling up the tank regularly, to keep me mindful about filling my own tank and to begin the conversation with you – how do you fill up your tank?
So, how do I fill up my tank – emotionally, spiritually, creatively, bodily? It has been a process of self-discovery to figure this out. I had an “aha” moment in January when I was wowed by the David Hockney art exhibit (see my post about that here). I felt lifted up, renewed, and energized by the art, I could feel my spirit just drink it in. I remembered that art, being in the presence of magnificent creativity, fills my tank. To be able to do this, I have to say yes when an opportunity presents, and also create the time and space – essentially make filling up my tank a priority. Recently, I said yes and rearranged my schedule so that I could attend the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit in San Francisco with my friend Linda.
I was quite awed with the beauty, the play with light and dark, the way the light seemed to shine from within the paintings. The painting above is of a pond, I felt like I was looking deep into someone’s eye. The richness of the colors, and seeing them in person was like a jolt to the nervous system, stimulating creativity, awe, and divine connection for me.
Now, I know that not all of us live near major museums that host Georgia O’Keefe exhibits, and I know that if art fills your tank, you can fill ‘er up where ever you live. My first conscious experience of that energy infusion and inspiration from art was when I was in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. Every few years the Carnegie Museum hosts the International, this is all contemporary art, and is so incredibly fun. I had had no idea how drained and deadened I had become until my office mate and I played hooky one afternoon to go to the exhibit (as students we got free admission) and I came out of there feeling like a new person. This is some of what we saw in 1999: Chris Ofili’s amazing psychedelic paintings with elephant dung,
Kara Walker’s amazing and controversial silhouettes:
And Sarah Sze’s whimsical, and awe-inspiring sculptures (among many others, these were a few of my personal favorites).
And this weekend, we are going to try to catch “The Possible” which gathers local artists in an interactive, mixed media, community based exhibit at the University Museum at Berkeley – we get to help create the art!! If you have a college in your town, I’ll be you can find some great art! How about a local gallery? Seek it, want it, and you will find it.
I’d love to hear from you about art and ways you fill up your tank!!