Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ask the Questions of Great Art

In a Psychology Today interview (not on line yet), the playwright Annie Baker said, of her purpose in writing:

I believe that great art investigates the human condition, and tries to explain through images and behavior what the hell we’re doing here on this planet. And of course the answer to that question can’t be articulated in worlds. We can only catch tiny glimpses through music, painting, books, drama.

When my clients or friends are depressed, I often hear them asking questions like what’s the purpose of it all, why am I here. Of course, these are terribly difficult questions to answer. Why is it that when we’re feeling down we are compelled to have the answers? We have trouble answering them when we’re feeling pretty great.

A good journaling exercise for the good times is to try to come up with some answers. That way, when you’re down, you have your ideas and can refer back to them. You don’t have to be an artist, writer, coach or psychologist to come up with answers. Possible questions:

What’s my purpose on the planet?
What will I accomplish?
How will my epitaph read?
What will my legacy be?
If my life were a blank canvas, what would I paint on it?

Don’t wait until you’re down to ask these questions. Try it now. Just for fun. If you are a creative soul and haven’t been pursuing your art, maybe now’s the time for it.

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