To talk about creativity and climate is to talk about restoring and strengthening relationships. Climate is a highly abstract concept. Having worked with hundreds of people around the globe on arts, social and environmental healing projects, I can honestly say I believe we are first and foremost beings that grow, learn and expand through many kinds of relationships. Some relationships are much more comfortable or familiar for us to engage with than others. Again and again, I have seen that we find and make ourselves in relationship to ourselves, each other, our living natural world and the larger mystery.
In my work with individuals and communities I find that creative vitality is not negotiable in order to live full and healthy lives. It is creativity that allows us to challenge unhealthy and destructive constructs, beliefs, systems and habits and to create, discover and evolve new possibilities. Creative vitality is fundamental to our individual and collective survival and flourishing. We so often feel overwhelmed in our lives, and meaningful expression is necessary to offset and transform the impacts of all that we are facing and internalizing. Central to this is creating collective spaces where individual and community voices and expressions that are actively suppressed or repressed find lift, respectful support and honor. We are all truly connected, and when one suffers we all suffer.
If there is one thing a life in art has helped me with, it is the experience of coming into intimacy with the world around me in times when I have lost my way. Humans have been doing this forever. If we don’t have meaningful relationships, we will be unlikely to able to protect, care for and appropriately sacrifice for them. We will lose track of what is truly sacred.
I respect the spectrum of creative responses and initiations in this era of climate change. In this issue of Green Fire Times we have hoped to present a small sampling of the many who are working deeply on the frontlines of creativity and climate. From the writer who listens closely to bees for inspiration, to the communities dancing the world into being season after season, to the permaculturalist who studies and educates about how nature innovates—I am strengthened and heartened by these efforts. I hold support and respect for the artist-activist who convenes spaces for our evolution as we learn to feel and express from the fundamentally interconnected realms of justice, ecology and peace and those who earnestly live open-ended questions day after day in their unique ways.
As the founder of a multiple-year national arts and climate project, Firerock: Pass The Spark, I have encountered a plethora of deeply committed efforts and expressions across this country that all play an important role in the collective response to create a world that is in accordance with our best selves. As an artistic director who convenes circles of expression, reflection, communion and learning, I put immense faith in the power of our collective imagination and collective intuition. I honor the cultural workers everywhere who are working with heart and commitment to make spaces where our direct knowing and empowered creativity can emerge at this time despite fierce challenges. Our region is filled with these bold and courageous efforts, many not seen by public eyes.
This is not a time to hold back. It is a time to show up, challenge ourselves and stand for and express beauty and love in all its diverse forms. It is a time to get uncomfortable, identify our values, reflect earnestly, walk our talk, learn to work well with others, and help each other up when we fall. It is a time to welcome and embody our most beautiful selves and radiate that beauty without apology, doubt or shame. Your voice and your uniqueness matter greatly. And to do this it is imperative that we refuse to feed destructive systems and that we take on the hard work to know what this truly means and how to do it—for real. This is the time to lay it down for universal access to clean air, water, food and the opportunities for each being to express what needs and wants to come forward. For through these actions, the wisdom, resources, solutions and the capacities we most need will, without question, arise to lead us forward.
Molly Sturges, artistic director/composer/facilitator, has been creating and leading participatory creative projects for over 30 years. She is United States Artist Fellow in Music, recipient of many commissions, and a national creativity consultant and mindfulness teacher. She provides consulting for individuals and groups focusing on integrative well-being through applied spiritual, creative, somatic and contemplative practices. She is also the founding artistic director of Littleglobe, Lifesongs and Firerock: Pass The Spark. Visit: mollysturges.com, clearskyguidance.com and firerockmusical.com