Friday, October 29, 2010

The Pusuit of Happiness Comfort

When we are hungry, we fill up.
When we are in pain, we pop a pill.
When we have to wait in line, we complain.
When we are being challenged, we question God.

I am guilty of relating my overall well-being and my relationship with God based on my comfort level. Or shall I say, I relate my well-being: relationship with God: comfort level. Or visa versa really, as they are all 3 intertwined but rest on the foundation of how comofortable I am in my life. If I am? My relationship with God is great and I am well! If I am uncomfortable, my relationship with God suffers and I then I am not well.

But why is the issue comfort, I ask? What is so wrong with a little discomfort? As Chilean author Isabel Allende-- a favorite of mine-- said in a talk I heard her give last year, "What is wrong with a little pain? [Comfort]... is overrated." I think she has a point in that really, what is so wrong about it? We label discomfort as bad, naturally, but now with the technology and wealth we have around us, we avoid this badness at all costs. And for what? Millions suffer daily and actually benefit from a certain level of discomfort. "...We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance; and endurance, character; and character, hope."  In many circumstances that arise in our modern daily lives, it is perhaps more unhealthy into obessively pursue comfort than to in fact be temporarily uncomfortable.

Of course I can't make a general "we" statement and tell the West to stop complaining. But this is a personal revelation for me. To be aware of when I am filling myself emptiliy to satisfy my comfort level, and when I should revel a bit more in what God could potentially be teaching me through the discomfort. Even if it's on the simplest level of being ok with being hungry. 

So I'll start now... right after I eat breakfast ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"God has tested us this year"

President Piñera of Chile said at the ceremonious rescue of the 33 trapped miners, "God has tested us this year." I can attest to that on Chile and my own behalf! I feel the pain and joy and relief and disbelief of the world over the amazing recovery of the men involved in the longest entrapment in history. I felt the same after the earthquake happened in Februrary. And I feel the very same about my own life this past year; God has indeed tested me, and perhaps I have also emerged, like the miners, a little malnourited, a little unaccustomed to the light, with plenty of stories to tell, but safe. I definitely didn't suffer as they did, but my life is changed. That's, in one dramatic metaphor, is how I feel. 

Fuerza Chile!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So, I never shared with the public the art I created while I was in Chile in my citation-based painting and drawing class. Well then, here ya go. 
The link will lead to my full portfolio from the class, the slideshow just shows the pictures.

I can't believe in only 12 weeks I produced 9 paintings all outside of class. Well, to be exact, in my host casa, on the floor, trying not to spill paint on the carpet. 
In my current advanced painting class at USC, we will paint 4 works in 12 weeks, and even that is shooting high. I was so impressed with my fellow students at La Católica; their works were at times detailed and large and almost always thoughtful and well-constructued. I was the slacker in the class, mostly because I would paint in between weekend travels and weekly excursions. 
But still, the Chilean artists I met in my class still inspire me. My current body of work is actually based completely on experiences of magical realism I witnessed in Chile. And athough it will only be 4 paintings large, I hope it will do my friend Chile proud!