Sunday, January 22, 2017

sunday grace: the beauty and mess of the process

process, by lisa parks

i met a young woman this week who was strong and vibrant and creative.  she told me, "i like to do art, but i'm not very good at it."  after spending some time with her and observing the vast imaginative way she walked through her world, i told her i thought she was quite amazing at art. together we unpacked how the world judges us by our product over our process.  while she may not yet be producing (what the world defines as) art (paintings, music, literature, etc.), her life and relationships and work and the way she is in the world are absolutely art.

i once again recognized my glaring love for process over product; how i appreciate the time and effort of the planning and development and evolution, rather than the end result.

take art, for instance.  if i was attached to the product, i would have given up years ago.  because so much of what i've artistically produced can be objectively judged as crap.  but my love of fingers in paint, the scratch of the pencil on paper, and expression of layered emotion on the canvas bring me back over and over and over again.  staying present for and trusting the hard parts of art, the learning, the risk, the starting over, these are the ways we become art.  the life and love of the final product is always in the process.

and yoga?  the popular western culture of yoga is almost entirely about the product, the perfected pose.  we completely miss the purpose of yoga when we struggle and contort to nail the instagrammable crow.  we bypass the beauty and the pain of the measured process of yoga, we miss that yoga teaches us how to be in the world, how to fly and how to fall.

and this morning, i'm mostly thinking about social justice activism.  yesterday our world lit up with millions of humans marching in or in solidarity with the women's march on washington.  it was an absolutely magnificent product to witness.  but the richness, the messiness, the excruciatingly slow process of true social justice is a long game.  how can we sustain this commitment over time?  how do we keep people interested when "being a part of history" is more about dealing with our own bias and privilege (uncomfortable), calling out injustice publicly (risky), and showing up as allies when the revolution isn't being televised?