One of the hardest things I find is feeling like it’s ok to get genuinely close to people – and knowing how to do that comfortably. I’ve noticed that, in a room full of people, if I don’t have a social role (e.g. performing or presenting) I can easily struggle with feeling self-conscious, anxious, and a bit awkward. It can be overwhelming and so visceral it has me climbing internal walls looking for hiding places high up off the forest floor!
It has something to do with losing touch with who I am. Yet, one of the strongest impulses I have is to be close to life, all of life – whether it is a mountain, a seal, the wind, or another human. I am in love with life and yet being part of it both mesmerizes and terrifies me. It. is. so. big… and what am I in all that? What’s my ‘role’? Who am I meant to be? Is this awkwardness unique or is it something many of us can relate to?
In nature I belong. I am enthralled and use the quiet stillness of photography to get close, to appreciate – just look at how intimately I seek to ‘know’ a plant in these pictures. It is a deep drive in me, an impulse, to truly and deeply know the aliveness in a fellow sentient. It’s not that I can’t feel close without photographing something, but it’s more that by photographing the closeness I am prolonging and deepening the joy at my experience of it as it holds the ease and magic of our connection. I am not self-conscious here, I am in the zone. I merge through art finding a moment of connection with something(one) else that is also here, also alive. In that I somehow come home to my own center – my mind stops. I become, return, re-locate within the union. It’s peaceful and restorative, releasing a softness of delight that re-enchants my happy soul.
It affects me to be able, or to not be able, to do that – my heart is in there. It is not simple voyeurism, it is relationship and my life, my aliveness, my sense of place and belonging, my visit with the experience of love, my very own existence depends on it, depends on this awareness in connection. It is both reciprocal and deeply intimate.
Touch is part of this knowing, too… touching the soil, the leaves, the softness of a petal. I feel a certain unique kind of pain when I enter an art gallery that tells me I can’t touch anything – oh, how I long for that closeness – the information and understanding that comes from the physicality and the sensations transmitted to places inside of me – not of this body, and yet experienced there. Touch denied – experience profoundly interrupted, a moment forever altered. Our nature is in connection – remove the senses and it is as if a droplet of water is halted mid-descent, a conversation abruptly stopped.
Then there’s the music – the music is an expression of the melodic and emotional sentience of my head, my soul, my heart, my inquiry, the stories, my relationships. I externalize that I might relate to the internal elements of my soul moving toward me, seeking its own intimacy in connection. This symbiotic longing expressing outwards helps me breathe, helps me relax, brings me alive, validates that there is experiencing and restores my balance – even my sanity – and my sense of self, my place in the world, in a good way. Once expressed, once understood, there is a certain kind of breathing out that allows my wings to rest by my side, complete, replete. The music is, in part, the flow of connection, the aeolian wind traveling between worlds.
There are periods of quiet where the wind rustles my soul and yet I will persistently look the other way, even though I can hear it, and even though it’s disquieting to do so. I think it’s a kind of ‘waiting’ that is a bit like filling up a container slowly, until one day it’s full, newly ready to be emptied and the longing, my longing, gets to speak.
I have been traveling in Scotland, touching in with the mountains, the lochs, the peat bogs, the beautifully musical Scottish voices, music, and hearts. Slowly I had started to get that nagging feeling that I was avoiding something. Today I sat down to write and here I am, revealing myself in the attempt to cross that divide, like I often do with a camera or a microphone, to connect in real, sensitive, and delicate ways with you and with myself – showing where I am vulnerable, seeing what I need and reviewing why art matters. It helps. You help. This helps. It really is quite mysterious, and I appreciate that.
Finally, I want to share this piece below with you – it was created from found objects after a day in Bristol reflecting with others on how activism affects our individual experiences of faith. It was a surprise to feel how quietly these natural elements wanted to ‘know’ each other, be in relationship with each other. That gentle experience of listening for order, relationship and subtlety was magical and, when it was complete, so was something in me. We can each listen to that still small voice inside ourselves. It is an invitation to beauty, to authenticity, and I am saying yes… I am emerging dynamically.
Thank you for being here.
Bio: Clare Hedin is an artist, musician, educator, healer, and author of Dynamic Emergence who uses energy awareness, connection, and deep listening to explore the nature of being. If you want to study how to become even more alive, even more you, even more subtle-yet-unstoppable, especially in these times of tremendous transformation, please click here or contact Clare directly.