Telling It Like It Is: Sacred Art

While watching a documentary last weekend I hit play and rewind a dozen times to capture this quote:

“It’s our musicians and our artists who are the prophets of today because a prophet, biblically speaking isn’t a fortune teller. A prophet is somebody who tells it like it is, who can hopefully see things the way God sees things so tell you how things really are as opposed to how people think they are.”

Rev. Máirt J. Hanley was talking about the art and music brought to the Dingle Union of Parishioners, and about Amy Winehouse going to Dingle, in particular.

But it’s his words I can’t stop thinking about.

One of the things I have appreciated about free-writing workshops is that no matter how “ugly” the material people write about the process of putting truth into words is always beautiful. It’s intimate and affirming and sacred.

I’m not dogmatic about religion. I don’t have a one-sentence description of what spirituality means to me. I do believe in God/Goddess but claim no specific doctrine as my own. What I know is that my life is more sacred because of poetry, music and truth tellers. That part I’m clear on.

My feelings of connectedness, belonging and expansiveness are almost always through some art forum. It’s not the artist necessarily, though it’s wonderful when they too are inspired or inspiring, but the work can deliver a magic that nurtures me in places deeper and more ancient than the contents of my bones or marrow. The sacred slips in and wakes up or brings back to life the best parts of me that might have gone sleepy, defended or have seem buried completely.

That dancing around the living room and screaming at the top of my lungs in a car isn’t because I have a secret wish to be singer. It’s the sensation of the percussion beating inside and traveling through that makes me want to join. Sometimes tears wash through and other times joy is rinsed in.

Telling it like it is can be sacred and holy and radical. Songs can make me feel, at least for a moment, as though I’m living completely inside a moment of another human experience that I might not know without listening and hearing. Poems can do the same. When that happens it’s wonderful.

I read Amy Winehouse was watching You Tube videos of herself the night she died. I wonder what she was thinking. I read she was on and off drinking the last 18 mos. of her life working her way towards abstinence. What a sad and tragic way to die. I can’t claim to say I understand or get the reason for a death such as hers.

But her music still lives as do her recordings. And here’s one part of the program I was watching where Amy Winehouse sang in Dingle and an interview link with her as well as her singing is shown.


You Matter Mantras

  • Trauma sucks. You don't.
  • Write to express not to impress.
  • It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
  • Breathing isn't optional.

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