Arna Baartz from ‘The I AM program’ talked to our Simply Yoga group on Saturday about believing in magic and creating a fabulous life for yourself by not letting go of self-belief.
Arna, also an artist, creates arts connected emotional intelligence programs for children in schools and is making a difference.
It got me thinking about Art in schools and why it’s a luxury rather than a necessity. Why is ‘art’ something we have to encourage in the curriculum. Why isn’t it revered with maths, science and all of the other 'important' subjects?
Is art really just for starving hippies?
I believe we can’t live successfully without art. Life without Art is life without beauty. Creativity is the seat of invention, change, divergent thinking and excitement. It is creativity that produces paintings, drawings, stories, books, music, songs, poetry, dance, resolutions, revolutions, new ideas, changes in governments and better ways of doing things.
We cannot move forward in society without our divergent and creative thinking.
Art and creative thinking needs to be encouraged.
When I was 16, I just wanted to paint. But dad said I had to get a real job. ‘I know,’ I said. ‘I can become an art teacher, then I’ll be able to paint all day’ (optimism at its best).
‘That’s the best idea you’ve ever had’ said Dad. ‘Cause artists don’t make any money.’
Art college was not what I expected. ‘No realism’ said the teacher. ‘That’s old school. We want you to paint what you don’t see.’
‘That’s too real’ said the teacher, taking my brush and dipping it in orange. ‘Why don’t you do this?’
I struggled with trying to please my teachers without giving up myself.
One of my teachers said ‘you should never sell your art’ and I responded with ‘but one day I want to have a family and support them through my art’ he pointed at me with his authoritative finger and said ‘then you are a prostitute.’
To say I wanted to die was an understatement.
I developed beliefs from these experiences like;
· I wasn’t a real artist.
· I wasn’t allowed to paint what I loved.
· I wasn’t allowed to sell my art.
· Art is not important.
· I wasn’t good enough.
I was lost.
So I took on another career and created art ‘just for fun, just for friends.’
Most of the people around me echoed what society believed ‘artists don’t make money’ and ‘it’s too difficult.’
I never stopped drawing or painting but I did stop imagining I could do something wonderful.
As my children grew I found myself standing at a cross-road.
I wanted to write books and paint pictures and with growing self esteem decided: ‘why not? Why not me? Why can’t I be the one who does it?’
Although I had the ‘not good enough’s’ tapping on my shoulder, I decided to take the plunge.
And I jumped.
I quit my job. I took up my paint-brush, went to uni, and wrote stories.
At least two friends believed in me. The rest said I was wasting my time. Aren’t I too old? Isn’t it too late? Shouldn’t you be focusing on your grandchildren? Are you even good enough?’
The criticism begun from my childhood had eaten away at my artistic self-esteem and it took a long time to return.
Art was like an old friend that had been cast aside. I invited her back.
I’m not the best artist in the world and I’m not the best writer. But I’m the only one that has my story to tell. I’m the only one with my characters in my stories that do the things I ask them to do.
I have un-squashed my dreams and given them some air.
I’m going to believe there is a place for me exactly as I am.
I believe creativity can unlock potential and let people shine.
It isn’t easy being who you want to be. But it’s harder than living someone else’s idea of what your life should look like.
So today, do something towards the dream you’ve never revealed. Imagine it. Do it. Be it. Feel it. Take one step towards it.
And never look back.
Monica Batiste is a full time yoga teacher, author and artist. She lives on the beautiful bays of Brisbane with her husband Andreas. Between them they have four daughters, and ten grandchildren.
GreetI am a yoga teacher, author and artist.
Blogs by Monica
Growing Emotional Intelligence