Touching the Topanga Sky

Yesterday morning, I was floating out to sea on my longboard as I chatted with a friend.  Our chat turned into much more of an in depth conversation…

I confessed to him my embarrassing and ever so slowly building road rage….  Yes, dear students and friends, I really can become quite wild in my car.  I don’t run people off of the road and am an effective driver, but I find myself becoming much less compassionate with other drivers’ choices and become quite angry with every move they make that I don’t deem perfect.  My friend laughed, although it isn’t funny and is actually quite dangerous.  He then mentioned that I may need an artistic outlet; some way I can express creatively this anger that is coming out on the road and somewhere other than in my car.  “Yes!” I thought, “This is what I am missing in my life.”  Since I stopped dancing a few years ago I have dabbled with guitar playing, painting, drawing, writing & photography, but have never really been consistent with any of these things.  My creative outlet has slowly drifted away and in its place is the safe sanctuary of my car where I feel free to rant and yell and express all of my emotion with the mask of my sunglasses and the shield of my windows. Yikes! Super scary for me and my fellow Angelino drivers.

The benefits of plugging some sort of artistic expression into our lives reach beyond the simple notion of releasing unexpressed or pent up emotion.  Other benefits include:

  • Create balance and order
  • Give a sense of control over the external world
  • Make something positive out of a loss, bad experience or depression
  • Maintain an individual’s integrity
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Make thought and feeling clear
      — (Ebersole & Hess, 1998)

So, I have now made a commitment to myself (and to everyone on the roads of LA) to dive into some sort of creative expression a few times a week.  Serendipitously, yesterday afternoon, a student of mine mentioned to me her need to creatively express in order to clear out whatever gunk is in her mind and body.  I hope this inspires her to commit to some sort of creative expression as well….

My commitment began last night during a jam session in the artistic hills of Topanga Canyon with me on guitar, Cousin Rick Ellis on keys and vocals, and his gal, Nadine on harmonica.  I have no idea how we sounded, but I really didn’t care.  It felt like we sounded divine and I was happy as a clam when I climbed into bed last night all artistically expressed and road rage free…