Prayer is powerful. Don’t get me wrong.
It aligns us with our true nature, being spirit. It uplifts our own heart (even while
praying for another). It fills us with a sense of purpose and shows the capacity of our
altruistic, loving selves.
Love is powerful.
But love and prayer and service (which are always thought of as nouns) are actually
verbs. They have the power to change – if not our entire world – at least areas of our
lives that require movement or healing or transformation.
But that requires action. That’s why verbs are about doing.
After the recent tragedy in Las Vegas I found a number of people (myself included)
using the hash-tag of the all-too- common #prayfor . . . fill-in- the-latest- city of
We cannot pray our way out of this endless cycle of devastation and Congressional
inaction and apathy. The only way out is by action – of the spiritual, conscious,
legislative and political kind.
As we evolve as a society, we hopefully begin to see things differently. Meaning, with
greater compassion and empathy for all beings. It could be a sign that our conscious
awareness is expanding or it could simply mean we just start exercising common
I posted something about that on Instagram. Someone told me to not make the
Vegas shootings a political argument.
Wake up call.
Being an artist is political.
Art is political. If it’s good art! If you wish to make a difference in the world with who
you are as a creator and make people think and (hopefully) change, then it’s going to
Artists have to make a stand. That’s what they do. That’s what their work is about.
Artists provoke change. Then there is resistance to that change. Artists hold the
space for people to exist in the discomfort of something that requires change before
it actually changes. That’s why it’s uncomfortable.
D.L. Hughley recently said, “When you give voice to the minority you run the risk of
offending the majority.”
But too often, artists are either sidelined for the expression of their views
(remember The Dixie Chicks?) or equally troubling, as Rosanne Cash wrote in a New
York Times op-ed piece, some artists are actually creating relationships with
lobbying groups that poison the integrity of what it means to be an artist. They
basically have become paid spokespersons.
“For the past few decades, the National Rifle Association has increasingly nurtured
an alliance with country music artists and their fans. You can see it in ‘N.R.A.
Country,’ which promotes the artists who support the philosophical, and perhaps
economic, thrall of the N.R.A., with the pernicious tag line ‘Celebrate the Lifestyle.’ ”
Artists are dissenters. Activists. Revolutionaries. You can’t be in the pockets of an
organization that works ultimately to silence the true expression of artistry while
paying or promoting you to do their advertising. That’s collusion.
At a deeper level it’s silencing the artist. Or rather only giving them a platform for
their art to be seen if they concede to the rules established by the organization.
Hence, they neuter the artist.
Throughout history, artists have been – and will always try to be – silenced.
Whether it’s the excuse that “It won’t be good for your career to say something,” or
“You don’t want to make waves by doing that,” to the more egregious example we
saw last week when Twitter silenced Rose McGowan for posting her views about
sexual assault. The leader of the Free World insults and bullies people daily on social
media, but when a woman expresses her views about an industry epidemic that
needs to change, she is silenced. Talk about sexism and misogyny.
People are uncomfortable with the truth. Artists, not so much.
So prayers are fine.
But when it comes to causes that matter, pray by expressing your voice. Pray by
standing up. Or writing your Congressmen. Or demanding that more women are in
Congress. Or start talking about global warming. Or any other cause that needs
Or, if you don’t feel you can do that, at the very least, let your art speak for you. Let
your art be a representation of what art is supposed to do: challenge, change,
inspire and transform.