The Group’s Monthly Letter – June 2011

by Geoff Hall on June 30, 2011

Mentoring Support for those involved in word,
 image or performance art

Dear Arts Mentoring Group,
It has been an eventful month, with meetings, a birthday, a trip to Neustadt in Germany, being asked to participate in the Bristol Literature Festival and the ‘Narrative as Healing’ project with myself and a bunch of GP’s, gaining momentum.

It is important to travel, to push the boundaries, but it is also good to come home. It is good to connect with others, but it is also good to find yourself. It is good to be emptied, but it is also good to be filled.

We are told that the Body Spiritual is there to help us connect and strengthen one another, because we cannot live alone, we cannot ‘find’ ourselves in isolation; we cannot be artists disconnected from those we share a similar calling with.

Song 16 talks about our ‘lot being secure’, about the ‘boundaries falling in pleasant places’ and as I returned from Neustadt where I met Johannes and Birgit, I was amazed at how we can connect with simple things like a Tweet! Simple maybe, but I think for all of us it was a step of faith. Here is a strange boy from England stepping off an aircraft near Frankfurt and being collected by two very lovely people, who had a very interesting drive to pick me up.

Their journey involved a Sat Nav system that took them within hand-shaking distance of the Airport, only to find that the road in front of them was closed, literally! Johannes told me of his Batman-like utility belt which had a cunning device on it that undid the bolts on the bollards secured on the road – allowing them to continue their journey. He told me how weird it was to pass derelict buildings along the old deserted military airfield. How the Sat Nav system ‘ re-calibrated’ the route only for them to find themselves outside the Arrivals Terminal and  greet me!

I thought this was a wonderful metaphor as we depart on faithful, grand adventures only to find that when we are so close to our destination, the road is blocked. What do we do? Do we stop the work the Spirit has led us to, or do we look for that utility belt and remove the road block, to eventually move on and find that our guidance is being re-calibrated!

As artists we can sometimes stumble when the world seems against us and we don’t get the breakthrough we need. We somehow think God is being a little mischievous, a little double-minded, calling us to things that we just cannot complete on our own. And hey, we’ve hit the nail on the head, because we are not called to work alone, we are called to connect with others in this most pleasant of places. If Johannes and Birgit had stopped and returned home, that would have left me with an interesting stay at the Airport until my flight back to sunny Stansted, but because they persevered we connected.

I came back home feeling renewed, because on meeting each other we knew God was at work. We will persevere until the potential of our meeting is realised and we start working together. We will begin to make a difference; to our relationship, to our art-making and to European culture. Big vision, lots of Airmiles!

The spiritual terrain has changed and continues to do so as we connect, strengthening one another and going the extra mile to complete the journey.

Peace and Love to you all,

Geoffx

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