Tikkun Olam—Art and Healing
Tikkun Olam: World mending. World healing.
In mystical Jewish teaching we partner with the Beloved to perfect the world through acts of kindness, love, justice. In this way we can repair and transform a broken world.
Shevirat ha-kelim: Shattering of the vessels.
The light that came into being to fill the primordial darkness, was contained in sacred vessels, each filled with primordial light. These vessels were too fragile to contain such a powerful light so they broke open and sacred sparks were scattered across the world. Our purpose is to gather sacred sparks, no matter where they are no hidden, no matter how terrible the darkness.
Collecting the broken shards and fusing them together.
I started working in fused glass when my world fell apart. There were 5 shatterings. My father died, my marriage ended, my cat died, I went through menopause and I was laid off from my job. These series of losses triggered other earlier traumatic losses, ones that I thought I had "worked through". But the well of grief is deep. I fell into an abyss, a depression and anxiety so profound, that I felt like a baby, only able to be cared for by others. One of my students described healing like this: "we are all angels with one wing. We need to hold onto another angel, and then we can fly." I was an angel with no wings. The slow climb out of the abyss has been unlike anything else I've experienced in my life. Excruciating, humbling, deeply connecting to what I had rejected and resisted in the past. I have been showered with holding, strength, love, compassion, tenderness and wisdom from friends and teachers and family and therapists. I have lived through the dark night of the soul. I am a survivor.
Breaking glass is cathartic. The force of the hammer or foot. Anger, rage releasing. The sound of the smashing. Then the beauty of the broken pieces. And then, the process, measured, slow, meditative, of putting the pieces together. They tell me how. And the miracle of the fusing: high heat melting it all into molten brilliant color, molecules transforming. And then cooling into one solid surface. A miracle. A resurrection. A symbol that healing, mending, however slow and seemingly impossible, is possible.