My friend Sandy shared with me that she often describes our Albuquerque arts communities as a culture not where people come to “make it” but where they can actually make it. Where the focus is on making art more than on “making it” as an artist. I like the distinction.
I don’t want to knock other cities, other communities in comparison, but I do really appreciate this about Albuquerque. It feels wholly authentic. I’ve mocked the “New Mexico True” slogan since it first appeared in state promotions, but more and more I get the ring of it. There’s not too much pretense here. And not too much looking outside ourselves for permission or approval to be ourselves.
“Keeping it real” — not trying too hard to impress or appease anybody — that certainly can leave some rough edges on us, but it also affords us a tremendous amount of freedom.
And I think it applies not just to our artistic endeavors, but to the entire Burque scene. I love NY and I don’t hate LA, but I’ve lived in both places and spent all my time and energy there barely getting by — forget about creating anything new. But here…
I mean, for sure we’ve got unique challenges. Resources can seem scarce. The high desert isn’t for everybody. But for all our problems, lack of possibility isn’t one of them. Lack of imagination isn’t one of them. Neither do we lack grit.
Into these wide open spaces — expansive sky, expansive hearts and minds — and with a bit of the devil-may-care, hardscrabble determination that this dry land demands, we can make anything.
At one of Bosque’s monthly prayer zooms recently, we ended up in a sort of call-and-response rhythm. As each person expressed their hope/prayer/desire, the rest of us answered, “There’s nothing in the way of that.” We were a chorus of affirmation for each other. The voice of the Universe, Life Itself, rejoining, “You got it!”
Part of what I liked about this was the implicit invitation in the response. “There’s nothing in the way of that” is a summons to the one praying not just to have it happen to them, but actually to participate in making it happen. Life’s creative process is collaborative. We empower ourselves by remembering that we are not just hopeful beneficiaries of Divine Grace but the bringers of It, the embodiments of It.
Our prayers are not merely passive wishes and hopes, but are dynamic expressions of intent, including a potent recognition of our own creative oomph.
(I probably need to include a tiny disclaimer for the workaholics, myself included, here.)
I’m not suggesting that we have to do it all, that it’s always about toughing it out against the odds. We don’t have to carry the entire world on our shoulders, striving uphill both ways to achieve something meaningful. I believe that heaven and earth will, indeed, move in co-creative partnership with us. The mountains can be laid low and the the crooked ways made straight if that’s what’s called for.
I’m just saying that we’ve got to put ourselves truly in the game.
We make it by making it. Whatever we want to make, whatever we dare to declare as a possibility for our lives. Whatever we want to make of ourselves, together.
- I want to experience loving community. There’s nothing in the way of that. Let’s make it.
- I long for a world of harmony and beauty. While obviously there’s plenty of stuff that doesn’t look exactly like that a lot of the time, there’s nothing objectively in the way of harmony and beauty. So I’m going to make some more of it.
- I want plenty, and purpose, and peace, and passion. The Universe responds: You got it! Ain’t nothing in the way of that. Make it.
I tend to get a bit reflective this time of year, my birthday, thinking about where I’ve been and what’s in store for my next trip around the sun. And I’m feeling so danged proud of what we’ve created together, friends. Out of thin mountain air. With a vision and a commitment and chutzpah. We made this. What shall we make next? There’s nothing in the way of it.
©2022 Drew Groves