Santa Fe is a city full of artists and those who love art. As a social worker, I have often thought about how my major function is not the process of creation, but of alleviating suffering. The former adds something positive to the world while the latter attempts to remove something negative. Both are necessary tasks, but if I had to choose one wouldn’t it be better to add something beautiful to the world rather than just remove a negative? This question has been gnawing at me for some time and Santa Fe gave some insight. More on this in a moment, but first a bit about Santa Fe...…
Canyon Road is a narrow little street lined with over 100 galleries. Creation drips from the buildings like the water run-off after one of Santa Fe’s infamous monsoon summer rains. The city’s central Plaza is lined with Native American artisans selling their wares. On Tuesday evening we were lucky enough to hear live music there as well.
Arthur's Chicken & Our Salad
In regard to accommodations, we found our host Arthur on couchsurfing.com and he was gracious enough to host us for 3 nights in his beautiful adobe home. He owns a business producing and selling leather journals and is a connoisseur of Chinese teas and the Zen Shakuhachi flute. He baked us delicious scones, smoked us sumptuous chicken and whipped up some home-made margarita ice cream while we shared with him our asparagus & carrot salad with cilantro-almond pesto and traditional Bulgarian banitza (puff pastry with Bulgarian cheese and egg). Arthur’s multiple creative endeavors inspired us and brought us great joy.
Finally, we visited the Upaya Zen Center where the dharma talk by teacher Sensei Beate Stolte helped me resolve my gnawing question about creativity. In true Zen fashion, I realized that I have been setting up a false dichotomy when pitting creativity against the alleviation of suffering. Creativity brings joy both to the creator and to those who enjoy the creation. When joy moves through people, they naturally dissolve pain for themselves and others. The alleviation of suffering, on the other hand, requires creativity to be truly effective. When a social worker aids a person who is in a difficult circumstance, the degree to which they can imbue their own creative spirit into the process as well as encourage the client’s innate creativity is the degree to which positive outcomes will occur. In this way, all of us can practice “creative compassion” - whether it be finding creative ways to be compassionate or by inspiring compassion and joy with our creativity.
View the rest of the pics here. Next on our journey is a 9 hour trip to Oklahoma City and brief stopover before heading to Springfield, Missouri to catch up with Neda’s old peeps for the weekend. Enjoy your weekend everyone!