Art Is Our Way Back to Each Other.
To begin to unravel the many layers of my life is to embark on a journey from brokenness and impossible isolation and addiction and disconnection to liberation and embodiment and connection and wholeness… and back again.
Within the dependable rhythms of chaos, I learned how to weather seemingly endless storms with grace. I know too well how comforting those cold, jagged edges start to feel after a while, and how existing in the margins can sometimes be a way to avoid the risk and burden of claiming one’s destiny.
I know what it is to never feel comfortable anywhere except in those habitual moments where it becomes possible to fly up out of one’s body and observe life from the sky as birds do. Numb, yet peaceful. I know how it feels to be erased. Exploited. Resented. Envied. Feared. Silenced. Desired. I know how to cherish another.
I learned how to be grateful for the hand I was dealt. How to melt into another with wild abandon. How to be both Lover and Beloved. I know what it feels like to be someone’s everything. And I’m versed in the crippling loss that inevitably accompanies such a vulnerable and impermanent position.
I know how things go when the vultures come for you. When there is no place left to hide. How quickly reality can turn upside down when the people you love most begin to eat you alive. When that which once nourished you becomes toxic.
I know what it is like to be left for dead. How powerless and gut-wrenching it feels that we can’t save each other, no matter how hard we try or how much we may want to.
I know that real love is rare. Has no agenda. And need not be earned.
I know how it feels to be possessed. Empty inside. Insatiable. Food for ravenous ghosts. A pawn in an incomplete, inherited story that I was never told and never really understood.
I know what it is like to learn the hard way. How easy it is to hurt one another, despite the best of intentions. The torment of needing to hide the realest parts of yourself to save your own life. And the price you ultimately pay in doing so.
I know how it is when chasing the high becomes a lifestyle. Until everything and everyone is reduced to a grey scale. I know what it is like to want to die. How it feels to be caged. The sheer passion it takes to claw one’s way back from the brink of death like a savage animal determined to live. I know that freedom is no destination. And that the universe is, somehow, always keeping score. So we don’t have to.
I know damn well how very precious and miraculous every minute of every human life truly is. And I know just how far a person will go to find a god worth believing in.
Art is the only way I know to deeply connect with a world too wild and rapturous and tragic and illogical to be contained or make any sense. It is how I channel dynamic beauty and ineffable magic. It is how I can make the invisible visible.
James Baldwin once said, “It seems to me that the artist’s struggle for [their] integrity must be considered a kind of metaphor for the struggle — which is universal and daily — of all human beings on the face of this globe to get to become human.” I believe that art is our way back to each other… back to the Truth.
My work reflects my life, as only I can tell it. Art has literally saved me. Having walked through so much fire to get here, I can tell you this for certain. They may hurt our bodies. They may try to rob us of our human rights. They may batter our hearts, damage our sense of worth, try to extract that which we hold most dear. But some things can be neither bought nor sold.
Some things can never be captured for too long. Some things are freedom-bound, no matter how long it takes. The soul is indestructible. It can never be killed. And, like the Phoenix, it regenerates and unfolds of its own accord.
I assure you, beloveds, we are infinite.
Nikki Coffelt, PhD, is a two-spirited inspiratrix, savage soul and visionary artist. She loves experiential learning and offers both group classes and one-on-one consultation for rebels, empaths, activists and healers. Nikki is based in San Francisco and currently traveling the world to offer live immersive art exhibitions to a diverse global audience. Nikki is passionate about inspiring personal and collective empowerment, illuminating the dark and transmuting primordial suffering into life-sustaining, creative fuel. To acquire an original painting and/or buy tickets for her next show, please visit her website. You could also enroll in her next Conscious Savagery interactive e-course.