Art to Heart’s mentoring programme The Magic Turtles is up and running (see www.arttoheart.ie). Happily many people have been asking a lot of questions: why this programme, why now, how is it going to work? Well, it just felt the right thing to do in this moment in time.
For a while I have been considering the future of Art to Heart prompted both by a desire for renewal and for passing on the huge amount of learning made over the years. I also wished to respond to artists and facilitators who have been around Art to Heart and who have a strong desire to learn and practice. After much searching, this new development could not be postponed any longer and so I got ready to put it in place. First though I had to answer my many questions.
Where could I learn to put together this new programme? How would I go about doing it? Who could advise me?
I kept my eyes open and my ears tuned to the unexpected within my day to day activities, wishing to go the less travelled road and trying to avoid frustrating experiences. Eventually I found my answers, not in a manual on how to develop a small business but in the reading of a beautiful short story, The Rainmaker by Herman Hesse. It tells the story of a man who lived “many thousands of years ago, when women ruled” and who could deliver rain when it was most needed. Aside from the tribal mother he was the only other guardian of knowledge and was quite solitary, a man of few words. In time he knew he woud have to pass on his art to younger people who could show that they “had fallen in love with rainmaking and were longing to learn the art”. He lived in perfect tune with his surroundings and it was from them that he had learned his skills at rainmaking.
The Master set out to train his apprentice Knecht, aware that “a great heritage of tradition and experience had to be administered, employed, and even more, passed on. In this course of instruction there were no concepts, doctrines, methods, script, figures, and only very few words. The Master trained Knecht’s senses far more than his intellect.”
As I read the beautiful prose, things became gradually clear and all the pieces that I was trying to put together fell into place. Inspired by the reading I set out to devise the mentoring programme. From the story I was reassured that feeling at ease in your surroundings generates the right attitude to things, people and actions. It teaches you to take the right time to observe, investigate, experience and learn.
You never know, in the course of time at Art to Heart we might even learn together the art of rainmaking, not that we need much of it here in Ireland, but who knows, the season that has just begun might still turn out to be a hell of a long, hot summer!