111 Day Artistic Spirit Pledge: Spiritual Growth Through Creative Expression
Day 32: Do Artistic Spirits Rest Here?
115 years ago today, my great-great grandfather was laid to rest at the age of 45. He emigrated from Ireland around the mid-1880’s, got married (once he arrived in Philly, I believe), and had five children by the time of his passing in 1899. Thomas and his wife Elizabeth are mysterious yet intriguing figures to me. I want to know more about their lives in Ireland, why they chose to immigrate to the states, why they chose Philadelphia, and what life was like once they arrived.
Why include this topic during the Artistic Spirit Pledge? The answer is two-fold.
Firstly, I yearn to know more about how art influenced their lives in the late 1800’s. Did Thomas or Elizabeth have creative skills like singing, dancing, knitting, glass-blowing? When Thomas returned from a long day’s labor, did he find solace in playing a musical instrument for his family or singing Irish folk tunes?
Secondly, by asking the questions above I am inspired to create fictional stories. It’s as though I’m creating characters and developing them with each new detail I imagine. My ancestors weren’t just names, birth dates , and cemetery plot markers – they were experiencing life in their time and place. Ancestry research stimulates my creativity, sharpens my data research skills, and inspires me to not only tell my story but to tell those of my ancestors.
Have you done family history research? Do you have some interesting characters in your tree?
**I am an Artistic Spirit! For most of my life I’ve used the creative arts as a source of spiritual exploration and healing, even though I didn’t always do so consciously. Sometimes I was the instrument creating the art and other times I was on the receiving end. The connection between art and spirituality is so significant in my life that it’s infused into everything I do. I love music, theatre, television drama series (daytime and primetime), and creative writing and find fulfillment in artistic expression of various sorts: singing, acting, and jewelry design. Throughout the next 79 days, I’ll delve into how all of the above strengthens my spirit and has saved my life on more than one occasion.**