Stella Adler, to whom this quote is attributed, was an actress and acclaimed acting teacher, whose training methods are still taught today at the actors’ training studio she founded. (The original studio is still in NY and there is also one on the west coast)
This quote grabbed me when I came across it. Probably, at any other time before now, I would have dismissed this quote as being too dramatic. Too negative. However, my heart is so heavy these days that it resonated deeply. Sometimes, it’s important to just acknowledge how bad you feel.
The words “Life beats down and crushes your soul…” perfectly expresses how much my heart hurts and seems to capture that feeling of being helpless in the face of so much of the inexplicable tragedy around us these days. At first, I thought I was going to write about how this quote, the sharing of it, makes me want to give up on my usual inclination to find inspiration. But that is impossible, because even if I did want to give up on my own abilities, the light is right there in the rest of the quote.
Even before Stella Adler, who lived from February 1901 to December 1992, could have ever dreamed of some of the atrocities we see happening around us today, she did know that life could beat the hell out of you and quite literally crush your soul. But she also knew that what saves each of us from disappearing under the weight of it, is, truly, our art and our creativity.
That which we all have. This is the lifeline which reminds us that we do indeed, have a soul; that purpose and beauty still exist. Making art, viewing art, connecting to both our creativity, and to the creativity in others, makes life meaningful in the face of what seems meaningless.
The soul is real. We may not understand all the why’s behind our experiences, whether in our personal lives or in the lives whose tragedies we witness on a global scale, but we have the hope of finding solace in our own capabilities as human beings. And of being able to share our humanity, thus creating meaning, through art.
I hope you have an art-filled, soul-filled week.