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Painting/collage by the very talented and emotive Anastasia Makhlouf

Each of us carries pain.

Some wear that pain externally while others' pain is invisible to the naked eye.

The Buddha said, "Existence and suffering are one." The common Christian and Muslim attitude is one of resignation to suffering as the will of God.

What to do with all this suffering if a life of prayer and meditation are just not for you or if after prayer and meditation you still feel heart-weary and broken? How can one take pain and make it more bearable, more manageable?

For me, it's art and service.

All of us, without exception, are tasked to take pain in its crudest form and transform it into something exquisite - to transcend the mundane - and weave it into art that touches other people's souls and hearts: a poem, a song, a gateau, a climbing bougainvillea, a painting, a dance, a story, a love letter. Creation is the ultimate prayer - the ultimate form of meditation - coupled with authenticity and the courage to be vulnerable, it's can be cathartic and sometimes even sublime.

This is the service the artist, poet, writer, dancer, actor and musician perform everyday. We wrestle with words, paint, space and sound until we have composed a piece that tells the story of our souls. And in this way we share our pain- allow others into the holy communion that is humanity so that we know we are seen and heard, and that we are not alone in our joys, follies and suffering. To be an artist, poet, dancer, musician, writer or actor - is to be a healer and to be healed.

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