All my life as an artist I have depended on my feelings to tell me what to make art about. If I have had a wonderful adventure I painted about it. If I am angry I painted about that. Whatever is happening in my life was what I would use in my work. And I had learned over the years that nothing but really courageous honesty makes for good art. There is no substitute.
‘On DeGeneres comments’
What was your childhood like? Was it fun?
I grew up in a very conservative home. My father was a first reader in the Christian Science Church, which is similar to being a preacher. There was no drinking, smoking or cursing. I didn’t see deep emotion from my parents. It was all very polite and very surface. I never knew how anybody was feeling. Because of that religion everything was fine all the time.
Isn’t it dishonest to pretend you’re happy when you’re really angry?
Exactly. I never saw anyone angry—so when I was 13 and my parents divorced it was a huge surprise to me because I was told everything was fine. It was very confusing. That’s not a healthy way to grow up. It was very hard to express yourself. A kid should be told that you can have feelings. I have a lot of feelings. You can feel sad and angry and hurt. But the only feeling that was approved of is happiness—that was it. How can you have happiness when you’re not honest?
You end each TV show by telling your viewers to be kind to each other. Why is kindness so important to you?
Because I’ve been treated in a way that has not been kind, respectful or considerate. I learned compassion from having experienced some bad stuff.
by Alex Cook
April 5, 2017
Thank you again for this Rob. I’m so appreciating your perspective and the ideas you are working through. Most valuable to me personally is hearing the perspective of folks who grew up in CS homes where honest expression of feelings was repressed in the name of CS.
My own home had some elements of that, and it caused some real suffering. But there was something so strong in me that I was never tempted at all to repress my feelings. It was so clear that honesty was right and anything other than honesty was obviously useless. That then, naturally led to a serious conversation in myself as to how honesty operates within the beautiful realities of CS. I don’t know if I ever shared this with you, but below is an article I wrote that discusses in detail one experience I had where human, emotional honesty met with spiritual honesty.
(Link Below – I was trapped. And my heart was breaking.)
It will be so BEAUTIFUL to rout avoidance and emotional dishonesty out of the human living of CS. Thank you so much for your brave work in that direction.
Spiritual Art and Music
Artwork below by Alex Cook
Special thanks to Alex Cook for joining the conversation and adding value to this healing discussion.
Note – Permission granted by Alex to have his private email and link posted on my blog.
Keep swimming, buddy!
Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to All Mankind,