Yesterday was my regular volunteering gig at an organization that programs art spaces for at-risk urban youth.  I’ve really been enjoying it since I began in January.   The coordinator is great and enthusiastic, and it gives me a chance to be part of art making, something I love.  The young people that participate are very creative and talented, something borne at least in part from their difficult life experience.  They seem to be warming to me as my involvement has grown over time.  I think it’s been helpful to me in engaging with people with very different backgrounds that I otherwise would be unlikely to meet.  I realize we do have things in common, not least addiction, and feelings of being an outsider amid the crush of humanity. And a passion for art helps to create common ground.  I also enjoy many of the interesting discussions over local politics, culture and art.  These are smart kids!

I’ve had the opportunity there to work on my own art some (between the setting up and tearing down of the space).  While I don’t really feel bold enough to critique other people’s work, I get some good, often positive feedback on my own.  I was working on the above piece, a city scape near my apartment, based on a picture I took during twilight.  Not finished of course but I like how it is turning out.  Will try to work on more this afternoon at home.  I can’t wait to have my new space to make art (and make a mess – something hard to do in my tiny apartment).

I notice I’m feeling passionate about things again.  My art, and my writing (well, at least less stressed about the latter).  At my meeting last night I ran into a friend who said she notice the change in me, that I seemed to be doing “fantastic” as she put it.  Maybe I am; I do notice less of that smothering indifference with regard to my life, the muddling through each day driven by anxiety and avoidance.  If this is just a taste, I have so much to look forward to!  I’m handing it over and feeling good.  The promises are coming true.


About Tom Seeks Equanimity

Early 40s gay guy trying to make some changes in his life. Work in field of public transit as a project manager. Do some creative stuff too.
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3 Responses to Volunteering

  1. rumpie says:

    Like the painting very expressive like the dark muted colors for dusk. I am going through the same thing have started painting after hardly doing any art for about 10 years. Everything feels more alive more alert, am even enjoying work. Seem to see things differently sometimes more detail, sometimes just abstract shapes.

    • Tom Broen says:

      Thanks for the comment – yes I am really enjoying getting back to painting too. I need to do a bit more on the piece but will post the finished product!

  2. Heather B. Watts says:


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