Painting by Liane Wakabayashi

Contemplating Our Strengths

In Genesis Art Workshops, you get feedback, lots of it, and it may be like nothing you could ever have imagined.

Especially if someone long ago gave you crushing criticism about your art.

“Criticism is typically offensive, insulting, and humiliating.  It creates seclusion and entrenchment,” according to Yehiel Harari. In Winning Every Moment, Harari devotes this book to the teachings of a great late 18th century Torah scholar and author of the Tanya, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, who recognized that every person is locked in a lifelong struggle to succumb or to win every moment.

“Sharp and piercing criticism is not a good way to influence someone to change behavior, improve, or make stronger efforts. Rather, kind words, attention, and space for self-improvement are much more effective.”

As Rabbi Shneur Zalman explains in the Tanya, our obligation is to “seek out the potential in a person and not to place the spotlight on others’ shortcomings and weaknesses.”

In Genesis Art Workshops, every word out resonates with this credo. And it’s so simple. Just gaze with soft eyes into another artist’s work, and receive the gift that they are giving you.

“Seeing no evil in the other means apparently that the same evil is also not found in oneself. Without having the need to challenge others, our real self-confidence is revealed.”

The impact of a kind word on a budding artist is nothing short of miraculous. A kind word is like water on a seed. It allows art to grow, to blossom, and for an artist to flourish.

There’s a spiritual dimension too. When we feel connected with another soul, we are celebrating the indisputable fact that there’s a “piece of the Creator inside every one of us.

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