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Bruce Long - Coaching - Art - Photography More Joy, less Oy!

More Joy, less Oy!

Today we have the first Sunday of Advent, and others will be celebrating the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. It is a time where lights and candles will feature prominently, which is both beautiful and poignant.

Like many Australians, I am a rather mixed bag of genetic heritage, your archetypal Chinese - Jewish - Italian -Norwegian-Celtic - Swedish nobleman. All four grandparents were born in Australia, but none of their parents were. Somehow, even though I look somewhat like a Confucian Rabbi, “we have been painted with the same brush” as several Chinese and Italian acquaintances have commented, all of the cultural background from these amazing heritage lines have been lost along the way. Very WASPy in recent years, which is such a shame, it must be wonderful to have solid and tangible threads to hold on to and trace backwards.

Regardless, we have what we have and are who we are at this most ‘interesting’ time in history, as the ancient Chinese curse would say. I envy those who have it, and I notice in my creativity, a level of eclectic interest in recognisable cultural symbols from my genetic map and a tendency to merge things together in unexpected yet hopefully beautiful ways.

So, my question to consider today is this: What of your culture or background or personal life story to reference in your work? Is it a constant theme, something to actively ignore, or a background hum that is ever-present but never explicit? It would be so fascinating to know the experience of others.

And if we want to push our two festivals together for a moment, those who are marking the liturgical period of Advent in an active way, let us look forward to what is to come with the joy and celebration expressed in the festivities of Hanukkah. Personally, I am adopting the slogan of the recent Jewish Culture Week in Frankfurt - “More joy, less OY!”. And not only until the Ho Ho Ho’s resound!

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