ART

Andre Lefebvre

Welcome! This website is my personal website, a sum of ideas and thoughts, artistic works, experiences about life and creativity, as well as a number of creative works I've done so far: music, writing and graphics.

I am sensitive to human sufferings. Like everyone, I have my own stories... starting from birth and till about my late 40s, I've been through a lot of various and dramatic experiences, which have contributed in crippling my ability to truly enjoy life and succeed as I felt I was entitled to. Until I finally came to accept that I could not continue denying my foundations and expect to heal. To move on, I needed to move in, to inhabit my real self and not just pursue a fabrication of myself that promised harmony and fulfilment, because that was an illusion hiding the same wall and dead-end every single time.

So I did move in. I accepted the fact that I wasn't who I thought I was, and felt I really wanted to know who I truly am. I had to allow others to see that I wasn't who they wanted me to be, even if I could at times be really good at reflecting to them what I perceived them to expect from me. I was broken, my life had been interrupted as a young child, and now I finally was going to resume it. Step by step, one day at a time, one truth at a time. Love helps tremendously...

I realized that there is a stigma that accompanies brokenness. To have to live each day assailed by rogue emotions and perceptions you're having to constantly re-interpret, is not something most people wish to experience, or can withstand long-term without it taking its toll. No wonder there are so many "denial" tools in our world: drugs, addictions of all kinds, self-destruction through toxic food or products, resentment, rage, are only a few expressions of a dire lack of sense of value. Those who are afflicted by depression or more severe conditions, [*1] are seen as dysfunctional, considered a weight in society, slowing things down, an obstacle or even embarassment, even after we're tried, and failed, for decades to find our place in this world, and "belong."

We all react to trauma in our own personal way, and it's OK. Our society almost scolds those who can't participate in its social and commercial flow and dynamics because of personal tragedies. They're given a few months to work it out, but after a while, if they just can't find their way back into the fold, it becomes clear that there co-exists two separate streams of reality: those who work, and those who don't. One cannot rush healing. Healing takes its time, and inner healing is even more complex as it involves intangible things like emotions, memories, triggers, post-traumatic stress, fears, judgment, guilt, etc.

Most times when we're told to "snap out of it", it comes from someone who is overwhelmed by our tragedies and inner dramas being replayed without conscious sollicitation. Wounded people react to threats, be they sensory, psychological, physical or what some call "imagined" (a reaction to a present event triggered by an actual present re-experience of past traumas).

Emotions belong to a world beyond words. Some say that we can't address or process something we can't "name," naming what ails us seems to be half the cure. As a 12 year old boy, I was stuttering. Too much to say, too little time or space or sense of safety to speak. As my inner world would race to process the outside reality, I found myself unable to find words meaningful enough to speak not only of my pain, but of my hope, my sensibility, my true self.

I thank God that I have discovered an ally in creativity. Part of my survival has been deeply helped and directed by creativity, from which I certainly derive emotional release, but even more so, creativity gives me a voice... a sense of being able to effectively address the world around me through my art, speak of my own reality and be known for who I am. As you browse this website, I hope you will be able to experience what I mean. May the content of this site encourage you and others to engage with creativity in order to discover your own voice.

We create, a proof we exist as who we are. Expressing this takes work. Creative work. Everyone has a preferred mode of expression, often selected for the physical interaction it provides: some like the slow pace of painting on canvas, others the immediacy of music, others still the ability to frame and share experiences using words, others enjoy the rigourous disciplines of sculpture, or even dance...

I know this is not a perfect metaphor, but similar to an oyster lavishing attention on an intrusive grain of sand and turning it into a pearl, our dysfunctions often lead us to interact with damaging memories trapped inside, trying to either act out or counterbalance their destructiveness by reaching for a new way of naming or articulating them. How well we do it (talent) is not as important as to actually be able to encode vital information about ourselves into creative artwork in order to finally be seen and heard clearly, by others and by ourselves. What is expressed could be very raw, or could represent the longing we had all along for the embrace of kindness and healing.

In fact, this creative language will always overflow into and provide a powerful means of expression for our spiritual life as well, and should be wisely encouraged as part of developing our prayer language and worship life, as it allows us to reveal ourselves more richly and genuinely to God and record His responses to us. Creativity is part of God's ongoing expression to us, and so the prophetic nature of artistic expression follows. King David of old started composing songs while tending the sheep, probably sharing his own growth pains as the youngest of a family of men, being relegated to the role of shepherd while he longed to be a warrior. He developed his giftings right there, as part of his daily life's need to speak his heart out before God. This is what he brought in King Saul's court later on. He wasn't an entertainer, but a minister.

An artist without formal training but expression and survival necessity, I believe anyone who can express emotions is really being creative. Selecting words or actions to express emotions is an act of creative expression. The inherent essential value of creativity is found in its ability to provide us with ways to give others access to an "experience" of who we are, rather than simply give technical information about us. As one who has grown feeling as a stranger in my surroundings, seeking my social identity, the language of the arts has given me the ability to express who I am in a way deeper than words. And to gain understansing of myself through my works.

Art is expression. It is a canvas to process our various realities, past, present or anticipated. Over the years, I've become aware of the journaling aspect of my art, trying to express, with the help of creative expression, what I record of my experience of life. Naming, beyond the limitations of words and reason, that which is perceived beyond words and reason. It flows from a spiritual core of my being. Emotions share the same " beyond words" essence, a language formed in us before we were trained to identify and articulate the concepts and expressions of ourselves with a particular cultural and environmental language. The most ancient dialects we know are those of emotional responses, and probably spiritual awareness. One could say that in a way, emotions are the tastebuds of the soul...

Improvisational and strongly evocative, my music reflects and expresses human emotions and experiences of a wide spectrum, although I am strongly drawn by human sufferings and often will dialogue with that part of myself or others. It also contains a seed of something spiritual, the reaching out of my own human spirit to the Divine… at times, a scream over the vast ocean of the unknown, through dark nights of the soul... at other times, a gentle sigh finding rest in the presence of Love, saturated with worship. These improvisational moments are mostly quietly breathed prayers, as I both play and listen allowing the sounds and concepts that come to me to flow forth into new melodies and ideas. Most of these works, musical, visual, and writings, have successfully weaved with Picture, Dance, Drama, Song, Healing Prayer, Meditation, Worship, Intercession, Spoken Word and Therapy.

For over 38 years, I've played this music as a busker in subways and streets, as a survivor in bars and partys, as a passerby in airport and stores, as a seeker in solitude and contemplation, in churches and conferences in Canada - B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec - as well as the USA. Times of contemplative and intercessory prayers are my favorite spots to hang out.

It is my hope that something you read or hear or see on this site will bless you. Feel free to write me.




[tuning the soul]

Healing is a strong dimension of my experience with music and the Arts. Arts are a canvas for the soul, where emotions, ideas and inspirations can be projected, even randomly, meditated upon and often somehow deciphered, at least by some part of us, as dots are connected.

Where artistic exploration joins with a personal journey of discovery of our hidden selves, Arts reveal the human soul and its experience of life.

Past events are still with us today as they contributed to form who we are. They have given us insight, strength, wisdom, love, self-esteem, a sense of identity, etc. However, certain traumatic events have overloaded our emotional tank and most of those have been stored in regions of our being and seem all but forgotten. As we continue living, there is a constant flow of energy diverted toward that pocket of stored emotions to keep it from coming to the surface and overwhelm us again. Rather, what worked then, is put to work every time this memory surfaces: shock, agony, anger, bitterness, rage, hate, unforgiveness, etc. These are often expressed through addictions, self-destructive behavior, toxic relationships, physical sicknesses and health conditions, depression, lack of boundaries, manipulation and control, criminal activities, etc.

Then one day, out of the blue, someone says or does something and we catch ourselves in the act of having again the same inner dialogue. Only this time, it is more than rambling, it is revealing, as we speak we become aware of something very wrong with us. We can become acquainted, according to life's seasons, with these fragments of our selves that are not integrated, but are lingering at different points of interruption. This systemic denial is a defense mechanism that should have been temporary. But a great number of sicknesses and health conditions can be directly related to past unhealed traumas. Unhealed because our response to them was interrupted, because we had probably had more questions than answers, more pain than we could endure, and surviving the moment was everything. Revisiting these can be a major key in opening the door for healing of our body and soul.

Often, tears need to be accessed, as they are undeniably a door to release stored-up pain. We feel better after a good cry. Some people suffering from fibromalgya told me that crying eases body pain. If we are to move beyond our present hang-ups, addictions, destructive cycles, toxic relationships, chronic bitterness, we need to release those who have hurt us, mourn our losses, and embrace the strength that carried us so far: the faith we could survive and not be limited by messages that traumatic events often came with regarding our value. And forgiveness often yields healing. The lies we believed about ourselves and about others will loosen their grip over time and we will grow again in the heart of our youth...


*1- Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. (Read More).


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