The peak experience induces the recognition that your own powers
are far greater than you imagined them.
Every once in a while, I take a scenic drive along Oatka Trail. With the many twists, it is hard to absorb all its beauty in my effort to stay on the road. On my first drive, about halfway along the Trail, I noticed some statues peering out from the woods. The next time I drove by, they were still there. I never knew quite what to make of them until I read a newspaper story about Jack and Adriana Slutzky and their collection of outdoor sculptures. Intrigued, I promised myself to visit them. I never made it until last week. My only regret was that I didn’t go sooner.
Jack greeted Carol and me along with the museum group he had scheduled for a tour that day. He explained that his wife had created all the works we would visit. We could see a few through the trees and had no idea of the extensive collection which waited us.
We learned that Jack and Adriana are both artists and had both taught art. Now Adriana concentrates on sculpture and Jack writes books and paints when he is not excavating, pouring concrete and moving completed works on a scale which reminded me of Easter Island.
Most of Adriana’s works embody the experience, joy and challenges of being a woman. Some pieces remind me of Henri Moore and Pablo Picasso. All of them rise from her unique inspiration. She explores the world of relationships in her pieces, working from a feminine perspective, the one she knows best.
Jack morphed from tour guide into art professor, giving us glimpses into Adriana’s inspiration and symbolism. We first saw individual works. Further into the tour, installations consisted of more and more pieces. A waterfall, the woods Oatka Creek gave the sculptures a context in nature. During the tour, I found myself deepening from curiosity through meditation, to a sense of awe which stayed with me the rest of the day.
I recalled Abraham Maslow’s writings about peak experiences, “Transpersonal and ecstatic states, particularly ones tinged with euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness.” This was definitely such an event for me, one I will always treasure. It helped me make sense of the world, and especially of the women who inhabit it along with us men. My visit left me with an understanding of the lives of those around me, defying expression in words. The images say it all.
The greatest joy I receive while working at an arts council is coming face to face with the creative spirit of the artists I meet. That day’s experience brought great joy by allowing me to touch Adriana’s spirit.
Life Lab Lessons
Do you recall any peak experiences in your life?
What did they mean to you?
How did they affect your view of yourself and others?
Are you ready for them to happen again?
In the presence of great art, let yourself feel it rather than just seeing or hearing it.