To care, with care, for care

Rasa Alksnyte

In recent years, my practice has coincided more and more with the care sector and the topic of care in general. Sometimes as observer and documenter of other artists’ practices, sometimes as creator and guide for events or activities in care facilities, sometimes as researcher investigating what artistic tools are suitable to work with the elderly or terminally ill, and sometimes as a friend accompanying someone on the final passage of life.

To care for someone is to allow yourself to be touched.

Working in care and with care makes me another kind of artist. It brings different things to my attention. It teaches me new concepts and notions, new perspectives for seeing the world and the people in it.

It teaches me...

many levels of kindness,

limits in my own flexibility,

active openness: to be able to jump into action at any given moment,

presence (sometimes all that’s needed of you is just to be there),

depth and concentration,

verbal and nonverbal communication,

noticing and understanding others’ perspectives and realities,

how to go about time? the repetitiveness of it, finding myself between fragmentation and flow, following different schedules, being fast and being slow,

tiredness, softness, and patience,

listening and hearing,

focusing on the minor details but not letting the bigger picture disappear from sight

did I mention patience already? and the pleasant boredom that might come with it?

how to touch and comfort someone in pain? how to deal with exhaustion?

how to embrace failures and mistakes?

how to appreciate every smallest moment of success because it might never repeat itself again?

how to let go

and let go

and let go…

how to celebrate

and then time again

I HAVE TIME. Lots of it.

Time makes room
for going and coming home
and in time’s womb
begins all ending.
Ursula K. Le Guin
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