In the spirit: A conversation about spirituality with artist Heather Hanson

Heather Hanson

Editor’s note: As part of Xpress‘ In the Winter Spirit issue, we reached out to local poets, religious leaders, activists and soothsayers to share their thoughts on the topic of spirituality. Below is one in a series of conversations featured in this week’s issue. 

Heather Hanson is a visual artist, spiritual director and founder of Embrace the Space Between in the River Arts District.

Xpress: What does spirituality mean to you, and how do you experience it in Western North Carolina? 

Spirituality is being willing to show up in life with an open, curious mind and heart and grapple with the tough questions. To awaken each day with courage and say, “OK, let’s do this. Let’s look. Let’s see, and let’s open ourselves to a different way. Because I’m ready. And I know that no matter what I see, I can face it because I am worthy and loved no matter what.”

The Blue Ridge is a divine embrace, holding, loving, nurturing us as we live, move and breathe within her, providing a safe container within which we wrestle. Painting is how I navigate the space between life’s uncertainty and the vessel that holds my journey. My transformation comes alive in the colors, the forms, the shapes and ultimately in the results.

For those seeking to embrace a more spiritual life, what advice would you offer? 

Dedicate time for building your relationship with the Divine. It is the foundation upon which living your peace rests. There is nothing more important. It’s the first thing I do each morning without fail. I get quiet, journal, ask, listen, receive and give thanks. And in return I am reminded that I’m seen, loved, held and known.

What misconceptions exist about spirituality? 

That there is a single path. That there are “right” ways and “wrong” ways. That you have to “do it” a specific way. I spent so much time worrying about not knowing the “right” way to “be spiritual,” when all I needed was my willingness to sit, get curious, to ask “why not?” and then allow room for the impossible to occur.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.