I love documentaries and I love documentaries about quirky, talented people. And how they overcome the odds to do what they feel compelled to accomplish in their life.
Ra Paulette definitely fits that description and he and his passion are the focus of Jeffrey Karoff’s short documentary called Cave Digger (nominated for 2014 Academy Award).
Ra (in his 70s now I believe) digs cathedral-like, ‘eighth wonder of the world’ art caves into the sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico. Each creation takes him years to complete, and each is a masterwork. But patrons who have commissioned caves have cut off nearly all of his projects due to artistic differences.Fed up, Ra has chosen to forego commissions altogether and create a massive, 10-year project, his Magnum Opus.
As an artist, who also coaches a lot of creative people of all ilks, I found this film mesmerizing. Showing the awe-inspiring beauty (and physical labour) of Ra’s art as well as the very real, down-to-earth challenges of following the siren call of his work. Something my clients and myself (in our own more humble ways) often have to juggle too. How to follow what our spirit is telling us to do but also balance it with the real world concerns of making a living, keeping our commitments to loved ones, paying the bills, etc.
I found out about this remarkable documentary through Gaiam TV. I’ve had a subscription to this alternative online channel for quite some time now, and highly recommend for interesting, informative and outside-the-mainstream content.
Be sure to check out Regina Meredith’s voluminous collection of interviews with all sorts of thought leaders in the consciousness, ancient archeology and breakaway civilization genres. Fascinating stuff.
Back to Cave Digger … there are various ways besides Gaiam that you can watch this film.
CBC News has done a follow-up five years after the completion of the film to find Ra half way through his grand finale. Click through to see a photo collection (you really need to see the documentary though to appreciate the FEEL of these magnificent sacred spaces he creates).
I’ve always found New Mexico an alluring place – now another reason to make the trip … if any of his caves are open for public viewing.
Thanks for the inspiration Ra. Keep going. You and your work are amazing! Glad to know you exist and are doing your thing! And blessings to your wife Paula as its not easy being partnered with one so driven.
And, if YOU watch the film let me know what you think after viewing it. Good SHIFT-IT inspiration don’t ya think!?
The SHIFT-IT Coach and Graphic Facilitation Mentor