A student gave me this rock in another chapter of my life. I have noticed it, picked it up, felt its weight and placed it down again, and again, until the next time and need. I only seem to recognize its message after the fact. The message never seems to come at the beginning of a challenging time. Good thing. I would probably respond by saying "Tell me something I don't know."
This rock was formed under the pressure of its environment and is unique in its composition as a result. Not unlike people. My challenge as an artist, Like Stevie Wonder says (song lyrics from one of my all time favourite songs "As"), is to "... make sure you're in it but not of it..." If I apply that thinking to my work I take it to mean I must understand my times well enough to create meaning from it, without being subject to it or part of the problem. If your work as an artist strikes a chord with others it has made a connection to emotion (Ann Rea - "Artists Who THRIVE), and you are speaking to their experience, and finding common ground. As I continue my creative work I keep that in mind.