Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Artists making Artists make Art

I am really appreciating the effect of living among other artists.

Sean has started doing morning pages and I noticed the positive effect this is having on my system this morning.

I headed up to my room this morning after breakfast and spotted him in the living room, beginning his writing. I smiled and nodded and proceeded up to what I had begun to plan for my day. I initially processed seeing Sean in the living room as an isolated event in the sense that I was separate and would not be influenced by his morning page writing. I have in other moments noticed aversion and resistance to acknowledging that he has been writing morning pages. Why would this be? The only way I can make sense of it is that it was an expression of my own resistance to developing a writing/art practice, even though I deeply want to. Steven Pressfield says it's inevitable. On some level, I was envious of Sean for actually doing it.

Moments after seeing him in the living room, I found myself upstairs, pen in hand, writing in my journal. I hadn't intended to do it. It had not been part of what I was planning for the day, even though I had felt a tug of yearning to do exactly what Sean was doing. It seemed that somehow, despite my resistance to slowing down and writing, the wise desire to do so took over and...there I was, producing!

Later this afternoon I found myself bundled up and heading out the door with a backpack full of watercolour crayons, a journal, and a camera. Right before I headed out I beamed as I told Sean, "I'm going on an artist's date". Meaning I was, in Julia Cameron's terms, going out to let my creative mind lead and interact with my environment accordingly, ultimately surprising myself. I can't help but think that the emergence of Julia Cameron's thinking in the morning hours via Sean's morning page writing influenced, if not the act itself of going out, then the way in which I understood and framed it: as an "artist's date". This in turn created the possibility to impact Sean positively: he got the chance to process my creative choice of use of time and energy this afternoon which could further inspire and influence his own art-making. Just his one-word response of "cool"to my announcement of the Artist's Date impacted me, in turn, enough to increase my felt sense of the momentum building between and among artists talking about making art! We are, after all, social creatures of habit and mimicry. Let's copy each other making art and talk about it!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

reflections from Music Makers night

I want to document and share my experience of the dialogue that James and I had following the Music Makers Songwriting night this week.  The dialogue felt significant to me both in our personal relating and in "the larger work" of paradigm-shifting.

I had struggled on Tuesday night in the group songwriting process, and I told this to James afterwards.  I had felt again like the kid in class, bearing through the calamities of (to me) too-fast-too-many-voices-all-at-once.  I felt my needs for spaciousness weren't recognized and weren't being met in the group context.  

I very much wanted to participate -- and spoke a request to facilitate this.  But most of the workshop for me was spent absorbing the new ideas, new questions, new parts of the process (all very cool) and it was all I could do to keep up and continually re-engage with the new things occurring (without having fully processed the last new thing yet), without withdrawing and zoning out.  

This left me completely exhausted with little energy to be an active co-creator in the songwriting.

The experience was all too familiar.  It was almost every group experience I have had up until a few years ago.  Growing up, in school, I believed that there was something just too different about me (something wrong with me) that rendered me incapable of participating in a class activity of this sort.  It was only in the last few years that I have found myself in different group contexts -- ones that were sensitive to what I need to feel fully invited to participate.  And it is only now, having had new experiences, that I can deconstruct and articulate my old experiences.
The more I spoke my experience to James, the more I felt into just how much I have been hurt by a system that silences and drowns out and excludes the quieter voices.  I keep thinking of the kids in class who haven't yet had a different group experience, who believe "that's just the way groups are" or "that's just the way the world is and I don't belong".  

I imagine they do not know that they will thrive in a different context.  

I imagine they do not know that their experience of being left out is neither personal nor accidental -- that it is a natural outcome of a system so deeply entrenched in domination and oppression that even the most well-meaning, loving, caring teachers will, and do, marginalize.

I felt that James heard me.  This was monumental, and healing.  It felt vital to shifting to a new system that includes and deeply values the vast diversity of ways of being among us.  

I heard from James curiosity about my experience.  I gather that my experience is quite foreign to him -- recalling the one house meeting in which my check-out was "I felt really safe to speak this meeting" and his followed, beginning with " being James...I've had the luxury of NEVER feeling unsafe to speak" (something like that).  

I also heard from James a desire to create a context that doesn't "marginalize the Ingrids", and I heard questions about how to do that within the existing structural constraints (e.g. schools' timetables) as well as how to do that while considering, too, the restless Jameses and myriad other beings in the class.  

Another thing I heard from James was the recognition that doing it differently would reach more people, have more impact, be more powerful!  All of this excites me, and even while he and I struggled in the depths of coercive thought patterns (there was definitely that happening in the dialogue too), I felt the significance of these events and revealings.  

I felt new possibilities for liberatory leadership and a liberatory world open up as we lovingly created a context in which I could speak my experience fully while he listened open-heartedly.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I Speak for Tree and Forest

Just because I don't say anything doesn't mean I don't know anything
Rooted here, aging, I can't help but know.
I know when the sun comes and when it goes
I know when the rains fall and the waters flow
I know that lightening strikes, that the winds rage
I know dry spells, scarcity, scorch and scathe

I know thirst, the yearning for life juice
And I know bounty, abundance; wholeness too
I know when the seasons shift
I know when something is amiss

I know fragmentation
Habitation destruction 
Senseless wasteland production
A war against our own womb
I know short-sightedness
Lovelessness turned lustfulness
For power, weapons and control
Beneath this ancient domination
A sad need to be seen
Something missing
A hole needing filling
And for lack of love
They fill it with money
Made out of my leaves

I know injury, trauma
I know grief
I know my sister tree who died next to me
I know dark; and I know light
I know acceptance
And patience
And letting go

I know more than meets the eye
Eyes I have none
But wiser am I
For my blind feeling into earth and sky
With my rooting roots and sensing shoots
Rings in my wood storing stories so true

If you listen
Listen differently
I would tell you
All that I know

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Canning: every broken jar is a resource

Vats of boiling water
Oh no
Not another one!
Peaches float about
I don't know what to do
Why this keeps happening
I've tried everything
I'm tired
I want to stop

And then I realize that I could.
The only thing holding me
To this task of canning peaches
Is my own self will
My heart-desire to re-skill
My deep knowing that this is ever so important

Patience befalls as my body eases into this wisdom
I need not succumb to discouragement
I need not get angry at broken jars
For they are not failures at all
But precious, precious resources
In my learning journey

With each one is filed away
In my memory and my body
What to do when this happens
What happens when I do this
Now I have that knowledge
Now I have this skill
That I will build
In canning seasons yet to come

And it is part of the shift
Already it makes a difference
Like all those other resources
Edges I am living.

"Pretty" by Katie Makkai

Really great spoken word!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

One step beyond

Noticing that in nature flows and structures complement one another, that when one can be sensed, the other is there too even if it is harder to identify ... noticing that nature is marvelously exuberant in profuse exemplars and instances of the interplay of membrane and vibration too, I am encouraged to suggest an invitation to another kind of complementarity.

What could it look like to receive in manners that are new to you, in flows that are guided by structures you do not recognize, and to give in a manner that is likewise unfamiliar? To be in complementarity in receiving in ways that show up in structures unlike those you know to be workable, from someone who is able to try a new way too? To give in a complementarity that has new life to it, because the gift is received by someone in a way that expands their sense of possibility?

I say that because I am hoping you are ready for imagination and intuition, and when a chance arrives to let life flow in your sphere in a structure that isn't old hat to you, you say yes to a bit of adventure.

I'd love to see more flow of life encouraged in this community.

I'd love to see you invite and encourage flows that happen with more verve because giver and recipient both are allowing something beyond the same old ways. That happen because a single step was taken, just not one that had been taken before.

And I am ready for you to encourage me to give and to receive in ways that are exciting to me, and create more possibility.

And I am ready to encourage you, and hope that these words already have, to say yes to flows and structures that expand your repertoire for giving what is good for you to give and receiving what is good for you to receive, creating more possibility for you.

I truly would be pleased to hear that you experience that kind of verve, however it might show up for you.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Feeling food systems in my body.

I distinguished something today.
The sense of protectiveness I have had of my kitchen time has come from a place of fear of being judged. Beneath the boundaries that have come up around me when it’s kitchen time for me has been an extreme sense of vulnerability around my process with food.
I consider myself to be in a process of re-learning how to eat. What has been “normal” doesn’t work for this body. More and more bodies are speaking up about this.
My body knows the stories of the foods that come into it. Tuning into this knowledge is part of the process of re-learning. It is sitting with the pain and complexity of the systems that produce our food.
When an avocado or banana is the best thing my body could want in this moment, I cannot make the choice free of the impacts it has on the systems.
Perhaps my body will never be able to make complete peace with the foods it eats until the systems en masse are re-invented.
Offering my opening to non-solution-focused understanding.