Thursday, May 14, 2015
Was incredibly fun to get to chat with Hali about grief + creativity and all that is Spectrum 2015.
While the Spectrum course has already started, you can still register to be a part of this on-going, 6 month, creative exploration. The first PDF, that includes written prompts and links to audio and video lessons, just went out on May 1, and once you register, you'll get that immediately.
Then you'll get subsequent PDF sections of the class on 6/1, 8/1, and 9/1 with more creative prompts, vids, and audios. I personally have only had time to start looking at the first PDF, and OMGosh!! It is overflowing with yummy creative ideas. The session on The Sacred NO is really interesting. The session on poetry with Jamie Rider is beautiful!! I've done many things with Jamie over the years and have admired her work a long time, but doing poetry with her was a new adventure and so worth it!
Anyway, registration for the course is open all the way to November 1, and you just go self-paced style with the PDFs with option to share along the way in a private group space. Hope to see you there! And here's the exchange Hali and I had about grief intersecting with creativity:
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
How do I do it? I live a very small life made up of a million tiny beauties. Plus a give-away spot to Spectrum 2015!
So first off, this post is going to be our
Spectrum 2015 Give Away!!
Spectrum 2015 Give Away!!
THIS GIVE-AWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
Big congrats to Meg who won the spot in Spectrum 2015!
If you missed the give-away, you can still register -- even after the May 1st start date, you can still register and have access for the year -- by clicking here!
And how can you NOT want to do this -- look at all these amazing collaborators on the teaching team. I can assure you all the participants will be equally amazing, too, and it's going to be a very juicy creative space as this year unfolds!
Then, onto today's post:
How do I do it?
This question has come up recently from people I'm interacting with, but it is also not a new question. They are asking how I manage to live a life I'm crafting. They want to know how to have creativity be a life and not a hobby. They want to know how.
I don't always have answers.
Truly, without having encountered the deaths of three sons and chronic illness, I'm not sure I would have ended up living this life. And I certainly don't recommend those experiences to anyone! They suck.
But it was deep grief -- and a very real inability to live a "normal, mainland life" -- that forced me to live creatively. I talk about it a lot in my work, writing, art, presentations. I'm not an artist, rather, I'm a heARTist. It isn't artmaking, rather it is heART-making. I was forced to reshape my heart. I live a life where waking in the morning isn't an automatic. Waking up being able to function isn't an automatic. I'm forced to live an improvisational life with my heart every moment.
We all are really.
But when things are "normal" we can create patterns and habits that let us groove out some of it. You know, do the 9 to 5. Make as much security as possible. Buy a house. Not realize how lucky we are that our children are alive not dead.
See what I mean? Really, how and why I do my life this way is because I this is the life I found myself living. I'm not sure I have an answer as to HOW?
****That said**** I will also say that living a creative life is something of a practice. There are skills I access and practice to engage in ways that maybe aren't ways everyone engages. Probably the biggest and most valuable practice is this:
I live a very small life made up of a million tiny beauties.
Probably the best way to convey what I mean is to simply show you:
While sometimes I do engage in big things and I do travel and such, truly MOST of my life is one breath at a time, one small notice of something at a time. There are tons of hard days. There are lots of ugly moments unfolding in the world that I see, either with my own eyes or through social media. Living any life, let alone a creative one, means that we see it ALL. The good the bad the spectrum!!
And on the hard days, the practice that works for me, is to make it a priority to sit in front of something I can watch grow. Even if the growth is imperceptible. Seek out the smallest bit of beauty anywhere you can find it.
It is a little like the stories Mister Rogers shares about big traumatic events like school shootings and 9/11 and such. He says that when he was young and scared, his mother told him that no matter what was unfolding *** always look for the helpers*** -- there will always be people helping. When I hear that story, I hear "always look for the beauty" -- there will always be beauty unfolding.
It won't bring world peace probably. It won't make me "successful" in the Western ways and values. But it does always speak to my brokenness, my cracked heart, my pain-filled body, or any of the darkest stuff that shows up...not to mention it being absolute nourishment for the thriving days. It does help me practice seeing the dark and looking for the helpers. It does help me see how even amid the worst experiences, we can be present. It does help me see that whether or not I can be of service in big or small ways doesn't matter -- but what does matter is that I AM while I'm breathing.
If any of that babble makes any sense at all, Lovies. Go gently. Tend your hearts and bodies.
Miracles to you,
Miracles to you,
Monday, April 20, 2015
As mortal humans, it is inevitable that we will encounter grief. Whether death or non-death related, grief is part of the human experience. Supposedly these five little letters cover the experience. They are to convey what we each experience. They supposedly encompass the full range of the life that unfolds in the face of loss. These little letters are to signify a whole story. Individually. Culturally. Really?
While we are all individuals having grief experiences, we are also always within "kinship systems" (Ulanov, Madness & Creativity). So while our grief experiences unfold for us individually, we are simultaneously navigating grief's path amid community, in social relationship, in social contracts we have with each other, and in, ultimately, a culture of grief.
How can we use creativity to break out beyond these five little letters? How do we enter our stories creatively to help shape and re-shape the culture of grief so that we, as a human family, can hold the diversity of experiences that humans have?
In this presentation, from March 2015 Crossroads Conference, I had the opportunity to share my ideas with approximately 500 people in this large session, and then to more intimately explore afterward in a salon workshop that hosted 50 people. The 7 minute video here is from the large session, and in it, I'm sharing my own story of our son's birth / death and offering creative prompts for beginning to get and stay creative with your own story, whatever your circumstances.
For more about Kara see MotherHenna.com
For more about Creative Grief Education see CreativeGriefStudio.com
For more about WGF and the Crossroads Conference see WGFPA.org