Sunday, September 27, 2020

In/ Out

 In/ Out

Out/ In?

In/ Out.


Breathe. Water. Food. Ideas. Relationships. Art.


Got thinking again this morning about creativity. What defines it? Who does it belong to? So often, 'creativity' is positioned as within the realm/s of art and design (and perhaps culinary circles). I often find myself stuck thinking 'creativity' means creating art. That's simply not the case, yeah?


Input/ Output.



I've thought a lot about that concept within the last several years, and I'm really coming to believe it cannot be a 'chicken or the egg?' concept: without that breathe and water and food, how would the body be able to function well enough to create ideas?


There is a rampant beauty in the release of 'creativity' from the grip of art, let loose into every other aspect of how the world turns, and more importantly, how that turning is perceived. It is my own challenge that creativity, for me, has been held in such bounds. Disruption of this opens me up to perceiving the turning and churning and twirling in the creation of nourishing meals from whatever is in the cupboards that nourish relationships that nourish people that nourish communities that nourish the planet, out into the damn stars.


Water.

Deep breaths.

Input/ Output.

In/ Out

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Dull Roar

Dull roar

Startling crack

Peaceful whisper


Dull roar

Startling crack

Peaceful whisper


Dull roar dull roar dull roar

Startling crack startling crack startling crack

Peaceful whisper


Dull roar

Startling crack

Startling crack

Startling crack


Peaceful whisper


Startling crack


Dull roar


Dull roar


Peaceful whisper

Startling crack

Dull roar


Peaceful whisper
Dull roar
Startling crack

Dull roar peaceful whisper dull roar peaceful whisper peaceful whisper peaceful whisper 
Startling crack

Dull roar dull roar dull roar dull roar dull roar dull roar startling crack dull roar dull roar dull roar startling crack dull roar dull roar dull roar startling crack dull roar dull roar dull roar starling crack dull roar

Dullroardullroardullroardullroardullroardullroarstartlingcrackdullroardullroardullroarstartlingcrackdullroardullroardullroarstartlingcrackdullroardullroardullroarstarlingcrackdullroar





Peaceful whisper

Peaceful whisper

Peaceful whisper

Peaceful whisper peaceful whisper peaceful whisper

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Beautiful and Horrifying.


What more is there to say? That utterance pretty much sums up this last six months for me.

I suppose both 'beautiful' and 'horrifying' are pretty strong ways to describe things, so it makes sense that they were one another's logical opposites when I was trying to zero in on a way to describe the sunrise this morning. And yesterday. And the day before.

So many pockets of unexpected beauty and growth, along with so many pockets of unexpected loss and difficulty. Pendulum, yin and yang, balance . . .

I suppose the best you can ask from yourself in the midst of things you cannot control is to come to the moment and be adaptable. See the moment for what it is immediately, and invest enough care into allowing it to become other things too.

Horrifying . . . and beautiful.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Markers

My garden never got quite big enough to need markers.

I suppose it was planted that way.


Markers. Indicators. Whether in sign-posts, feelings or moments, markers help us know what's happening when. 

This year has lacked a lot of my usual markers of time and understanding . . . the beginning of Saints season, summer festivals, State Fair. These annual events are part of my larger routine that helps me get a mental and emotional grasp on where I am within the year, of my relationships, of the march of time. 

The march of time. Ever-forward, relentlessly. Maybe there can be some inspiration uncovered in considering how the various events of the past six months have disrupted the sense of time of many. Is it always marching forward, relentlessly? In a way, that idea is inspiring, this comfort that no matter what happens, time will continue in it's forward pathway. In another way, the idea that time is malleable, that we are always taking trips into the future and back into our multitude of pasts, is also inspiring.

It has been difficult for me to not see and/ or experience my usual markers. As much as I have a keen sense of adventure (at its very minimum defined by things as simple as getting up earlier than normal and taking my morning walk somewhere unusual for me), I also thrive on routine. I think I'm realizing that how I really thrive is a combination of these two things, and that the later is the one that has been more missing as of late.

I'm thirsting for better routine right now, and without a full schedule to create that structure for me, I'm going to have to do it myself. It's a good thing right now that I am pretty self-motivated, and have a history of being able to set up and stick to structures for myself. That said, given this, I tend to get disappointed when I am not able to this as quickly and successfully as I'd expected. I'm typing this to myself to ask myself to be as gentle with me as I would be with anyone else.

My garden got plated without markers for a reason: I chose to keep it simple. I wish to chose that same thing when creating new markers of time, energy, space this Fall. I don't quite know yet what they are going to indicate, but I know they will point me in the directions of movement and sharing it with others, good meals and quality time.

Markers. Off, with gentleness, to determine what they will be for a while here.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Clouded Judgement

 What composes the clouds? They form for a lot of reasons.

We are all the hero in our own story.



Colloquially, the phrase "clouded judgement" is often used in a negative way, to suggest that our mind was somehow foggy and the fog got the better of us. This is too bad for clouds, who already often have such a bad rep. As the Cloud Appreciation Society (of which I am a proud member - #47923) says, I think it worth the "pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day." I suppose within this metaphor, this goes to say that clouds, regardless of what form them, are what inform our judgement as we navigate the skies of life.

Now I'm going to overboard with "it's a metaphor." In all seriousness, I suppose what I am trying to think through is the idea that "clouded judgement" doesn't have to imply poor choice.

Yesterday, I lost a job I had for three weeks. I put what I'd estimate to be 70+ hours into on boarding, communications and planning for classes that I'd never teach at an institution that I hadn't yet worked for, and for which I will receive no compensation. When it came down to it, their clouds were different than my clouds, and none of them were moving in the same direction. I was clouded by protecting the safety and compensation measures I'd already flexed on quite a bit in agreeing to terms for the job, they were clouded by lack of resources to deliver on safety measures and lack of willingness to deliver on payment I'd agreed to. I am clouded by the need to balance advocating for myself while accepting work I love and need, and they are clouded by promises made to students (concerning educational delivery methods during Covid and tuition rates) that cannot be squared with needs for available facilities and qualified teachers.

I think this all related back to an idea that I've kept returning to this past six months (and really, increasingly over the last several years, in part thanks to boo): NOTHING is ever as simple as it seems. It seems that humans really desire things to be as simple as possible. I definitely desire this myself. Albert Einstein is attributed to once saying (oh wow, she's employing over-used quotes now): “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." The last part is the key - "but no simpler." It seems that MOST things are more complex than we humans tend to give them credit for at first. I can at least speak for myself in saying that is often true for me.

This is true in relationship to the job scenario I described above, and it is true for the woman who practically brushed my shoulder with hers when running up from behind me on the sidewalk to pass me this morning. My initial instinct is to think she is a total bitch who only thinks of herself and Covid as a hoax. Upon second (ok, maybe third or fourth thought), I remember that she is, like everyone else, a complete and complex human. She has a walk through life that I don't know all of the details about. So do the folks at the job described above who run the institution I was excited to teach for and unfortunately had to walk away from. So do the folks whose political opinions seem abhorrent to me.

Needed to be able to tell that runner "a little space, please." Usually, I am able to muster that phrase when something like that happens. In this instance, I was caught so off-guard that I couldn't call it up to utter. Despite not having been able to muster up that phrase in that situation, it still applies. A little space please . . . I, like everyone else, need to continue making the little spaces I need to build and apply resilience in the face of a span of time that just seems to keep serving up new difficulties. The process of interviewing, hiring, planning and downward spiral of the above-referenced job, in my short retrospect period of about 12 hours at this point, I feel also really caught me off-guard. 

I have to show my self enough respect to know that I did the absolute best I could in balancing understanding of where they were coming from and with advocating for where I am coming from. This feels so true for so many things right now.

This morning, with all of this processing still . . . well, in process, I have to say that I do not yet feel ready to hop back in on innovating when it comes to what my Fall and Winter could look like career-wise. The last several days have oscillated between jam-packed to borderline traumatic (when I consider several other things that happened in relationship to me personally and in the world at large). While my way of dealing has often tended to be 'reflect a little and move into action as quickly as possible,' I'm recognizing that strategy isn't gonna work this time. I really like the practice of grind up my coffee from beans each morning and waiting for it to brew. I enjoy the reliability of that grinding process being the second thing I do each morning. I enjoy smelling the coffee as it drips into the pot. I enjoy having to wait a little for the pay-off. As I hear (almost all too) often in the arts, 'it's not just about the product, it's also about the process.' 

I desire to apply the same kind of trusted patience I have in brewing my coffee in the morning to working through the kinds of life events I detailed above. I need a little space (please) to acknowledge, process, release, heal from and transcend the trauma that has happened before I can mind-play and body-storm my way to leaning into proven and creating new possibilities. For conjuring up a sense of direction regarding how my clouds might shift, and how I might partner with them to breathe in deeply and push that breath out toward them to help choose the way the float.

Clouded judgement.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Emblematic

 Emblematic.



Growth around. Despite? Within?

The wine bottle within got left there, in this patch of my back yard, on New Year's Eve 2019. Really, by the time we were drinking that bottle, it was New Year's Day 2020. There has been so much this year has brought that I never could have imagined that night/ morning.

Coincidentally, last night, Kris and I drank the same kind of wine with two of the same friends with which we drank the bottle in the photo, though this time it was in their backyard, not ours. Things that have changed: our ability to hug one another and go into one another's houses. Things that have not changed: our friendship. What we are discussing may be 'different,' but when is it ever 'the same'? In this light, things are indeed changing all the time. Lack of change can mean stasis.

Much of the context in which the weeds have grown around this bottle is not the kind of context I would have wished for this year. I suppose I'm using the word 'wish' here because that is indeed what I mean: 'wishing' perhaps pertaining to that you know you do not have direct control over, and 'planning' for that you do. Recognizing there is a wide spectrum between these poles opens the possibilities of how they overlap as well.

I've kept thinking back to that night in the last couple weeks: New Year's Eve 2019/ New Year's Day 2020. Some of it is humorous, as I've been patting myself on the back for conning my closest of the close into a bonfire in the backyard the last two December 31sts: really, I've just been preparing them for the fact that if they wanna hang out that night this year, it'll have to be in the backyard, right?! Some of it is more serious. For as long as I can remember, I have been one to appreciate how the annualness of things like New Year's, my birthday and the State Fair/ back to school time can serve as set-points at which to reflect and prepare. Kris tends to refute the idea that New Year's in particular is some sort of 'reset,' as this mindset can often be more dangerous for folks than helpful. I appreciate this perspective, but still lean toward finding benefit in looking upon these dates and events as useful points through the year at which to ponder what's been going well and what could use a boost - at least where junctures of direct impact are concerned.

I find myself reflecting on this bottle in the weeds not at an exact set-point (though State Fair and back to school, however reimagined, are on their way). Instead, it's an emblematic object to which I keep finding my way back. It's image gives me a strange sense of hope: there was a New Year's last year, and if I am fortunate enough to keep on living - an idea that always rings true and that I am working to not take for granted - there will be another one. And one after that . . .

Monday, August 3, 2020

Other Things to Think About

Is optimism a well that runs dry? I suppose a well metaphor implies that there will always be more ground water and rains to fill it up when it's become/ has been emptied.




Been wondering about my well. Often quite full, it's feeling pretty dry right now. A couple days of quite down feelings in relative succession are not common for me, so it makes me ask questions.

It's hard to be pouring time into things meant to be shared that you are not quite sure will be witnessed as they should be.

As they should be? Like, in a theater full of people sitting next to one another? 'As they should be' is rightfully being debated right now in the name of innovation, and in ways, I'm totally here for it, while in ways I'm pressed on why so much effort should be poured in if no one is going to witness, even in a modified way.

Not interested in remaining sour for any longer than I need to, I'm investing in the idea that folks have a lot of other things to think about, particularly at the juncture of time in which the digital show I'm producing will be happening. This is always true about this show at this time of the year, but particularly true in a year where so much is still up in the air regarding what school will look like in less than a month.

Fixating on the lack of attention folks may be able to give to the offerings I'm trying to create rather than considering the places their attention is needing to go right now feels short-sited and, frankly, selfish.

I know this, I just can't help but feel my feelings in order to work through them as best as I can. As I know I've written numerous times during this period, I myself have not biewed many live-streamed and pre-recorded shows shared digitally, something I've had to investigate. I'm realizing that watching such offerings, especially when they are streams of old shows that happened on big theater stages with people watching live, makes me sad. In the event of live-action livestreamed shows, perhaps it's missing that energy of being in the space with other people watching it all happen from within our bodies.

I want to be a person supporting these offerings, but also am generally not a fan of forcing myself to do something that I'm really not gravitating toward.

I have been peeking at the DanceMN newsletter to get a sense of who is doing what, and am realizing that perhaps less companies than I thought are really trying to 'do shows.’ The folks I am able to get a sense of all seem to be doing pretty different things. There is a piece of me that thinks that Fall will be a better time to try and capture people's attention because there will be less to do outside, but another part of me thinks the 'hunker down' sensibility' will cause people to be less engaged in such things. I suppose all I can do is what works for me and what I have the resources for - and this is not a 'now' thing, this is an 'all the time' thing.

Sometimes, it can just be hard to figure out 'what works.'

As I maintain this ongoing process for myself, I think it'll be important for me to remember that I too have 'other things to think about.' We all do.