Saturday, January 24, 2015

Social Engagement

In doing my readings for my Graduate Readings in Dance class today, I felt very clearly why I tend to read theory quickly; for me, it is not nearly inherently as interesting as gathering a couple base points for discussion and enjoying that process vocally and embodied, in the same room, with others. Sitting on my couch alone, reading the thoughts of a singular scholar or author, feels very disconnected from the subject matter of kinetic bodies. I most certainly understand that in order to have shared topics for conversation, people must first gather that information, and that is what we are doing with these assignments in preparation for our Tuesday discussions.

That said, I can also certainly acknowledge and accept that the sitting/ reading/ alone-thinking portion of this process is most definitely the least interesting to me.

Social creature, learning most poignantly as she flits through the woods with others.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Checking In on the Resolution

Embracing and savoring curious presence amid the flux . . .

Trying to put that into action this final semester of my MFA program. I have built the tendency to dive right into work in the mornings, and when I do that, I don't feel like I am embracing, savoring or present. I also tend to push myself toward lightening speed, and in that, I don't feel like I am embracing, savoring or present. I too often push myself past free, open and kind-wandering time to end my day to myself, and in that, I don't feel like I am embracing, savoring or present.

To move toward my resolution, I have been trying my best to institute some regime changes. I book-end my day with time to allow my brain to wander, check in with the world, feel creative inspiration that is not attached to a 'specific purpose.' During the day, I check in on my pace; am I allowing myself the time each task needs to be completed fully, with learning and enjoyment along the way? If not, I slow down. Will I really get that 'much more done' if I do not stop to have this in-passing conversation? Unlikely. Have it.

Everything is still getting done, and I feel like I am embracing, savoring and more present. Gotta keep working toward this.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Years Resolutions 2015

Embracing and savoring curious presence amid the flux.

I love this time of year. Reflecting on what has happened, and considering the possibilities of the clean slate provided by a new year. 2014 held a lot of great things, which I've reflected on in my journal writings and in a "Year in Review" that I just posted to this blog. I'll start with the resolutions I've created for this year, a product of much thought and writing, most of which happened in my written journal and some of which happened in a posted reflection on New Years Resolutions since 2007. On to my direction for 2015:

Embracing and savoring curious presence amid the flux.

This is where I am headed. Much is known, much is unknown, and I am hopeful that I will embrace it all and savor it in the moment and after it has all happened, with a sense of curiosity and trust in the idea that flux is our natural state. I find it encouraging and affirming to recognize that change is a constant, and that it can be embraced as a source of aliveness, comfort and questioning.

While not listed specifically in my chosen resolutions, I'd also like to give shout-outs to the ideas of 'Do the Work,' outlook, limitations and gratitude. While I never doubt my ability to commit, be dedicated and preserver (which is why it didn't need to be in my resolutions), I DO think it is valuable, in the face of intimidation and fear, to step up and just keep doing. The more you do, the more possibility there is for a gem to surface. I also wish to keep the back of my mind remembering that I am in control of my own outlook; so empowering. Additionally, in looking back, the idea of limitations as freeing has remained important: they create a scope through which to move toward accomplishment and fulfillment. While I also never doubt my ability to be grateful, I appreciate the consistent reminder.

In 2015, I am looking forward to:
January: Putting up Tune, my MFA thesis production
February: Performing with FFF at the Cowles
March: Performing with Gesel Mason at Dance Place in D.C.
April: Defending my thesis and turning 30
May: Graduating with my MFA/ getting married
June: Honeymooning in Europe/ performing as ‘Nerdette’ for the Saints
July: Working with Karla and EEE on the ‘Lost Voices’ show
August: Producing Rhythmically Speaking 2015

It is going to be a big year, particularly in the first half. Noticeably, I do not have anything listed after August. This is a pretty clear reflection of what the year looks like; after then, very little has crystalized yet for my professional life. While I do not doubt that I will cultivate some amazing opportunities/ they will arise, it is difficult for me to not know what they will be. Rather than approaching this with fear or uneasiness, I am willing myself to approach this with open eyes, an open heart, and trust. Happy New Year. Onward toward

            Embracing and savoring curious presence amid the flux.

Mission - Up to Date?

It seems that I missed something when evaluating my year; the 'Mission' information I keep stored in my master 'LIFE' document (budgets, etc). I want to give it a go;

Artistic Mission:
  • I make opportunities for people to experience the embodiment of music, especially the bump-grind-shift-slide-sweat-connect, jazz-vernacular-groove-driven kind. Be it through choreographing, producing or performing in shows, teaching classes, or historical research and writing, I do this because I believe in the combined power of social physicality, simple and complex rhythm, eye and hand contact, keen listening, personal groove and free improvisation to open people up to history, their own bodies, other people, and inspired dialogue through movement.
  • Reaction: I worked hard last summer to write this, and it holds up!
Personal Mission: (what am I giving to others?)
  • To live with presence, love and balance, remaining mission driven and defining success for and in comparison to myself. 
  • Reaction: Perhaps this can get replaced with this year's resolution: "Embracing and savoring curious presence amid the flux." I had a couple other words and phrases to go with, and perhaps 'defining success for and in comparison to myself' can go on that list, or simply be released into the atmosphere, as I feel its not as relevant right now. That said, it could come on strong after graduation. Maybe I'll add it. Presence; always there. Love; implied by curiosity. I have come to discover that curiosity is more full with the exploration of love. Balance; has come back a lot. Might be a word that sticks around. I believe I can allow my personal and artistic missions to inform one another without being in writing, so perhaps those are changes too. 
I have financial goals listed too, but don't need to air them here. Time to make some shifts to the New Year's post.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Years Resolution Prep, Continued

After trying Stephanie's "Year in Review," despite having already spent upwards of 6 hours reflecting back on 2014 alone, I'd like to go back and look at my New Years Resolutions since 2007 (graduating college). I did this last year too, but why not try it again (and actually post it?!).;


  • Be conscious of writing, speaking and packing: Writing has remained constant and important, I am still working on consciousness in the way I speak, and I've gotten pretty darn good at packing!
  • Money should not get in the way of experiences: Getting much better at this. I am learning that 'there is always more money,' as my mom says, and trying to embrace the idea that I can always make more (thanks, Kris). This, like most things, is an object of balance.
  • Rather than buying a bunch of cheap things you want, save for and make those expensive purchases: I feel pretty accomplished in this realm.
  • Retain consciousness of the world around you: This resolution, in one form or another, is something I have been working on ever since originally writing this. In fact, the majority of my creative work in my MFA program has addressed this idea. I've since moved to the idea of 'presence,' and feel it reflects this best.
  • Embrace spontaneity with intention; experience life: at present, much improvement has been made on this. It might have to do with how much I have put more control in my professional life into my own hands, not having to worry about shift work and such. Over-planning and scheduling in my profession life has left me more time free to take advantage of life's random offerings.
  • As it happens inside and outside your control, work with change to make it positive: I just wrote this morning that "Flux is a constant." I think a lot about how I used to hope and believe that there would be a point where I "had things figured out." Considering that life is always in the process of changing, this is a misnomer. I have come to embrace that this is not scary, but actually very comforting; no one, including me, EVER has all their shit figured out. Instead, we all wade together through the flux, making choices at any given moment that best respond to where we are at any given moment. 
  • The choices you make are defining, but not limiting: I've focused on the last part; because choices are necessary, it feels pretty important to me to not allow them to feel limiting. Or perhaps, I can see this through an artistic lens; in making art, limitations can be VERY freeing. They create a scope through which to move toward accomplishment and fulfillment. 
  • Choices are just pockets out of a world where similar things are happening everywhere: I think about this when I think about living in a much bigger place than I do. It is easy for me to feel FOMO (as the internet mass has so cutey coined it), and along with that comes stress. It's not necessary (see above).
  • Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook: Don't judge when its not helpful. This has been happening. Less about the them as applied to me, more about the things I can do to control my own outlook, as that is truly the source of personal power.
  • Convention does not have to get in the way of acting, reacting and feeling the way you truly want: I don't think I've ever let this happen. In fact, the opposite can happen - sometimes I buck the things that might inform my life because they are 'stereotypical.' Despite this, I have been lucky enough to feel the power of love, and am happy to allow it an important place in my life.


  • Give each action the amount of time and resource it deserves: This is something that came from Kris. I am definitely making progress. 
  • Respect the need for unscheduled time each week; maintain a weekly day off: Done. Except when I am in school. Saturday have become protected.
  • Allow general interests, personal goals and to-do's to operate with as much importance as work: My tune on this has changed. While I do have hobbies, they do not operate with as much importance as work because work is my importance, at that is ok; it is a choice.
  • The choices you make are defining, not limiting: reflected upon below. Some things just keep coming back!
  • Choices are just pockets out of a world where similar things are happening everywhere: see below.
  • Resist the temptation to see life in chunks: Fluidity. An important concept.
  • Everything is a fluid stream of happenings that need not be separated for judged ahead of time: There it is again.
  • Life as a whole can be informed by art, which in turn becomes a part of your whole life: They are very intwined for me, more than ever before.
  • Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook: Below.
  • Embrace spontaneity with intention: Below. That said, this implies that spontaneity can be directed by an inner sense of purpose. Everything is, if you will it to be.
  • As it happens in and outside your control, work with change to make it positive: A source of continued, constant reflection.
  • Retain consciousness of the world around you: See above.


  • Allow personal interests to operate with as much importance as other commitments: See above.
  • Be willing to dedicate time and resource toward living the way you wish: Been working on this - letting myself buy things to spruce up my living space, traveling, taking time off.
  • The choices you make are not limited, but defining: A revolving door.
  • Choices are just pockets out a world where similar happenings are occurring everywhere: A revolving door.
  • See life as a fluid stream of happenings that may not be judged or separated ahead of time: A revolving door.
  • Life as a whole can be informed by art, which in turn becomes a part of your whole life: A door that revolved a couple times.
  • Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook: A door that revolved a couple times.
  • Trust your instincts: Trust. This has become important over the years.
  • Show your gratitude: Gratitude. Another that has become important over the years.
  • Retain consciousness of the world around you: A revolving door.
  • Relationships do not have to be life-long to be life-changing: An excellent mantra that I created for myself as a camp counselor in the summer of 2004. Noteable, quotable, and something to which I have really held on.


  • Dedicate time and resource toward living the way you wish: Working on it, a revolving door that has become habitual.
  • Spend more time actually enjoying your senses: Another way to say consciousness, presence, awareness. A constant.
  • Establish a morning routine: Or perhaps just routines in general. I thought I'd be the creature of habit in my relationship. Turns out, I am the flexy one. That said, I believe in the power of routine and ritual to creative potential, and have been working on this. I like my mornings/ days to include time outside, physical time, writing or reflecting time, work time (be it either physical or mental or ideally both) and some personal time. Within, I like to get enough sleep and feed myself well.
  • Personal style = doing what feels good: A notable and quotable from a student. A revolving door that has become habitual. 
  • Allow personal and professional interests to blossom and inform one another: More and more true. They are becoming entwined, and art reflects life.
  • See life as a fluid stream of happenings that you are both informed by and inform: Revolving door.
  • Trust your instincts: Revolving door.
  • Be actively present in the world around you: Revolving door.
  • Embrace change in yourself and others as simply another way in which the world unfolds: Revolving door.
  • Seek out a sense of groundedness that serves as both a base for adventure and a point of balanced return: I believe this to be a more specific reflection of my idea that it's YOUR world, it is in pockets, limitations can be freeing. Working on this still and always.
  • Allow space for moment to become what they will, free of limitation: An interesting juxtaposition to the above. Leaving space for presence to dictate.

  • Strive/ ENJOY/ Reflect: They lost the categories and are getting shorter and shorter. Trying to put these into items I can remember. These are phases.
  • Flexibility/ Planning: Yin and yang ways to succinctly say the above.
  • Groundedness/ Change: Same.
  • Live the way you desire: A revolving door that has become habitual.


  • Trust in my choices - Stability, Focus, Belief: Revolving door.
  • Trust in who I am - Value, Fullness, Contentment: Revolving door.
  • Trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be: Revolving door.

  • Every moment spent not content is a moment wasted, so seek depth in your passion, practice your ability to be present, and then . . .  be content: A mantra. It was pointed out to me that content is sometimes not the object of desire; always questioning yet at peace. What is the way to say this?
  • Drink more water: Throwback to old-school literal lists (they were even more like this pre-2007).
  • Spend time listening to music with care: there it is. Still working on this.
  • Allow side projects and hobbies to be important: See above, re: changed tune.
  • Pay attention to process: presence, etc., revolving door.
  • Understand that you are exactly where you are meant to be: See above.
  • Practice you ability to be present: See above.
  • Seek depth in your passion: Revolving door.
  • Things always work out if you let them: Letting go - back to trust.
  • Hold yourself to ambitious yet reasonable expectations: Scope, limitation.
  • Understanding is a constantly shifting creature: Flux is a constant.
  • Every moment spend not content is a moment wasted - be content: Feeling affirmation in presence amid flux.

  • Continually seeking matter . . .: A mantra. Matter even feels limiting here. Perhaps its not matter, but presence and curiosity in the flux. 
  • Presence: Always revolving.
  • Listening: Somewhat new. Implied within presence and curiosity in the flux.
  • Trust: also implied.
  • Gratitude: Presence, curiosity and gratitude amid the flux.

On I move to collecting the thoughts I've swept through in these several exercises, posts, pages and hours to define my hopeful approach for my next journey around the sun.

"Year in Review" - 2014

This is an interesting-seeming idea that I picked up from a friend's blog post; completing 24 "Year in Review" questions that she used to reflect on in her LiveJournal (oh, those were the days). The idea really appealed to me, so I am going to give it a QUICK shot, as my usual system for making resolutions for the next (well, now this year) is not yet complete.

1.) What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Performed in the ACDFA Gala Concert; went to Lollapalooza, taught a college lecture course (Dance and Popular Culture), went to some hot springs in Colorado.

2.) Did you keep your new year's resolutions and will you make any for next year?
The answer to this question is long, drawn out and mid-process. As they are always about general function and outlook, I feel that I always somewhat follow or make progress on my resolutions, but since they are things that cannot be achieved but can always be worked toward more, I'm always coming back to them in some way, even if they were not on this year's list.

3.) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Everyone! Mandy, Karis, Shannon, Jenny, Laura, Kelsey, Brooke. I sure hope I am not missing anyone! It amazed me how many of them gave birth so close together. I have gotten better at holding and interacting with babies; they are starting to look cute and seem amazing. Doesn't mean I am ANYWHERE near ready for one, but none the less.

4.) Did anyone close to you die?
Again, feeling intimidated by the possibility of being incomplete on this. Perhaps the answer to this is no.

5). What countries did you visit?
No out of country travel this year, but a fair amount of in-country; New York, Dallas, Chicago and Missoula, MT. I felt very grateful that three of these opportunities were professional, and really hope that beyond school, I'll continue to get to travel for work. I am also grateful in general to get to travel; I know this is not always available to everyone, and I wish to not take that for granted.

6.) What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
My honey, and that is happening; graduation in May, moving back to MN and getting married that same month. We've been regularly apart for too long, and I am ready for that to end. At the same time, I am both totally and not at all ready for school to be over. That said, it is happening whether I am ready or not, so I hope to have strength in how I embrace it and let it inform me.

7.) What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
August 16-18, the sixth Rhythmically Speaking concert. I think part of this is because yearly, these are the dates I repeat the most, but I also think it is a culmination of many kinds of my work each year.

8.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Again, always tough for me to answer the big, looming ones. I think perhaps it was completing the teaching of a lecture course, TWICE. While looking back on it (and in the middle of it) I didn't feel like I was making enough change or investment, I am also in school myself while doing this, making it hard to give more directed focus to this. As I am teaching the same class again this Spring, I've already laid out some ideas on how to accomplish this better this time around. Also, I danced a solo in the TC.

9.) What was your biggest failure?
Maybe also what I listed as my biggest achievement, for the reasons noted above?

10). Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fractured and sprained my finger, which was surprisingly debilitating. That said, having to modify my physical approaches to regular tasks and dance, and going to the specialist was also interesting! I also got the flu right before Christmas, and that did a lot to put things in perspective for me; It made me feel like I have never been grateful enough for my health, and that perhaps I should reflect on that more.

11.) What was the best thing you bought?
My black motorcycle boots that I searched and search for. I am so happy with them, outside of the way the soles are falling apart (wtf . . . expensive!). Hopefully the shoe-man (it feels strange to say 'cobbler' in this day in age for some reason) will be able to fix them next week!

12. Where did most of your money go?
To responsible things like rent and transit. I have never been one to over-spend or spend on ridiculous things, as I have never had much for disposable income.

13. What did you get really excited about?
I got really excited about going to upstate New York on tour with Gesel. I haven't had many opportunities to 'go on tour,' and I am really hoping to continue to in the future. Also, Walking Dead :)  That, and impending move home and wedding :)

14. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
I believe that I am always on an upward climb toward happier because I have tried to see the circumstances of my life as things upon which I can choose my outlook. I also realize that I am a very fortunate person, a combination of both coincidence and hard work, so my scenarios tend to reflect that. I believe I am about the same size and healthfulness, and I am definitely richer; that happens every year, as I am an obsessive saver and not much of a spender.

15. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Dancing. I always think this. During the school year, it can feel like I am doing too much writing. During the summer it can be difficult to finance classes. As much as I truly believe that the 'company life' of class in the morning and rehearsal for the rest of the day (making a 10-4 dancing slot) is not for me, I DO ALWAYS want to move more. I also wish, every year, that I'd spend more time actively listening to music. It has even made it on my new years resolutions before.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Watching TV. One by-product of my relationship that I am not pleased about is my serious increase in TV-watching. I also think that I've increased this due to grad school; when I have been working literally from 5 or 6am until 9pm with a break to walk to school, eat lunch and walk back, by the end of the day I am really looking for something to do that doesn't require much thinking, and I've turned to the TV (cuddling with my honey is not normally an option when I am in school). I have thought several times about actively listening to music instead, but I love music so much that it'd excite me too much to fall asleep; it'd wake me up in a way TV does not. That said, the ultraviolet glow as I am trying to go to sleep and the amount of time I rack up as a result of my TV-watching before bed kind of disgust me. I know I do not need to correlate this with lost time, as it is sort of all I am good for by that point of day, but I cannot help it. I've also considered stretching, doing PT exercises, active rest, but these too are things that would fire up my brain. Perhaps I try again to listen to music, and allow it to be time that is less active. I've always wanted to be one of those people that gets home, pours a glass of wine and listens to Miles Davis, but I can have a slightly-tweaked version of that in order to go to sleep.

17. How did you spend Christmas?
Like usual; Olsons on Eve, Liebhards on day. That said, it was the first year that we didn't get down to my parents house late on Eve. It was hard for me. Perhaps next year I'll more heavily push the idea of having an actual open house with invitations; maybe next year, I'll have more brain-space to do so.

18. What were your favorite TV programs?
Walking Dead overall (hellrrr). Been trying to stay caught up with Doctor Who interspersedly as Kris and  have visits, same thing with Girl Meets World. Yep, that's what I said. Toward the end of the year, I've also been binge-watching Gilmore Girls. Good show. Kris ALWAYS wants to add things, but he 1) does not feel stressed by being in the middle of several shows like I do, and 2) I also does not feel stressed by the amount of TV he watches!

19. What were your favorite books of the year?
Ouch. This just puts into serious focus how I am not reading for pleasure. Grad school. I hope to do more of this in 2015, but I will not write it as a resolution (as I've become somewhat against such concrete things that you can easily fail). If I am meant to spend my time that way, I will. Good thing I've got a head-start, having received several good books for Christmas. They will likely wait on my shelf in St. Paul until I am done with grad school in Boulder.

20. What was your favorite music from this year?
Polish Ambassador, hands down. I was introduced to the amazingness by my Boulder friend Ali, went to the concert in Boulder in April for my birthday, and never looked back. Such intricate, weaved rhythms and melodies, unique sounds, danceable AND chill beats . . . Spotify agreed with me, as he was my most listened to for the year.

21. What were your favorite films of the year?
Again, I don't really see movies; grad school. I believe that I saw both Monuments Men and World War Z in the theater this year (given my newish zombie-lore obsession), and loved them both. I've also watched a lot of not-new (can't necessarily say old) movies this year (see 'what do you want to do less of' question for reasoning, which I of course always need). I binged watched all the Resident Evil movies (zombies!). I also started the list of movies I'd like to watch, something I refer to with my students ALL THE TIME, as I teach a popular culture class. Just a couple weeks ago, I started a YouTube list for trailers of the movies I'd like to see. This way, when I am looking for something, I can just refer to the list!

22. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 29, and honestly, did the least I think I ever have. I LOVE birthdays, my own and others, and always make extravagant plans. This year, I cannot even remember what I did. Going back to read my blog and journal entries for the year as I prep to make my resolutions, it seems that I was disappointed with the lack of engagement people at school showed for my birthday, as I always go out of my way to make others feel special on theirs. Brings me to my interest in always remembering that sometimes, the actions of others have nothing to do with you, even when they concern you. Anyway, I DID have a party at my folk house when I got home in May (combined with Kris and my mom, respectively May 3rd and June 1st). THAT was a blast. I am looking forward to my 30th birthday this April 15th, and planning to not prescribe too much to it; I'll probably take the day off again outside teaching at 9 (playing hooky on my birthday is a long-standing tradition), though thinking about it now, I'll likely stay for 10am class and get my dance on, then take myself to a long and leisurely lunch in the sunshine by myself at one of my favorite Boulder haunts. Last year (its coming back to me!), I took myself to coffee at Amante and did some journal-writing, then walked down to the Buff for breakfast). I've got tech at 6pm, and hope to convince people to get a drink with me after. I mean really; 30. After I move home, we get married and go on our honeymoon (yep, crazy year), some time in the summer, I've asked Kris to take me to Valleyfair. Really, that is all I truly want! The big party this year will be the wedding.

23. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More dancing. See the 'What do you wish you did more of' question.

24. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Layers, either matching WAY too much or WAY too little, good shoes taking care of the rest of the outfit if it leaves something to be desired, ridiculous earrings that take care of the rest of the outfit if it leaves something to be desired, mismatched prints, bright colors. Been this way for years :)   And of course, a daily dose of red lipstick, my fail-safe way to make myself stick out and look put together, even when I have't showered in days (which is most of the time :)).

25. What kept you sane?
Kristoffer. He kept me insane at times too, but him, my mom, my friend Sarah - the people I turn to for listening, advice and conversation - kept me sane. Also, dancing. Kept me insane and sane. Isn't there something to the idea that things with obvious and serious yin and yang are the most impactfu on your life?

26. What was a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?
This one is VERY easy. I've already written about it in my journal. I vividly remember, after getting into a tizzy with a colleague at school, instigated by her and over something that felt ridiculous to me, talking with Zoe on a bench outside the music building. I started telling her about the situation, and she told me something I'll never forget and that I am surprised I hadn't been told about (or thought about) earlier. It went something close to this; "Erinn, sometimes the way people react to you has nothing to do with you." I have a habit of always making myself the root of an issue, which I believe to be selfless rather than selfish; I always want to examine if there is any way that a negative situation could have been caused by me so I can figure out how to avoid it in the future. That said, sometimes I truly do have nothing to do with it, but that is hard for me to see. This piece of advice from Zoe is SO valuable to me, and I returned to it a great deal of times within the year.

That was an enjoyable process. I'll definitely be coming back to it again in the future. This kind of self-reflection is very valuable to me. Now, on to continuing and finishing m New Years Resolutions! I am disappointed that they've been making it off the press later each year, but it has become easier for me to accept that it is what it is, so they must be working!