Friday, September 30, 2011

return of the wild geese

After the disappointment of missing the Catch The Light retreat in the Gorge, I had to try to come back to the dance, healing back and all, and learn to listen to my body, dance gently and begin to move again. The movement comes from within and without and is vital to my existence. Inquiry seemed like the perfect class to attend since it is more gentle and combines my love of movement and writing. Winky so beautifully said that dance is the sign language of the divine, and that truly spoke to a place deep within my soul. Before we started I told Winky that I wondered which Mary Oliver poem is our dance inspiration this week and she asked me to guess. Without hesitation I said I think we are revisiting Wild Geese. We were both flabbergasted. I could feel the pull of the poem. It is truly probably one of my top two favorite poems by Mary Oliver, the second being The Journey. We sat for about a half hour and wrote in response to our line, mine being perfect, as always, "in the family of things" but when we went around the circle, I couldn't help but have the other's lines weave their way into my story, my dance. The more I wrote, the more the words created openings of understanding for me. In "the family of things" "you don't have to be good" and "you don't have to be lonely", you can be yourself, and fly high like the wild geese. You can be free to be yourself. "In the family of things" you make sacrifices, but you don't have to give yourself away. How does one let go of expectations, to be comfortable with ones self, and resist the need to fix things "in the family of things"? How do we learn to let go of the resistance? The place in the family is not of "things", it is a deeper place of being, that transcends all other relationships. It is the place you go, to go home. That place of home is also the self, in this body, at this moment in time. That home is always waiting for you. It is safe.
The next night I danced the line "you only have to let the soft animal of your body" and that brought me thoughts of quieting with the equinox, the yin time of the year where you want to nuzzle into yourself, to enter into the cocoon and rest, and begin to learn to practice self-care. You can care for others and not have to sacrifice self-care. It is a constant learning. In this family of things, in this body, I will soar and as Mary Oliver so beautifully stated, "love what it loves", the family and the self.

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your bodylove what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver ~


I am delighted to be a part of the Splendorporium exhibit Pets & Portraits. I have two sculptures that will be on exhibit from October 7 through the 30th. The First Friday opening reception is from 7-9pm with music by The Sam Adams Project. The gallery hours are weekdays 11 am-5 pm at 3421 SE 21st Ave. It is an especially fun and funky place to exhibit, and what makes it truly special, is that it is a gallery space shared with The Art4Life Children's Gallery. This is a non-profit art and cultural enrichment program that Jenni has just begun her newest venture with, teaching at two Portland schools before and after school. How wonderful it will be to have my work along side the present creative minds/future artists. How essential it is to provide the enriching outlet of art as a vital means of self expression. I am grateful to Jenni and The Museum of Contemporary Craft's Gaby for encouraging me to begin to be a part of Splendorpoium. Stay tuned for upcoming exhibits as well. Swing by and you will be certainly amazed at the uninhibited zestful work of artist young and old!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Yesterday I dropped off two pieces at Cannibals Gallery for their Dia de los Muertos exhibit. I am delighted that they will be featuring my painting "Till Death Do Us Part" (below) on their website for the exhibit next month. I am also now on their list of artists so check out their website and my artist link at the bottom. It is filled with exciting, innovative and unusual artwork by some really creative artists. I am honored to be amongst them! It feels good to be getting out there again. I look forward to hopefully exhibiting many more pieces there in the future. Check out their website and better yet, come into the gallery to experience the entire environment of mostly three dimensional work, which really needs to be seen in person to be able to be appreciated. It's like stepping into another world when you enter the gallery. The above piece is entitled "The Stage". Hope you can stop by and see it at Cannibals Gallery at 518 NW 21st Avenue. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Disappointing Setback

Saturday, Sep. 17
Real life isn't always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.
Sara Ban Breathnach

Well, there was no choice but to listen to my body, although I longed for it to be different. Longing doesn't change the reality of the situation though. I threw my back out at dance last Tuesday night and the following days of pain and spasm told me that I would not be able to attend the Catch the Light dance retreat in The Gorge this past weekend with my dance community. I have been so heartbroken about missing yet another event I was counting on, and so tired of feeling betrayed by my body once again. I keep trying to "figure out" what I did that hurt my back, but the fact remains that camping out or sleeping in my car, and then an evening and morning of dancing in the meadow, was not going to be in my best interest, no matter how much I wished the pain away. I try to remain grateful, knowing this is a temporary setback, something small in the big scheme of things, yet giving myself permission to feel disappointed. I am not being left out of the event, I am just learning to choose to take care of my body, myself, in any way that is necessary at this time. I longed to be amongst the other small group of dancers sharing community and dancing like moving sculptures in prayer to Mother Nature and moving in the meadow overlooking The Gorge, in the morning mist and chilly drizzle, as if they were rooted and growing from the land, a part of the moving ever changing landscape. But I know that The Gorge will be there next year, and I can dance there again, for the first time. I was there in spirit this time. The Gorge will be different, as will the dancers, as will I. It is a moment to moment dance in this life we are moving through. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is bear witness to the movement, the stillness, the change, no matter how much you want to be an active part of it. There is always so much to witness day to day, moment to moment, but in our hurried, harried days, we miss so much. Now, not by the choice I desired, I witness Catch The Light from afar and trust that some of that Light was emitted and dispersed from the lovely dancers in The Gorge, and a bit of it trickled down on me in Portland. That I too am a part of that dance just in the awareness, the witnessing, the being, from afar. Next time, I hope I will be able to touch it a bit closer. I can only hope, but for now, it is what it is, and I hope to move later this week, consciously and carefully at Inquiry. For now, I will try to take it moment by moment, and day to day. I think that now, as I see the almost autumn trees that are beginning to turn outside my window, glistening in the early afternoon sunlight, that I will take a walk. Today, that is the best dance that I can do, and I accept, that this is enough.