Friday, December 28, 2012

Another Artful Vagabond Contribution on New Year's "Resolutions"

I was happy to once again be a part of the year's round up on day 363 in Serena Kovalosky's Artful Vagabond, 365 days of art and artists project, as it winds down and comes to an end, for this year at least. This time the question put out to artists was about New Year's Resolutions. You can see my contribution at:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Artful Vagabond

Artful Vagabond

Serena Kovalosky

I am happy to be a part of the Artful Vagabond blog community of Serena Kovalosky who has created a vehicle to connect artist from around the world through their artwork and their words. Check out my contribution on favorite museum and a featured sculpture. Serena's project is 365 posts a year about art and artist. A great way to feel like a part of a larger artist's collective. More posts on her blog to come.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thank You Donate Dinner Volunteers!
Once again I was proud to be a Meals on Wheels volunteer. 
More than 1,200 individuals volunteered to distribute Donate Dinner cards at 25 independent grocers during the five days before Thanksgiving. We helped raise nearly $200,000 to provide meals for seniors this winter! If you didn't get a chance and would like to contribute, you can still Donate Dinneronline!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Exhibition Announcement

Thanks to the amazingly creative Jenni, I have an awesome announcement for the upcoming juried exhibit Taproot at Gallery 114.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


“We do not have to be long in the woods to experience the always rather anxious impression of ‘going deeper and deeper’ into a limitless world….” 
--Gaston Bachelard

Gallery 114’s annual juried show Taproot examines the artist’s impulse toward meaning-making, toward the process of finding the source. What in daily life provides context, gives form to meaning? Rather than put forth a set of specific content criteria, the Gallery was looking for submissions that either draw from or describe this impulse, what connects the artist to this limitless world.

That call for submissions seemed like a call I could not ignore. I feel like all the art that I create, is an impulse toward meaning-making and that process always leads me on a journey to find the source. Without expectation, I always arrive at a place I could have never anticipated, and that keeps me forever engaged in art making.

I was delighted to find out that all four of the pieces that I submitted to the jurors of this exhibit, were accepted for Taproot.

Gallery 114 is the only established gallery in Portland that has persisted in allowing its artists absolute artistic freedom throughout its 20-year history.
Founded in 1990 as an artist collective, Gallery 114 and its members have consistently produced a diversity of art work. Paintinsg, sculpture, photography and installation can be seen from its members, as well as curated events. The gallery is located at 1100 NW Glisan.

Gallery 114 will host Taproot during it's First Thursday opening reception on January 3, 2013 from 6-9pm. The gallery is opened Thursday-Sunday 12-6 pm.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I awakened this morning to pouring rain. When I looked out upon the lake, it looked like a small child was standing on a nearby dock. I got my binoculars to see if my eyes were fooling me. Indeed they were, as I gazed upon a large blue heron, standing stately and patiently looking out upon the lake, unbothered by the driving rain. His stillness was statuesque and meditative. I thought of the line we danced the prior week about the impatience of stone. How the heron stood seemly purposeful and purposeless simultaneously, but who am I to judge. I guess I watched with a sense of envy.  It also reminded me of the Mary Oliver poem I read yesterday from her new book A Thousand Mornings.

"This morning
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to

where everything
sooner or later
is a part of everything else

which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself."

~ Mary Oliver

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


It has been over a month since I have felt moved to write. As I sit looking out the window, the water a still sheet of ice, reflecting its world, and the tree, framed by the picture window, a world unto itself, reveals a tree experiencing the changes of autumn. I too, find myself, once again, in my own personal autumn. The tree is almost barren, short of a few red leaves that remain, the color of the hummingbird food that stays untouched, yet hangs as it lies in wait. As the birds playfully and territorially tussle at my suet feeder, fueling up for their journey into winter, they shake the tree, almost imperceptibly, yet their movement sets one of the last leaves free to waft to the ground. It makes me feel sad as I watch this lone leaf make it's final, slow, graceful journey of the season, it's work done. There is no reason to hold on any longer. It no longer has a purpose and so it lets go. I hear the voice of my yoga teacher resonate in my head, "to have but not to hold". Once again, I am faced with the lesson that constantly visits me, how does one let go? How do you hold fast to the memories, the good times, let the sadness and the difficult times go, knowing that they have all served their purpose. Autumn is inevitable. My old friend/acupuncturist/massage therapist once told me that when you struggle in life, look to nature and the seasons for the answers. The tree outside my window now has one less leaf on it. It has a few more left to let go of. It can't be any other way.
These past weeks have felt like a huge wave I have named "aftermourning". It has felt almost more powerful than the original mourning process that I busied myself through when my mom died a year ago. I entered into the energy of Thanksgiving with a mixed array of emotions, and I now sit in solitude and solace that I feel grateful to be able to create for myself. Though I am not sure how to do it. I know that the aftermourning will always be with me, although it will morph and present itself in ever changing incarnations. I have felt so creatively stymied this past year. I reflect on it and see that I created only one sculpture that stands in my studio, unfired, unfinished with a crack at the umbilical cord. I have no need to fix it, it stands as it needs to. I did two large scale drawings and have not felt compelled to do an others just yet. I just finished another glass mosaic salvaged window. Aptly putting broken pieces of glass onto an old window to create something changed, new. I will polish it today and ready it for hanging on my porch. It will also help serve as a reminder that things break, things change, things can never be the same yet they can be put together in a new way, to create something with it's own beauty. You can see it and see through it, and it lets the sun illuminate it, even in the mostly dark days of winter. 
Memory... it is quite elusive, at times so close to your face that you cannot even focus on it, and at times memory is in a place, not necessarily of comfort, but in a place that we can settle in with it, and see it the way it presents itself, with a glimpse of clarity, at that moment, and that moment only. We can't even grasp it, as it is as fleeting as the birds who have knocked the spent leaf off the tree, to have but not to hold.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Today after acupuncture, I took a stroll in the Hollywood neighborhood where my acupuncturist has her space. The houses on the street seem like sanctuaries    that their owners have lovingly created, with outdoor installation art on their front lawns and the areas beside the street, vegetable gardens alongside the sidewalk, spots for children to swing on trees, paint rocks at their mini picnic tables and lounge on their mini adirondack chairs. It's like stepping into a fantasy Lilliputian land, a site one doesn't happen upon often in the city, but maybe it does, in this city! On one lawn, is a frame enclosing a poem that changes from time to time, and always beckons me to linger and read it. Today's poem,  Lost , was particularly beautiful and engaging, and it really spoke to me about life; the lessons to be learned through the spirituality of nature; the pause; noticing and being; especially being where you are at this moment, this perfect moment. It seemed like a "custom made for me followup" to my treatment. It was a gift. As I write, I long to leave the unusually hot city and head out to the lake this weekend, under the umbrella of trees amongst the songs of my songbirds as they munch the food I have left for them, but for now, this moment that I sit writing, is the one perfect moment that I have, right now. If you would like to have the lovely poem read to you by the author, here is the link: Lost 

"Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you."

Cannibals August Online Gallery

You can see some of my work on the most recent Cannibals Gallery online (for now as Pammela finds the perfect new venue for us all) in the August newsletter. Enjoy! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Wisdom to Know When to Hold on and When to Let Go

Seems like an easy enough task, knowing what is working in your life and what is not. Not so! Even more difficult is taking it to the next step, and deciding and implementing the letting go. I sit on the dock. I am the only one on it at the moment, with the non-stop cries of the many crows drowning out the subtle songs of the Towhees, Flickers and the Goldfinches, who have been gobbling up the feast I have set out for them. The other noise that is not so welcome, is the noise inside my head.
I am recuperating from an intense bout of migraine, and the cloud has finally lifted. What better time to evaluate what is working, and what is not. The chronic varying pain that I have been dealing with the past months, has been so debilitating, that it has gotten in the way of my life, my dancing, and my creating. I have felt stunted in the quicksand, and the harder I try to get out the harder it becomes, like trying to catch the proverbial tail.
The past few days I have been pondering the sculpture that lay drying and cracking in the studio. It is clearly not working for me. I have been unable and uncompelled to work on it, yet not able to let it go, move on, create space and begin a new piece. It grows heavier by the day, as I struggle with throwing something out, that I have spent countless hours creating, and accepting the fact that it is a struggle, it is not going to work and I need to let the process of creating, it be enough. I need to let go of the constant struggle. As I held the crumbling piece in my hands, I knew what I had to do. The piece is about balance/unbalance, feeling broken and unsteady, almost falling, and creating it, has been that and more. The struggle was no longer fun and satisfying, so why keep at it, fighting, knowing it will never emerge in one piece from the kiln, if it is already breaking in my hands. It is just not going to work and I had to have the wisdom to let it go. It felt like the more I struggled with creating this piece, the more I was holding onto struggle in my life, and for what purpose?
Throwing it in the trash was not as difficult as I thought, although I coddled and caressed some of the crumbling bricks in my hand. Then I hit the wall, like a pinata, with one of my clay paddles and the wall totally fell apart. I guess there where treasures of wisdom, lurking inside the "pinata" I placed it all in the trash, broken head and all. I thought about creating some ceremony around it, but why honor struggle. Although I do honor the courage it took me to throw it out, to let it go. This is something brand new for me. It is over, it is done, but the learning has to begin. 
I look up at this moment, how did I know to look up from my writing, but something called to me from above, as a bald eagle flies right over the lake and over my head with a fish in its mouth!!!! I am absolutely awe struck! Amazing, what freedom! This must be a sign. I feel like he came out just for me, and I am humbled and moved beyond words, yet I go on.
I am faced with the questions that forever reside in my head, that I have some of the answers to, yet for some reason, do not move forward and implement the change, even though I truly believe that things will change if I do. So I sit..... I try to "be". I am committed to begin a yoga and meditation practice again,(I have begun to listen to meditations on my hammock), I am committed to move and exercise more to release some stress, (I have been walking 3 miles a day). I am going to create some work that is not pulling from the depths of my emotions for now, and not focus on this aspect. I have to just create for creations sake, and let it flow without needing to feed the turmoil inside through my work. I am going to try to "do one less thing a day". I am going to practice awareness of the breath more. When the noise and unrest rear their ugly heads in my head, I am going to stop and shift and breathe, think of purple, a healing color, instead of letting the destructive thoughts pull me under in an attempt to drown me. And I am going to give myself permission to be kind and forgiving to myself if I falter in my actions, as long as the intentions are there. I believe that all this will not only create space in my head, my body and my life but create a greater quality of life, and I love my life. It is hard to feel joyful when you are in pain, but I have to believe I have control over this. It will create space for creating.
And so I reflect on the initial impetus for my sculpture, and the inspiring quotes which are even truer today than when I began it, and reaffirm my decision to let go, to throw it away:

"Don't you think you'd be safer down on the ground?' Alice went on, not with any idea of making another riddle, but simply in her good-natured anxiety for the queer creature. 'That wall is so very narrow!"

"In that case we start afresh," Humpty Dumpty went on.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Inspiration from The Secret Life of Bees

"Finding out the truth is only half of it, it's what you do with it that matters"

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I wait with much anticipation to continue working on my most recent sculpture tomorrow. I am stacking the individually constructed "bricks" to build a wall of sorts, upon which I will precariously balance. I intend to balance in a way that seems to be impossible to the observer, but balanced none the less.

"Don't you think you'd be safer down on the ground?' Alice went on, not with any idea of making another riddle, but simply in her good-natured anxiety for the queer creature. 'That wall is so very narrow!"

As I have built and stacked the individual bricks, they have balanced, tumbled, been reconfigured and are being built, one upon another, trying to remain stable and steady. It is a carefully balanced game, such is life. I have been thinking about Humpty Dumpty, broken, needing to be put back together, and wondering if this is indeed a possibility. 

We build things, they crumble and we try to build them once again, thinking that if only we build it right this time, it will not tumble. We build it the same way and still believe that his time it will be stable, and it is not. Sometimes, there comes a time when we realize that the rebuilding is futile. Some relationships are like glass. I recently read, "sometimes it's better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting them back together". 

Sometimes, it is just a balancing act, a puzzle of sorts, trying to put the right things into place, aligned just right, so there is enough stability to balance upon. We don't always get it right the first time around, but with perseverance, we can only hope that the pieces will fit together well enough to support us. Not necessarily the way we saw it playing out, but sturdy enough to support us the only way it can for now. 

I am not quite sure the way this piece will play out. I never am. Therein lies the mystery, the challenge that compels me to build, and rebuild this sculpture. Tomorrow it will no doubt be new again. I welcome the challenge.

"In that case we start afresh," Humpty Dumpty went on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On Hummingbirds and Nora Ephron

This morning I was gifted with this sad but thought provoking e-mail from my sweetie:

"Sometimes, instead, we go to Los Angeles, where there are hummingbirds, and I love to watch them because they're so busy getting the most out of life."~~From Nora Ephron who died today at 71 from leukemia
It made me think once again about the hummingbird, who had breakfast with me this morning on the porch, maybe I too move my wings too fast in an effort to get the most out of life, rather than sitting on the porch waiting for the birds to come to me. Maybe that is getting the most out of life. Maybe?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Eagle and The Fisherman

The moment I sat on my chair on the deck, hot coffee in hand in the chill of the morning, I saw my new found friend, the bald eagle do the same on his seat high above the lake, as he alights on top of the towering evergreen, his vantage point for the time being. As I watch him, through my mother's binoculars, I see his head, ever alert, looking, noticing, his surroundings and the opportunities at any given moment. So is it with the "lone fisherman" in his tube on the lake waiting for his next opportunity. I am astounded by the patience they both exhibit, as they wait for their "catch of the day" the catch of the moment. I hear my mother's voice as I look at the world through her old lenses, telling me that I do too much. I ponder this, as I too often am moved to do. It is in the patient waiting, the looking, the seeing, the noticing, that the opportunities present themselves. I wonder how the fisherman and the eagle, can spend so much time Waiting...........They don't seem to be doing anything, yet the waiting and watching is enough, the being, never knowing what set of circumstances will be created for their perfect moment, the catch. Time seems to stand still, yet go on forever. How can I have that sort of patience, pausing, waiting, being, not doing?  Maybe, it is not about the catch, but about the being present, the being in the moment. I watch them both, the eagle and the fisherman. Nothing seems to be happening, but maybe there is more happening than I can perceive. It is in the calm waiting, the patience, the stillness, the being, that the magic happens.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Looking Up

As I look out on the silhouette that becomes the end of day, with the glistening stillness of the lake after the rains, with the fish rising and the cries of " just one more cast" from my beloved, as the bats swoop down around him, he seems unmoved when the fish are jumping, yet maybe, he was spooked as he just came in from the perfect night of fishing. It is always a perfect time when the fish rise at this perfect stillness of the evening, when everything seems to ready for sleep. The mountains rise in their glory, and they remain for just a minute more as the sun sets and they seem to be lost in the horizon,although I know they will still be there in the morning. Things seem to disappear even though I know in my mind that they are always there. The stars are always there, we just can't see them during the day.  The water is still.   I spent the day trying to heal my once again injured back. I soaked, I rested, I tried to practice self care. On the drive up to the lake we talked and I processed the things we need, the things that serve us, and the things we discard, no longer needed, however painful, the things we leave behind. Not always an easy distinction, but important to distinguish none the less. The end of what no longer serves us and the beginning of beginnings. I rested all day, intending to remain inside with the driving rains outside my window. Then the sun revealed itself and a new day was born. Thanks to modern technology (did I actually say that?), I received a cell phone call from my sweetie on his float tube on the lake,  telling me that the eagles were here!!! What a gift to me! I have only seen an eagle on two occasions in my life and they were moments to cherish. As I walked down to the dock, hip in spasm, I strained to see the eagle. I could only hear the cacophony of  crows as they mocked them. As I looked through the foliage of the tall, stately evergreens, I could see the crows. Suddenly, I saw a small eagle circle over the lake. What a sight! I continued to strain my neck, trying to see what all the commotion was about, and I suddenly saw the regal eagle perched high in the tree, the crows swooping down, taunting him, trying to get him to move from his vantage point, yet he was unmoved by their antics. As I waited, patiently watching, he suddenly decided it was time. He swooped over the lake, hoping to grasp a snack, and joined in the dance with his partner, as they continued to dance over the lake looking for their next meal. I watched, entranced, cherishing the moment, and oh so glad I got off the couch, realizing that the healing was outside, waiting to be witnessed by me. I did not have my camera, as it was the last thing on my mind as I got into the car for the 2 and 1/2 hour drive the night before. I only have my mind, to record the moment, when I left everything behind and went outside, only to witness life happening, the free power of the eagles as they danced, reminding me that anything is possible.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

heavy head uplifted, I do not close the book

Last night we danced "The Loon" for the second time. The piece of paper I had been eyeing, was snatched up by G, and when she read it, I knew it was my line for the evening too. I chose my own, and it too spoke to me but not as much as
 with his heavy head uplifted he calls out. 
My line was, 
 I do not close the book.
My thoughts and my body responded to both lines in the poem, as though they were my own. After all, the words are all ours for the taking and G sweetly said, I could "have" hers as well. My body felt a dance of hopefulness, rising up with, as the music crescendoed. 
My thoughts and my body explored the ways that we can be present for those in our lives, how we hold each other up at challenging times, as well as lean into each other during times of joy. How do you listen to the quiet calls out of your loved one, even if he is whispering his calls. When our heads are heavy, we don't have to hold them up alone. We can whisper our needs or shout them out, with hopes of being heard. We can reach out, and trust, that we are not alone in our struggles, although sometimes it feels as such. It is a learning to ask for help. Our society dictates self sufficiency, and does not praise us for needing, but how could we sustain our lives without needing, support, reaching, interdependence? As it is said, 
"Joy shared is twice the joy. Sorrow shared is half the sorrow."

And so I listen, I try to sit with the quiet, in order to hear the very soft whispers, imperceptible at times. I hear them. The road doesn't seem smooth, the journey doesn't feel even or easy, but I can travel it none the less, knowing that I can help hold up the heads of the people in my life, and remember, that I too do not have to hold my head up alone. I read on, travel on, live on, the story continues,  I do not close the book..........

The Loon    ~ Mary Oliver
Not quite four a.m., when the rapture of being alive strikes me from sleep, and I rise from the comfortable bed and go to another room, where my books are lined up
in their neat and colorful rows. How
magical they are! I choose one and open it. Soon I have wandered in over the waves of the words to the temple of thought.                                            
And then I hear outside, over the actual waves, the small, perfect voice of the loon. He is also awake, and with his heavy head uplifted he calls out to the fading moon, to the pink flush swelling in the east that, soon, will become the long, reasonable day.                                                 
 Inside the house it is still dark, except for the pool of lamplight in which I am sitting.
Neither, for a long while, do I read on.
 I do not close the book.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


How wonderful it felt to be able to be in town to be a part of dance on Sunday. Winky put out the prompt for us to consider, kelp. What an intriguingly visual  image, to conjure up in my mind and translate into and through my body.

Kelp survival is positively correlated with the strength of the substrate. The larger and stronger the rock on which it is anchored, the greater the chance of kelp survival. Winter storms and high-energy environments easily uproot the kelp and can wash entire plants ashore.

Indeed, that translates to life as it feels right now. Trying to stay strong and rooted deeply, to withstand the storms of life, and to stay anchored, to survive amidst this high-energy environment called life.

Holding Memories in Your Heart

When one leaves for the stars, that person will be the one to blink at you in the night-sky and show you the way. While s/he will no longer be able to touch your hands s/he will forever be able to touch your heart.
Karla A. Claeys, M.A

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Looking Upward

Looking around, it seems as if so many people I know are feeling the weight of a dark cloud, and trying to come out from under it to see the light. It feels like I am trying to find the quiet within the storm, to find that resting place, within and without, to make room to breathe. I am about to go to dance to try to allow that space. Sometimes all the moving and busyness gets in the way of finding that quiet respite. I have to remind myself that the quiet, the stillness does exist, if you stop for a moment and let it emerge. It is always there, it is just often clouded over by the doing. The stars exist all the time, even when we cannot see them. Ironically, the doing, the moving through dance, helps me carve out a space for the quiet. I just have to remember sometimes, in the words of James Taylor, to
~~ "look up from your life"~~~

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And Then You Dance!

Last night I was overjoyed, to be able to have a clear head and heart and attend dance. It was a celebratory dance for me, a celebration of life! I danced with every bit of heart, and soul and energy I could draw from within, as we said our final goodbye to dancing Mary Oliver's poem, The Messenger. We had been saving our weekly lines in an envelope, and last night was the night we each gathered our lines and rearranged, reconfigured, reinvented, transformed and paste our lines onto our envelope to share, and then to dance. The poems my fellow dancers spontaneously created, in reaction to their saved lines, moved me and astonished me, (one of the words of her poem, by the way, was ASTONISHED). My lines, created themselves into the perfect Messenger poem for me to dance my celebration. I continue to be grateful for a place to show up and dance my life, however it shows up at that moment. Having a place to retreat to each week, when my life and my body allow, is a blessing, as is my dance community. It is my spiritual practice. The past week was more challenging than imaginable, and being able to dance it out , was a true gift. When I danced on Sunday, my dance was much different. It was filled with fear, trepidation, tentativeness, the unknown, contraction, smallness, powerlessness, rubber leggedness, and emotions that I could not even begin to name. Last night was different, a very different dance. It was a different life I was dancing in. A dance of new beginning, of hope, of gratefulness, a feeling of a personal Spring. This is how my poem became my dance of the moment, reinventing Mary Oliver's words, to perfectly fill me, the way I needed to be filled last night. Her words are like chameleons, and they never cease to amaze me, even when we took liberties with the original poem, to be what we needed her words to be for each of us:

"We live forever.
Are my boots old?  Is my coat torn?
We live forever.
The phoebe, the delphinium,
We live forever.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird~~
and THAT is how and why,
We live forever"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hope ~  by Emily Dickenson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

When I Don't Know Where to Put It

When emotions well up inside, and I don't know what to do with them, I take some solace in the gift of having my hands connected to my heart, soul and spirit. Through them, flows the energy of my emotions, whether it be sculpting, writing, creating an assemblage, or as in this case, drawing. I bought four large sheets of delicious Stonehenge paper and new blocks of soft graphite about a month ago, with the intention of trying a drawing series, something I haven't done in a long time.  For some reason, this time, the paper and graphite called to me, instead of the clay. It called to me to lay down a deep thick ground of dark grey and then with an eraser, chisel away at the dark and find the light. By sculpting the graphite, I am always awed by the experience, in which my head becomes detached in a sense from my hand, and my heart and spirit flow through and leave a creation. By adding and subtracting the dark and light, the images begin to reveal themselves and tell me their story, a story that only becomes visible to me sometime after their creation. The titles seem to drift into my consciousness as well, from somewhere I have yet to discover. The two offering so far are,

 "Under The Wings of Love"

 "Let Me Be Your Anchor" 

They speak volumes to me. I don't know when the next two will "become", but I trust that they will. The lines, the dark, the light, are lifelines as life itself, 

"For only in darkness can you see the stars"~~Dr. Martin Luther King

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Savor

As the sun set over Phillips lake, it became difficult to tell where the sky began and the water and land started. With camera in hand, the water beckoned me off the porch and down the hill a bit. My footing felt precarious as I continued forward, not really having a sense of when I reach the water. 

I was mesmerized by the deceptive horizon line. I felt very discombobulated, and for a moment could not tell which end was up or down. I was transported. I attempted to take a picture of this magnificent vision, but of course, without my tripod in tote, I knew the picture would never come out, but I tried in vain anyway. I took three pictures, that came out totally dark as expected, although I unrealistically hoped that my camera might help me to seize the magical moment, for me to hold onto, to remind me of the moment, if I happened to forget over time.  

I felt as though I had stepped into a Rorshach test, a psychological test in which a subject's interpretations of a series of standard inkblots are analyzed as an indication of personality traits, preoccupations, and conflicts. The sky and land as reflected in the water, were absolutely identical. I wondered if there was someone on the other side of the lake having a parallel experience with me, as part of the collective consciousness that I believe exists in our world. The moment of limbo was fleeting, but pulled me deeply into a feeling that I have not experienced before, and it felt surreal. The force was palpable. I stayed with the moment for just a bit longer, until there was nothing to see but darkness in front of me, but upon looking up, I saw a sky filled with countless stars. An entire other world was mine, and all I had to do was to look up from my life, from holding onto the fleeting moments that you want to last forever, and in that holding on to the past, sacrifice missing the next gift that is there for the savoring. Savoring involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life to their fullest.

The brightness of the most massive planet of the solar system, Jupiter, glowed with a muted halo surrounding, it that was hypnotic. Jupiter is the god of the sky and is often associated with the eagle. It spins faster than any other planet, which I unfortunately identify with. Ironically,savoring life starts with a mindset. It's a mindset that believes that excess, that rushing, that busy-ness, that distractedness is not a healthy way to experience life. Savoring cannot coexist with spinning at the speed of Jupiter.

In the end,there was no way my camera could capture what I was experiencing at that moment. Somethings just can't be recorded, but have to be just experienced, savored, and that has to be enough..........and it was.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Without Dance We Are Lost revisited

Yesterday, I gifted myself with a second viewing of Pina in 3-D at the Living Room Theatre. As I entered the theatre, The Lorax was just ending. There was one man and his little boy, viewing the film, having the theatre all to themselves. I looked up and saw the ending quote of the film,

 "Unless someone like you.. cares a whole awful lot.. nothings going to get better, its not.."

As they passed me leaving the theatre, the boy looked up at his dad and said "that was great"! and I felt warm inside, cherishing my loved ones, a feeling that grows stronger each day, and truly taking in those words, that I too believe.

As I snuggled in to once again experience the enormous richness of the film, I was filled with anticipation. There are so many dimensions to the film, that seeing it again, was like seeing it again for the first time. What struck me this time, was the surrealist quality that Pina imparted into her choreographed morsels. I was absorbed in both the movement and narratives, but saw a sort of existentialist, absurdist, surrealistic humor, sadness in the depth of the beauty, isolation, connection, trust and surrender of the dancers to the process, nature, each other and the dance. The contrast was so powerful. As the dancers fell deeper into their experience, they took me with them. I am not sure, bu I will possible go back to see it a third time, since I trust I will experience it on an even deeper level. As I have experienced in my personal dance, the more you trust the process, the more you sink deeper into the dance, the cracks appear and you enter the unknown and therein lie the openings to new beginnings, in dance as in life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweet Moments When Fate Shines Down on You

Last Wednesday, I finally returned to work at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and got into a conversation about the things we are gifted with from our elders. Do we save them or use them. Is it destroying them if we create art with them, or are we transforming them, giving them a new life? I am referring specifically to the monogramed hankies that I have from my mother, mother in law, and two grandmothers. When Gabby told me she was making a quilt out of those delicate hankies gifted to her by her grandmother, that she would use to enjoy  summer picnic,s it made me ask myself that question. Do we hold on to them as they were, preciously stored away, or do we use them? My first thought was, OH NO! you will ruin them, and then I realized that they have no life in them, as they lay closed up in the drawer somewhere. The next day, I decided to use one. As I readied myself to attend a dance performance, I selected one with the monogram "F", my mother's hankie, and placed it into my purse. When I went to get my ticket from my calendar for the evenings performance, I noticed that it was going to be danced at the Newmark Theatre, the same theatre I had carefully chosen the seat on which to have plaque installed on the armrest to honor my mom.  When I looked at the ticket, my heart skipped a beat, as I realized that the ticket I was holding was only a few seats from the one I had dedicated to my mom. As I walked downtown to meet my friends for dinner, I had butterflies in my stomach in anticipation and hopes, that one of the other six members of our group held the ticket for the seat I longed to sit it, seat H-5, H for my mom's last name and 5 for the day she brought me into the world. Sure enough, when I asked, someone had the ticket and was happy to switch with me.

 I entered the Newmark theatre with a feeling I could not quite name. I held the ticket preciously in my hand, as I awaited entry to the theatre.  I sat in the seat, our seat, and gently fondled the plaque on the right armrest, and read the inscription with reverence and love. I thought about the hours, too many to count, that my mom and I spent at the theatre, enjoying the ballet, throughout my childhood and into my teen years. I wondered if she would have liked this performance, that was rather dark yet powerful. I caught a whiff of perfume from another patron in my row, which made it hard for me to breathe, and I remembered how the smell of my mother's perfume always bothered me. Smell is such a memory trigger. As I became engage in the dance, I thought less about my mom, but held onto the arm of her seat just the same. I left not knowing if fate would look down on me, and wondered if I would ever have the chance, the gift, of sitting in that seat again. None the less, the seat and the plaque, the memory remains. As I write this, I have the ticket sitting next to me, on my armrest at home, although only the stub remains, I am saving it just the same.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2012 table & Chair Affair Update

6th Annual table & CHAIR AFFAIR

Many of you were a big part of making this event 
so fun, fabulous, and fruitful.
Together, we've raised $127,932 and counting!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When Do Know When The TIme is Right?

I have been waiting and wondering, with great frustration, for a sign to come to me to know when the time would be right to return to dance. I am still struggling with back and mostly hip pain, stuck energy, chi, according to my acupuncturist, so how would I know when to be able to resume dancing? After much deliberation yesterday, I decided that last night was the time to dive in gently and try to meet my body where it is now, and dance. To even change my definition of what dance is. I knew I would have to take extra care of my body, and stay present with it at ever moment, not something I like to practice. For some reason, I felt unnecessarily nervous going back, but it reminded me of Where The Wild Things Are,  when Max returns home after all his adventures, and "his dinner was still warm". Well, my place in the dance studio was kept warm for me by my dance family. I even had an envelope waiting for me with some lines chosen for me, and saved by my fellow dancers in my absence. It was so sweet to sip that nectar, and receive my much missed and needed hugs. They told me I had had the best lines and I agree. The three lines were:

"I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of 

(Indeed I want that!!!)

"full of gorgeous life" (Yes! Yes!)

"and you try" (always a bit too much)

So I decided to "try". My body at once felt at home, as I chose my own line this time, from the current Mary Oliver poem, The Messenger, and it could not have been more perfect, once again:

 "Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird"

It made me think about my experience at the lake this past week and my life. I was gifted with the spotting of no less than three hummingbirds on my feeder at once! I thought about how hard the hummingbird works to stay suspended in air, as it flutters it's wings, sipping the nectar, yet he makes it look effortless. They can actually hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–80 times per second although they appear to be suspended and still. I think it sometimes must seem like I "do" life effortlessly, yet I work incredibly hard at it, yet rarely stay still. What lessons to be learned from observing nature, and then from looking within. Can I stop flapping my wings, and trying so hard? Can I slow down and listen to the rhythm within? Can I truly try to make my life feel effortless. The only deadlines are those I choose, yet I always feel as if I am flapping 80 times per second. Where does the effortlessness lie?

I thought about how the large sunflower reaches toward the sun, even during times when she is not aware that the sun, the hope of summer, is there for the reaching. It grows tall and strong each year and then drops it's seeds for the future. 

There were many lines that resonated with me from the poem last night.

 "Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?",
made me think of the comfort of wearing or experiencing something that is so known and so incredibly comfortable that it feels like a second skin like Tim's line:

 "these body-clothes"
the place that gives us comfort but is not necessarily the persona we wear in the world. 

An then of course G's line:

"Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? "

What is young? Is it a number, a feeling in an aging hurting body, or a feeling in one's heart and spirit. I choose to stay young even though my body so often tells me differently. And what is "half-perfect"? Is there such a thing? I have always felt that way, but there is such a yearning energy to be somehow better, and one I would like to discard like a lizard leaves his no longer useful skin.

And finally, Michael, who was celebrating having turned an amazing 70 years old, the day before, and seems like he is in his 50's in movement, body and spirit. His line was:

"Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here".

That is the biggest piece to try to remember. All the ingredients are here, and you don't have to flap your wings 80 times a second to stay aloft in the air or to stay afloat in life, to keep your head above water. You don't have to try. All the ingredients are indeed here already in this moment, this body, at this age, in this heart and spirit. And my heart does not have to beat 23 times a second, like the hummingbird, to do this!


by Mary Oliver

"My work is loving the world.

Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird
—equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.

Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?

Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?

                                                                                          Let me keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be


The phoebe, the delphinium.

The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.

Which is mostly rejoicing, 

since all the ingredients are here,

Which is gratitude, 

to be given a mind and a heart and these body-clothes,

a mouth with which to give shouts of joy

to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over,

 how it is that we live forever."