These times of massive change create understandable and often intense insecurities in us. The ongoing destabilization of long-established political, social, and cultural fabrics is the new norm, however much we try to push back against its being so.
So here we are. How have we responded up till now to this, the inexorable zeitgeist of our time? In what ways have we sometimes felt simply confounded, perhaps immobilized by events that are beyond our wildest personal - or apparently even collective - attempts at changing? Where d...
This chart is a perpetually ongoing work in progress that hangs on the door in my teaching studio in north Boulder.
I’ve named all the primary forms of creativity I can think of on it - like visual, verbal, performance, etc - plus, in the pie-chart sections, a few of the more obvious ways we explore them. For instance, the category of Verbal art-making takes forms like writing and singing.
Being a work in progress, the chart is not entirely linear in where and how things are described. Which seems as it should be, given the subject. I often feel like I’ve left out something important, though, something I can never seem to catch. This ongoing teaser almost keeps me up at night.
This mask was painted by a man at a mini Burning Man festival in the wilds of New Mexico. He made this mask of himself to wear during a ritual we were going to do. Was he more interested in the meaning of what he was making, or in its being beautiful?
After writing that paragraph, I created a post about meaning and beauty. It was ok, and about how focusing on meaning-making over trying to create beauty is likely to satisfy us more, plus more authentically communicate who we are and where we’re at to others. But then I got struck by another layer of this issue that I want to share with you here.
It’s about the price we have to pay if the ways we express our creativity are to go further into being actually punchy. Think vital, challenging, boat-rocking.
The price of admission is making art - and being creative in our lives - in ways that are ed...
We’re currently creating pass-along journals in the Crossing into Creativity program. Participants exchange journals at each meeting, add to it or otherwise change it, then pass it on at our next gathering.
The journal I got last week had $2 pinned into it, with a note: “Ok, could you do yourself a favor? Take these two dollars and spend them on something your soul wants but which your secretary will not allow. Report back.”
I imagined buying some special $2 bead at Nomad. But in a thrift store the next day - shopping for clothes for another current program project - a young woman nearby started talking to no one in particular about a little evening bag covered in shiny pink plastic scales. Then she put it back on the rack with a sigh, saying “Well, maybe one day…”
Without thinking I went over and asked her if she’d buy it if she could afford it. She said...
I read an article at the New York Times yesterday* about how ineffective willpower and effort are, for implementing New Year’s resolutions.
Apparently numerous studies show that what does work, really well - instead of gritting one’s teeth and getting all stressed out - is practicing gratitude and compassion, plus genuinely taking pride in our accomplishments.
As an independent teacher and psychotherapist, this new understanding is going to change the logistics part of my worklife, the part I’ve typically enjoyed less than actually working with people - which I can never get enough of!
I call dealing with logistics deskworld. As for many of us, this can take way... more time than I want it to. So I’m going to experiment with changing deskworld into another form of play, each time I set out into it.
I love accidentally discovering new ways to do things.
I made a mind map* recently. It took three versions to get to a completed, articulate - if somewhat daunting - depiction of my current life as a whole.
But I kept the second work-in-progress version, on which I'd drawn all the categories I needed to include, but also ended up with lots of crossings-out, redirecting arrows, etc. I couldn't quite bring myself to throw out this second version, even though it looked messy and chaotic. Or perhaps because I somehow suspected that this might actually be a truer map of my life than the third, "finished" version?
This morning, I was wondering if I should after all just throw it out. The idea suddenly came of cutting it into squares and reassembling it into a random pattern. It just took five minutes with a paper cutter t...
I’ve grappled with writing about the election for the last sixteen days, since You Know What befell us here in the land of the now increasingly overtly Disunited States.
During this time I’ve read seemingly innumerable editorial responses to You Know What, and You Know Who. I can hardly stand any more prophecies and predictions of doom, as they appear to be to me, a middle-class woman with undeniable white privilege, exacerbated by a doctorate in how we think about, how recognize, that we do, actually, create our realities.
But I can’t help throwing my own typing hands into the written ring today as one way of celebrating Thanksgiving. What I’ve been grappling to articulate is not so in fashion right now. I offer it aware that I may be proven just plain wrong, over time, though I sure hope not.
The only vision that I truly want, in my heart of hea...
Many years ago, I went into what looked like an antique store, off the plaza in Santa Fe. Inside, a museum-like world of ancient treasures.
I got talking with the owner, who unexpectedly took two objects out of a desk drawer and handed them to me. Suddenly, two 25,000 years old black stone statuettes in my hands. Deep black stone goddesses from Old Europe that fit like they belonged there. A stunned sensation. A fierce split-second desire to run, to never be parted from them again. I’d spent my life seeing such things behind glass in museums - but to hold this palpable ancientness was startling like lightening is startling, and unforgettable.
After a few moments I handed them back. He casually dropped them back into the drawer, saying that he’d just sold the pair of them, brought the price down from the original $100,000, for both. A merchant’s merc...
Recently a friend and I went for a lazy Saturday afternoon drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, near where we live. It was a sharp-cold, bright winter day, not long before Christmas. We were cruising along enjoying the snowy wilderness, idly looking for a place to pull over and go walking from. Then we saw a number of stationary cars up ahead, so pulled up behind them.
There was half an elk herd on the mountainside to our left - the one old stag there grazing peacefully with obviously no concern about the situation below. The others, grazing in the meadow on our right. Most were within fifty feet, a few within ten feet, including one or two at a time immobile in the road, in front of or between cars.
A couple of them spent a few minutes licking salt off of an SUVs’ tires. One of them stumbled and nearly fell, stepping onto t...
The real task of art is to create a new, a meta-reality, combining the world as received with the life of the mind…How can we loose the hold ordinary living has upon us so that we may begin to open up to the possibility of a larger, a new, an unknown universe?
– Peter London, No More Second Hand Art
Europe has been being altered for decades by ongoing influxes of migrants. Think Algerians emigrating to France. Think people from all over the world, including large numbers from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating to Britain. Think people from poorer European Union nations moving to its richer nations.
Europe is now about to be a whole lot more fundamentally changed by the huge waves of refugees fleeing conflict, violence and persecution in the middle east, Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I’m European by birth and upbringing. I emigrated to the US 30...