Year of yin: an openingĀ 

September hung heavy on my shoulder. All long grey feathers & stench of rot in the earth. Too long to be comforting, too steady to be hostile. Pressing shoulder blades like tectonic plates, slow & steady, grinding along the surface. A dull ache behind my temple as my two eyes blinked through the darkness holding them hostage. I felt a sudden longing to be free of this earthly drudge & glide among the stars as bubbling laughter or careless whispers. No light & airy thing ruffled these feathers tonight. Instead, solemnly holding my limbs in suspended slumber, weighted by this uncomfortable pressure shifting just out of reach to my blind gape. Then, to my surprise, from the darkest depths there began to spring a crack. A clear red slit of fire. Blood red smile. Taunting me against the bleakness. It grew to a tall gash releasing flighty embers that burned into my retinas like stars. As the crack grew, burbling molten suffering as it went, I began to see that this was the door that I had been searching for all along.

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5x dear souls

Super charged new moon energy this weekend. I’m looking forward to painting my lips & disappearing into private witchy things. Here are a few things I’ve been mulling over.

  1. Fall Equinox Brings Kali & The Burning of the Old Self via dear soul, actress, and activist Michelle Thrush
  2. Anaak – Escape via dear soul & artist Stephanie Kuse
  3. The Aesthetic Language of Pina Bausch via AnOther
  4. Gender is Not a Spectrum via dear soul & artist Annette Marie Nedlienka
  5. Warpaint’s new release Heads Up
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OVERHEAR by Out of the Box Theatre

The next, and probably last, performance piece I am working on this year is Overhear by Out of the Box Theatre. Torien Cafferata approached me with the opportunity to be a part of this uniquely intimate experience & I couldn’t resist.

If you are interested in learning more you can check the Facebook event here.

I don’t want to spoil anything for those planning on attending, but this has been an extremely emotionally demanding piece for me to create. This is the last project on my plate before beginning my fruits & flowers phase. I’m excited to see how it will be received, and to hopefully understand a little more about catharsis role in art & healing from this project.

If you can make it out I would love to hear your experience receiving the piece, and I look forward to sharing my experience creating it after. 

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Depression & Creativity

Most of my writing has sprung from the fertile black soil of depression, but my creativity does not bloom in the darkness of the soul. Longer nights & greyer days. I struggle to keep pace in the changing seasons. I long for solitude, silence, and long autumn walks. Instead it is a ghastly busy season filled with errands of the daily grind I would rather leave undone. 

Would these bleak hours feel more hospitable if I were master over my own time to whittle away the dwindling days in my cabin amongst the falling leaves? Or am I cursed to count these mortal hours listlessly in the waning of the year as the darkest hour of the soul?

I am tired. Barely energy to get through the day. I crave rest. A peace of mind I have not known in many a moon.

Medicating to stay a float I find that I’m faced with the rot that has accumulated in the corners of my mind. No longer concealed by the reeling of my thoughts. Regulated interactions make me question. It’s a long road to better off than the poor old soul in the casket. Don’t we all crave the sweet release of death? And yet here we are busy with the business of living, but to what end?

My depression does not stoke the fires of my creativity rather it sucks me dry, but it’s such an old friend I would be lost with out it. Am I depressed because I ask too much of life? Or is life too much for me because I am depressed? I wish my brain would get on with the business of living already. Everything around me is dying & it is so awfully dull.

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The pupil asks the teacher

Once upon a time there was a very sleepy pupil and a very smart teacher. Or wait, was it a very sleepy teacher and a very smart pupil? Once upon a time there was a very smart teacher and a very smart pupil. They sat down to a battle of wits, but they lost because they couldn’t stay awake long enough to see the conclusion. No wait, they were both asleep in a dream about a question neither of them could answer. Wait, I’m going to start again. Once upon a time a student asked their teacher why they always slept through their lessons “wouldn’t it be much easier to draw conclusions on the chalkboard awake?” The teacher said to the student “I am too tired to draw your conclusions for you anymore why don’t you dream some up yourself?” No, this is all wrong. Once upon a time a student asked their teacher to tell them a story that could illustrate this lesson, but the teacher asked the student to dream up their own. After a time the student said “Once upon the time there was a very sleepy pupil and a very smart teacher. Or wait-“

Often what unschooling looks like is a series of fascinating questions. 

One of my favourite books as a child was a little picture book called Ernie Follows His Nose. It was a simple story of someone innocently following their curios nose to explore the world around them. It sounds silly in its naivety, but neatly illustrates one of the corner stones of student directed learning.

To make a crude comparison: the traditional industrial education model is structured to have a single point of authority stand at the front and deliver a lot of information that is meant to impart a series of answers which students are then graded on for accuracy. In this model questions only arise as a means to get to the end of the lesson. There is a shame for having too many questions. They gum up the flow of the knowledge machine, which is why we separate students out for learning too quickly or too slowly to improve efficency.

By contrast, unschooling dives in question first with no time to raise hands to authority. The student is at the front of the expedition actively engaged in wrestling with their personal multitudinous sea of questions “Where did that smell come from? Why did this happen? How does that work? When will this occur? Who is that? What am I?” The lessons are an accumulative experience as students gather information while following their curiosity only measuring success against their own appetite. The unschooling motto is “the world is my classroom – learning all of the time.”

I believe that to be deeply curios is to hold a simultaneous respect for rigor & whimsy. Curiosity must be nimble enough to chase after the glittering fascinating thing while also plying fastidious attention to the understanding of it. Questions manifest more curiosity manifest more questions. A healthy appetite for the unknown is essential to my creative practice & self studies.

With all that in mind here are…

Questions I am currently contemplating:

  1. What is the mind/body connection? How does this connection affect our health & growth?
  2. What is catharsis? What is its role in art, and what is its role in healing, and are the two related?
  3. What does it mean to be useful in society? Is it necessary?
  4. How do we cultivate nurturing love? 
  5. How does the expression of self impact the relation to self & the selves experience of the world?
  6. What does it mean to be androgynous? In a post-binary world would androgyny be necessary?
  7. What does it mean to be in alignment? Is the idea of a best self a subtle expression of internalized shame, and if so what does self acceptance & actualization look like beyond that?
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Half a morning thought

I keep getting trapped in the idea that finance is the only way to make my life bigger. Cold hard cash  seems to be the most direct route to get what I want because it doesn’t rely on me as a person having or creating any value in the world. This thought inherently devalues myself no wonder it’s so harmful & addictive. I’ve been happier on less, and not as successful on more. If balance is the key & im out of alignment then perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what else might be missing.

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