5x good morning

A tool kit for a good morning, enjoy.

  1. M x Blouse debut EP Bloom via SoundCloud 
  2. Taurus Super Moon Ritual via The Hood Witch
  3. Tanya Tagaq’s latest video 
  4. How Oakland’s Experimental Music Scene Became Queerer, Browner, and More Femme via BandCamp
  5. Jessica Zollman via The Great Discontent
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Chinook

Winter can’t decide if it’s thawing or freezing, but I’m ready to hibernate for another three months. 2017 started with a bang with Alt Alt DIY Fest which was such a huge success on so many levels that I could not have anticipated. However it left me feeling quite emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually drained for most of January and the better part of February. I’ve been in denial about how much that event took out of me because it was so truly obviously worth it, but living in denial is not the start to being able to adequately replenish myself.

Now that it is nearly March, and new projects are on the horizon, I am taking time to reflect on what it is I need to move forward. Burn out is a luxury I am afforded as a single person with good support networks and steady employment with health benefits. I can work myself to the bone for my community then collapse inwardly because no one is counting on me for their 24/7 sustenance, and because I know there are people around me who will catch me if I fall too deeply into depression or self loathing. It is truly a privileged position that I feel blessed to occupy, but this is not how I want to create in my career. Periods of intense creation, and intense seclusion will always be necessary to my practice, but neither state should be so extreme that it put such unnecessary strain on my day to day ability to live my life.

A huge part of the burn out taking two months is that I need to work 35 hours a week in addition to the 20-30 hours of creative & community work required by projects of this scale in order to support myself. It is hard for me currently to imagine a point when that level of work would not be required in order to stay a float, however I recognize that is a limitation in my belief structure rather than a hard fact. The question then becomes how to move beyond that bias in order to start to look at ways to become more self sufficient.

This is a powerful lesson to take from Alt Alt, the gift that keeps on giving, and now that I’ve identified what I want to avoid I need to set my imagination to work to find a new way. How can I create a practice that allows for projects of this scale without sacrificing my well-being?

It’s Pisces season, and spring is just around the corner which I feel is a good time to reflect on this question. I’m asking for creative vision to guide me in the next month as I look inwards to recenter. This is a time for tinkering, for dreaming, for meditating, for empathy, for love, for reflection. Planting seeds this month to harvest come June.

If you have experience or resources relating to managing burn out as a creative, or transitioning out of the work force let me know in the comments.

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End of the year goals

Checking in my New Years resolutions I’m feeling really good about the place I’m at. Feel very on target & happy with results. That being said there are always a few loose ends to wrap up as well as seeds to plant for the coming year.

My personal goals aka a recipe to flourish:

  • Paint/draw/craft 12 fruits & flowers in 12 weeks
  • Play more bass, write more songs
  • Cook more meals with less meat, consume less alcohol/intoxicants, practice mindful consumption for 8 months
  • Adjust morning rituals to darker season
  • Publish book of poetry, throw a party to celebrate (November)
  • Create dance/video collaboration in bloom (December)
  • Meditate, journal, observation, contemplation, yoga, mindful body work, presence, gentle focus, careful attention, joyful curiosity
  • Leave time for more reading, laughing, loving, hand holding, sharing, listening, dreaming

Community goals aka a offering for tomorrow:

  • Next stage of development for SPC engaging with membership to build thriving community results by May
  • Alt alt producing & mentoring learning cycle – a celebration of weirdos cummulate in January
  • Join international mentorship program (December)
  • Continue to support friends and cultivate strong bonds with women/non-binary folks

Professional goals aka ambition’s map:

  • Spend time catching up on administrative details that have escaped (December)
  • Build portfolio, documentation, and website (March)
  • Develop alternate revenue streams (November)
  • Continue to reach out and build bridges between creatives & businesses 
  • Keep saying no to offers that don’t make sense to leave room for the opportunities that excite me
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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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Emerging from the rabbit hole

I’m trying to save that piece of myself that doesn’t want to be saved. Every time I latch onto something I remember all the things I had to let go of to be here. This is what swimming through the ocean feels like. You are alone. Yet you are surrounded in every direction. Part of the largest body you will ever conceive of. Holding the only solid thing to ever support you. There you are. A blip on the map to nowhere in particular. No longer searching you bob, poised in the tension between all you can see above, and all you can see below, both unknowable, which way will you look? This is your holy land. Contained on the heart you carry in the psalm that you never learned to recite tracing back to your mothers heresey. A triason of devotion. To the unknown. A curious feeling of bleak unending fire lit unqunchable. Ask too many questions. Trust only the silence between faux answers fashioned after the times. We only know what we know already from there we guess what might lie beyond. Holding hands across the great divide. There is comfort in mutually agreed disorientation. We draw our own maps of the tides. This one turns us out of ourselves into unrecognizanle vessels of truth. This one draws us into our own mystery cinching day dreams along fault lines. The finger traces life lines snugly fit to my cradle of questions. The blood is in the unlearning the ticks that make a heart beat until we are finally still. Accept nothing. Be nothing. Practice meanwhile. That our hearts might freeze wide open like song birds on window sill in first cracks of spring. I’m alone in my thoughts as I undress myself after the spill. Ink blotched, hen scratched, eye ball disattached. The flowers had the look of flowers that are looked at. Even after all this time I am still myself, but perhaps more so than last I checked. Wilted as it is bloomed. The seed sprouts mind first and tastes expression last. Bitter sweet remembering. Gift yet to be unwrapped.

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I wanted to write something about my time as a labbit in the One Yellow Rabbit summer intensive with Denise Clarke, but everytime I tried to sum it up words seem to fail me. So naturally I returned to the poetic impressionism that pours out of my heart in times of divine inspiration. Thank you to the rabbits, labbits, and generous hearts that made this experience so memorable. I carry each of your cadouri in my heart.

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Words to live by

My intensity brings me great joy.

I seek the company of people who love me to be inspired

I must be appreciated for my enthusiasm never shamed

My drive for excellence doesn’t stress me out it relaxes me

I hear by give myself license to

Laugh even louder

Sing even stronger

And think even smarter

It’s not cool to be cool

It’s cool to be burning with a white hot lust for life

I am rising to the next octave

I am playing harder than I have ever played before

Words adapted from a 2013 horoscope on this website.

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Hope, or something like it

We are living in the post-follow-your-dreams era where most career advice has a dark cloud of the 2008 economic collapse, escalating student debt, and low graduate employment rates. “Push forward, with caution” is the anxious whispers from academic halls, and even career consultants meant to inspire feel the need to temper their motivation: “Do what you are passionate about so long as it is valuable and you are good at it.” The message is clear your passion is no currency for success and happiness, don’t risk it all on a dream.

The problem with this advice is it fails to take into consideration that no one has ever started out “good at” something. Passion is what carries you through those long hours of practice makes perfect, and keeps you up late at night solving for x when the average person would have given up and gone to bed. It’s creativity’s high voltage elixir . Without it you get xerox scanned clip art and slapped-together, good-enough solutions.

It’s likely that this advice is well intentioned, as the road to passion is long and arduous. It often will seem to move so slowly that everything appears at a standstill, and then suddenly darts ahead at lightening speed so that you struggle to keep pace with it. You will make mistakes. At first you might stumble or get turned around, and the path forward will not always be clear. You may even believe that these mistakes are because you are mistaken to follow this fool’s passion, but if you are committed to learning from the path your passion leads you on then you will begin to learn the patterns of it’s behavior, to track it like a wild beast, and perhaps even to lead the hunt to discover new opportunities that ignite your passion.

You are the keeper of your passion you must take good care of it so that it will take good care of you. Passion must have room to stretch it’s legs, to make a mess occasionally, to sing from the rafters at all hours of the night. It can be part jealous lover, part needy child, and part stern master. You must wholly invest in your mental and physical health, and your emotional and spiritual well-being in order to become the tool your passion uses to reach the world.

Often those that are committed followers of their passion say that they would not wish this life upon anyone, there are easier ways to make a buck, but if it is calling you then you know that it is not about making a buck. It is no small task to commit to living a passionate life. This is what those weary eyed career councilors are trying to warn you. It may never, and probably won’t, pay off in wild success and a steady pay cheque. The fastest way to unhappiness is to follow fool’s gold into the belief  that you will earn your way into passion for your life. If you just work a little harder, wait a little longer. If you wait to put your passion first it will shrivel up and die before it is given a chance to prove valuable.

Too many people run away from their passion out of fear of what it will ask of them, but it is not healthy to suppress a force so powerful. It will wear you down into the dirt until there is barely anything left. It is then that sparkle of passion shines the most brightly in order to lead us back to ourselves.

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