What Matters Most

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I only choose projects that feel fully integrated with who I am and what I want to put in the world. I’m pretty lucky that I get to operate that way, and I’ve worked hard to be in this place both internally and externally. 

I just finished a big 2 month project : bringing Aloha to New York City in the form of out-of-this-world Hula dancers and musicians and 18 gorgeous modern dancers dressed in elaborate costumes that evoke the land of Hawaii. We were hired by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau to bring these Random Acts of Aloha (coined by the CMO) to NYC. We had 4 performances pop-up in different locations around manhattan. It was a lot of work, and it was a dream project.

But here’s what matters most : it was important to me that the feeling of aloha, oneness, joy in the present moment, love, the spirit of Hawaii happen throughout every aspect of this project. One of the costumes makers said, “This project is saving my life right now. I’m really needing to be creative in this way.” Many of the P.A.s said that this was one of the best gigs they’ve ever worked. The make-up artists said they were happy to be a part of the magic. One make-up artist said with her eyes big and jaw agape, “Wow, something .. really .. special is going on here. I’m so glad to be here.” The modern dancers said things like, “Thank you for bringing aloha into my life, this is really something wonderful” and “This is an experience I will never forget. Thank you for the incredible opportunity to give and receive aloha” and “I’m so happy I got to be a part of this. The spirit of Hawaii will be with me always”. 

This feeling expressed by our team, this matters for them personally and it matters for the campaign because as we allow ourselves to be bigger we can transmit that magic to the world. I heard things from the public like, “ Look what’s come to our city! And someone handed me this flower! I want to book a ticket now!”. I think this is beyond costumes and world class dancers. I think this is an embodiment of something powerful and beautiful. 

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m going to make the point big and bold :

this story is a metaphor for our lives….

Though I was the creative director, it’s not about me. It’s about something bigger. It’s ALWAYS about something BIGGER. The more we can live big in ourselves and our hearts, the more we can create a vortex of aloha, the more we can create the space for the people around us to live BIG (true, authentic, powerful, alive, glorious), the better for the world, the whole world. I really believe this.

Aloha, from my heart to yours.

MOVE TOWARD LOVE

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I look at the hate (fear) and brutality in the world and I feel crushed, physically crushed. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe. The unjust and blatant violence perpetrated by the police against innocent unarmed black men (with no recourse) hurts my heart in a way that I can’t even convey. The simple thin words are: I feel anger and despair and powerlessness. 

I say this to all of us. Don’t look away. Don’t be crippled by the hurt. Don’t be poisoned by the anger. Don't let the despair of the injustice paralyze you. I am writing this through tears. Cry and keep moving toward the world in which you want to live. Feel the fury and stand your ground for what is right. What is right is love. Only love is right. Cry and keep moving toward love. Punch the sky and move toward love.

You can move forward in a way that is true to you. The way I move toward wholeness is through connection, dance, play, joy, beauty. 

So, I reached out to a friend who is a member of St Joseph Christian Methodist Church in Chapel Hill. I had the idea of doing some sort of outreach between the black community and the police that involved song or dance. Within days I had a meeting with the pastor and the outreach coordinator. They loved the idea. YAY. Next week we are meeting with the Chief of Police to get them on board.

The plan is a BIG ASS DANCE PARTY. We are inviting the police to attend and connect more deeply with the black community. We will dance together. We will share a human moment of play and connection and beauty. In that moment we will all move to the same beat.

YES. We will dance together.

Don’t look away my warriors of the heart. Run as fast as you can toward joy, love, and goodness. 

Contact me if you want to be a part of this!

 

 

ATTENDing

On my way home from Pennsylvania last week, I stopped at Tom and Rod’s snug little cabin, sweetly nested in the woods of West Virginia. The woods are wild and yet, it was clear this wildness had been attended to. The ground was clearly being cared for.

Inside the cabin were many antique objects, all of them with a story. The tiny kitchen was brimming with dishes, vintage and handmade; every corner was occupied. And, instead of it feeling oppressively full, it felt like an embrace. Standing there, I felt encircled by all those beautiful stories, all that love. The reason it felt like this, I think, is because the objects were not placed and forgotten. It was apparent that they too were being attended to. 

This has changed how I clean (attend to my things). There’s a huge difference between cleaning as a chore, a task that is only being done to get to the end of it and caring for this object, tending to it with respect. It has shifted cleaning from a chore to an act of love. 

I see a cleaner (more loved) house in my future.

THIS MUST BE THE PLACE

This Must Be the Place

When we find the places in the world where we feel a physical resonant sense of belonging, an ineffable yes, then more magic is possible. This works on the same premise as homeopathy and Human Design and probably many ancient healing principles. If we are particles, and science says we are, then it makes sense that if we put our particle-filled human bodies in a place that vibrates at a similar frequency, that shares similar particle composition, then BAM, we are ignited. Beautiful things happen. Magic Happens.

North Carolina does that for me. Taos, New Mexico did that for me. Kauai sent me flying off the charts in a yes so big the sky couldn’t even hold it. My Goldilocks heart felt North Carolina was just right.

AND, listen to this Lumineers cover of “This Must Be the Place”. This Talking Heads song was an absolute anthem for me in my twenties. It was one of those songs that reached inside me and pulled all the right strings making my spirit soar and my body dance. North Carolina knows how to pull my heartstrings. When I was visiting her about 8 years ago, she reached inside my heart and said, “Remember me, I am your place, you need to be here”. I listened.

This must be the place.

A WAY IN

When I take a photograph I am expressing the essence of what I’m seeing. 

As I photograph, I fall and fall and fall in love with what is in front of me, color, texture, light, the palpable elegance of composition. 

My eyes are connected to my heart and through my heart I am able to merge, by way of love and devotion, with my subject. In so doing, the subject is no longer subject, we are one.

We have nervous systems that are largely overworked, overstimulated. Pausing to take a photograph allows me to pause, in general. It allows me to be in a moment of rapture. To have a moment with what has caught my attention:: to listen, to feel, to see, to feel :: I am given an opportunity to open the door to the mystical. It’s not reserved for gurus and new age nutters, a mystical experience, a moment of grace and merging with the divine is available to all of us. But, we have to look and we have to pause and we have to open. For me, the camera is one of the ways in. 

To see beyond the wide vista and the mind’s naming and categorizing, grass, mountain, cloud, we can dive more deeply into what we are seeing and embody that which is so very glorious.

MONSIEUR BAGHEAD

Play shows up in many forms. A primary characteristic is it's nonlinear. In other words, I don't know where I'm going. I think the more we can embrace this notion the more free we are.

One of my primary job requirements is to play. It is my calling to bring that play into the world AND to be a guide for others to find that place of freedom and creativity ... PLAY.

I decided to make masks out of paper bags. I had no idea what character would emerge. I let my hands begin with a cut, ah, there's expression and character in that one mark. And then I listen. What wants to happen next? This dude needs a beard. Electrical tape. The handles from the bag became oversized ears.

And then I inhabit the mask. Who is this guy? Turned out he was french and very buttoned up. He said, "mais, non" a lot. And here's a little video. Mais, oui! 

music by Onra

SMALL STONES

I was turned on to this sweet writing practice, small stones.

I don't consider myself a writer. I tend to archive my life visually and express myself physically. However, this practice seemed like an artful way to chronicle moments from my day in a way that felt doable and nourishing.

So, I joined the Mindful May Writing group on Facebook, and I'm doing a small stone a day. Sharing my writing is an edge for me. So I'm pushing that edge a little farther and sharing one of my small stones here. 

I encourage you to push yourself just out of your comfort zone. After all, the vast majority of us are SO much bigger than we show. 

peonies

the peony’s time is now

all of the elements have conspired

to produce this frilly profusion of perfection

 

pink and white

petticoats of petals

her perfume she flaunts like a girl who does not know her untameable beauty

Blast off

I had the great privilege of co-leading a workshop for some fabulous people at NASA. Jerri Chou ( from Feast on Good ) invited Alex Todaro ( from Median ) and I to join her in leading a workshop on innovation and collaborative creativity. 

We designed an agenda that specifically addressed the needs of the particular group with which we were working. It was deeply satisfying to create something tailor made to facilitate shift. Shift happened, blast off. So fun.

Dream, Freedom, Beauty

Dream Freedom Beauty .. it's a podcast! It's inspired work by two sparkling sisters named Natalie and Lizzy Ross. I was honored to be invited on their show. 

SO FUN.

It's worth listening to their other interviews, they're so professional, smart, insightful!

But, first start listening HERE

 

DRAGONS

THE DRAGONS INSIDE OF US WANT TO BE LOVED
— RILKE

ECSTATIC FEAST ART TOUR

CRAZY excited to hit the road late summer.

It's a complete dream come true.