Flocking to the edge of the cobblestones, murky water flows by and the sun is hot. A line-up of people stand at the ready with their homemade boats-of-dreams: a half watermelon full of confetti, a fragile leaf with a handwritten letter, a cast of twigs woven into a raft. One by one, these dreamers toss their biodegradable boats into the great big muddy with a wild whoop or a quiet wish, a cascade of flower petals or a casual column of incense.
In between Earthaven and Kripalu I stop in New York. Funny choice; I am a connoisseur of high contrast. From off the grid to gridlock: fast furious wonderful horrible intense fascinating empty. Observe the difference. Freak out!! Observe. Freaks! Homo sapien means a million things. I love us. We terrify me too.
Sometime near last new year I scrawled large in my journal four verbs: M O V E + L E A R N + C R E A T E + W O R S H I P – core action words I feel best when embodying daily. As I designed a soul school break from the nitty gritty pretty city to recast my personal vision, these verbs anchor and fuel my aliveness.
I was honored to present during “FRED talks” at the Rustbelt to Artist Belt conference about Art & Social Change. Stepping back from an active community arts practice due to an illness and swirling big picture questions had left me feeling estranged from the CAT community and STL in general…
US LIGHT. A few years ago, a group of friends made a yearly tradition of collaborating on a holiday pageant called “May These Changes Make Us Light.” US LIGHT became my nickname for it, abbreviating to reference the kind of power we have together when we are supporting the unfolding of each other’s highest potential. This brave togetherness requires a both an ability to inhabit the Now moment with open-ended curiosity, and a willingness to bear with inevitable dark glimpses of each other’s shadows–without jumping ship.
Molting was not a metaphor, it was a reality. I felt floaty, fuzzy, ejected from my ‘normal’ life – I cared about very little. Sort of in shock, I entirely withdrew from people, work, and projects. Going out was not in my frame of possibility – I wanted to hide from the wind, the sun, from humans, from the intensity and hideousness of my feelings. Bathtime was my sole consolation. Stillness. Can I be equanimous with this?
“Ace me:” a cocky gauntlet, a whispered plea, surrendered, confident, raising the bar, have my all. Sort of like but way beyond: bedroom’s ‘F*** Me’, or checker’s ‘King Me!!!!’ Here — My life is on the line. What is worth it? How do I do it? For years I’d bike Manchester and only see those first two syllables of the ACE METAL building; that sweet mandate phrase would come foreground, percolate, ring around me.
As I am preparing for the Critical Mass Creative Stimulus 2011 exhibition coming up August 5th at the Regional Arts Commission, I revisited the intention I expressed at the project’s inception. Here’s the proposal I sent in last spring. Along with Sarah Paulsen, Emily Heymeyer, and Alex Petrowsky, I was awarded $1000 as a stipend to encourage open-ended creativity…. soon we’ll share what’s been stewing!
As we transform so do our streets and systems. Ghettomorphosis means casting a fresh way of city-building based in self-healing, power-sharing, nature-remembering. No rush. Just us. Ghettomorphosis gives “gentrification” a playful spanking and takes back the keys please!