Walking in the space

July 24th, 2015 No comments

Student Me walks in the space.
Teacher Me walks in the space.
Teacher Me invites others into a state of pretending.

Teacher Me is blamed for others’ choices to feel.
Student Me is invisible.
Student Me apologizes for suffering created by others.

Teacher Me feels sad walking back into the space.
Student Me seeks compassion in dark places.
Teacher Me allows Student Me to get lost.

Student Me walks in the space.
Teacher Me observes the walk.
Student Me becomes the space.

Good Friday to Next Friday

May 3rd, 2014 No comments

The pseudo lent was 50% of the time successful in that I did have several days when I just did not stay off the restricted items of dairy, caffeine, wheat and sugar. The two common breech items were sugar (highly addictive) and wheat (often made with and into sugar). It was a strong affirmation that wheat and sugar are items that I really benefit staying aware from, if only for the reason that I feel so much better when I don’t digest them.

My lenten challenge was officially broken before Easter at the post-concert late night dinner on Good Friday. Our choir had just finished a hugely successful performance of Mozart’s Requiem that evening; an accomplishment I was not about to let pass without a celebration. We ate at India Oven on W 4th Ave. in Vancouver. The $10 pitchers of Phillips beer were a great value, and just a bonus to what was already a delicious meal of freshly made Indian dishes ranging from eggplant masala to fish curry and their famous butter chicken. I still managed to remain vegetarian at this dinner, though.

That was two weeks ago and now we are one week away from the first Many Ways of Mothering: evening of songs and real life stories taking place at Dunbar Heights United Church at 6:30pm. It is my tribute to the volunteer artists/advocates who nurture the voices of the those in search of their own unique expression. I’m not a mother and though it is not my experience, I recognize that Mother’s Day, like other holidays, can be a difficult time for different reasons to be around others who are celebrating. Maybe due to loss, infertility, envy even; all these are human experiences that needn’t keep us from honouring the many ways that we do nurture ourselves and others. Because for me, the mothering spirit is not marked by the act of giving birth, it is how one chooses to remain in relationship with that which is already alive.

Many Ways of Mothering, May 9, 2014.

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Pseudo Lent

March 6th, 2014 No comments

I am a day late for posting what intends to be a series of posts chronicling my experience of lent, the Christian season of preparation for Easter.

In my childhood home I remember lent as a time for giving up things that were really fun or delicious, like tv or chocolate. It’s a time for reflection. How giving up chocolate gets in the way of reflection, I can’t say I understand, but I do appreciate the benefits of living without comforts whilst doing activities which cultivate mindfulness and holistic serenity.

Each Spring for the last 4 years, I do a nutritional cleanse. This year I’ve decided to combine the cleanse with lent.

Comforts I’m doing without until Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014: Caffeine, Dairy, Sugar, Wheat

Practice I’m picking up until Easter Sunday: Writing daily (which is intended to resurrect this blog and find out what it wants to be) for 20 minutes. Accumulated time on text messages, emails and work documents don’t count.

Today being Day 1, it will be forty-six days of a daily writing practice and 45 days without caffeine, dairy, sugar or wheat – that’s right, I’m having a croissant and a cappuccino on Easter Sunday!

In the spirit of Jesus’ time in the desert, it is the 40 days and 40 nights that I’m going for (not necessarily consecutive). I figure this allows for human imperfection.

Why am I doing this if I don’t identify as being Christian? Well, regardless of whether or not I believe in the grand narrative of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, there seems to be some principles in how he lived that are worthwhile reflecting upon.

And I guess I do it for a ritual to make the season of Spring and Easter meaningful, the way we do with Christmas and Winter Solstice.

Hhmm, I wonder if Jesus gave up meaning-making while he was in the desert. Maybe “the devil” was really an spout of psychosis because he hadn’t had anything to drink or eat. I wonder how different our world would look today if Jesus was medicated and put in a psych ward with a diagnosis.

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Happy New Year 2014

January 3rd, 2014 No comments

This year I will do more morning yoga.

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Starting Block Readings, April 22

April 5th, 2013 No comments

For ten weeks in 2012, I met with a group of emerging playwrights and professional dramaturg/playwright David Geary in the small library at Playwrights Theatre Centre where we were called Block A. It was such a fruitful and nurturing time for my writing practice. In a few weeks, we each will have excerpts from our works-in-progress from our Block A sessions. I’m very excited to read the work of my peers and make no apologies for being completely green with nerves for having my writing read in public. Despite that, it’s likely to make for a fun evening.

Presented by Creative Dominion Theatre Society and PTC, the readings will take place shortly after a delightful Annual General Meeting for Creative Dominion.

Monday, April 22, 2013  19:00

Carousel Theatre (next to Granville Island Brewery on Granville Island)

Admission by donation with cash bar and light snacks.

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Volunteering with Artist for Conservation Festival

September 22nd, 2012 No comments

As an artist and nature lover, few volunteer opportunities ignite my passions as much as the upcoming 2nd Annual Artist For Conservation Festival!

From October 13 – 21, 2012 the festival will feature lectures, demonstrations, performances and the World’s Finest Conservation-Themed Art Exhibit on Grouse Mountain .  It is an Artist For Conservation initiative designed to inspire, engage and connect artists with all who are passionate about conservation and exquisite art!

It is a rare opportunity for locals to meet internationally acclaimed artists such as Robert Bateman, Pollyanna Pickering and Guy Combes at this touring exhibit of conservation-themed art from across the globe.  Originals and limited edition prints of the 500 juried pieces in the exhibit will be for sale. And while there is a black tie gala on October 12th, even a student artist like me can access the festival with a Grouse Mountain Skyride Admisson and a willingness to be inspired!

There is a Meet-Up group and a Facebook page to connect with others and receive news on events before the festival.

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Singing German in a Big Stone Church

August 16th, 2012 2 comments

In little over 10 weeks, I will have sung (however amateur) a most magnificent and intensely challenging choral work called Ein deutsches Requiem, nach Worten der Heiligen Schrift – A German Requiem, to the Words of the Holy Scripture.

Johannes Brahms wrote this huge work of seven movements in 1868 and on August 25, 2012, the Summer Chor, directed by Alison Nixon, will present Brahms’ masterpiece in a big stone church in downtown Vancouver.  Even if you don’t believe in God, or you don’t think you like classical music, I really do think that there is something special in this event that almost anyone can enjoy.  Imagine producing an expression of your thoughts and feelings in a manner that resonates with so many, it gets reproduced 144 years after its creation.

SummerChor 2012 Concert Poster

Contrary to the words we sing, it does not feel like we’re singing about or to God in the same way when we sing hymns in English.  Once I actually mark my music with translations, this may change.  But really what I mean to say is this sacred music is in a class of its own.  Despite the language barrier, the music, sung in all four choral parts with piano and organ, offer up a journey of the human spirit through valleys and sunsets.

We started rehearsals in June, and for the first rehearsal I listened; barely singing a note due to an overwhelming sense of incompetence.  There is so much to coordinate: pitch, placement of vowels, making sense of German, rhythm, breathe support, dynamics (is it soft, quick, loud, lyrical etc.?), looking at the conductor and the music.  And then there is the fact that one singing does not really hear how one truly sounds. If you have ever recorded your voice, played it back and heared a voice slightly different from what you hear when you speak, you will know this to be true for singing as well.  It is the only musical instrument of its kind with the complication of human anatomy for producing and perceiving sound.

As we start rehearsals with the Dunbar Heights United Church Choir in September, more reflections to come on the process of learning to sing classical music.  Until then, come listen to Summer Chor at:

St. Andrew-Wesley Church, Burrard & Nelson                   Saturday, August 25, 2012, 7pm

Tickets at the door $15 (or $10 in advance until Aug. 22 from a choir member)

Renewing Vows to Artistry

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Today I contemplate what I would do with my time if I knew I would not fail and financial security were guaranteed. Art. The making of it, learning different disciplines, sharing the knowledge through teaching, performance, and facilitating collective art-making.

Why Art?  It’s often thought to be a bonus elective in schools, an activity we do “if we have time” after the very important tasks of running a household, business or community.  Because so many enjoy it and common is the belief that earned income must come through difficult unpleasant work, then it is quite understandable that we would think of the Arts as play for children, not for an adult serious about making a living wage.  And while it is feels good to write about it, there are uncomfortable challenges that come with choosing an Arts discipline as a profession.  Admittedly, I have had my moments of wishing that I could be someone I am not for the ability to take the well-worn path of other occupations with plenty of employment to go around and minimal risk.

The Arts, for me, is where the discovery of Self and Other meet, have a conversation, make-up alternate possibilities from our current reality and then dare us to live differently, sometimes more bold and hopefully, less afraid. It’s important work!  How else shall we communicate our inner world to the outer world but through the arts?  And were it not for this communication between inner and outer worlds, how else could we evolve our minds, our thoughts, indeed, our actions which create the world we experience?

Many people say they want a happy experience in this life.  Many want a clean world, a peaceful world, a joyful and loving world, but how many believe that the Arts practices are an important part of creating that?  Who of those protesting corruption, violence and environmental destruction will persist in advocating for the Arts?  It’s a connection not often made clear with of generations of programming about what gets desirable, monetized results in our industrialized society.  I believe the value of our artistic expression and creative thinking in general, is immeasurable, like the Self from which it emerges.  To protect the beauty, peace and joy in the world is to propagate the belief that the Arts are a vital lifeline for humanity.

The closest thing I know to marriage is my commitment to artistic expression.  Perhaps this marries me to all of humanity.  And like all marriages, it is the choice to renew the vow on a daily basis that makes the commitment real.  Today, I vow to honour my wacky artist self and persist in arts practices.  What do you do to strengthen your Artist?

Cycle tour in Pondicherry

February 23rd, 2012 No comments

I met many great people along the tour through South India, more of whom I’ll write when the Mumbai to Manila: Cycle Our Light project gets a new online home. Here, our friend and fellow Vancouver choir member, Mark Jacobs, tells the story about our meeting in Pondicherry with a cycling and sustainability pioneer, Bappu.

Where I’ve been lately

December 16th, 2011 No comments

Among the top on my list of great accomplishments is getting to Ooty, Tamil Nadu via the Kallati Road on an ebike.  I was happy to make it to Mysore, over a 100km away, so getting to Ooty was a thrill!  More about my adventures on the Stromer ebike at humanergycoop.com and the facebooke group “humanergycoop – cycle our light”.

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