Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Speech at Buffalo's Common Council Public Hearing on Arts Funding

So instead of using this Blog once every few months, I thought I would write more frequent shorter posters and also share some of the other things I've been up to. Some know that back in november, in response to a budget crisis in Buffalo where arts and cultural funding was cut to more then 33 organizations, I co-founded a group called Empower Arts Buffalo and I've been very active in helping to promote a sense of collaboration in the midst of this staggering blow. New has been promising, a well known "catalyst" for change in Buffalo the John R. Oishei foundation has stepped up to offer some emergency funds. Artvoice has been running a two month long "Give 4 Greatness" campaign, which I am involved with as an event coordinator. And now, the city of Buffalo's common council is stepping up in what may be a move that restores arts funding for the first time in a decade to the city budget. I had no idea my remarks would make the news, but below you can hear several clips of the speakers. I walked in, tired, after a long long day, but felt it necessary to add to the numbers at this public hearing, as it was also passover and a Sabres playoff game. I am grateful that our voices were heard.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Astonishment and Kula

If you click on this link it will take you to the home page for the Michael Chekhov Association, of which I am a member. http://www.michaelchekhov.org/ 

Within moments, thanks to the glory that is email, something I have a love/hate relationship with, as many of us probably do, I was connected to three MICHA colleagues over a simple question. Jessica then asked me, "have you seen the windsor video?" I had received the email about it but had put it in the dusty folder unofficially called "i'll get to it"but as I have re- started "Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance" by Julia Cameron, again, I am paying a bit more attention then usual to synchronicity and signs. 

So I obliged, and was quite moved, and instantly reconnected with something I have been disconnected from. Yesterday, in her book, Cameron mentioned how the source of our drama and discontent as artists , or creative beings (which we all are) is almost always when we aren't doing the "work." Now for some of us that work is meditation, for others writing, for others acting... it doesn't matter, but as Cameron keenly points out, "We hear so often that the artist's temperament is restless, irritable, and discontented. All of that is very true-- when we are not working. Let us get in a good day at the page or the easel and we are suddenly sunny and user-friendly. It is the blocked artist who is such a study in malcontent. Artists have an itch that nothing can scratch except work."

And I was right under the heading of the young creative she is describing in that character, blaming all of these other people, myself and situations on my frustration and blocked-ness. But I can feel myself shifting. Saw a beautiful quote on a wall at a health care practitioner's office the other day:

Those who blame others have not yet begun their education.
Those who blame themselves have begun their education.
Those who blame no one have completed their education. 

So I have been thinking a lot of about blame, and the isolation that resides inherently within it. When we move past blame there is now room for objectivity, patience, and astonishment. Michael Chekhov said, "We must not forget that one of our greatest technical abilities is astonishment." In removing blame and guilt, we find our way back to the wonderment and joy of what we can behold and take in, and in remembering that we are connected, deeply connected. And as we open ourselves to this way of seeing, it invites more of the same, and we can feel ourselves re-programming on a soul level.

Kula is a sanskrit word that translates to "family of the heart" or "family the heart chooses." I am becoming humbly and so deeply gratefully aware of the kula I am part of. It is far reaching, and all of the members don't know one another necessarily- distant relations that haven't met, but share me in common, or others in common. We are sensitive beings, more so then we often realize, or we forget our sensitivity. What we ingest on a daily basis has direct impact on our mental and spiritual well being. 

Who is your kula? how can you deepen your connection with this people? Reach out right now  via email or phone and thank those who support you, nurture you, cheer you, give you space to grow into all that you are, honor when you are taking time for yourself.