Posted on December 12, 2014
I am thrilled to participate in a studio sale this weekend with three other amazing Seattle artists, Mandy Greer, Kate Ryan and Vanessa DeWolf. All four of us are multi-media artists and are offering a deliciously diverse selection of work including photography, fine art jewelry, hand-crafted practical items and ephemeral experiences. Additionally, Mandy is opening her stash of vintage fabrics and findings for your perusal.
Our event is being held in the Silver Studio in the excellent Columbia City neighborhood in south Seattle.
Silver Studio – 5264 39th Ave. S
Saturday, December 13, noon to 6
Sunday, December 14, 1 to 5
I will be offering linocut-stamped notes and pen sets, hanging lanterns, small encaustic paintings, one-of-a-kind statement jewelry pieces and a variety of other sweet items to collect or give. I am also offering pay-what-you-will short Tarot readings.
Come connect! Come collect! We will welcome you with warmth and good cheer.
Posted on October 30, 2014
Several people have asked me, a co-op preschool teacher, how I am voting on the Prop 1A v. 1B question here in Seattle, WA. First, let me say that I (we all, I’m sure) want high quality education for children (through college/vo-tech). Of course! I do not believe, however, that children younger than 6 years of age need to be “educated” by adults. I believe that children of this age are best educated by themselves.
As a teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to 1. learn each child. What turns them on and what are their trickiest challenges. 2. Repeatedly offer tools in how to self-name and manage emotions and how to use appropriate physical tools and materials safely. Other than these, the most important part of my job (and why I choose this work) is to create delicious problems for kids to solve then get out of the way, but not too far, so they can fail, question, taste, mark, smash, wear, poke, ram, offer, steal and otherwise create more problems to solve for themselves.
My class knows that I (or another adult) will be right there to offer a hand, get more materials or help mediate a challenge. This is what they need me to do. This kind of exploration happens best in small groups, very small groups.
Okay, so back to how I am voting on the propositions. I am voting Yes on question 1 and For 1A because “childcare workers” should earn at least $25 an hour (okay, $15). Childcare costs should not be > 10% of family income. Violent felons should not be in the childcare field and there should be an organization to facilitate communication between the City and Childcare Workers. I like that the presumption here is that well trained, well paid workers (I like the term facilitators) can provide all that is needed for very young children to develop social skills and fall deeply in love with learning together. You do not need an expensive college degree to offer this. You just don’t. You don’t need fancy buildings – a home with a yard will do nicely.
1B proposes a Citywide offering of affordable preschools provided by qualified people. We actually already have that option now through our high quality cooperative school programs except we (teachers) are not required to have 4 year degrees in education. This is troubling for some, but I believe that requiring early childhood facilitators to have a specialized bachelors degree is prohibitive and unnecessary if good and affordable training/certification is available. Finally, children of this age group, SHOULD NOT BE TESTED/EVALUATED. This proposition was perhaps written and funded by excellent, well meaning folks, but early childhood educators, public school elementary teachers and caregivers, who are on their knees with this age group daily, were not specifically consulted or contributors to the writing of this proposition.
In a nutshell, trust children. Trust childhood. Children are hardwired to be extremely curious and will naturally wrestle with problems that are interesting to them. Spoon fed lessons will simply go in then out the other end with little to zero absorption. They will tell you and show you what they want to learn. Create magnificent early childcare facilitators by offering them affordable instruction and a livable wage and benefits, and offer LOTS of truly affordable childcare and we will reap healthier, happier humans.
And parents – hey – how about it – create problems together with your kid/s, offer TONS of cheap materials and plenty of time to solve the problems. And make messes. And sing and dance and read and fuck up and say you’re sorry and grow stuff and hug them. A lot. You’re already doing this, right?
Thanks for visiting.
Posted on October 14, 2014
“I want to be better than I am.”
DG: When a child says these words, it is often a matter-of-fact statement explaining why they’re working so hard at whatever they’re getting better at. Oftentimes when grown-ups say this, it seems to me that the words are attached to an old injury, to an old belief that we are damaged in some fundamental way that will preclude us from achieving our hearts’ desires be they spiritual or material.
I would like to offer you this: Schedule a date at home, by yourself, during a time when you can leave your electronics off, put on your favorite music and give yourself good things to eat and drink. Once comfortable, think back on times that you achieved something after working hard toward your goal. Maybe you were a kid and finally figured out how to whistle with your fingers. Maybe you felt great about planning and executing your first major trip. Once you have a few items listed, choose the one that makes you shake your head and smile. Though It may feel strange, get reacquainted with that self. Check in. Look at your smiling, content previous self and ask that self, “What did you do to overcome doubt and persevere?” Ask that self anything. Give that self the floor and ban judgment. Be conscious of any voices that sound off any discouraging or hurtful things. Quiet them and proceed. See if your previous self can muster the initial impetus for taking on the challenge – the dream. Watch the whole movie – hear the whole story. Now, what did that previous self do in spite of challenges? How did that self solve the problem/s? Once you have your answers, hold fast and know that those actions will work for you again to achieve your current dream. You will “be better” than you were by loving yourself through the hard parts.
Token: Please use this wool-wrapped pen to help you take notes.
“Wrist hurts after drawing to the point I can’t hold things?”
DG: How wonderful that you are working! Perhaps this particular work is something that must come now, no matter the cost? If so, I suppose it will. Things are born when it’s time.
If there is a different kind of imbalance, however; if the work is draining you and injurious to your body and not feeding you significantly, perhaps it’s more a distraction from something you’re avoiding rather than art.
I would like to offer you this: Every day, for the next 30 days, go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally do. Wear clean, comfy pajamas and climb into clean, good smelling sheets. Put on soothing music or sounds and massage yourself, starting with your feet. Feel each toe, every bone, the texture of your skin and hair. Thank each part of you for the exceptional service and skill your body gives you. Give your wrists and hands extra special love and care.
Token: Here is a stone for your pocket to remind you to do these loving things for yourself. At the end of 30 days, pass the stone on to someone else who needs some healing.
Posted on October 12, 2014
“I want to heal from a bad relationship and be open to loving someone new. It’s so hard to let in goodness.”
DG: Grief sure takes its own sweet time, huh? I offer you this: How about meditating on shifting the idea that your previous relationship was “bad” into simply that your previous relationship “was.” It sounds like it was a difficult and painful experience, but it’s over now. If you are having difficulty “letting in goodness,” how about letting it out for awhile?The most powerful shift from loneliness and misery, for me, is to find someone to help out. Somehow, through doing kind things for others when I feel most blue, I become available to witness ridiculous amounts of beauty and emotional bounty again.
Every day for the next 30 days, connect with someone in a deeply thoughtful way. Make a difficult apology, help pull weeds, take a pot of soup to someone with a cold. Maybe help an elderly neighbor change all her lightbulbs. Anonymously pay for the person behind you’s coffee. See what happens…
Token: Here is a pen wrapped in cozy wool to help you make a list of sweet ideas.
“My parents are Evangelical Fundamentalists. My mom is chronically depressed, and I think I’m co-dependent.”
DG: It sounds like you are in pain because your mother is and you feel you aren’t able to help her. You are definitely not alone in feeling that way! It is utterly human to want to assuage other’s difficult emotions, particularly those of people we love and may feel obligated to help such as parents. Have you considered finding support and tools in a group setting? There are many such groups in most communities.
I would like to offer you this: It is my opinion that when it comes to emotional well being, we are wholly responsible for ourselves and cannot be for others. They are responsible for their own. To nurture your own sense of well-being, for the next 90 days, take yourself on a daily 15 minute walk no matter the weather. While on these walks collect a stone. Contain your stones in a clear, glass jar next to where you sleep. Allow the growing weight and abundance of the stones to ground you and remind you that you are taking good care of yourself. At the end of 90 days, continue the walks but return the stones thus lightening the load of responsibilities that weren’t yours to begin with.
Token: Here is your first stone.
Posted on October 12, 2014
I created a performance based installation in a small Cedar Grove at Smoke Farm in early September. The piece was born from the desire to be in and honor the intimate natural sanctuary created by the cedars and to connect significantly with anyone who entered it.
I asked festival goers to participate in the performance by spending quiet time in the space and leaving any burdens with me. I, in return, read the burdens and made offerings of words and tokens in the form of “prescriptions” and “remedies”. The exchanges were anonymous. I could not see who was in the space and I was in a masked costume.
My intention was to make a prescription/remedy for every person who left a burden; however, I received hundreds of burdens and did not have time to address them all. Someone suggested I bring them home and put the project online. That seemed like an excellent solution. I brought the burdens home and made replies to several of them (see previous posts), but the process began to feel false. It is very different to sit in my basement studio and write to anonymous people (who may no longer care or ever read this) than being among the cedars and the people. I felt like the project had shifted to an Ann Landers or Dear Abby sort of thing. I also began to feel unqualified to make “prescriptions” for anyone about anything. I am certainly not a doctor nor am I a trained counselor or in the clergy.
Then yesterday I took a walk with a close friend who is suffering. At the beginning of her telling me her important things, she said, “This is for your ears only. Please don’t tell anyone.” I am someone to whom she does not need to say those things. I believe she knows this to be True. I respect her privacy because I want to. It’s an honor for me. And I know she honors mine. Still, she said the words and they ring in my ears because it is exactly that sort of safe space, a measure of intimacy, that I hoped to experience with participants in the cedar grove, if only for a moment.
So I may never know if participants return here to pick up their prescriptions, but if connection and/or relief is even a possibility then I am renewed in my energy to see this project through. The question of “Is it art?” no longer seems important.
Thank you for visiting.
Posted on September 21, 2014
“I have a broken, waiting heart.”
DG: Longing can be so painful. In longing we tell ourselves stories like “If only ______________, my life would be better, complete.” This is not only painful but could be untrue.
Would you be willing to try this on: “Today I am whole. I have enough food, shelter and love. I will find a way to truly be of service to another person.” For the next 90 days, begin your day with this thought and a brisk 15 minute walk, no matter the weather. While on your walk, simply notice what’s in front of you. Every time your thoughts wander to yesterday or an hour from now, breath and bring your thoughts back to the colors, fragrance and temperature of right this minute. Collect a stone on each walk. Save the stones in a clear jar. When dropping your new stone in, ask to be shown who you can be of service to today. Let the number and weight of the stones ground you. At the end of 90 days, continue your walks but return the stones to the earth as blessings.
Token: Here is your first stone.
“My neck is stiff and my eyes ache a little from the sun !!!”
DG: Please. Come sit in this space. This shadowy, quiet space. Close your eyes. Relax. Breathe.
Token: A vial of fresh, Smoke Farm oxygen
Posted on September 20, 2014
“My heart is a bit sad that I have so much anxiety about introducing the person that I love to this place and he is so insecure.”
DG: It sounds like you are well aware of and have, perhaps, contributed to the magic of Smoke Farm. Perhaps this is where your anxiety comes from – that Smoke Farm is a physical manifestation of what you hold dear and how horrible it might be if your love is not sensitive to how special and important this place is. What would that mean?
I offer this: Schedule a date to go sit in the travel section of your favorite bookstore together. Take time to pour through the books that attract you. Daydream together about going to a place that neither of you have been. Figure out how you can save and plan to make your dream come true. This may take several dates. Once you have a plan, or before, share how you felt at Smoke Farm and that you look forward to creating an “our spot”.
Token: Here is a small vial of Smoke Farm. Let it reassure you that this place, and any other you love, are yours and will continue to nurture you always.
“I have fallen in love with somebody I cannot be with. I do not know how to be content in my own life anymore.”
DG: Could it be that you have not spent enough time nurturing yourself and that has fostered this feeling if ill content? “Falling in love” with people we cannot be with is sometimes a powerful tool we employ to distract us from our true heartache which stems from not loving ourselves better. I offer this: Make a commitment to taking yourself, and only yourself, on a date to your favorite bookstore followed by take out from your favorite restaurant. While at the bookstore, visit the magazine section. Walk through and pick up any magazine that interests you for any reason. Take that stack and whittle it down to the ones that inspire you to take some action. Purchase those. Take your stack and your take out home, get in your jammies and go through page by glossy page. Tear things out, ear mark others, make notes in permanent ink – whatever feel good to you. Now go through the things you’ve marked. Choose exactly one and allow it to be the impetus for an activity that you will do by yourself, for yourself. It does not matter if you think you can do this thing. It does not matter if it seems impossible or too simple or silly or too expensive or shameful or whatever. Make the commitment that you will see this thing through. Every step you take toward the accomplishment of this thing is an act of tremendous love for you.
Token: Here is a pen to take some notes.