Sunday, November 27, 2011

Occupation Sale - 2 for 1 Creativity and Joy

Collage by Lani, texture by Kim Klassen.  

Thinking about Occupying Our Art and Lives, I started wondering about the opposite of occupying something.  Being occupied by something else?  Being colonized?  I don't particularly want to be colonized by anyone or anything, not now, not ever!  What I'd like is to be completely in my life, to live and enjoy each moment, each breath, and each daub of paint!

I'm proposing a new eCourse for the new year on this topic.  Meanwhile I'm going to run the current eCourses at a 2 for one OCCUPATION SALE!!!  Sign up for one and send me a message about which other one you would like to be a part of, or what friend you would like to gift with an eCourse.  If you or a friend are interested in art prompts which help build resilience and a happy life or if you are interested in working with collage and photomanipulation, then come play with us!

You can read about the eCourses here but to get the most value, make sure to sign up on the blog (just look for the super secret savings to the right of this post).  Once you have signed up for one course, then email me with your second choice or your friend's email so I can sign them up.  Our next round of courses start January 9!  Do join us if you can!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy This Moment, Occupy This World

"Home Again" Collage by Lani
I'm finally home again after my big adventures.  Two of the most interesting things I did on these adventures was to visit Zuccotti Park (Occupy Wall Street) the very morning before the police came in and dismantled it. I also got to see Occupy Toronto before it was dismantled.  Because so many folks were questioning what the Occupiers were doing and saying, I thought why not go down and see for myself, since I would be in both places. 

What I saw taught me quite a lot.  There was an amazing radical inclusivity in both places, which is hard to find in most places.  What folks were calling a lack of focus really looked to me like many agendas were allowed to be included.  In both Occupy encampments I saw representation of veterans, homeless, mental illness, folks concerned about the economy, folks concerned about the environment, and women concerned about women's treatment.  How did they include all of these voices and people?  I think it must have been their use of council and their lack of hierarchy.  So if I want to learn to be more inclusive than I need to be willing to communicate, collaborate, and I need to give up hierarchy.

Another thing I saw was radical generosity.  These folks were feeding themselves and the homeless and mentally ill who turned up at their kitchens.  They were sharing knowledge along with their free libraries.  (Unions had also been very generous with Occupy Toronto, sending over port-o-potties and  hand cleaning facilities.)

Sustainable energy and a clean environment seemed to be important to both camps.  I loved the bicycle powered generators.  Wonder where they ended up?  Probably the same place as all the books that went missing.

I also saw occupiers doing very active listening.  I saw people trying to argue with them and I didn't see the occupiers arguing; just listening, nodding and questioning.   I also saw lots and lots of homemade signs and artistic expression.   And of course there was a meditation corner with a ever changing shrine to the best of who we are.  It was lovely.

So from this I learned that if I want to get along well with others, create and be a part of a sustainable community, I need to be generous and accept generosity.  I need to read more books, spend less time on line.  I need to make art with others.  I need to listen more than I need to talk.  I need to honor the best of who we are.   I think in order to occupy my life I need to make it a sustainable, artful life, something that I would be delighted to occupy!

Oh and here's where the title to this post comes from, a little present for you from Dan Berggren, who recently spent an evening singing for a dozen St. Lawrence University students who live in yurts in the woods for a semester: no cell phones, iPods, computers, or TV.  They spend this Adirondack Semester studying the environment and how to live sustainably, and they learn to be present, be in the moment, have real conversations and build real community.  The day after Dan's visit, he finished writing a song that views the "occupy movement" through the lens of these students.  Here's a link to Occupy This Moment, Occupy This World.  Dan says you are welcome to share the song with others.