Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Half Moon Bay Walk #6 with Charie: Labyrinths and Gifts

Everyday for the past 13 days I have been meditating for at least 20 minutes...and as days go by the time gets longer and the kundalini yoga exercises get longer and it takes me about an hour to get finished up on everything. I have started chanting a few days ago. It is an amazing amazing feeling one day and the next day I croak out my Saaaaaaa-a-a-a-a-at-naam out for 3 minutes. I knew I had my walk with Charie at Noon. So I got myself out of bed and into my self appointed meditation room. Still I was still doinking around on the computer in my pjs 20 minutes before Charie was coming by. I hurried but hadn't eaten when Charie arrived. I quickly ate half a banana and ate an apple in the car while Charie and I went to the local labyrinth near Mavericks beach. On the way we drove down the street where all the huge pumpkins for the upcoming pumpkin festival was. It was really awesome! I look forward to walking main street and eating fatty foods this Saturday. Then running it off on Sunday.
I had imagined the labyrinth hidden on a misty hill hidden from everyone. It was in the bay and on the path to the beach. Charie and I decided to walk the labyrinth one by one before going for our walk. I set my intention to continue to open up to my authentic voice. As I am learning from my meditations I have been stifling my own voice. I know hard to believe as I am one of the most outgoing vocal people I know. Well I haven't been speaking from truth...but from fear...so I have some work to do.
Charie is someone I immediately liked upon meeting. She is connected to her voice. She laughs freely and engages with strangers in a free manner like I used to do when I was younger. Charie is retired and an artist. She is learning about the healing power of sound at CIIS and we spoke about this some. 
Charie and I were both a bit nervous to walk around all these folks but Charie picked what hand she wanted to hold and launched into a story about how she loves handing her hands massaged during a massage session. So we held hands intertwined...which I immediately thought...cool we are going to massage our hands while walking...
And away we went walking down the path. Folks smiled. Some people were uncomfortable. Mostly we just chatted away, took pictures. Charie spoke of feeling she has a gift to give that she needs to give with the time she has left and is just wondering how to give it to others. So Charie and I are grappling with the same thing! how do we give our gift to others?!?! I mentioned that I am getting some training about arts and the aging. And it was funny cause Charie is around 65...and I guess that puts her in the elder category. We are equals. And that was a really good reminder for me. Charie doesn't need my help! We have so many things in common and when we spend time together we feel awesome Cause we can talk about art, sound, perofrmance, life, and how we both love to travel and MOVE (as in move cities). Charie makes me feel normal. Like wanting to go to Poland to hold hands isn't a silly idea....but it sounds FANTASTIC.
Charie and I both realize not all elders are mobile or high-functioning...I wonder what I can bring a vital community of elders? how can we work together. So this was an important walk. Learning healing is a life long process and it is up to us to make life engaging and exciting in a healthy way. I always laugh loud and long with Charie. She allows me that space. Charie's soul shines through when you spend time with her. She was nervous to walk. But she took the lead and took us to her labyrinth and took the lead in where we walked. It was a hot day and we returned to the car after petting dogs and taking photos of our hands sweaty and alive. 
On the way home we stopped down on Miramar Beach cause there is an adorable set of homes a local guy made including a boat you can rent to sleep in as a retreat. There is a great garden and one of the buildings as a geodesic roof!  it feels like a beacon of a bygone era...a sort of 60s/70s feel. That uncontrolled creative energy that created hideaways and special corners of the world. 
Charie wrote on her reflection that she wasn't sure about walking. After telling me she would, she wrote "I thought when I got home that night, Oh my god, what did I just get myself into? Now that I have walked I feel -- 

What a gift to walk with Charie. What a gift to know that we both on the journey to finding our gift and giving it to others. Charie gave me a gift. Her guidance and friendship feels natural. That we vibrate at the same wave length. That being vocal and warm to others isn't something to be ashamed about. 
I'll end with a story Charie told me. She walks in the morning in her town. One morning there was a rainbow (or two) with the sunrise. She saw two women on the hill as she saw this amazing sight. As she passed the two women she mentioned how lucky and blessed we are to be here to experience the glory of nature. (charie said it better...sorry that was my best shot). Five years later, she saw one of the woman. She is a wellknown motivational speaker. Charie didn't know this at the time. Charie was just sharing her wonder of the world. This woman told her that, that morning at 3am her mother had passed away, and that her words were more powerful than she could have known. Charie's connection to the moment, to nature, to speaking truth...gave solace to this woman. There was nothing pre-meditated, nothing gained...just a beautiful moment on earth.
Charie has her worries. I have mine. But when you can step out into the world and be open. It has lasting effects of the positive kind. Charie wrote that she isn't sure "what will shape our live by our walk but I know things will change for the both of us." And I have to say I agree.

Friday, October 11, 2013

HMB Walk #5 with Nancy

I have to admit I just woke up not feeling the greatest the day of this walk. I am out of my element here in HMB. Using it as a retreat, which means I don't have 5 meetings or a ton of friends to hang out with. And there isn't a crew of people my age that I know. Which makes me feel a bit alienated. But then I sort of sit back and think...do I want to expend energy creating a social group? No I want to get into the painting studio and make some awesome things. I have meditated 9 days in a row and I have to say it is an amazing experience. With all that, the walks get me out and about and meeting great people of all ages. I bring this all up, so openly, because after a walk. I always feel better.

Nancy and I met at Laura's house. Nancy brought her adorable dog, Oliver. We made sure to get him in our hand holding picture. :) and successfully picked up dog poop while holding hands! It is amazing that always always always you learn things about people you didn't know before. I met Nancy a few years ago here in Half Moon Bay. I was at a Bad Art Night of Laura's and Nancy and I chatted away energetically. It was really fun and I love Nancy's energy. She just walked the Avon Cancer Walk and we had facebooked about walking after we both had recovered from our intense physical activity. So Nancy and I got to walking. Nancy was nervous and sort of had me lead where we were going other than to say she would like to walk the neighborhood and not the coast. We walked a fun, funny, loop-de-loo-ed pathway down streets and then around them again but up a block and then a little bit on the beach. Then down another part of the neighborhood. Nancy and I settled into the walk. I started to feel better after about 10 minutes, after really just feeling off, we chatted away. Including discussing Fargo, and the atmosphere of small cities in the upper Midwest. how it feels that there are art communities there bursting to bee seen and expand but the conservative landscape doesn't do much for that blooming.

What came up almost immediately in our walk was depression. I am very concerned that if I make the wrong move next I will plummet into depression. Here I am with no regular job, no permanent home, and lots of things up in the air and I feel better than when I have all those things in place. What a strange thing. I know I could look things like my parents probably are....what the hell are you doing?!?! get a job!?!? how can you think this is art?!?! how are you going to make money!?!? But there I was, on another walk, passively and actively looking for answers. Anywho, I wasn't going to say this to Nancy but I did. And she said well you can talk to me about it, I battle depression too. Well, there you go. This happily married woman, with adorable dogs, and a life very full with activity and substance has to make sure not to fell into the same traps I do. The same traps many folks have to deal with.

That was an amazing thing that came out almost immediately as we held hands. Wow, it just floored me how open we can be. So on we walked. Ironically, as we walked the streets we ran into a friend of Nancy's. Which I think made her really nervous. This project is pretty out there and there we were talking to her former dog walker as we held hands. The great thing is...she never flinched or took away her hand. She explained what we were doing and we chatted for awhile like nothing was weird and then away we went.

We then got into a popular artist conversation. how do we make money doing what we are doing....and I think I see a few things clearly now. how to make money being good at: marketing, making art you may not care much about spiritually but that you know will sell, busting your ass, and luck. And we both said we don't want to do is make work that we doesn't resonate with us soulfully, and that when you mix art with money it can feel wrong. It was a great conversation and I am so glad Nancy pushed herself into this project. She wrote she is going to discuss the benefits of hand holding with her husband and she if she can work this into their routine. :) Or at least try it out. Again each walk, has a new topic that emerges, a new angle. Maybe this is all just one big healing for me. Or maybe this is something I will do my whole life to inspire and create with others. Wow.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Walk #4 in HMB: Judy

Getting ready for Pumpkin Festival Oct 20-21!!!! makes for a beautiful day! 
I woke up a bit late to get all I wanted to get done before meeting up with Judy. I woke up around 830am-ish and I wanted to meditate before I left for Judy's. That meant showering and eating pretty quick. I got in 15 minute of meditating with some reading of a kundalini yoga book and written reflection. I then slammed some yogurt and granola down my throat and hit the road. I wasn't feeling the greatest. But in the last three weeks, I have muscled through being in a new place and running a half. I thought....you know what I will feel better after walking over to Judy's.
It was a hot day on the coast and I was in a coat and sweaty when I got to Judy's. Judy has a great studio here in Half Moon Bay. She gives workshops there and I have to say i would go there if I lived here. I loved the idea of rummaging through her boxes of collage items and different art mediums. It felt inviting. It felt inviting because Judy was inviting. We sat and chatted about our art educations for awhile. She has a transformative art degree. Which is an interesting type of education that seems to have a art therapy/community building focus. We were really getting into a great conversation but it was time to start walking.

I think Judy was suprised by how holding hands changed our conversation at the beginning. It is nerve wracking to run into people you know while holding a strangers hand. We ran into her boyfriend right away and he handled it with cool but definitely inwardly wondered awkwardly what we were doing. He shook my other hand and away we kept walking.
Waters' Edge 
We walked to Enso the local yoga and art mecca of half Moon Bay. I have heard about their community meals on Monday nights. Judy seemed very comfortable with holding hands and we chatted with her friends while holding hands. She mentioned it was for an art project and solcitied them to sign up for a walk. I heard a woman and man talk about the marathon and how one person went to the hospital but overall that at the medical tent she helped attend to people, things went very well. I wanted to shout out that I had run the half. I am very proud of the feat. But less and less do I feel like interuppting people. The man was saying how he wanted to go as a runner. After the woman had asked  why he hasn't gone yet. In response to people needing the medic tent he mentioned drinking while running....which I thought was an uneducated thing to say. Cause what I saw that day there was no one partying before hand at 630am in the morning. Drinking and running is not a rampid issue at Half Moon Bay marathon. Yes afterwards folks have a beer....to get carbs in....but it isn't like a eager before a football game.
Anywho, it was a hot day and Judy and I stopped holding hands so she could take off her jacket. Her friends were intrigued by the project and it was nice to find a little oasis that is open to intrigue. We walked to the edge of the water and then back towards her studio.
Beautiful women!!!!!!!!
We spoke a lot about art. I voiced that I felt like no one really valued my skills as an aritst. But thinking about it now, I am the one that doesn't value my skills. i learned from where I am from to not really think that art is a skill....or it is something that seeped in over time. I have a hard time commodifying art. It makes me feel like something is lost. Even teaching and selling art. I am like why can't I just do it? Why do I have to market myself? Now I guess I am looking at it differently, I have to support myself somehow, why not support myself using the skills I have been honing for more than a decade now. Before, I wanted to make it big. Be famous. Now, I want a community I enjoy and the time to enjoy it.
I saw this in what Judy has. Her studio. Her community at Enso. Her boyfriend. Her work.
She reminded me it took time to get a following to take her workshops. That it isn't easy.
What I loved about Judy was the way she spoke of teaching and art. She spoke of what she wanted to teach. Not what others tried to mold her into teaching. This is really important for me to learn. To be excited about what I am interested in and transmitting that to others! That is what makes a good class. That is what makes it worth while to teach.
I am 32 and really tired. So tired I wonder if maybe I am sick in someway internally. I need something to get excited about. I used to live manically. Lots of energetic feelings. Lots of spurts of energy. Now I have evened out my emotions so much that all I have is consistent. It just doesn't feel right. It is weird to be as balanced as I am....I have really found a center. And now I wonder if I will ever enjoy things with exuberance. I wonder how I find what I want to teach and share. I know it is there. I just have to take the time and energy to find it.
On our way back, Judy and I really felt comfortable together and were pretty joyful. We were stopped by a man in an SUV looking for money for gas. I just found it weird if you are almost out of gas...why are you driving around asking for money? Wouldn't you stop somewhere and ask? It was a weird thing, trying to decide if this guy was telling the truth or not. Judy and I both didn't have our wallets with us anyway....it was a weird display of emotion of some sort with the man seeming to start to break down crying and then seconds later shutting down and walking away.
interestingly we tried out different hand positions because I had been sent a article about how lesbians have a more equitable hand holding style than men. That men usually lead or possess the woman's hand. Truthfully, after walking with so many folks....I think it is hog wash. I mean sure maybe the guy leadsthe hand but it doesn't really matter. Holding hands feels even to me. Either position. Judy and I explored it and really i didn't notice a difference. I guess I need to explore this more with other walkers.
Judy and I ended with our observations and Judy created a beautiful piece as observation and we talked about it whic his something people don't usually do with me. She read her piece and I thanked her for participating.
She said in her writing that she had found a kindred spirit. and YES! it did feel like that. She was so open to the project and got what I was doing. I left with books to read about working with elderly and some asian american memoirs. Which I hope to start reading today. Two art making book lovers! What a pair!
Even with feeling a bit ill, walking with Judy took me out of that. I didn't need to be more than. I just needed to be me. And that was enough. I look forward to getting a community meal. I look forward to reading books let by an amazing artist. I look forward to more open. I look forward to learning what I want to teach and learn.

I don't usually show reflections on the blog but I just thought thee were so beautiful I wanted to share.
Judy on the left and mine of the right.
Judy commented on my facebook and it just sums everything up so well! : I think we covered mental health, growing older, art, art, art, college, men, nature, women, n vs s calif, touch, energy, intimacy, fear, and what in the heck is art?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Walk #3 in HMB: Nancy

This week in Half Moon Bay was focused on half marathon time. On Sunday, I ran 13.51 miles! In a strange way the 3 hours and 14 minutes it took to run felt like 9 miles that went by in 30 minutes and 4 miles that felt like a day....dragging my ass to the last .2 miles. There to see a sign that said run the last .2 in memory of the Boston Marathoners. Wow, I had to walk a bit and I felt bad. But I ran through the finish line, and I have never felt more accomplished! I was exhausted and my insides had revolted against me. But I had done it! I started running in January of 2012 and in under two years, there I was running a half! What a feat! In the moment it is hard to dredge up the manic happiness of jumping up and down but it was a fantastic feeling.
It also meant that I put off Walk with Me walks until this week. I was too nervous to prep for a half marathon and the nerves of walks. Nancy emailed me two weeks ago and we had our walk set for Oct 2. She sent me her arts website so I could know a little bit about her.
Immediately I really enjoyed Nancy. She didn't realize the walks would include hand holding and she joked about me being her daughter or granddaughter or her girlfriend. And it made me feel at ease. Nancy is a vivacious 66 year old. Who noticed that holding hands did change the dynamic of what we said on the walks. She is a mediator and a creative who is used to guiding and inspiring people and she definitely prompted me to answer big questions about who I want to be while walking. And I was available to be a listening ear to Nancy. Nancy is INCREDIBLY intelligent and lived a fantastic life of arting. Working on the AIDS quilt in St. Louis Missouri and doing all sorts of incredible things here in the San Francisco area. Like a one woman performance in her 60s. There is no "can not" in her vocabulary. Truly. Which is even more inspiring than her prompts as we walked. Truly she can do whatever she wants cause she knows she can. What a great feeling!
What is hard to admit while doing the most successful art project of my life. Is that I feel like I am being called out of art into healing. But really there isn't an in and an out. I get to have it all. Nancy said. I can make art. I can become a healer. I get to make up what the world will look like in the future. Cause no one knows what the future will be so why not put in the effort to make it a more magical place?
She asked me if money and time wasn't an issue what would you make. I said a play space. A safe place where adults could get away from having to make something for money. And make and be without a monetary goal in mind. I was thinking I could give movement workshops like open heart improv dancing, stretching, meditation, even nap times for adults. Then art and craft hours. Where people could come free style with all the supplies I can gather. And then also I could lead some workshops if people wanted to make certain things. Or maybe if someone wants to lead a class themselves. I could train to be a life coach and after playing if folks wanted to talk about where they want there lives to go....I could help them. And then of course, there are parties for birthdays where we could all make something for a loved one. Or Scrabble nights cause I just love drinking tea and playing scrabble. Writing this now, it reminds me of what I would like to give myself everyday. Time to play.

Nancy told me almost immediately that she is getting some tests done because she is having some cognitive issues. She is having trouble calculating numbers and such. She will find out more form the test she is having today. What I didn't say to Nancy but thought almost immediately was, this problem it doesn't take away your amazing personality. The amazing person you are is not wrapped up in this issue. Yes, maybe it is Alzheimer's or dementia...but meeting her yesterday she is one of the smartest and liveliest people I had ever met. These issues are immensely stressful but she still found time to give to me. My grandmother has dementia. Unlike Nancy, who remembered what happened on our walk, my grandmother's short term memory is gone. My grandmother doesn't really know who I am on the phone anymore. But my Grandmother is happier now than she was for decades before dementia started taking her memory. Whatever happens health issues can't take away your spirit. It was a powerful powerful walk.
Nancy and I found a mutual love of Somatic Arts. We talked excitedly about Anna Halprin and about modalities of learning through the body. I think it is an amazing form of expression and learning. She then invited me to a Feldenkrais workshop in Montara and she offered to pick me up! Being a non-driver is becoming such a pain....cause all these little beach side towns are far apart walking isn't an option. The good thing is I am trying to sequester myself here so I will make ART.
So our walk discussing bodily energy, our artistic lives, and memory ended with a promise to meet up very shortly after that. I felt light after walking with Nancy. Like something had been lifted off the middle of me. Like I was floating a bit in my stomach and chest area. Like a kindred spirit had been found. I liked how Nancy jumps into life. How she jumped into the walk. How in just minutes of starting we jumped past the introduction part and just got to talking about the deep stuff. I have backed off from searching out what I desire and just settling and that doesn't do me any good. Getting out there and searching and trying out things...that is what keep me alive.
The most important question Nancy gave to me on the walk was "How can you make life better where you are right now, as in the location you are living, and with the resources you have?" I had discussed how I lived in La the past 5 years...and here I am thinking of leaving LA. And she asked me what could we create that would make me want to stay in LA?
After the Feldenkrais workshop, all I can think about is leading and healing through movement. How can I get trained so that I can help people move easier through life?
Amazing walk with an amazingly creative and inspiring woman. Thanks Nancy!