I met meditation, as I understand it today, on a cold hard wooden floor—warmed only by my body and the partnering bodies that shared the environment; I was in the “corpse position” as I laid with herbs on my eyes and to my surprise was calmed and clear minded as meditation met me. Since that time I have indulged in the essence of this calmness that has often made me want to stay in it forever. So I delved deeper, my first time approaching this time of “pause” more intentionally was my first semester at Spelman College in my Black Presence in American Dance herstory class with Dr. Veta Goler as we took time to pause before beginning every class. I began to yearn for that moment of clarity midday, midweek. So, I delve further and experienced meditative yoga and sitting meditation the following year with the help of the same professor. Finally, I reached the point of prioritizing a class Dr. Goler offered, focused on personal development in the meditative practice—Contemplative Practices and the Arts—and although feeling a bit pressured, I have grown incredibly in my understanding of contemplative mindfulness.
Beauty in things Unforeseen
A busy road becomes... well it just be...comes as people come and go.
Viewing a Play... Contemplatively...
The Miss Evers’ Boys production was one of great passion in creativity while delivering imperative information. The most serious scientific experimentation, in terms of ethical injustice, is explained through the vibrant, melodious, living breathing human beings to embody the numbers we are so used to being informed upon. To put a face, a story, a life, “aspirations” lol to just four of those brothers affected by this unfortunate happening is amazing, auspicious and breathtaking. Contemplative practices were evident throughout the theatre production. As I reflect upon the beautiful emotions present, varying from tearful sadness and compassion to tear-wrenching laughter and passionate joy, I was made aware of the contemplative messages sent consciously throughout the production.
Creativity in Contemplation
This creative project has revealed much to me. I allowed myself to be moved in a direction towards a song spoke depth to me and would express the awareness I have received from meditation and, mindfulness, contemplative practices and the arts. The song Pearls, that I first heard sung by Sade, most dynamically affected me when I heard it on India.Arie’s new album. I immediately jumped with excitement on the familiarity to a song that so deeply brings awareness to materialism, globalism and the oneness we must possess to care of how our brothers and sisters are affected. It made me realize the importance and history of this known concept of Pearls and the beauty of the song. I grew in my exploration and contemplation upon the song; I found a more global version by Angelique Kidjo featuring Josh Groban And Carlos Santana that I appreciated, yet stuck with the India Arie piece to build my creativity with, as it most purposely spoke measures to me. I meditated and contemplated on the design of my body’s movements to immolate the message of this great story. I appreciated how my body could move and the work in progress aspect of how it would grow in its ability to express the pearls’ story. This practice has revealed how the body’s authentic movement can move you dearly. I allowed myself to be led in every movement, I extracted from myself and asked myself to give voice to my own truth, world awareness and artistic beauty. Finally, I decided to name the project, Our Pearls, in that it describes where and how our world’s pearls come from those who hurt as well as how we ourselves are the true pearls. The sense that We are pearls was revealed to me from the fact that we are more valuable than any material thing or force that causes others to be exploited—we are better than that—we are the pearls. This concept of lifting our personal selves up as the invaluable pearls was further displayed to me by the last India Arie song that has touched me greatly as I’ve blossomed in this experience…Beautiful Flower. For this I have offered the lyrics of Pearls and a Flower to every student so that they may be mindful of it and blossom in their own right by the Pearl experience and write of it when they are moved. I hope to share my art and inspire new art in this manner as we blossom in our understanding of our pearls.
Pearls lyricsThere is a woman in SomaliaScraping for pearls by the roadsideThere is a force stronger than natureKeeps her will aliveThat is how she lives her lifeShe is dying to surviveI don't know what she's made ofI would like to be that braveShe cries to the heavens aboveThere's a stone in my heartShe lives a life she didn't chooseAnd it hurts like brand new shoesYes, it hurts like brand new shoesAnd it hurts like brand new shoesThere is a woman in RwandaThe sun shows her no mercyThe same sky we lay underBurns her to the boneLong as afternoon shadowsIt's gonna take her to get homeEach grain carefully wrapped upPearls for her little girlHallelujah, HallelujahShe cries to the heavens aboveThere's a stone in my heartShe lives a life she didn't chooseAnd it hurts like brand new shoesYes, it hurts like brand new shoesAnd it hurts like brand new shoesThere is a woman in SomaliaThere is a woman in RwandaThere is a woman in SudanThere is a woman in the CongoAnd she hurts like brand new shoesHallelujah, HallelujahOhhhHallelujah, Hallelujah(African words sung)Hallelujah, HallelujahHallelujah, HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah
Artist: India ArieSong: Beautiful Flower This is a song for every girl who's Ever been through something she thought she couldn't make it throughI sing these words because I was that girl tooWanting something better than thisBut who do I turn to Now we're moving from the darkness into the lightThis is the defining moment of our lives 'Cause you're beautiful like a flowerMore valuable than a diamondYou are powerful like a fireYou can heal the world with your mind There is nothing in the world that you cannot doWhen you believe in you, who are beautifulYeah, you, who are brilliantYeah, you, who are powerfulYeah, you, who are resilient
She looks to The Skies Above
There is a stone in my heart, and it hurts
Brand New Shoes
And it hurts like Brand new shoes...when the feeling of shoes is so new to you... to one.
I am a wonderful woman... full of wonders. I care about people, places, things and all those in between. I appreciate nature, the world's many inhabitants and features and I'm living... moments of gratitude as I build monuments of greatness at high altitudes... I hope my streams of consciousness creatively enable others to consider my ideas. Peace, Love and Blessings.
LOVE URSELF LOVE OTHERS GIVE FREELY VALUE HONESTY VALUE LIFE STAY FAITHFUL IN TRUTH VALUE PATIENCE BE PEACEFUL BE DILIGENTLY FREE APPRECIATE ALL THINGS, ALL MOMENTS, ALL OF LIFE IN GREAT GRATITUDE
BONUS: GIVE(FOR) LOVE'S UNDERSTANDING
Beauty amongst all things...
Appreciating all things
readings, responses revelations
Read: In chapters 17 and 18, Haynes talks about the importance of knowing
one's values and the various factors that contribute to an individual knowing who she or he is. She says, "...I have felt for some years that perhaps the greatest contribution I could make at this historical moment would be to act as steward of a small parcel of land. To care for a patch of earth and to learn from it. Not to begin by stripping the land bare and starting over, but by observing the seasonal rising and falling of the creek, the flight of birds, and the budding, flowering, and dying of weeds. This has become part of my artistic creativity." What similar kind of contribution might you make in your own life?
Resp: Who Am I? I am a beautiful living creation, one who is growing and doesn't understand it
all and is not sure that I will ever have the goal of understanding it all, yet to understand myself enough to go after all I can in life is a real enough reality to me--to who I am. My values stem from treating people and the world the way I'd appreciate being treated to giving all I can to what's good and living and loving. My greatest contribution is to give of myself, It is who I am!! I love giving; building and sustaing myself enough to give to others-the world- and those closest to me. I'd love to give in a way that directly and indirectly affects people in a dynamic way; directly to most effectively allow change and development in one's life, indirectly to in a manner that may give opportunities to many- regardless of the direct contact I'm able to make. As for time, time has revealed itself to me as a friend, who is always there, keeping up with things and completely giving. Giving just enough to refelct and savor while pushing you right along to where you need to be, when you need to be there. I must appreciate it for all it is, appreciate if for all that it is and allows and gives and regulates; giving enough to appreciate and understand choas or things misunderstood, time is given to release a need for understanding or provide an ability to form an understanding. Time is able to remind us of its great treasure, as its present(s) are revealed as short so that we will savor and receive the best from all moments. As long as we treat time well, acknowledging it, realizing and being aware of it’s beauty, we will be more in love with it and allow our lives to be more shaped to its purpose. We must sew into time as we do nature and peace and love.
Revel: I really appreciate Charlotte's message of the best thing she can give the world, herself!
This is so true and it was such a wonderful epiphany to me! when I first found this truth and this truth found me! I feel that I found it most applicable about two years ago, although it has developed over the years:). The funny thing is that these truths can sometimes escape you if you don't have wonderful reminders, or a community of reminders made available by this group of contemplative practicers! I appreciate the fact that me, all of who I am, is so incredibly unique and admirable in its own humble loving way that I must share myself to the world; and as I spoke so honestly of my desire to give to others, just as my sister has mentioned in her closing, I know that this truth is the greatest way to go about giving. Giving of all that you are and reasonably nothing that you are not! Thanks for the reminder and reinforcement:)!
Read: In chapter two of Art Lessons, what does Deborah Haynes say about learning that can help
you in your form of artistry? How might you apply her five suggestions in your field?
Resp: Deborah Haynes begins her chapter with a quote that describes Aesthetic education as
meaning to become a citizen of the world... I believe this is ever so true. She closes her chapter on the Balinese culture and M.C.Richcards ideals that art is basically not present at all, in that all that is to be created is to be done in it's best quality and therefore nothing is decipherable or that living and being is all of one's living. To me, this screams that Art is all or none of what we live-it is sacred~that word transcends again. Haynes charges us to trace our urge to artistry back and record it and develop it in the since that we've decied to proceed in our art. I appreciate this profoundly as I am made aware of self discovery in the claim to artistry. Finally, with the very well described crucial ingredients in aesthetic education, “Learning to write, developing a relationship to a sustaining tradition (giving breadth to yoru study of cultural traditions), undertake training in order to know your materials and to attain technical skills (using it again & again), becoming cognizant of and entering into dialogue with contemporatry cultural theory, and finally thinking of the question of one’s audience. The most personal aspect of these suggestions is the first writing one. I write indefinitely in a journaling, poetic style just to express myself and understand my thoughts a bit more-the means in which she described this as essential to one’s art and ones sense of self was very reassuring for me and I will apply it to my art as much as I can. I really appreciate the idea of studying a breadth of sustainable traditions also because it’s important to consider foundations… and allow breadth in order to expound on those traditions—therefore allowing creativity and concreteness all the same. I thought less of the current culture and considering the audience, yet appreciate her reminder of this. In closing I love her understanding of seeing one’s art as a gift to others and considering what you want one to gain from the gracious gift you are offering—with no expectations of gratitude or returned assets—just a gift of your passion and pride. The five words that she ends us with being “intention, concentration, discipline, perseverance, and will” are the most important “5 suggestions” that I feel she ultimately offers. Thanks~April
Revel: I truly appreciated the exerpt by Allison where she speaks of the beauty of writing first in
that she revealed a reality of the joy and discretion in personal writing, "express without being limited by discomfort of not sharing everything with others." It is often most important to reveal information to yourself before you disclose those puzzled thoughts to the world... I've found. The open mind statement is clearly described from how Haynes asks us to approach understanding sustaining traditions. I think that is so very important that we must recognize what has sustained; what has success in continuance if it is continuance that we are seeking while we must also be open and creative to new, forms of living. I was unaware of the focus on Parody and Appropriation in approaching the tradition, the paradox them has proven to reappear. Finally, I appreciated her expression on importance of target audiences in that, "It provides direction, because you know how relatable you can aim for an art," this is so true although I often think less of the audience and just explore what I know to be real but to think of ppl as guidance tools guiding you to the direction of getting your point across and based upon how how relatable you allow yourself and your art to be.
Read: In chapter one, Deborah Hay asks, "What if there is no space between where I am and what
I need?" She talks about lying in Shavasansa, the hatha yoga "corpse pose," and entering a space of acceptance. How does her experience relate to what you do -- or might do -- to help yourself let go of wanting and striving, and to simply be with what is?
Resp:Throughout Deborah Hay's work of "my body benifits in solitude" I immediately grew
appreciation for her solitude in dance. My first true experience with becoming personal with dance was in solitude through a single piece that I choreographed to India Arie's "India's song" and as I explored this personal experience with dance, I learned more things about my unique approach to the art. I required dancing in the dark, or dimmed light and it did serve as a means of focusing almost as it is described in this piece. When Deborah Hay asks, "What if there is no space between where I am and what I need?" I believe that she is exploring the reality of our life as it is now. We have all that we need to be contempt, we have all that is necessary for peace and we have all that enables us a prosperous future. It is our ability to accept this that determines how we can come to the understanding and releif that, "Where I am is where I am." As she talks about lying in Shavasansa, or what she more commonly calls the "corpse pose," she describes the peace and oneess that she's able to obtain. I absolutelty appreciate her description of "inactive synapses" (as a bio major;). Her description of entering a space of acceptance relates to my experiences of taking long hot baths. When I am in the water, I could care less about anything but myself, my love for myself, my physical body and my love and adoration for all that I am. I fall in love with what is all over again and I am able to accept and feel pure, at ease, clean, refreshed and careless. I appreciate the corpse description because often I'll allow myself the same pose while bathing and I can free my mind of movement and matter. As Hay concludes the chapter with "I realize how much I hold on to life," I agree with my similar methods using the "chemistry of life: water" that what's wonderful of life is revealed when you practice something that allows you to look inside, see above or allow your head to hang below... say, a pool of hot water.
Contemplating a Master Quote...
"What might my life be like were I to give in to the rhythms of my own ragged dance? Like this, I imagine, walking down the trail, past grapevines and winecups and huisache blooming in the sun. Just like this attentiveness, this pleasure, this being present to the world." –Susan Hanson
Best of times, worst of times... Beautiful Park, Beautiful People...Living there...
Beautiful Days!!! Encourage me daily...
It’s a beautiful day, Everyday has been and I remind everyone of this when they call me and hear Indai Arie sing this from her new album. I am especially happy, grateful and welcoming to this day however with its grayish light blue skies and watering skies… such beauty that allows such calmness and stillness. Best wishes on such a beautiful day:)!