Friday, October 24, 2014

BURYING AND PLANTING: Growing my purpose in the rich soil of my soul

The culmination of 
one love, 
one dream, 
one self, 
is the anonymous seed 
of the next.  
--Mark Nepo

Hallelujah for creativity! Hallelujah for change! Hallelujah to putting to rest that which has lived its course. Hallelujah to burying seeds in the rich soil of our souls to see what might grow. 

One of my favorite inspirational writers is Mark Nepo, and I have gained so much soul nourishment from The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have. In his entry, titled "Burying and Planting," he writes:

"There is always grief for what is lost and always surprise at what is to be born. But much of our pain in living comes from wearing a dead and useless skin, refusing to put it to rest, or from burying such things with the intent of hiding them rather then relinquishing them."

As a 56-year-old artist, blogger, InterPlayer, fluency instructor, in the prime of my life, and in the second year of having left my secure position as an ESL instructor at the Georgia Tech Language Institute, I ask myself, these questions:

What am I holding onto from my career with the Language Institute that is no longer serving me in the new roles I have crafted for myself? 

What do I need to release, peel off, shed, and bury from this former life? 

What seeds remain in my present BEING waiting to be sown, watered, and fertilized?

I feel a hunger for finding, naming, and living my PURPOSE. Cynthia Winton-Henry in her role as the curator of "Mystic Tech," has helped me understand the distinction between a "calling" and a life "purpose." However, that is something that I will discuss in another blog entry. 

For now, I will honor this moment in my life. I am burying and planting a part of myself in order to grow my purpose in the rich soil of my soul. Will you join me?
"We live, 
we embrace, 
and put to rest our dearest things, 
including how we see ourselves, 
so we can resurrect our lives anew." 
--Mark Nepo

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me. What are you burying and planting today so that you may continue to grow? 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

TRUE COLLABORATION: Show up. Do the work. Consider it good enough. Say Yes. Make your partner look good.

HALLELUJAH TRUTH by Lisa Alexander Streib
My name is Hallelujah Truth, and did you know that I am living the fulfillment of my destiny? Hot donuts now! Yes, I am eating the bread of life at this moment, without delay.

Without hesitation.

In part because I am implementing the rules of improvisation into my life. One of the rules is this:


Hidden inside of "showing up" is that you "do the work" and what you do and who you are is "good enough." So the sequence is this:


This past Sunday morning (October 5th, 2014), creative collaboration fell like manna into my life!  Photographer Lisa Alexander Streib invited me to her studio in Decatur, Georgia, to work on something that may well be a long-term collaborative project, so stay-tuned! 

SHOW UP. The plaintive cry of a train approached us as we got out of the car at the entrance to Lisa's studio. One of the first cool fall days, the sun shone intensely causing us to squint at the conductor who waved at us as the train cars chugged by. Our feet felt the Earth vibrate. I had shown up to do the work. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Collaborating. What is that? How is it done? Especially when you don't know how to do something--like modelling for a photographer. Improvisation to the rescue!!!

Even though today with the ubiquitous presence of digital media and I-phones, which allow all of us to be photographed daily and repeatedly grants us almost amateur status as subjects of a photo composition, few of us feel prepared to model for a professional fine art photographer. So improvisation rules continue to serve us well...or me that is...

One of the primary rules of improvisation is to always receive what your partner gives, with a resounding and supportive YES! Lisa and I are friends and have an established fluency in our relationship of speaking YES to one another's ideas. Therefore, as we moved into our roles as photographer and subject, we ping-ponged ideas back an forth as we co-created the images!
MAKE YOUR PARTNER LOOK GOOD. Lisa is the expert. Getting the natural lighting right for the 56-year-old face of Hallelujah Truth meant Lisa's climbing a ladder to open the curtains to let some of that gorgeous sunlight into the studio. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
I trust Lisa to make me "look good" in a photograph. She possesses many skills in lighting, composition, and graphic design. At the same time, she as a collaborator is receiving and accepting all of my ideas concerning costuming, hair, and position. Her acceptance of my input validates me, and validation is pure treasure. Validation is "hot donuts now"!
IN HER STUDIO. Other preparation for our photo shoot included Lisa's setting up a white screen for background and on the floor so my feet could be photographed. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Our morning collaborating as photographer and subject was profoundly meaningful. Like girlfriends we played with my hair in front of a mirror, choosing pretty barrettes and arranging my hair (some of these photos will be revealed at a later date). When in front of the camera, Lisa allowed me to breathe into my poses, to dance, and play. At intervals as she adjusted light, she would show me the images on her camera so I could give my input. And we continued our work, saying yes to one another, resulting in what felt to be true heartfelt collaboration!

Let's review the key points to our successful collaboration:




Ta Da!

That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me. I am an artist making images, writing, teaching, dancing, and making meaningful relationships with you, you and you! I am so grateful for your presence here on this precious Earth. I need you to be manifesting your heart's desire now too! Join me at Revolution Donuts (It's an actual place here in Decatur, Georgia)!
COLLABORATORS' SELFIE. Showing up to the do the work and saying yes to your partner is such a loving and productive way to work together. What you give one another in ideas is precious. I love my Lisa Alexander Streib!
You are invited to see other blog posts related to my work with Lisa Alexander Streib:

Defining My Mission

Atlanta Along the East West Line MARTA and a Portrait of Two Women

Mark Nepo and Lisa Alexander Streib Collide in My Life

Infinity and the Selfie

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dinosaurs Without Bones is Happening in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Our morning in Tuscaloosa began with listening to an interview with Tony Martin on Alabama Public Radio. Paleontologist Barbie was thrilled to hear all the questions Tony was asked about his book, Dinosaurs Without Bones.

On the UA campus with a colleague Tony Martin is escorted to the Department of Geological Sciences to have important pale ontological discussions.

Discovery of a teaching rock garden! Isn't travel fun?

Yes to a big block of calcite! And all the other slabs of rock here! How wonderful to have the opportunity to learn about our precious Earth!

Published via Pressgram

GAINING MOMENTUM FROM WARM ONLINE COMMUNITY: Free Fall Creativity and pursuing the American Oystercatcher

EMBODYING LIFE ALONG THE SEASHORE. Once emerged from the egg and after maturing some, what could be better than a run along the water with another hatchling under the watchful eye of a parent American oystercatcher? (art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for warm online communities, especially The Daily Creative Practice on Facebook (join us here)! Hallelujah for creative challenges to gain momentum on beloved projects like my image making to tell the life-cycle of the American oystercatcher in collaboration with ornithologist Jenifer Hilburn.

More than a year ago, I decided it was time to expand my blog's philosophy of daily artmaking to a Facebook Group. "Coffee With Hallelujah" is the idea that if you have time for a hot beverage in the morning, you also have time to create (see my mission statement here). It was the expansion of my practice of "drawing 15-minutes a day" which compelled me to initiate this blog dedicated to the life of being a spiritual art pilgrim (here's one of many blog posts on that topic).

Decidedly beginning THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE (DCP) was a stupendous idea and continues to reap rewards throughout each day. We as Creative Souls are not alone even though it may feel like it some times as we generate our work (see my rationale for creating the DCP here). Today, as I write this blog post, we currently have 774 members in our group, with a solid 15 to 20 people contributing regularly--particularly when we have a creative challenge.

CREATIVE CHALLENGE: Birth of the 10-day continuous posting and sharing work
Starting in with the winter solstice in 2013, I challenged the members of the DCP to share work continuously for 10 days from December 21st to the end of December, a time when one's creative practice succumbs to endless holiday celebrations and family obligations and practically disappears.

Artists, photographers, sewers, scientists, writers, and cooks participated with joyfully dedication. Creatives hunger for support. Creatives long for and thrive upon connection and the Internet and Facebook provide a way for kindred artistic souls to share their work without expending large amounts of energy that physically leaving one's home requires.

Since the first 10-day continuous creativity challenge, I have held two more on the DCP, with the most recent one occurring from September 21 to September 30. We were all delighted how much work we completed and shared during this time! Congratulations to everyone who participated! And thank you for the momentum I gained from your presence and loving support.

During my 10 days of continuous creativity on the DCP, I drew eight of ten images related to my American oystercatcher project. In addition, I contacted my collaborator, Jen Hilburn, and planned a meeting with her in October in Savannah, Georgia, face-to-face! How's that for momentum!
LEARNING HOW TO FEED. Just as baby American oystercatchers learn how to nurture themselves on bi-valves along the seashore, so do we learn how to nurture one another on our warm-online community, The Daily Creative Practice. (art by Hallelujah Truth)
That's Coffee with Hallelujah! If you have time for a cup of coffee, you have time to honor your SOUL's WORK and to create something to celebrate your uniquities! Consider joining The Daily Creative Practice for communal support and to speak about your creative process with like-minded others.
TAKE OFF? Yes? Not yet? Soon? Whenever you are ready! We are here! Ready to support you and fly together! (art by Hallelujah Truth)