I am intrigued how we meet each other with full presence, especially in those moments when we forget where our ‘center’ is. I am curious how we 'flow' energy in our bodies and in our lives. I am interested in epistemology, how we come to know what we know and how we talk and listen with each other about what we know…and the fluid experience of ‘knowing’. I like to think that the moment we think we 'know' something, another, 'knowing' is ready to emerge. Look what happened to Pluto.
I think our potential and “ruach” lie in the ‘places in-between’ in us, in that “liminal” space. I mean the place where boundaries dissolve or blur and we stand on the edge of our becoming, preparing ourselves to move across perceived limits of what we were, into what we can be. The art practices of writing, improvisational music, dance/movement and theatre, yoga, aikido, teaching and other forms of contemplative art-making allow the opportunity to play in this place of “becoming”, inviting us to notice what ‘shows up’.
My classical psychological, philosophical, dance, music and movement training finds comfort in categorization, yet my experience has been that we each are a divine mystery containing infinitely unfolding identities. Training in psychodrama, expressive therapies, Gestalt methods, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, Alexander Technique, Process Oriented Psychology, Body Mind Centering, Contact Improvisation, Rubenfeld Synergy Method, Amrit and Kripalu Yoga, Playback Theatre, sound healing and other somatic and contemplative approaches to education, psychology and the creative process provides an opening to play in the mystery.
I suppose that I’m a social artist. I’m interested in art making, faith, politics, spiritual practice and blurring the boundaries between the secular and the sacred in public life. I think the starting place is self-expression. Cultural critic bell hooks calls for an ‘aesthetic revolution’. I interpret this as movement from art making as self-expression to revelation, inviting us to act on what is revealed through our creating...potentially leading to change. The creative process invites that moment where we pause after a creative moment, re-awaken our vision, notice what is revealed and consciously navigate that liminal space manifesting new possibility. Maybe this is the r-evolution.
I think we as teachers, healers and artists shape our lives through the process of creation. The form has infinite variations whether it is an intentionally designed yoga retreat, therapeutic riding center, organizing a health-care outreach program for migrant farm-workers, adolescent male rites of passage programming, scholarship on inclusive yoga practice and pedagogy, creating a documentary on women’s relationship of body, running practice and food, etc.
Lately I've been struck by the statement "We are the ones we've been waiting for." I first heard it sung years ago at a workshop led by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock. This quote’s origin as I understand it comes from the Elders Oraibi Arizona Hopi Nation prayer. I think we shape and transform our lives by our full presence in the creative process, which in turn inspires our leadership.
As a practitioner of many expressive arts approaches, art practices and somatic approaches, I think our medium, ultimately, is humanity and consciousness. How we choose to use our energy, the stories we inhabit, the ones we tell about ourselves and the ones we compose and co-create inform our individual and collective story, life experience and our reality.
My work as an educator, psychologist and interdisciplinary artist has taken me into elementary and secondary schools, universities, black box theatres, fringe festivals, museums, community mental health centers and agencies, psychiatric hospitals, women's centers and shelters, substance abuse treatment centers, prisons, a broad range of youth organizations and service-learning programs, numerous performance spaces, churches, synagogues, places committed to interfaith dialogue and multi-racial coalition building, Black-Jewish dialogue groups and corporate settings interested in systems theory, teaching/learning organizations and quantum leadership.
I am curious how we transgress socially constructed boundaries and step into that space where cultural knowledge, identity, personal theology, politics, epistemology and love meet.
I've been blessed to teach and perform in southeast, northeast and midwestern regions of the United States, London, Vieques, Puerto Rico, Belize, Toronto, and Cuba, using Playback Theatre, an improvisational story-telling method, socieometry and Process Work (Process Oriented Psychology) as emancipatory practices for dialogue, deepening connections, healing and creating new models for leadership and social change. Serving as faculty for graduate programs in Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, the Integrative Arts at Lesley University, Multicultural Theatre and Democratic Curriculum at Union Institute and University and most recently teaching courses in 'Organizational Leadership', ‘Ethics’ and “Psychology” has provided me with the opportunity to support diverse learners with attention to interdisciplinarity.
My work as an advisor is to support learners in calling forth their own wisdom, experiencing themselves as reflective practitioners, researchers, scholars, artists and agents of change and bringing their work into the world in meaningful and sustainable ways that inspire joy and connection. And the piece about ‘energy and flow?' That happens mostly when I’m playing with our family band, “Queen Fanifah," my beloved Wylie, aka “Leaf Zebra” and our 4-year-old bundle of joy daughter Hannah, aka “Electric Dread."