It’s been a long road. Symposium was back in July. I left with all good intentions, as is usually the case, but wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of demands when I returned home. More than the usual, beyond the pale. But it hasn’t left my mind. And I still have those projects ahead of me with a stack of supplies to finish.

Meanwhile, there are the notes. I had started morning pages (from Artist’s Way) back in May. By the time I made it to Symposium, I used the same notebook to write my ongoing notes about what was about to happen, and then what was happening. After returning to morning pages in December, I used the last of the notebook to complete tasks from Artist’s Way. So it’s TIME to move those notes aside and mark the notebook *completed*.

First, there was my entry on July 4, 2016 —

Tomorrow I go to Idaho for Brave Girl Symposium. Back then, I thought this would be good for me, healing. Now I guess I’m trying to say this great reluctance must be classic resistance and I need this and everything will be okay when I get there. I’ve got to make it peacefully through this day. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. I will pack. Fill the birdfeeder. I need art supplies. And ones and fives. Bank’s closed. I don’t know what to write. Must stay calm. Must stay focused. It’s okay okay okay.

Unfortunately, I didn’t always write down who was speaking, where the notes were from, but I’m going to do my best here to piece it together. I want to remember. I need to remember. I want to talk about symposium here and now.

After the welcome and intros, the first speaker was Orly Avineri, a wonderful beginning and just what I needed to bring the event into focus for myself — to get calm within myself and know I was in the right place at the right time. She began by talking about a little girl she had seen cartwheeling at the library, full of abandon, dress flying over her head as she performed cartwheels with happy, proud abandon. As she spoke, I felt myself as that child. In the library that day, she was pleased to watch the joyous child. Until the child’s mother spoke, admonishing her for showing her underwear, shaming her. And just like that, I felt myself as that child again. And now. The child living joyously and freely in her own skin until learning to feel ashamed of being seen at all. Anyway …

Avineri then said, “It’s really a miracle that I’m standing here.” She went on to tell her story. And these are the notes from my book —

  • Just because you’re born in a certain place doesn’t mean that’s the place for you.
  • There are places that silence you and places that don’t.
  • — the visceral changes as the story evolves —
  • — started talking seven years ago —
  • Nature and making art was the safest thing to do.
  • Would go away to other homes. “You know, other homes.”
  • Art is an excuse for connection. It’s a language.
  • Find a language you can speak until you’re ready to talk.
  • Our stories need to be fluid.

I could stop to go through these notes now, but if I do, I run the risk of not finishing what I’m hoping to do. That is, transfer ALL the notes. But I hear her now saying, “You know … other homes.” I do know. So many other homes. The woods, the water, anywhere but here. Meanwhile, I’m still finding a language I can speak. I still bathe myself and my spaces in blue so I can eventually find my voice and allow it to echo from every mountaintop and every valley. Until my voice is there each and every time it’s needed.

Next, there was Kallie Maughan, one of Melody Ross’ grown children and author of Where Our Petals Touch. My notes say:

  • Laugh at the pompous.
  • Now you’re free to do something else.
  • I want to know if you can stand in the center of the fire with me.
  • Love is the answer.

Actually, I don’t know if those first three were from Kallie. But they were in my notes after Orly, so I’m taking a guess and putting them here. “Love is the answer” was most certainly from Kallie because I wrote it in/on the schedule right by her picture along with the title of her book. And I just found this beautiful video of her 4-year-old daughter, Melody’s granddaughter, reading the book. LOVE the illustrations and the meaning is underscored by the sweet, clear voice that’s reading:

That was the end of the first evening, Wednesday, July 6. I could talk about the day, the evening, things I saw — but what I think I’ll do (maybe) is come back in later with photographs. Yes. That would be a good way of organizing those photos as well. But it will obviously take longer than anticipated to transfer these notes. Offering myself grace and permission to complete these notes in my own time this week.

 

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