In December, 2018 I came upon this archival film posted by the Oregon Historical Society in 2017. Portland's own Elaine Velazquez made this short film commissioned by the National Organization for Women in the mid-1970's. It captures a moment in 'Portland time' when my friends and I were finding and defining our paths as artists and activists. Elaine and her partner Barbara Bernstein have gone on to create many powerful works of socially relevant art, and each of the women featured in this film has continued, in her own way, to contribute as artist/activist through the years. It's important to encourage each other, and those subtle to brilliant shades of storytelling that reveal our humanness and remind us that stories are interwoven in the DNA of our beings. Stories can be false, misleading, destructive and separate us by fearful, angry means, and stories can intrigue, delight, unite, inform and inspire us to act for the common good. The latter are the kind of stories I want learn to from, create, and share. How about you?
Though a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) I was able to spend a full week singing Circle Songs at Omega Institute this summer with the amazing Bobby McFerrin and his wondrous peer group of teaching musicians, notably: Rhiannon, David Worm, Joey Blake, Judy Vinar, Christiane Karam, Zuza Goncalves, Karen Goldfeder and Tiago Grade.
It was revelatory, enriching, soul-deep song work and I am mightily grateful to have had an opportunity to be immersed in this music-of-the-moment in the company of an international group of musicians. For me it was regenerating, inspiring and affirming. A time to reconnect with my tribe, and a timely pause to breathe in the light before returning to what has been a challenging time in my family's life.
I'll be sharing more over the coming months about community music events I'm planning that will flow in and out of the circle song format. In the meantime, below is an outtake from one of the sessions (we were asked not to audiotape, but I did just this once) and a few pictures, some mine, some borrowed.
May we all, in this time of constant change and challenge, find centering moments of peace, joy and regeneration within our tribes. Joyous Thanks to RACC and its many sponsors.
We are here to care for one another, to learn to Love and Trust and that is not always easy. The tides of fear are rising and we are being asked to look deep and find willingness to stay open and trust. Here is a beautiful message to that end:
As we move forward in life, something to remember...
At the beginning of 2016 I was reminded once again to honor the gifts given. We are, each one, filled with the potential to share the most potent, honest, revealing and beautiful parts of our ourselves, our truths. It is in our nature to share with one another and (for me) a core need to connect with you at a heart level.
I lag behind my heart, however as my mind burrows into a maze of preoccupation, a never-ending stream of alternatives to paying deeper attention. It is not hard, I whisper to myself, to listen and respond to the gifts within. But it takes willingness and practice and respect to take the time to shape the flowing energies and share them.
I ask you to remember that your beauty, your wisdom, your gifts are needed in the world. As we journey on through this decade, let’s remind each other that we are all part of the evolving story; we are all needed. When any one of us is marginalized or disregarded we lose a part our ourselves. Setting the sparks of action and inspiration that will light our way into the future will take all of us speaking our truths and acting on them.
I’m sure we’re all aware of the soul-shattering trauma that is forcing change on peoples and other living beings worldwide. The patterns of chaos are raging. But they are patterns and patterns inevitably change. We can shape new patterns, consciously, but it will take time. So, I ask you to keep sharing your light with all of us…keep us posted on your journey. Share your discoveries, your challenges, your beauty, your dreams and visions, and I will do the same.
Welcoming in the New Years Gifts, I share a little experiment created in the maze of preoccupation. Photos are from the Department of the Interior twitter site and Hans Silvester (the Omo People)
Reposted from the Voiceweaving Blog, 1/3/2016
Robin is a Portland, OR native who's lived long enough to remember the transformative era