Apr
17

Remembering – An Introduction

Hello, everyone. I’m excited to be a member of your community. I know Cyriel and John (we were together in New York at the end of March), and have spoken with Lisa on the phone. I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of you more fully.

I decided to introduce myself to you through the topic of remembrance. I have a background in theatre – 20-some years of acting, directing, producing. I stepped away from performing regularly to write a book (which will perhaps be the subject of a future post; it is a memoire, to continue the theme…). And in the interim, I discovered some benefits about theatre, which I had overlooked when practicing it regularly. I saw how, in the time that I had devoted myself to both my manuscript (sitting, typing), and my job (sitting, on the phone), that my body had left me. Or I, it. I had the sudden sense of being disembodied, cut loose, un-present. I realized that my training and performance experiences had given me tools for being present to the world; but with the time growing longer out of practice, these competencies were becoming dulled.

This was the first remembrance.

I wasn’t happy about the realization. However, it did also bring to mind the possibility that many, many other people could be feeling the same way, only they might not even realize it. At that moment (and I can still remember the small cubicle in which it occurred) I began this journey, with the mission to bring the liveliness of the arts, and especially theatre, to those who may not know that such things are possible within the culture of daily work and life.

I had been chugging along that curving entrepreneurial path, when one of my colleagues engaged me in developing an experiential learning program called PCI Adventure. (PCI stands for Passion, Creativity and Innovation.) He charged me with conducting research on creativity to support the program activities. He gave me a book budget and free reign at the local Borders Bookstore. I went, I browsed, I purchased. Arms full of books representing many different perspectives on the subject of creativity, I began with Phil Cousineau: Stoking the Creative Fires: 9 Ways to Rekindle Passion and Imagination.

Thus began the second remembrance.

Cousineau, a writer, filmmaker and mythologist, describes the creative process as a sort of Hero’s Journey. But there’s a difference. Instead of going forward into the world, to Cousineau the journey of creativity is “back and down—back in time and down into the soul’s depths.” His book is impassioned, romantic and in its own way, unsparing. And it reminded me that I used to experience a somewhat different orientation to the world, one that had been richer in numinousness and curiousity. (I suspect the two qualities are symbiotic.)

This remembrance was also a complicated one for me. Though I was very glad for it. I resolved to remain aware of this energy and to keep the flame lit, even (and especially) as I continue to move forward into the very different energies of the corporate and organizational worlds.

So far, it’s a fascinating journey. Since beginning the program research on creativity last fall, one thing has led to another, and now I’m starting a graduate program in creativity studies at the University of Buffalo. When I’m done, I will have an MS degree. The “S” for science both surprises and excites me, having circled the question of an MFA for more years than I would like to count. I know that I will need to keep remembering, and remembering, and remembering as this new process unfolds. I know that it will be the “back and down” creative journey that will keep my course true, as I move forward.

I’m very pleased to know you at this juncture in my life; to know of your projects and your passions, and to introduce you to mine. One of the blogs had commented upon how so many of us are moving forward in the direction of world-change, with the conviction that powerful intentions to create a life of balance and beauty, relationship and justice can actually make a difference, and that the arts are uniquely positioned to effect this change. I feel the same way. That’s the flame to keep alight. I’m honored to be in your company, and I look forward to the journey. Back and down. Forward and up.

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