Monday, June 24, 2013


Integration: the combining and coordinating of separate parts or elements into a unified whole. 

Including my personal page I have four facebook pages that I maintain.  I have two websites that I update regularly.  I also have two twitter accounts and one instagram account.  If I include work my email accounts number a total of five.  I use four different names online.

This diverse web presence represents the various parts of my life: dance, troupe business, school, my writing, my personal life and the day job.

When I look at the array of social media, web pages and email addresses I see a very clear representation of just how seperate I keep certain parts of my life.  I struggle with finding balance, with creating space for the writer in me, the solo dance artist, the troupe manager & performer, the musician, the student, the paralegal, the visual artist and I wonder if much of my struggle is because I see these as distinct parts of myself, each needing its own dedicated time slot and a certain amount of my energy.

Yet they are ALL me.

It seems to me that if I am going to find this balance that I desire that I need to integrate these parts more.  That I can't keep them as separate pieces of me anymore.

I'm not quite sure how to move through or even begin this process, though perhaps consolidating my online presence will be a start.

Monday, June 17, 2013


What you are about to read is a bit of a rant however there is an amusing video at the end.  

I am beginning to develop a strong dislike of certain kinds of texting.  I have a handful of friends with whom I am in constant touch by text.  Throughout the day we communicate little anecdotes about our day, share pictures of interesting things we encounter or just say I'm thinking of you.  This is not the type of texting I am talking about.  I'm talking about those text conversations in which someone tries to engage me in a conversation of emotional depth which would be far better handled in person or over the phone.

Example:  If you want advice on whether or order the beef sandwich or the ham italian - you can probably text me.  If you want to ask whether the guy you are dating is right for you - you should call me.

It seems at times that people use texting as a tool of avoidance. We hide behind our smartphone screens, using them as emotional shields to avoid expressing real feelings or opening ourselves up to the emotions of others.  It feels safe and we can claim to have had a conversation about an important issue without ever having actually discussed. it.  No real emotional exchange takes place.   The conversation tends to stay simplified because you don't take the time to ask questions partly because it's a pain in the ass because it takes to long and also because you can't see the look of hurt or joy or whatever other expression of emotion may cross your friend's face in response to your words as you would in person or as you might hear it if you were speaking on the phone.

And you can't claim that in these instances texting saves time.  Texting takes FOREVER under these circumstances as multi paragraph responses are typed out one thumb tap at a time.  And while you are waiting you may decide to make a cup of tea, or answer a call of nature and then you forget you are waiting for that text until 15 minutes later you remember, check your phone and respond.   I will admit to having fallen asleep in the middle of a late night text conversation while waiting for a response.

Texting is great for scheduling, for just a short friendly note, for letting someone know you might be late (not to cancel) or to ask what wine someone might prefer when they are coming to dinner but not for sharing something really personal.  It can't be a substitute for human connection.

Maybe what I'm really ranting about is what seems to be a growing fear of personal and emotional interaction and texting just happens to be our primary tool of avoidance.   Anyway, here is the funny video as promised.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


"The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them." -   Alfred North Whitehead

I wanted to write a second post today to make up for missing yesterday but really didn't know what to write about.  After a really great weekend full of music, dance and good company my phelmie-sickness has returned with a vengeance leaving me coughing and a bit feverish again...but I really didn't want to write about that so I decided I'd take whatever quote was the first quote on a page of random quotations and use that as a base for a post.

The words at the top of this post are the ones that came up.  I read it an my first thought was...

I sometimes wish I didn't have so many ideas that I must do something about!!!!

Then I thought...

Wait. No ideas at all would be far worse.  

I have spent long periods in inspirationless voids and they are not on my list of happy places.   I am grateful for the many ideas that pop into my head and I do dearly wish I had the time to accomplish all of them.

Of course if I wrote them all down I could save them up for those times that I am in the void.

What a great idea!!!


Around the time of this last new moon I decided to try once again to blog every day.  My schedule had become such that I had time each morning to sit and write.  I didn't expect perfection or the production of great literature on a daily basis but until yesterday I at least succeeded in writing everyday.  

Yesterday the time just got away from me.  I began my day after a fitful night of sleep.  Between my stuffy sinuses and the cold medicine that left me feeling wired I tossed and turned most of the night.  After rising I spent much of the day alternating between layering paper mache on a new prop for an upcoming show and doing laundry.  Then a hustle to get into costume for a performance that evening (which went very well) and then home late feeling happily exhausted.  Writing was rather far from my mind. 

I'm not being too hard on myself about it; even though I didn't find the time to write yesterday I did spend much of the day creating in one way or another which I feel rather good about.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sometimes Magic Doesn't Just Happen...

I have a button on my bulletin board that someone gave me many years ago that says "Magic Happens."  Right now it is holding in place a flower shaped ornament that was attached to a gift a different friend gave me about a year ago.  I'm not overly big on buttons or bumper stickers. I think condensing a message down enough to fit on either often leads to oversimplification of what is often a much more complicated issue.  

Tonight I spent my evening making music and rhythm for some dancers in a town about an hour north of here.  I played rhythm on the zils, riq and mazur along side a percussionist who I perform with regularly (usually as a dancer) but who is far more accomplished than I when it comes to rhythm.  The show, which was sold out,  took place in a small restaurant; the eager crowd of 40 or so people filled the space wall to wall.

I was nervous.  I was nervous because I would be leading off the percussion on the first set after my fellow musician finished a solo on the ney so that he would have time to switch instruments.  I was nervous because I didn't want to fuck up make a mistake and make a dear friend look bad.  I was nervous because the dancer we were playing for was someone who I admired greatly and I didn't want to let her down.  Taking all of this nervousness into account I picked the instrument I felt most comfortable with, the zils.

The music began with the soft and slow sounds of the ney; the crowd was quiet and attentive. All eyes were on the dancer and her sinuous movements.  The music came to an end and she held her pose, I began to play.  My zills rang high and clear, filling the space with sound.  Four measures later I was joined by a doumbec loud and steady.  While my partner in music took the lead I followed first on zils and then on the riq.  We had performed together so often over the past few years that even with my limited experience I was able to anticipate and follow his lead without issue.  The dancer, very experienced with performing to live music, cued us easily to speed up, slow down and when she was ready, bring it to an impressive shimmy close.  It was a conversation of music and dance.

My nervousness forgotten, lost somewhere in the ring of the first clap of the zils, I was left disbelieving it was over and wishing it would go on and on and on (thankfully we played three more times during the evening).  I had experienced that sort of synchronicity, that magic, that can happen when performing to live music before but only on the other side of the drum as a dancer.  Tonight was the first time I experienced that as a musician.***

The drummer (improvising) makes a rhythm, the dancer (also improvising) upon hearing that rhythm responds with movement.  The drummer comes back with a question in sound (faster?), the dancer turns with a long slinky movement (no, slower please).  Yes, here you go responds the drummer...a moment later, quick shimmies of the hips...back and forth, hearing the drum beat, reading the dance and responding again with rhythm and movement...  

I would call tonight magical, but I think it was magic that happened because I was with a musician who I'd spent a lot of time working with as both a dancer and a percussionist.  I think it happened because we played for a dancer who is very skilled,  truly loves dancing to live music and knows how to speak without words to a drummer.  I think it happened because the crowd was happily ready and eager to be entertained.   I think it happened because all of that blended to create something wonderfully unique where the music and the dance became one performance.  Neither being  merely an accent or a back drop to the other.

So back to the button, "Magic Happens?"  Sure, I'd say that it does, but sometimes it happens because we've worked hard at something we are passionate about and each of us brings that experience, all of the time spent learning a skill, the hours of practice, all of our failures, our successes and our willingness to possibly fail again to that moment. In that moment magic doesn't just's made.

***to my friend...I understand now why you find it so addictive :-)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The walk did not go as planned...

I went for my usual walk this morning, okay well more like about half of my usual walk, and for the first time the usual sense of peace that I feel when walking did not accompany it.  Perhaps it is because of the cold I am fighting which has left me tired and mentally fuzzy.  There is also the cold medicine which allows me to breathe but does leave me feeling a bit our of sorts.

Physically it was a struggle.  My lungs were not functioning as well as they would be were I not fighting a cold and I was pulling tissue after tissue from my pocket for my sniffly nose.  I was walking at the pace of a stroll but I overheated quite quickly.  I was not comfortable.

Mentally it seemed like with every step a different anxiety would pop up... am I going to pay for the dental visit I need this summer?
Step...I'm behind on rehearsing due to this cold, how will I catch up?
Step...rice and beans again this week, I'm getting rather tired of them.
Step...two shows this weekend, I need to practice more.
Step...a guest next week, need to prep the apartment...when will I find the time?
Step...what will I feed them?
Step...I really want to nap all day but I can't afford to miss work.
Step...kitties need their annual vet visit, maybe I can put off the dentist another month.
Step...etc., etc., etc.,

My inner analyst is telling me two things:

1.  There is a feeling of helplessness I get when I am sick.  I'm a fairly independent sort but when I am ill I really want someone there to check in on me, tuck me in, bring me soup, etc.  I know I'm not alone in this; I think we all want our mommies when we are ill. It can have a cascading effect, I feel helpless because I am sick and the feeling sort of leaks into other areas of my life in which I find myself struggling and right now that is the financial and creative spheres of my life.

2.  The last time I walked the route I did today it was with a friend with whom I talked about many of my troubles and he his.  I was feeling a high amount of stress and anxiety that particular day and so perhaps there was a bit of an anxiety trigger there.

So tomorrow I'll perhaps walk a different route and hopefully I'll be feeling better physically.  Right now I am home and I do feel better whether due to resting or writing I'm not sure.  Tea with honey is next on my list and that will likely help too.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's true, I have a cold

There was no denying it.  My allergies had already been doing their best to incapacitate me this spring.  I couldn't pass it off ass the tree sniffles.  And if there was still a part of me in denial it certainly was shut up when as I made my way to the corner drugstore for supplies every muscle in my body was screaming that it made much more sense to be walking towards the bed because walking out the door surely meant death due to the plague that had invaded us.  If we, my body and I, fell we may not have the strength to rise again and didn't we risk quarantine by going out in public?

When I am ill my body becomes a drama queen.

My adult brain wants to find a way to medicate the living daylights out of my body so that we can go on and do all that we need to do.  There will be no sniffles stopping us!

My inner child wants hot soup, someone to brush my hair and read me stories.

I am now home.  I didn't die in the street.  I commenced negotiations and collectively I think we can agree we'd  like to be in bed, covers pulled up and asleep right now.

The compromise is I plan on working from my bedroom with cup of hot broth and my little box of sudafed at my side with an afternoon nap to follow.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Precipitation 100%

The sound of the rain on my air conditioner is rather similar to to raindrops on a roof and so this morning I stayed in bed an extra half hour with my eyes half lidded and pretended I was waking up in woodland cabin where I was peacefully spending a month pursuing some sort of creative endeavor.  My little fantasy also had a butler who was hiking miles through the woods to bring me a breakfast tray with hot tea, grapefruit juice, waffles with strawberry syrup and of course bacon.  Which I would eat on the screened in porch that overlooked a small pond just visible between the mossy trunks of tall pine trees.

I do enjoy rainy days most of the time though today it is interfering with my plans to take my daily walk.  I find that motivation comes much easier when the workout will take place along the seashore with all of its pleasant sights, sounds and smells.  Yoga in my living room, while generally pleasant, does not have soft waves, soaring gulls or tweeting birds, but I made do soft meditative music, a cracked window to hear the rain and two inquisitive cats.

I think walking also comes easier because it is what we are designed to do.  We are not meant to sit still for the long periods of time that we do today.  I think our bodies actually want to walk, one foot in front of the other...we like to go places.  When I get up in the morning to take my stroll I think my body lets out a little silent "Yipee!"  Stretching, bending, crunches, leg lifts and such are great for the body, and I'll still do them,  but we have to think about them, count them, and strive to do more when we don't feel challenged enough.  Walking just comes naturally.

Edit:  After posting this I had the thought that there are a lot of things in the average American's life that are not natural.  Working at at desk for 40 hours a week, keeping to a 9:00-5:00 schedule and ignoring our natural rhythms, the expectation that all will follow the same path of school, career, marriage, babies, eating three scheduled meals a day instead of eating when hungry and NOT NAPPING.   We ignore what our hearts and bodies tell us to do even when they beg to be heard.

Instead of listening we seem to tune them out with buying what we don't need, convincing ourselves that a five day work week and two day weekend is somehow going to feed our soul, that accumulation of money and things is more fulfilling than accumulating experience...

These are not new thoughts and I'm sure there are a million self help books one can buy that will tell you just this (hey you get it here for free!) but I know my darkest times have come when I've stopped listening to and answering my own actual needs...

Monday, June 10, 2013


“When I'm in turmoil, when I can't think, when I'm exhausted and afraid and feeling very, very alone, I go for walks. It's just one of those things I do. I walk and I walk and sooner or later something comes to me, something to make me feel less like jumping off a building.” – Jim Butcher

I have been working to add the habit of walking once a day to my life.  My preference is to do this in the morning, when the air is cooler and less likely to be bad for my lungs.  I am lucky to live near the sea and my walks often take me there.  I am beginning to know the flowers, birds and other creatures that inhabit the local walking paths in this part of town; which is still new to me having only moved here in October.

Today I also encountered a man out strolling with his parrot and a Jehovah's Witness who offered me a copy of Watchtower and a bible quote.  I explained that I didn't have any pockets and so could not accept her offer of the pamphlet but that if the bible verse short I'd listen.    She seemed to accept that and read me something about everyone getting along and finding peace, if they believed in and feared her god of course.

I won't say that walking has been any sort of miracle for me.  It has helped me feel less like a slug; school introduced a lot of extra sitting into my life and it was beginning to become a habit.  It also gets me out of the house.  I work from home and unless I have errands to run or someplace to be I can often go days without leaving my apartment.  Finally, in reference to the quote above, I find it does help my mindset.  It is one thing I do for myself and I while I generally don't find answers while walking, I do find that it gives me a break.  Whether it's the rhythm of my feet (I have a weird habit of counting my footsteps), being surrounded by the birds, flowers and people I encounter or just stepping outside of my routine, I do end my walks a little more relaxed and a little less stressed, which seems to carry through the rest of my day.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

One Month

It has been one month since my last blog post.  My excuses:

I'm tired.
I'm stuck in a creative slump (well, more of a dip really.  The ideas are there...)
My "To Do List" is too long.
I'm unsure of the direction I want the blog to take.
Netflix has too many interesting shows to watch.
I'm trying to walk everyday and since I usually walk in the mornings it's interfering with my usual blogging time.
I've been texting too much and thus my fingers are tired.
I'm not feeling happy and I don't want to whine in public.
I'm busy.
I'm suffering from some serious burnout.

All of the above are true. Particularly the tired, burned-out and busy parts.  I thought when the semester ended I would have a few days of downtime and then there would be all of this ENERGY that would suddenly be available for me to draw upon and then...

I would get SO MUCH DONE!

It didn't quite work out that way.  Instead of rest I just filled the available time with other things from the never ending "To Do List."

Actually, it isn't a to do list at all really.


It's more of a "What Must Be Done Now Because I've Put It Off Too Long List." or maybe it's a "I Have To Do This Now Because I Promised Someone I Would List."

Maybe it's both.

I have two goals for this summer.

1. Finally create the inventory for and set up an Etsy shop.
2. Find a way to balance my collaborative creative commitments and my personal creative goals.

Right now I'm not sure I'll find the time to do either (insert really long and forlorn sigh here).