Dream: I am teaching at an InterPlay retreat in a room my colleague is using for an advanced training. As usual I am about to innovate a lesson and have about an hour.
During the break I haggle with my colleague about where to hang a students artwork to be best appreciated and spend a minute choosing ephemera to post on a bulletin board.
Then I call the group into a circle to check in. A needy woman on my immediate left says that I came into life ahead of the rest of them. I feel a small ego puff go off with her remark as I pull the focus back to the group. Some people start laying down and I know its time to shift.
I realize the question to raise is “How do we know we are artists?” When I mention it people nod in agreement. I break the group into twos and ask them to notice their artistic practices, to look at their art-making (not the results) and what it tells them about being an artist. (Similar to asking a child if you are their parent, not if you are a good or bad one).
I give each person two minutes to share and I begin to improvise my next step. An idea comes. I look for a blackboard to write it down. The chalkboard is full with notes. I just write down the letters TSE- (T- Time, S-Space, E-Energy), intuiting that every dream requires at least these three areas to manifest. I prepare to have people play with the time, space, and energy that they give to their art practices. I am very proud of my insight.
Looking for a bell to signal the end of the dyads, I realize that I don’t have one. I think I can use a key on the piano until I realize that someone put the baby grand on the stage. When I go to it there is an artful fellow trying to get something from behind the piano causing it to nearly roll off. We are distracted and lose our sense of play. I scan the group and see Rod, who loves InterPlay and organizes a religious art prize in Australia. Is he enjoying himself?
I look for something to ding. Phil warns, “Don’t use the Hammond Organ! (We must be in a church!) When I look at the group I see that they are self organized on the right side of the room and some are ACTUALLY PLAYING with the assignment, moving as a group through space!
Meanwhile I engage the distracted man in spontaneous exformational made-up words which takes us into friendly connection on the floor. He looks at me and realizes that he can let go.
I don’t know what will happen next. But as teacher and participants I know we are all giving our Energy to this Time and Space. Voila. We must be artists!
Is this just a dream?
I am lucky! Somehow I got over worrying about the stature of my artistic identity. I learned in different intiations that no one can endorse my art. So, I consider myself a folk artist. I don’t put pressure on most of my art to be important or make income! I love to write, draw, dance, sing, and goof around so much that I do it everywhere (space), almost all the time (time), following endless rivulets of curiosity and enjoyment (energy). The result? Some of what I share has value. It becomes part of the great gift exchange. Nothing makes me happier! The InterPlay work? That is an entire practice, a life work. To the extent that a “product” that lives outside of me can make anyone a living, I celebrate that.
Why be an art snob. When I am I lose. Pile up some art or spread it around. It’s all gift!
I just started publishing some of my writing and poetry on ISSUU. It‘s a free way to share documents in a beautiful way! Check it out. I even ordered a hard copy of my collection, Dancing on the Dark Side of the Moon: Poems on Initiation, Resilience, and Hope. The slim volume just arrived in the mail! LOVE IT!
Playin in the Mystical Sandbox!