photo credit: Darrah Parker Photography
Rachel is walking us through a meditation. We are asking each part of our bodyÂ what she is hungry for, what she needs. It is very minute. Very detailed. Every part gets a chance to speak. Toes, feet, ankles…on and on.
As the host of this gathering, I am only partially present to my body. Instead I am holding space — energetically sending my capacities out and around the group like an embrace; practically filling water pitchers, turning off lights that have an odd hum, making sure everyone has a comfortable seat. So maybe I am just not paying enough attention when my feet, and shins, and calves are silent.
But then we get to the knees.
What are you hungry for? What do you need?
“Kneel” comes the answer, out of nowhere,. Clear as a bell. Sharp as a bark.
“We need to kneel.”
Art then. More art.
More beauty. More risk. More raw.
“When faith failed me, art saved me.” This is one of my catch phrases. A pithy summation of what was, in truth, a complex journey out of church and into right-fit spirituality. When I lost my place in the cathedral, I found it in the museum. Now, when I stand in front of resonate pieces of art, it is all I can do not to kneel.
More kneeling. More art. More reverence. More knowing without knowing how you know. Seeing truth unexpectedly between the arms of a frame, in the negative space of a sculpture, in the curve of a lyric, it the extenstion of the dancer’s limb.
Our culture is so bereft of this. Of the chance to engage with art and artists. Of opportunity. Of access. Instead of seeing our artists at prophets, we look askance and roll an eye. We give art programs the leftovers. We treat it not like life blood, but as an extra.
What are we hungry for? What do we need?
How fitting it was then, to wrap our gathering with an Art + Soul party — a nurturing blend of music, photography, hoop dance and card readings. As Naomi sang, and Natasha’s femmes shined down from their place on the gallery wall, everything our teachers that day had offered was reinforced, allowing the lessons to sink further into our bones. Friends and colleagues, family and loves were all under the same roof, along with strangers who wandered in drawn by the sound.
I honestly don’t think I could have been happier. All my passions in one place. My vocation returned to my own hands.
I held space all day long. Then the art came and held everything I love.
I may no longer be a pastor, but I am still a minister. I may no longer relate to the idea of a Creator, but I still follow Creation. I may no longer preside at the table, but I still create communion. As we gathered for Art + Soul, all of those things came to fruition. I finally came home.
Art + Soul. As I move forward from this event–filled with gratitude, and yes, confidence — I am even more committed to producing work that connects these two. Events that put you in a room for a cuddle and a tumble with them both . Courses that let you pause from the speed of life, and take care of your creative soul. Guidance that clears the clutter to makes space for beauty and meaning. Opportunities to kneel.
This summer I’ll be working behind the scenes to give you easier access to the soulwork I already have on offer. We’ll make the door to Flock more visible, give you free resources, point you in the direction of deeper care. And we’ll be whispering to the priestesses and artists who will be at the next gathering when Soul Sister’s reconviens the first weekend in February. (Yes. I’ll need to start working on it this summer for next February. That’s what it takes friends, to create these spaces.)
But right now, on this day, I will sit, and soak, and be grateful. I will sing the praises of Art + Soul. I will kneel.
*your magpie girl
Many Thanks to all my co-teachers and presenters who made Gather and Art + Soul such a meaningful success. Please check out the skilled work of these amazing talents:
Dr. Sibel Golden – Real Food, Real Beauty, psychotherapist.
Rachel W. Cole – The Well Fed Woman, Coach;
Andrea Rae – Alinga Body Work
Amy Kessel – Women’s Leadership Coach
Darrah ParkerÂ -Â Natural Light Photography/Newborn Photography
Elizabeth Porter – Shamanic Guide/Card Readings
Timothy Aguero Photography – Event & Portrait Photography
Natasha KomodaÂ – Femmeography, Photographer
Nicole Spiegel – Hoop Dancer/Hoop Sales/Instructor
Lisa Levine – Health and Life Coaching
Naomi Wachira – Singer/Songwriter