Monthly Archives: August 2010

Sweet Artist…

with some Sweet Thoughts. I’ve had a lovely exploration of Andrea Dorfman’s films this morning:

Art:

How to Be Alone:

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Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, Poetry, Videos

Gather Me Man – A Young Blogger Rolls Out Her Turf

Smart. Talented. Magical. Strong. Insightful. Those are great descriptors for my young friend Michaela Morton. I met her in Maine where she wrangled dancers, puppets, crew and all of our hearts. Here’s a shout out for her blog called Gather Me Man; “It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.” – Toni Morrison. Indeed it is. Don’t miss fierce warrior Michaela rolling out her turf in our recent Quarry Backstory video:

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Using the Buffalo – Gwen’s Adventures in Shopping Less


Center for Justice and Peacebuilding pal Gwen just started a blog Using the Buffalo (“I killed the Buffalo – it’s time I used it.”). It’s about her quest to buy less and use what she owns already. I like it because it is about the daily decision-making process and value shift in being lower impact. This dialogue is critical in the midst of systems change to help our little marble survive. The picture above is the chalkboard wall in her house. Thanks, Gwen!!

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The Great Social Media Debate and What That Has to do With Cussing Priests

StoryDoula


I adore my friend David precisely because he is a cussing priest, a totally kick storyteller AND because he will take the time to fight with me for hours (and HOURS ’til 2 in the morning when I stopped the debate because I needed a Subway sandwich) about how social media will ruin his life and mine. And I adore him because then he turns around and sends me links to two stunningly interesting blogs about religion, values and ideas. Here they are:

Episocopal Cafe : Is beautiful, well organized and includes some nice video pieces.
The Immanent Frame: Rocks my world. I love how Episcopalians just go there in a way that is both intellectual and populist. In the post to which I’ve linked, check out another cussing theologian, Siobahn Garrigan for some grounding on the homosexual debate within the Anglican church.

Thanks David!

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Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, Qutotable

Low Impact Adventures and What Those Have To Do With My Life As a Man

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No, this isn’t a transgender confession. At least not in the traditional sense – just read on.

Last month I posted my dismay at our planet in peril. Since then, I’ve been working steadily at becoming a lower impact individual and all I can really say so early on is this will certainly be an intriguing journey.

StoryDoula

First (and in no particular order) I’m surprised at the times I feel foolish embarking on this journey. There’s the fact that this it is SO obvious that I should be further along on being low impact. I watched An Inconvenient Truth. What’s taken me so long?! I’m slightly embarrassed to talk to my activist pals about how I’ve discovered the method of doing my dishes more efficiently (two tubs of water – one for soapy, one for rinse – start with glassware – then move through cutlery, dishes, pots and pans – saves lot of water). The word paltry comes to mind. But alas, we must crawl before we walk. And this parody on the comedy site The Onion helps shore me up.

I’ve also found myself embarrassed to be low-impact in public. I took my groovy tin cup along with me on my recent driving trip to Maine (I’ve been failing miserably on the carbon emissions front) so I wouldn’t waste disposable cups at rest stops. I’m embarrassed to say I was too embarrassed to ask Starbucks barristas to use my cup instead of their paper cup (although I asked them to refill three of my water bottles with no trepidation – go figure). The outcome turned out to be MORE impactful though, because I chose no coffee over coffee in a paper cup. It just points out to me how insanely consumerist our culture is – and how we are ALL caught in that system in ways we can’t even imagine.

Second, I HAVE unearthed the makings of a lower impact lifestyle and how that brings intimacy to my interactions with my people, my stuff and my food. Doing dishes (as above), turning off the water while lathering in shower, sharing paint, supplies, tools with neighbors. My cabin walls are now painted a lovely combination of three yellows donated to me by Bill and Lisa. I’ve discovered how effective and non-toxic vinegar and baking soda are at cleaning. I realize that thinking about every action that I take and the way that I take it slows me down, makes me think, breathe, consider, be grateful, be careful, be sweet, be gentle. Also, be funny. Check out this Brazilian video about how peeing in the shower saves water:

The third even MORE surprising outcome is how this journey to low impact is helping me redefine was feminism is and what it should be. There was an era of my life – one friend calls calls it My Life As a Man – when I thought the key to being powerful as a woman was to act like those whom I perceived as having power – namely white men. As a television director I was often the only woman in a crew – and I usually covered stories about “powerful” white men. I was clear I wasn’t going to be anyone’s mom, girlfriend, sister, whatever. So I intentionally didn’t ask questions of others, launched into my own stories without prompting, had little empathy for myself or anyone who might be lagging on the shoot and developed my own special form of misogyny toward women who weren’t strong, couldn’t give good directions, and couldn’t weave a really good tale. I finally had a wake up call after I decided that I, like most men around me, would not pick up my dishes after a meal at someone’s house. The problem was – all those really nice ladies who had prepared the meal were now having to pick up after me. Yuck. That was enough. I realized that this form of feminism was as destructive as the existing misogyny that wouldn’t let anyone – men or women – become whole. So if feminism isn’t female misogyny – what is it?

StoryDoula

My low impact adventure helps answer this question because I am finding intense power and connection in these acts I find myself performing. These humble, simple commitments of service are opening a door to understanding that there is little in this world more powerful than collective and incremental action. I can’t save the planet. I can only begin to do my dishes differently and I am dependent on the wisdom and action of others for that one small act to become large. This is not the way those whom are considered powerful in our culture act. They expect others to clean up after them – while they single-handedly sweep-in with brilliant solutions. Hello BP. Feminism to me redefines what power is – appreciating, embracing the powerful smallness of women, men, old, young, quiet, gentle… you name it. You get it. All of it. All of our power.

Water. Wind. Soil. Air. As we seek to lessen our destructiveness on these powerful, vulnerable things – they become metaphors for so many others. Tell me your low impact tales. I’ll print them here.

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Quarry Backstory

Here’s a look at this week’s rehearsals for the ethereal Quarryography – a dance event we’ve been filming in Stonington, ME. Performances run each day at 5PM through Sunday, August 8. For information about the performance or tickets – go to http://www.operahousearts.org.

Camera: Praveen Chhetri, Steven Stauffer and Moi
Edit: Praveen Chhetri, Steven Stauffer
Original Music: Praveen Chhetri

What wonderful collaborators, cast and crew.

Here is the backstory:
Q2 is the story of a place and its inhabitants, of the desire to claim space and the necessity of community. In this tale of seagulls and porcupines, herons and humans, small actions are combined with joyously grand gestures, giant puppets loom and steel drums accent the rhythms of natural life.

Creating intimate access to the quarry’s animating forces and provoking vital questions about its use, Q2 draws together a unique team of professional dancers, community members, and friends in a stirring week of performance on the beautiful coast of Maine.

The creation of Alison Chase, Maine resident and founding artistic director of Pilobolus Dance Theater, in collaboration with Mia Kanazawa and Nigel Chase. Commissioned by Opera House Arts in Stonington, ME.

Performances run August 3-8 at 5PM in the Settlement Quarry. For more information and reservations, see http://www.operahousearts.org.

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Jesus Wasn’t Sentimental and What That Has to do With My 40th Birthday Party

My 40th birthday party happened six years ago – but my dear friend David Dill recently reinterpreted the event (which featured a beautiful restaurant and 25 of my very favorite people), much to my amazement, in a sermon he delivered to Trinity Church in Boston. David is a stunning storyteller and the crux of this sermon is the notion that Jesus was not in any way sentimental.  He explores how that non-sentimentality can be a important state of being – no matter what sort of spiritual path we might be following. This sermon is a tremendous gift – to know that someone heard so well is a wonderful thing.

The party begins about 7 minutes in to the audio podcast below – but listen to the entire sermon – David is onto something.
Paulette’s Party and Jesus Wasn’t Sentimental by Story Doula

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