On the Cusp

You know that feeling you get before you becoming ill. We say, “I feel I’m coming down with something.” When that happens to me, I go into preemptive mode slamming down Vitamin C and such.

I expect we can also get the feeling in advance when something good is about to happen to us, to our bodies, our lives, our relationships. We move in and out of seasons, sometimes anticipating what is to come. Other times we get hit by a surprise.

europe09 007This week in addition to looking ahead to the upcoming presentations around the US and Canada, I have also gotten to dig into local roots for a change. I have been home for 10 days, which may be the longest stretch since April.

  • I  shared a meal with a dear friend from the Watkinson School.
  • I met for coffee with a former student who reconnected with me via Facebook.
  • I enjoyed a True Blood and VH1 Music awards with pop culture queen Jen and her lovely spawn Mary.
  • I had the privilege of eating vegan Chinese food (China Pan I love you!) with radical queers who both shook up and numbed my brain with knowledge, questions and conundrums.
  • I walked in the woods and then had the country’s BEST falafel with a new friend and some newer friends.
  • I saw many people I have not seen in some time at either my performance last week at Charter Oak Cultural Center or last night at Scott Turner Schofield’s show at Real Art Ways.
  • I reconnected with the radical and wonderful group Queers without Borders, and also enjoyed lunch in Bushnell Park at a picnic provided by Food Not Bombs.
  • I had vegan mac & cheese with my vegan neighbor and shared some dark chocolate with her.
  • I met with a Quaker Friend who came all the way from DC to spend the afternoon with me and dream and scheme about performances to come.
  • I met with my Support Committee who has given me on-going spiritual, moral and emotional support since 2004.
  • I had a long chat with a Quaker Friend in Boston who shared with me her thoughts about  Quaker “eldering” so that the “minister” stays centered and grows into the work.
  • I attended a community panel on transgender issues and connected with local legends in the LGBTIQ movement.
  • I even saw my landlord, who although we live in the same house, I seem to only run into at queer performances.

An artist needs roots, particularly if she travels with her art. An artist also needs art–soul food. Regina from Queers without Borders wrote to me this week:

I owe myself art and I often go into spiritual debt without it.

I fed on art this week, gorging on poems and fiction,  then strolling through the woods.  I sat like a wide-eyed child in a candy shop as Scott performed last night reminding me of the many tools, tricks and devices we have as artists to create performance magic.

I think I was coming down with a case of spiritual artistic malaise. I needed to rest in words and movement and music and images. I needed to sleep long and dream freely. (Yesterday I woke from a full-color, musical dream honoring a war widow from Chile–banners, children singing, full orchestra.)

europe09 086For people who are artists, who do work that requires them to be present and give to others (social work, teaching, parenting, elder care, LGBTIQ Activism, etc), for people engaging in the on-going work of trauma recovery, for people desiring to move beyond Bed, Bath and Beyond, we comfort, nourishment, and time. Essentials or luxuries or both?

What about you? What has been a source of creativity, of sanity, of healthy vitality for you? What do you feed on to keep from going into soul poverty? What do you do to keep yourself grounded in reality?

This post has 6 Comments

  1. Jane on September 20, 2009 at 4:04 pm Reply

    Those should not be hard questions, but I find that they are. I am on a forced retreat from many things but find myself going too much. I thank you for the questions. I’m so glad that you were able to feed your soul and refresh your body and spirit.

  2. Sheria-SA on September 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm Reply

    Reading inspirational books and listening to uplifting music really feeds one’s soul. I look at people who have the gift of writing inspirational books and music as vessels into which God has has stored His serenity and wisdom; and this wisdom can easily be found by those who truly SEEK. That aside, I find swimming to be renewing and exhilarating! For some reason, when one dives into a pool of water, to me it almost seems as if one is burying something old, and when one comes out of water, it’s as if one is saying: to a fresh and clean start! On top of this, don’t indulge into a soul-less heavy meaty meal! Go for ‘spiritual food’…Think hare krishna food..Then add a call to your mix a call to your family: because: family is important….That’s my recipe to regain your sanity…

  3. Carey on September 21, 2009 at 10:37 am Reply

    Peterson, I adore you.

    Food prepared and served with happiness and kindness feeds me on many levels. As in Like Water for Chocolate, I believe we transfer emotions and ideas into the food we prepare. Lying in grass – any time of day or night. Disconnecting from electrical devices and responsibilities allows relaxation that is hard for me to achieve otherwise. Also people-watching, especially from a kind of a secluded place on a busy street. I love writing stories about the people I see, whether or not those stories ever make it to paper. WIND fills me up and calms me down, as does water.

    Here’s to spiritual nourishment!

    ~Carey

  4. dan on September 21, 2009 at 11:05 am Reply

    Where in Canada are you coming?

  5. Sheria-SA on September 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm Reply

    Carey, you read my mind! Great minds think alike…

  6. DeAnna on October 18, 2009 at 1:08 am Reply

    Chiming in late, but so inspired by folks like you, Peterson.

    The ground under my feet feeds my soul.

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