Monday, February 25, 2008

Sick and Learning

That's where I have been. Sick. And Learning. The sick part is nothing to write about. Just the standard sniffling, sneezing, coughing, stuffy head thing. But the learning...ah...that's something else. My colleague, Kevin Rolston (ensemble member of OutLook), and I drove down to LA and back this past weekend for a weekend long intensive with Cornerstone Theater Company. Cornerstone is the such an amazing model of how to create high-quality, professional productions that involve community members every step of the way. Their workshop was so generous - literally a step-by-step of how they do what they do. We are ready to take it all and just run with it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Love!

Today is my partner/my love's birthday. Allison Kenny turns 29. We met and fell in love when she was 23. Do the math. It's been a long time. And I am so proud of her because, although she has a cold, she woke up today exploding with joy and peace and gratitude. She is comfortable in her own skin. She is finally at a point where she is embracing her gifts and talents as an artist, a teacher, a healer, a business owner, a powerful woman.

She inspires me everyday.

I'm a pretty lucky girl.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

World Community Arts Day

"We can either react in fear or anger to the state of our world thus becoming part of the problem or respond creatively and become part of the solution."

This quote above is why I do what I do. And today, World Community Arts Day, I feel very connected to all of the other people around the world who do what they do. Who dare to have faith in the idea that art can change the world. Yesterday, with Allison and Claire (in our group with no name), we explored the concept of Hope together. We used clay, read some other people's ideas and went on a walk through our neighborhood looking for signs of Hope. We talked a lot about the idea of "false hope." And I realized that some folks are so afraid of Hope because we tend to confuse Hope for Want.

They are not the same.

Want is a state of anticipation of something outside of ourselves. And this is a tricky state to be in because it makes us dependent on the future, on someone else, on something else. If we just "want" the world to change, then we will always be disappointed.

Hope, however, is a spiritual tool. It is the tool that honors Faith. Faith is a deep inner knowing that transcendence or resurrection - whatever you want to call it - a New Way - is possible. And Hope is what you do in every moment to honor that Faith. And you do it, despite all the messages you receive that say otherwise, because it is based on this inner knowing.

So today, as people around the world recognize that our creativity is our greatest power and greatest responsibility, I know that change is not only possible, it is imminent. This green circle represents the interconnectedness of Hope in action. It inspires us all to use our gifts to create the world that we want to live in.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Personal Definition of Youth Development

Tomorrow, I have my first meeting with a new client. I am so excited that I am going to be doing some youth development training with the staff at LYRIC, an organization dedicated to LGBTQQ youth. This 20 year old organization has served thousands of young people from all over the Bay Area...all over the country really. It has proven itself to be a safe and dynamic place for youth to be and become exactly who they want to be. And now, the staff is in a process of organizational improvement to see how they can do their work better.

I think it is so cool when people/organizations are good at something and they remain committed to their own learning.

And when a youth organization models this kind of commitment to learning and growth, it is the coolest. Children and youth need to know that learning is not something that they can be done with when they graduate high school. On-going Learning means freedom, happiness, and fulfillment.

Here is what I am sharing with staff tomorrow as my personal definition of youth development. I am pretty proud of it...

Youth Development is process of radical change and growth that is rooted in many cultural traditions at the same time that it is politically and socially progressive. Youth Development is a simple concept to understand at the same time that it is a series of practices that take a great deal of presence, intention and planning to implement. Youth Development is the most effective approach in working with groups of young people at the same time that it is a peaceful, inclusive, and equitable worldview that supports all positive human development and has the potential to catalyze social change.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Enlightenment according to Seuss

It continues to amaze me...the power and imagination of Dr. Seuss. With the students in the afterschool program at the JCC in Berkeley, we are creating 3 plays that all have something to do with the themes of leadership and community in Yertle the Turtle. Now, I've known for a long time that Horton Hears A Who should be required reading for all teachers and activists, but this! I wonder how we can get it read at the Democratic National Convention. Maybe this guy Chuck Wagner is available for a public reading.