12.02.2009

Full Moon Ramble in the Rain



the night pulled me awake... the moon pulled me outside.


full moon flow bursting through my soul...
guess I better get out there in it.

bundled up myself and my tender heart.


a sweet, sweet soul-grounding 3am walk in the rain...
after a crazy and surprising day.

rediscovering
listening

noting the forces enticing me to play...

smiling and laughing as I lose and find my way.


art by karabrown

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posted by ashley

11.30.2009

Storybird - Share Your Creativity

Thank You For Helping Me Be Me by ashleycooper, thomasart on Storybird

I love this new website, Storybird, where you can pick from some wonderful and inspiring artwork and then create your own story.

Here are a few more that I've found or that friends have shared with me. If you write one, please do let me know so I can read it. And check back at the website as they seem to be adding new artwork regularly.

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posted by ashley

11.25.2009

A Nourishing Place to Grow

I've just published a new What's Possible? Newsletter. You can read the full newsletter or enjoy the main article below.


I’d like to share with you an experience I had during a recent yoga class. It has become a potent metaphor for me in regards to how we shape nourishing and inviting environments where people can relax, feel connected, learn and grow.


During this yoga class I’m resting in child’s pose. My body is curled into a ball, relaxed and releasing into the ground. My torso, chest, back and head are folded over the bottom half of my body. My shins, knees, the tops of my feet, my forehead and arms are resting on the floor. I am relaxed. Breathing in and out. I sink deeper and deeper into the pose. My brain is calm and at rest.



The instructor invites us to imagine that we are a seed. To feel ourselves as a seed resting deep in the earth. I feel myself let go even more fully. My seed is so light, practically weightless, as if it is floating. And yet paradoxically I can also feel pressure all around me. An encompassing sensation of gravity pulling at me and pressing against me from all directions. In a comforting way, I am engulfed by the moist soil that is holding me in the earth, holding me close. And yet I also feel totally free. I am peacefully a seed. Everything feels right. There is no stress. I let go and fall into my surroundings. I feel open, trusting and free.

And then the instructor invites us to imagine that our seed is getting ready to sprout. I start to feel the initial inner stirrings, the impulse to grow. Something inside me is awakening. Sparks are firing. Energy is stirring. Every part of my insides begin to tingle, in all directions, 360 degrees, three dimensionally, all my cells are humming with potential. I feel a tension pulsing against the edges of my seed coating. While this frenetic energy is growing inside me, I still feel gracefully held in the utterly calm stillness and nourishing surroundings of the earth. My surroundings continue to support me. I trust this ground to hold me and I keep relaxing into it, feeling safe and letting go. I don’t have to do anything but be a seed. The creative energy continues to purr inside me.

I feel an aliveness of beauty and potential growing inside of me. I know that when the time is right, my seed will break open into the vast unknown, moving beyond the protective boundary and allowing all this potent energy to unfold. I can feel that my seed wants to grow and it will do just that. It does not need to be forced. It simply needs a nourishing environment in which to rest. The earth is holding and nourishing me in such a comforting way, and thus I am free to let myself expand and grow.

As a seed held in the grace of the moment, my only task was to relax into myself. The more I did that, the stronger the inner stirrings of potential and creative force became inside of me. Where have you or your child felt so held in the grace of the moment that it was safe to relax deeper into yourself? How can we create more places like that? What opportunities might you provide for yourself and others to experience and give life to the potent creative force within?


As adults we have much influence and power over the environments in which children live and interact. We can create places where
children feel welcomed to be themselves, where they are contained in ways that allow them to be open and free -- this is our response-ability. This makes room for them to connect with their deep inner stirrings and relate to the nutrient-rich world around them. This is not about over-protecting and shielding them from bad weather. This is about mindfully attending to the spaces in which they are living and growing, supporting them as they connect with their own interior landscape and impulses to learn.

How can we create more places where people recognize that they are held in the grace of the moment, feel safe to relax deeper into themselves, and thus are able to give life to that potent creative force within? Where have you experienced being held in such a way? What makes a place feel welcoming, inclusive, and safe for you to let yourself be and grow? In what environments do you notice your child feeling such freedom and creative expression? I would love to hear your reflections.


Bulb paintings are by KaraBrownLovesArt.

If you would like to subscribe to future newsletters, please sign up here.

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posted by ashley

5.22.2009

We Are All Truly Miraculous

An Evening of Poetry, Music and The Spoken Word at The White House May 12, 2009.

I'm incredibly moved and inspired. Beautiful opening performance by ELEW and Esperanza Spalding, soulful spoken word by Mayda del Valle and a powerful performance by ELEW.

“We’re here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty and also to understand pain. To inspire us to action and to spur us on when we start to lose hope." President Obama tells the crowd as he opens the evening.



"It is one thing for people to tell their stories in their own spaces and quite another for those stories to be welcomed in this space. Barack is president today because many people who thought their voices didn't matter or wouldn't be heard decided to show up on election day and vote anyway." Michelle Obama



"Abuela, how did you pray before someone told you who your god should be? How did you hold the earth in your hands and thank her for it's fecundity? Did the sea wash away your sadness? How did you humble yourself before your architect? Did you lower yourself to your knees or rock to the rhythm of ocean waves like I do? "

“To be able to go in the White House and to represent my grandmother and my ancestors, it really means a lot. It’s a generation of women that don’t often get heard, you know, these old Puerto Rican women that no one ever really thinks about. To be able to use my voice to represent them on this kind of platform is really powerful.” Mayda del Valle



ELEW

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posted by ashley

1.15.2009

Kara Brown Loves Art


The new avatar that debuted below was created by Kara Brown with KaraBrownLovesArtIf it speaks to you and you think you might want one of your own, do consider contacting Kara! I imagine that there is a whole community of beings patiently waiting for us to invite them to life... other sides of ourselves that are ready for that artistic mirror to reflect our beauty and magic. I'd be delighted to re-unite with this community of beings!!

Perhaps you have an online presence, website, blog, Facebook or Myspace page or Twitter account. Maybe you post to an online forum. Now might be the time to bring your own superstar avatar to life!

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posted by ashley

5.04.2008

Luminous Edge by Thomas Arthur

Thomas Arthur recently performed Luminous Edge in Vancouver, BC. Some lovely reviews of the show appeared in The Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight. A few sweet lines:


"An interesting glimpse into one man's passion for compassion...
Make no mistake - kids are going to be given not only Arthur's feel for physical fun but a whole bunch of love as well. This is a man whose heart chakra is bursting to embrace everyone."

"I think it’s safe to say that you will never see a more personally revealing juggling show...
His fascinations—and his skinless honesty—yield a great deal of pleasure."


It's exciting to watch as Thomas' world of performance continuously expands to include his many gifts and passions, while shedding layers of habit, pretense and defense to let the luminous light of his pure being and personality shine brightly in the art he offers to the world. He inspires me to continuously deepen my own practice of finding ways to be vulnerably open and authentically present, even when I feel that I'm 'on stage' or that I should be presenting a certain side of myself. Sometimes the rawness of "skinless honesty" sure feels painful and uncomfortable. The release, however, of surrendering to what-is always offers a breath of fresh air... eventually!

Can you imagine how sweet it would be to have a place where people could gather regularly to experience our heart chakra's bursting open, to be dazzled by wonder, awe and beauty, and to have opportunities to practice skinless honesty? I dream of this! Do you know of the perfect old church that wants to house such rich experiences?!

P.S. There's is a third review written in Japanese. Google translate didn't do much to help read it, so if you speak Japanese, feel free to share what the article says!!

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posted by ashley

4.22.2008

Videos: Dialogue and Art

A couple of videos I've enjoyed lately.

The Century of Dialogue by Ben Dridge

Featured in the Seeds of Compassion Youth Voices Blog.

And for a great laugh, Creature Comforts USA - Interviews about Art.

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posted by ashley

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