Saturday, March 14, 2009

Enhancing and Dancing with Life!

I am incredibly abundant. Even just thinking about ABUNDANCE....the word itself....oh, I could just drape myself in a magical coat of sparkling gold caramel and lick myself invisible!

I feel incredibly fortunate to be the kind of person who appreciates SIMPLE PLEASURES. I think I must give a shout-out to my mom for that. Dad too. They taught me to be happy with 'homemade,' self-learning, the gifts of shared time, and craftiness. I could make an endless list, so instead I will just bathe in the ecstacy of GRATITUDE.

Six years ago I wrote my personal manifesto: I AM AN ARTIST.

It was based on the life I had created as a single, independent, young woman living in the big Canadian city of TORONTO. After being 'stolen by the circus' and finishing university to join a black light theatre company in the 'big city,' my life changed - pardon the pun - dramatically! I was suddenly thrust into the hectic, energetic, pulsating gyrations of this multicultural, artsy, sportsy, diverse, crowded, honking universe. I became friends with people I had only imagined: funky artists, actors, homeless guys on the street, creative entrepreneurs, immigrants, clowns, musicians, poets, people from all walks of life. It was a whirlwind that took me a year of adjusting, but once I had been 'climatized,' I was hooked. My LIFE had me intoxicated every day and I beamed with the magic of living my dreams. I could just barely pay my rent, but it didn't matter...there were so many other splendorous things around me to FILL ME UP.

Today, my ideals and visions are the same, though my outward circumstances are different: I moved into the beau's 1-bedroom condo (that my sister and I sarcastically refer to as 'the Communist Compound')....with his cable and remote controls, dishwasher, stereo system, his own laundry machines, matching dish sets and furniture...and before the baby, we bought a car (all the trimmings of a proud, landed immigrant's new life.) It has been a BIG adjustment for me and one that I fought against for 2 years...rebelled so far against in fact that at one point I moved out, back to the west end, to a beloved cosy apartment, in my beloved High Park neighbourhood.
My apartment, however, had its drawbacks. And when the baby was in motion, the condo started making a lot more sense, with a lot less headaches. Funnily enough, after having the baby, the Communist Compound suddenly morphed into its alter-ego....that I lovingly have referred to as 'the Bulgarian Villa.' My whole world just opened up with my 'little L' and Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood came knocking on my door. In fact, this place that I thought was devoid of all creative vibrancy turned out to be my Mecca of the Arts! We are now spectacularly friends with a famous Russian clown who performs in an international show that actually made me fall in love with and pursue clowning 11 years ago!! And to my disbelief, it turned out that he was living here the whole time, on the 20th floor. How's that for abundance!

And just at the right time.

Now that I am a momma, I must admit that I do fall into a little bit of scarcity thinking. While on mat leave from the theatre, I have been pondering my future... which is inextricably linked with my baby's future. I think about his security now. But honestly, it isn't just that. It is also where I see myself...where I want to be...which leads to the positive priorities.

What I'm talking about is the fact that I have applied for teacher's college for the Fall. I find out April 1st if I have been accepted. This has been a big leap for me. I have known myself as a teacher. It truly is Who I addition to being a Performance Artist, a creative soul, a free spirit, a writer, etc. When I was a child, my early memories of my personal play time was having an imaginary classroom. When I was introduced to the world of theatre...for a year I imagined

being an actress...and then I decided I wanted to blend my passions and be a drama teacher.

When I was 'stolen by the circus' at 23, this was most unexpected and serendipitous. It led me into a world I had not foreseen...and I have grown in ways I never imagined. But for me, art is not just an end in itself...for me, it is a means to a better is an expression of the soul that beckons to be shared, to be celebrated, to be honoured, by EVERYONE. It is my creativity, I think, has literally saved my has made me the happy, motivated person that I am and I want EVERYONE to know its power. To have that kind of beauty held in their hearts every day. For me, art is interlinked with justice....self-growth.

So I have applied for the career that I had imagined, long ago, but with a much more interesting mindset about it. To teach with the intention to be a specialized leader in the inspire young people in a more profound, practical way with these years of truly experiencing Life...and to have more options for my passion - teach part time, supply, contract - and still be with my son and have time to nurture him as well. And to still look for my own artistic opportunities to continue on this vibrant path.

It's funny because I almost feel like I have to 'justify' this decision, not to anyone else but myself. Of course there are all the "parents" in my life (including the parent in me) who think this is a GREAT decision....but for me, there is this voice that asks, 'Am I selling out?' But at the same time, I cannot deny another voice in me that gets all fired up about education...that gets super excited about all things teaching-related; that even salivates when I pass an educational supplies store. But I have avoided the 'system' for so long, it leaves me wondering if jumping into it now will be fulfilling for me.

And yet....the one quote from this '12 Secrets' book that has stood out for me more than any other...that ignites the flame within me that cannot be extinguished is:

"A good teacher is the holiest of God's creatures. I don't think that there's another role in our culture that deserves the rank of holy except a great teacher who excites you. And the bad teachers should be made to march in chains. I don't care if you're just teaching someone to play the guitar or how to fix a car. When people love to learn and they feel it's safe to try things with someone to help them along, that's great. Anybody who stops that has murder on their souls; they've got blood on their hands." - Barbara Sher

A teacher has a profound influence....I want to be the one to excite a myriad of generations. I want to be part of a revolution....a revolution in creative, holistic, empowering and collaborative directions in education. Of course, I could continue to teach various creative and community environments, but another lesson I am trying to learn is to be compensated appropriately for the worth of my talents and abilities. I have a history of 'under-selling' myself....of working for peanuts because of my passion. I am starting to see that this seems to be a very common thread among women...we often do great work for others out of our sense of sacrifice and giving. I finally shook myself awake one day when I realized that a male co-worker was earning more money than me for a position lower in our company hierarchy simply because he ASKED to be paid for what he felt he was worth. And then I realized that a new employee was going to be hired...and offered MORE money than what I was making after 8 years! Doormat, no more. In my 30's, I learned that it IS important to one's self-esteem not only to be recognized and appreciated for your work, but also to be PAID what you are worth.

And the truth is, my talents are rare and wide. I am quite a specialist and deserve to be acknowledged (verbally, publicly, financially) for my years of ingenuity, dedication and pursuit of excellence. This is also why I have applied for a 'mainstream' career. I have a LOT to offer and I am a little tired of being taken advantage of by the non-profits. At least in the 'system' there is an element of equity and fairness. And I am ready to finally speak up for myself, not out of financial ambition, but out of deserving the best. That is what I have always given; that is what I am looking to receive.

And now, my TEN LIFE ENHANCERS....

- to write at least 3 children's books
- to teach internationally
- to be a specialist teaching in the be recognized by my one day teach other teachers how to teach
- to write more poetry
- to learn Modern dance
- do Nia
- to publish a book based on my adventures
- to direct a youth theatre group/ start a youth theatre school/ mentor young people
- to co-create or collaborate with an adult physical theatre group (preferably for children's theatre)
- to scrapbook/blog/create photo journals on a more regular basis
- to take risks and have 'creative outbursts' every day


  1. What an abundant celebration of self and intention! What an effervescent post! Lovely :)

  2. How did I miss this post? Ack! It was wonderful. Be sure to let us know about your acceptance to teacher college. (Note I said Acceptance!) Teachers are very special. You'll be a great Art (of all kinds) teacher. I have a good friend who taught in Italy for 2 years. Loved it and loved Italy. She wants to go back ... get away from *our* lifestyle of being too busy, too greedy, etc.