The Root of Enthusiasm

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Dear T.R.I.B.E.,
 
             The Nagg Hammadi Codex, or scrolls, were discovered in the late 1940’s at Nagg Hammadi in Egypt.  They had been safely hidden in large pottery jars for millennia, but it seems to me that there is a poetry to the timing of their re-discovery.  We need their wisdom now. 
 
             These scrolls give us an understanding of the actual teachings of Jesus, unimpeded by the doctrinal wars and manipulations of the Christian establishment.
The “living Jesus,” for example, speaks in sayings as cryptic and compelling as Zen koans.  Consider this quote discovered at Nagg Hammadi in the Book of Thomas: 
 
Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
 
             T.R.I.B.E. is not just about drawing inspiration from the arts and encouraging artists to express their gifts.  T.R.I.B.E. is a spiritual movement that takes seriously the need for inspiration and transformational healing that are the legacy of the artist in each of us.
 
             T.R.I.B.E. is also about something more than that. Blocked creativity hurts people and the societies in which they live. Adolph Hitler was a blocked creative, a painter rejected from art school who turned his creative urges against the world in  a sinister and retaliatory acting out of deep inner conflicts. Many of the “support people” in the entertainment industry and art world; agents, managers, lawyers, critics etc, are blocked creatives themselves who have fostered a soul killing commercial atmosphere that literally destroys people’s hope. 
 
             The cult of FAME and popularity (how many Likes do YOU have???) are honestly fake poisonous gods.  They rob the artist, and the world, of the often un-popular insights that depth teachings bring.  The mean inner critic voice of the blocked creative tells us to shut up, not say our new idea, not wear that color, not laugh as loudly as we want. It tells us we are not the right size or shape or don’t have the right education.  Worst of all, it kills our ENTHUSIASM and that is robbing the world of a precious gift.
 
             The Latin root of the word enthusiasm is “en- theos.”  Literally, it means  God/Source/Spirit IN US, as us, through us.  To dampen our natural enthusiasm, or force a “star” to carry the weight of that so we can look at it outside of our own selves, is madness and it is soul murdering.
 
             T.R.I.B.E. is about widening the safe zone around the artist in all of us, to encourage the muse, the Holy Spirit, the voice of Cassandra, or the thread from the underworld of Ariadne (our unconscious).   We call these voices forth in a focused manner to transform pain into consolation, war into harmonious living, despair into hope.  We suppress , or punish, our inner wisdom voice at great peril. 
 
             It is a life or death matter, my friends. Give the world the gift of your real voice.
 
Keep creating,
With love,
Jane

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Be Brave and FEAR NO ART

 

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Dear T.R.I.B.E. Friends,

 
             It is hard to write about the power of ART this week. The truth is that there is such a disturbing thing happening in our country, that the words ART and ACTIVIST simply must go together if I am to write about anything.
             Jordan Davis was a young teenager who was playing loud music at a Seven Eleven in Jacksonville, Florida, and was murdered by a drunk white man with a concealed weapon who just didn’t like a young Black teenager daring to take up the airspace outside that store.
And the astonishing tragedy was compounded this week when a jury did not convict this killer of murder. This comes at a moment eerily close to the one year anniversary of the Trayvon Martin killing. 
 
             I pray that f you have a conscience…and I know you do- you will become a voice for change now. That IS the sacred calling of the artist…to call forth a new reality in the Invisible- out of the old, and into a new form that is vision driven and transformational
             Sculptor Louise Bourgeois, in the documentary film “Louise Bourgeois- the Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine”, describes the making of sculpture as an aggressive act. A piece of marble or granite carved in a shape that is meant to stand in a public place dares to DISPLACE the status quo. She suggests that in order to be able to even LIVE and breathe and exist as a creative person, we all need a safe space around us in which our music can come forth.. Virginia Wolf calls it “A Room Of One’s Own”, Joseph Campbell suggests that such a neutral space is critical for one to access the deeper wisdom of the Universe. But then all of these artists are White.
 
             On an over crowded planet, at a time when natural resources are strained and the climate patterns are wildly unrecognizable, are only some people privileged enough to carve out that space for the creation of a new world? And what is the cost to the SOUL of our world if we criminalize teenage children who are doing what teenage children do…test limits, play loud music, dress like their peers and freak out conservative adults? 
 
             I would like to recommend two books to you all: “The New Jim Crow- Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander, and “The Condemnation of Blackness, Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America” by Dr. Kahlil Gibran Muhammad. 
These two brilliant books fill in the blanks in history. In order for us to have the information we need to be change agents. We need to understand more.
             The history that leads to the current escalation of violence against young Black children goes back to the earliest days of the founding of this country, to the nature of the need to guarantee a fee labor force, to the astonishing establishment of a “new world” supported by White Supremacy and institutionalized class inequality.
 
             Join with me in calling forth a new world, in which teenagers can be safe to have pink hair or pierced ‘whatevers’, and tattoos in unpredictable places, and can wear hoodies and play their music to create their own zone of safe space so they can become the visionary transformers who will lead us into the better answers for tomorrow..
 
FEAR NO ART.
 
             Be brave, stand in the in- between space and become an advocate for a young person to offend the status quo.
Our very lives depend upon it.
 
Jane
 
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Beyond Fast Answers and Fake Dreams

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T.R.I.B.E. friends and Fellow Travelers,

 I have been doing a series of interviews lately with a young woman, a New Thought Practitioner-in training and very wise soul, for a website/portal she is creating as part of her project for Practitioner studies.  She is asking great questions, and I thought I would share some thoughts from our conversations with you.

 My earliest New Thought teacher was my dad.  A longtime sober AA member, he introduced me to Emmett Fox’s “Power Through Constructive Thinking”, James Allen’s “As a Man Thinketh” and Maxwell Maltz’s “Psycho-Cybernetics”. My time with my dad, who left this plane when I was only sixteen years old, was saturated in what is now widely known as New Thought thinking. 

  My father taught me that we magnify what we focus upon, that we have the power through what we focus upon, to connect with a force for good in the Universe. Thoughts are things, and that, as James Allen says in “As A Man Thinketh” , “The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart- this you will build your life by, this you will become.”

 In other words, if I am experiencing a physical limitation, and only talk about that limitation, I magnify the condition. On the other hand, if I see certain things in the world that I would like to change, I am able to be a change agent for good by catching a vision of a better world, and speaking and living that, rather than harping on what is wrong.

  This teaching is so simple and profound. 

Our words have power.

Our self-talk creates our inner environment, our expectation of health and the way OUR world looks.

How we behave with one another matters – a lot.

 I don’t know if any of these early “human potential movement” writers would believe the crazy proliferation of get rich quick Tele-seminars and whole religions set up to “manifest prosperity” that have grown from their early teachings. It all seems pretty crass and formulaic to me. 

 The other profound influence I would recommend to any and all is the Quaker philosophy of George Fox, who brought forth the teaching of Jesus by saying “You ARE the Light of the world.”  A Quaker children’s song says,  “I am walking in the glory of the Light, said Fox.” (not related to Emmet!)

       I have tried to live by and teach these Principles, through many formal studies. And I have found myself back where I began – as an artist, painter, designer, actor, singer, dancer, writer, journalist, fascinated observer of human beings.  This is because I think religion can’t stop itself from trying to tell people what to do.  Most religions end up being exclusive clubs and not liberating, uniting experiences. I believe in the power of the ARTS, practiced with some intention, to open us to these inner truths my Dad taught me about.  This is why I am excited about T.R.I.B.E. 

In Theatre we experience comedy and tragedy and there are complex human interactions that allow for amazing truths to emerge. Everything isn’t “zippety doo dah” all day long.  People are complex, life can hurt, and we need a way to get through it to the Light again. Music and Painting and Dance and Sculpture lead us on the inner journey, if we dare to let it. That inner walk is a labyrinth and is complex.  Artists like Stravinsky and Kandinsky and Martha Graham and Paul Taylor and Tony Kushner and Craig Lucas and Aeschyles and Eugene O’Neill and Georgia O’Keefe and Louise Bourgeois and Caraid O’Brien and August Wilson, and Shakespeare and Geraldine Page and Brancusi and Deborah Singletary, and Angelica Page and J.D. Parran and Graham Haynes and Luma Rivera and Michael Berardi and Ramon Thielen and many other brave artists – are not afraid to go to the deep well and bring back a gift for us.

  My work is to create a place where the wisdom of these explorations can find a voice and isn’t killed by a culture of fast answers and fake dreams. We need the wisdom and the courage that the artist in you can access. We need this – a lot.

 Have a great week.

Can’t wait to see what comes next:)

Keep creating.

Love,

Jane

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A Conversation with the Elements

 
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T.R.I.B.E. Newsletter –
February 6, 2014

TRIBEALIVE.ORG

 

Dear T.R.I.B.E. Friends,
 
             If you are in New York, where we are at present, you know that we are experiencing a dramatic weather conversation with Mother Earth and the Universe beyond. There was one day of lovely fluffy snow, a second waiting day, followed by a day of rain/ice/slush. We are told this will soon be turning into a deep freeze, so the rain, ice/slush will create a great big ice covering all over the city. This kind of dramatic change is hard to ignore. It is happening in real time. The minute we walk out the front door, we are in a conversation with the elements. It is immediate and insistent and undeniable.
 
             Some ideas are great ideas, but aren’t formed. They live in the abstract, and in the realm of the possible. They are a little like the weather forecast that says it “might” do something.  Other dreams are realized, are formed and whether they are happening this second or not…they ARE.
                           
T.R.I.B.E. IS. 
 
              T.R.I.B.E. exists, it has shown us in so many different ways how deeply it can touch us, how far we can soar on the inspiration of a line of poetry or prose, how deeply we can reflect upon a nuance in the actor’s rendering of a monologue or a scene, and how thrilling the act of creation can be in real time through the dripping of paint on a canvas, or the playing of a violin or flute in juxtaposition with a wisdom talk.  We have seen and participated in transformation together and we know that this is a gift we are poised to share with others.
 
             We are taking a break from our weekly gatherings to build the foundation upon which T.R.I.B.E. will be able to rest, and on top of which we know it will expand to serve many. During this time of active creation, we send you love and  inspiration to create.  We remind you that you contain an artist inside of you. 
Please continue to feed that inner artist, to keep in touch with us, and to allow your ideas to become a part of the foundational walls we are building.
 
             We would love it if those of you who have taken part in the building of the magic so far would write a small or large or short or long piece or poem or play telling us what T.R.I.B.E. means to you.  We will not only be thrilled but will compile all of these creations in a book.
 
             We are documenting:) Let us hear your beautiful voice.
 
The weather IS.
T.R.I.B.E. IS
The future of both is assured.
 
Sending love,
Jane
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