Monday, December 29, 2014

THE REACH: Enlarged, expanded and elaborated through creative friendships

THE REACH. This image represents a collaborative effort between my friend Lisa Alexander Streib and me. I suggested the pose and she interpreted it, creating this image and naming it "The Reach."  This kind of collaboration not only strengthens our friendship but also individual visions expressed in our work. (photo by Lisa Alexander Streib, reach by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallellujah for CREATIVE VISIONS! Hallelujah for sharing visions, having them nudge up into each others psyches and crossing borders in collaborations! Hallelujah for friendships that support our journeys. Hallelujah for Lisa Alexander Streib!

My friendship with photographer Lisa Alexander Streib continues to grow and deepen over time as we collaborate in our photo shoots. I have written about our work as model and photographer before (see the links to previous blogs below). Yet I continue to be surprised that who I am as an artist, writer, and friend impacts Lisa, affecting how she SEES me and how that is expressed in her images of me! Then, in this creative loop, how Lisa's portraits of me changes how I feel about myself and her. Here in this photo below is an example of how Lisa's imagination and creative action affirmed me (read the photo caption for an explanation).
I'M A WRITER. Lisa Alexander Streib gave me an enormous gift when she created this portrait of me. She acknowledged me as a WRITER by putting the tattoo on my shoulder (I don't really have one). During our walks and talks, I had disclosed to her that even though I have journaled most of my life, written and edited professionally in my twenties, and now blogged for a number of years, that my creative peers and colleagues did not view me as a WRITER. My writing, I have felt has been undervalued, seen secondary to my art and far removed from my profession as an ESL teacher. Lisa gave me the gift of naming me as a WRITER with this image (that was her intention) and I have owned my word crafting with greater confidence since then. (image by Lisa Alexander Streib and model me, Hallelujah Truth)
The Reach
A couple of days ago this affirmation through Lisa's artful image making happened again with "The Reach." On the evening after Christmas, I was surprised to see a new image of our work together appear on my Facebook profile page. Creative minds and their processes are fascinating! Why was this image appearing now?

This beautifully crafted image began almost a year ago with a series of photos Lisa took to honor and glorify my hair! Having recently been diagnosed with the auto-immune disease, Alopecia, I had asked her to photograph me as a creative response to a life event that can be devastating. Losing hair with the possibility of going bald is frightening--a real challenge to one's self esteem! 

Our collaboration is richly supporting me and my hair loss. First of all, I am not alone. Experiencing friendship through Lisa's creative lens is fun, lighthearted, respectful, and loving. We get the chance to be "girls" playing with my hair, hair ties, barrettes, hats and various drapes and backgrounds.

Then during these collaborations, Lisa and I are also experiencing something more than the supportive experience of the photo shoot.  We are building something meaningful. Our creative acts result in a deeper sense of self, a closer friendship, and yes--the eventual image that honors me!

I don't know where our journey around my hair loss will take us or what images will result. Time will tell. The doctor says that everyone writes their own story with Alopecia. I trust in Lisa's creative vision to help me accept and manage what is going on with my health and hair. What a magnificent gift.

Currently, Lisa is working on a new series of photographs with the working title, "Constructions." In these photographs, she is combining architectural structures with portraits, experimenting with expressing more about individuals through the background she chooses to place them in. The photo below is part of this new series. Titled, "Focus," it depicts her daughter Laura. 
FOCUS. (image by Lisa Alexander Streib)
When I was walking with Lisa in her neighborhood after she posted "The Reach," I asked her to elaborate about this new series. "It's about human's aspirations, human's hopes, human's failures both physically and symbolically," she responded, "--the greatness of humans and their demise." Lisa's father was an architect, and her use of architectural structures are a tribute to him and their relationship. 

With regard to "The Reach," she explained that the pose came from me. She said it was "very me," all that I am seeking the light and truth (thank you Lisa). Then she built the image from there with the wooden stairs and the trail of nails leading the way. The light she added speaks of me attaining my goal! How awesome is that! Thank you Lisa!
 
CELEBRATING THE PHOTOGRAPHER. I feel so honored to be engaged in a collaborative friendship with another active CREATIVE SOUL! During our walks and talks, I find it fun to turn the camera on Lisa, who submits to my capturing her on my I-phone. What pleasure it is to photograph a photographer! (photo by Hallelujah Truth on a walk in the Candler Park neighborhood, December 2014)
That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me! Share your thoughts. What are you reaching for? Do you have collaborative relationships?
FRIENDSHIP SELFIE. (taken December 27, 2014)
Other blogs written about my relationship to Lisa Alexander Streib and experience modeling for her:

True Collaboration: Show up. Do the Work. Consider it Good Enough.

Defining My Mission
 
Atlanta Along the East West Line MARTA and a Portrait of Two Women
 
Mark Nepo and Lisa Alexander Streib Collide in My Life
 
Infinity and the Selfie


Thursday, December 11, 2014

#REVERB14 (Day 11) Tiny Rituals for Creating 2014 and One for Beginning New Projects

#REVERB14 (Day 11) Prompt: What tiny rituals signal that your day is starting; help you ease into a creative project; give you closure from an intensive task; or mark other significant milestones in your day? What new rituals would you like to create in the new year? (all art by Hallelujah Truth)
TINY RITUALS 2014. One tiny morning ritual that opens the day includes tending to both kitties, Tao and Sapelo. They must be fed, hugged, and then put out into the courtyard on their harnesses. Their longing to be outside as the sun rises is part of their feline ritual, and I welcome the opportunity to embrace morning air in the wake of their enthusiastic meows directing me to put them outside. As I make coffee for myself and tea for Chiboogamoo, I light a candle and burn incense. Then as I savor my coffee, I draw an image like the one you see on this blog today. In 2014, I began to include dancing in my morning ritual, but my goal of moving to one song each day has not become "fixed" yet. .

RITUALS FOR EASING INTO A CREATIVE PROJECT. Hmmmmmm. That's an excellent question! In the past I've been fortunate enough to have a group of creatives to support my projects. The Artist Conference Network has a wonderful structure for helping set quarterly goals in a formalized way. Currently, I'm taking a break from this supportive organization. Then I had the privilege of working with Lesly Fredman, a creativity coach, for a number of years. Having Lesly "hold" the creative space for me felt sacred and we had our rituals. Now, on my "own," I' not sure that I have created a "way" into my creative projects. Wow! I can create one now!
FUTURE RITUAL FOR EASING 
INTO A PROJECT
(with another creative person present and ideas being culled from InterPlay forms)
1. Dance on behalf of the creative idea.
2. Invent as many possibilities for how this idea could manifest itself.
3. Dance again this time using the InterPlay form, DT3--or dance talk three times, allowing the words to flow from the movement brainstorming about my new creative project.
4. Notice what I'm experiencing and take notes.
5. Discuss with the creative person who has been "witnessing."
6. Tell a story about this project in three minutes.
7. Develop a goal or goals and incremental steps to achieve them.
8. Dance, pray or sing...

RITUALS HELP ME FIND MY WAY INTO CREATING
HALLELUJAH TRUTH! Being present to myself each day as I draw and write is part of my daily ritual. I repeat the mantra: NOT GOOD. NOT BAD. JUST IS. I also repeat: WE ARE NOT ALONE. And yes, I praise myself and my quest for truth: HALLELUJAH TRUTH.



That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me about your rituals for creating! Give me suggestions for rituals surrounding beginning new projects!

Monday, December 8, 2014

#REVERB14 (Day 8): Sustaining feline connections

THERE'S A CAT ON MY HEAD! What a connection! (art by Hallelujah Truth)
#REVERB14 (Day 8) prompt is:

How have you created and/or sustained connections in your life this year?

Hallelujah for connections--for creating and sustaining them! 2014 has brought me the good fortune of deepening existing friendships and making new ones rich with possibility. I am so grateful!


DEEP FELINE CONNECTIONS. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)


Today, I would like to write about sustaining the relationships I have with the feline members of my household (the Ichno-Art Cat Palace) and what I have discovered as my kittens blossom into substantial 3-year-olds with minds of their own!
SAPELO, OUR WILD CHILD. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Sapelo came into our household almost three years ago. She was raised in a cattery, and no one had wanted to purchase a purebred Tonkinsese with a "kink" in her tail (the kink was seen as a defect). For Valentine's, my Chiboogamoo and I rescued her from her six-month caged existence and brought her home to join our other rescue, Tao, who is a Siamese mix. 


Almost feral, Sapelo has often proven challenging to nurture and love. She does not like to be held. Part of her daily routine is skirting around the furniture and up the stairs to evade us. But there are always parts of the day when she decides she wants attention and to be loved. Then she will sit on me or wail a plaintive cry until she directs us to what it is she wants us to do. 

In 2014, I finally "got" Sapelo! Instead of being disappointed by her evasive behaviors, I now listen more closely to what she is communicating. As I stretch my understanding of what she is offering me, I love her for what she is and what she gives as her sweet precious cat self. 

For example, she loves to roll over on her back and have her tummy scratched. At night, she sleeps on top of me or snuggles under the covers. During the evenings at play time, she is like an Olympic gymnast when she leaps after her cat toy--a feather on a string and stick. Clearly, Sapelo loves being in her body and adores physical challenges. My cat daughter is an athlete! 

As my attitude has shifted, I believe Sapelo's behavior has changed. It's as if she knows how deeply committed I am to serving her as she is now. I have found I need to soften my voice and touch to communicate with her. Sapelo is a gentle soul.

Then there is Tao! My boy! His exuberance dominates our household. We exist to serve and play with him. At three, he has become such a big boy, and right now, he is slightly aggressive towards me. Almost daily, he leaps on my shoulders and meow in my ear when he wants a service from me. Some times, he is a little too insistent and becomes loud and demanding. My boy needs to have a few manners and exhibit some patience.

However, at heart Tao has a sweet personality and a great sense of humor which makes me completely and utterly devoted to him. Yet I won't mind when he mellows with age.
SPECIAL FELINE CONNECTION WITH MY BOY. (Selfie by Hallelujah Truth)

Who would have known that my husband and I would forge such strong connections to our feline companions, our cat children? 2014 has brought our Ichno-Art Cat Palace some changes as our cats mature from kittens into larger more complicated felines. I look forward to what our kitties will bring us in 2015!

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me! What connections do you have with felines or canines or other animals in your lives?

INFORMATION ABOUT #REVERB14: Hallelujah for opportunities to reverberate, to REVERB with Kat McNally, whose mission is to remind you that you are never alone! Situated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Kat has been hosting this December blogathon since 2011, and she does a heart-warming and inspiring job! Join #REVERB14 here for 21 days of continuous blog writing, posting, and commenting to prepare you for 2015!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

#REVERB14 (Day 7): Favorite portrait of Hallelujah Truth 2014

HALLELUJAH TRUTH, aka Ruth Schowalter, 2014. (photo by Lisa Alexander Streib)
Today's prompt for #REVERB14 was to post your favorite selfie or portrait from 2014. I feel so fortunate to be a model for a friend of mine, Lisa Alexander Streib and to have a number of outstanding portraits to choose from our work together. Lisa enjoys exploring how her relationships with her friends get expressed in her photos.

Some times I try to catch what a fun, sweet, and creative friend she is during our photo shoots! Here is my capture of her near the Atlanta Beltline!
LISA ALEXANDER STREIB. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what you think of this photo. Even better, let me know where to find a portrait or selfie of you!
SELFIE OF LISA AND HALLELUJAH
INFORMATION ABOUT #REVERB14: Hallelujah for opportunities to reverberate, to REVERB with Kat McNally, whose mission is to remind you that you are never alone! Situated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Kat has been hosting this December blogathon since 2011, and she does a heart-warming and inspiring job! Join #REVERB14 here for 21 days of continuous blog writing, posting, and commenting to prepare you for 2015!

Friday, December 5, 2014

#REVERB14 (Day 5): What is the sound of your own voice?

#REVERB14 (Day 5) prompt is:
What is the sound of your own voice?

THE VOICE OF HALLELUJAH TRUTH! (art by Hallelujah Truth)
Dear fellow sojourners what do you hear? 

What does my voice sound like to you? 

Please comment! And, yes, I want to know the sound of your voice...how would you describe it?

INFORMATION ABOUT #REVERB14: Hallelujah for opportunities to reverberate, to REVERB with Kat McNally, whose mission is to remind you that you are never alone! Situated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Kat has been hosting this December blogathon since 2011, and she does a heart-warming and inspiring job! Join #REVERB14 here for 21 days of continuous blog writing, posting, and commenting to prepare you for 2015!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#REVERB14 (Day 4): Super-Charged Conduit, acknowledging my super powers in creating communities and sharing passions

HALLELUJAH TRUTH TRUTHING. (photo by Lisa Alexander Streib)
#REVERB14 (Day 4) prompt is:
We are all lightning rods, conduits for that which the Universe wants born into this world. What energies did you channel this year?

Present in the middle of my TRUTHINESS, on my journey towards authenticity, I acknowledge myself as a SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT

During 2014, in addition to creating and sharing numerous visual images with the world through my blog, Coffee With Hallelujah, and on Facebook, I have succeeded in connecting with hundreds of fellow imaginative souls in a variety of communities. 

In some of the communities, I am the originator, administrator or social soul glue that keeps everyone humming. In brief, here are my communities in which I am the SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT!

THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE
THE DAILY CREATIVE PRACTICE FB PAGE. (art by Hallelujah Truth)
My facebook group, The Daily Creative Practice (DCP), gained some 300 members this past year. Now, with more than 800 members, this warm online community supports each others "uniquities" with acknowledgments and encouragement. Join us here.

By the time, 2014 comes to a close, we will have had 4 challenges of 10-days of Continuous Creativity; aFunday Monday Blog Posting, and an Art Therapy Thursday. Many DCPers have become friends. Others have collaborated on creative work, and there has definitely been some cross pollination because of my energy as a SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT!

In 2015, we hope to have some regional meetings for DCPers to meet one another. I would also like to have some DCP exhibits, either online or in real time and place. Stay tuned and join us!

C4 MARCH BLOGATHON
In March, I served as a coordinator for a 15-day Blogathon for C4 Atlanta,
a dynamic organization connecting "arts entrepreneurs to the people, skills and tools they need to build a successful artistic career in metro Atlanta." In preparation for the blogathon, I was invited to give
a presentation on how to make the artist's daily blog sustainable before the blogathon began. 

Connecting artists worldwide to C4 Atlanta and artists within the Atlanta community to one another was extremely rewarding for me. I'm still having blogging participants compliment me on my role as a SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT!
SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT SPEAKING! (photo by Chiboogamoo)
WOMEN'S CAUCUS FOR ART GEORGIA
DRAWING MARATHON, "Draw 4 Days." (photo by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)
During the course of 2014, I was invited to join the board Women's Caucus for Art of Georgia (WCAGA). Pleasantly surprised, I have just started my journey understanding what my role is in this organization of women artists. 

In the meantime, in August when WCAGA had a drawing marathon, "Draw 4 Days," I participated as a "mark maker" and as a blogger and Facebooker. Documenting this public event of artists "demystifying" the artistic process in photos and social media, I once again enacted my role as the SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT (visit here for an example blog)!

INTERPLAY SOCIAL MEDIA QUEEN
SUPER-CHARGED INTERPLAYER. (photo by Jennifer Denning)
As a SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT, I continued to develop the presence InterPlay Atlanta through social media. In addition to maintaining the InterPlay Atlanta Facebook group and page that I started in exchange for InterPlay training, I established a blog for our Atlanta group, launching it in February. 

Then in the summer, as a result of my outrageous success in putting InterPlay Atlanta on the map through social media (Jennifer Denning is our regional director and the wise one who "hired" me to promote Atlanta's InterPlay offerings), I was able to barter my considerable skills as a SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT to the national InterPlay Body Wisdom office for training to became a certified InterPlay leader. 


Oh boy! Oh girl! Have I been having fun celebrating and promoting InterPlay worldwide through social media as it celebrates it 25th year. What a fun and stimulating time it is for me! What a privilege to meet and interact with InterPlayers all over the globe through social media! 


Icing on the cake? InterPlay Atlanta formed its own performance group, the Soulprint Players, and I got to make the logo with input from another InterPlayer. Art is a powerful way to be a SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT!

BROADCASTING MY SCIENCE LOVING HUSBAND
THE DANCING ICHNOLOGIST. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
In 2014, I named my husband "The Dancing Ichnologist." And this moniker has stuck!

Documenting Tony Martin's many 2014 presentations about his two books, Life Traces of the Georgia Coast and Dinosaurs Without Bones, through photos, blogs, and Facebook pages, I have brought paleontology and--even more importantly--ichnology to numerous people around the world! Yes! Yay for me being the SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT!

 HALLELUJAH TRUTHING ART
During the months of October and November, I broadcast my passion about everyone pursuing their individual TRUTH in the form of Hallelujah Truth Stickers that proclaimed:

HALLELUJAH YOUR TRUTH

Handing out these stickers to my Atlanta community and mailing them to members of The Daily Creative Practice connected me deeply to others through my own creative process and outreach as the SUPER-CHARGED CONDUIT!

Soulful Journeying to all you out there in the etherspace! May we connect to have coffee celebrating the hallelujahs of our selves. 

SOUL BLOG with me and tell me how we are connected through Hallelujahs!

INFORMATION ABOUT #REVERB14: Hallelujah for opportunities to reverberate, to REVERB with Kat McNally, whose mission is to remind you that you are never alone! Situated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Kat has been hosting this December blogathon since 2011, and she does a heart-warming and inspiring job! Join #REVERB14 here for 21 days of continuous blog writing, posting, and commenting to prepare you for 2015! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#REVERB14 (Day 3): Loving creative repetition as an avenue to being understood

LOVE LOVE LOVE! I give myself permission to be silent. I don't have to articulate my experience to have it (thanks InterPlay)! (all art by Hallelujah Truth)
Today's prompt for #REVERB14 (Day 3).  
What can you love about where you are now?

"If you want to be truly understood, you need to say everything three times, in three different ways. Once for each ear...and once for the heart." 
 -Paula Underwood Spencer (from Mark Nepo's "The Book of Awakening")

SAY IT ONE TIME FOR THE HEART. How would that heartspeak be expressed? What would it sound or look like?
What do I LOVE about where I am now? I LOVE having a wider vocabulary of phrases and actions to express myself. Now, in addition to drawing, painting, and blogging, I can dance, speak in a made up language, and tell stories. And, even better? I have given myself permission to be silent. I don't have to articulate my experience to have it!

Like Mark Nepo writes in The Book of Awakening, I too have "felt so unheard that when asked a question after speaking my heart, I'd take it as rejection or criticism." Now, I know with all of my body wisdom, that gaining understanding or communicating myself successfully may require creative repetition:

"If you want to be truly understood, you need to say everything three times, in three different ways...."

In this past year, I have broadened and deepened my communication skills  through the practice of InterPlay, a system with improvisational tools that allow me multiple avenues for saying what I need to say! YaY!
 
I LOVE playing and connecting with others, expanding my range of being, and being more present to myself and others in my warm creative worldwide community. 

Right now, it thrills me to think about how to manifest my ideas in three different ways. What possible forms might they take, especially the one directed towards speaking to the heart?

I LOVE communicating! Let's all try to work together to be understood. And, perhaps, we can make subtle changes in our word choices as we move towards listening and hearing what each other says. I suggest substituting the word "work" for "play."

PLAYFULLY we might ease towards one another and experiment with different forms. When we meet, we could babble back and forth. Or maybe, we could extend our hands toward one another and create a one hand dance together. I might invite you to tell me a big body story and you could move all around the room while talking. Oh! There are so many fun ways to PLAY on the way to being understood!

That's Coffee With Hallelujah! If you have time for coffee, you have time to create!
 
SOUL BLOG with me and let me know what it is you LOVE right now!
I LOVE HALLELUJAH TRUTH. I AM LOVE and I AM NOT LOVE. 
INFORMATION ABOUT #REVERB14: Hallelujah for opportunities to reverberate, to REVERB with Kat McNally, whose mission is to remind you that you are never alone! Situated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Kat has been hosting this December blogathon since 2011, and she does a heart-warming and inspiring job! Join #REVERB14 here for 21 days of continuous blog writing, posting, and commenting to prepare you for 2015!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#REVERB14 (Day 2): Creative Placemaking Forum...Artists make a difference in their communities

CREATIVE PLACEMAKING FORUM AT THE FOX. Today, I attended a discussion hosted by the Atlanta Regional Commission on how communities and artists mutually benefit from one another when they collaborate. (all photos by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)
Greetings Pilgrims, Fellow Sojourners, and Creative Soulmates! Today, I am foregoing the #REVERB14 Day 2 topic to write about my visit to the Fox Theatre in midtown Atlanta today to participate in the Atlanta Regional Commission Creative Placemaking Forum.
TALKING ART AND COMMUNITY IN THE EGYPTIAN ROOM. Jamie Bennett, executive director of Artplace America, spoke about three major benefits of what art can do for a community: 1) Art attaches people to a place. 2) Art attaches people to one another. 3) Art creates more active citizens.

The two participants for the Creative Placemaking forum were Jamie Bennett with Artplace America, and Jason Schupbach, with the National Endowment for the Arts--two of America's largest financial supporters for Creative Placemaking. Artists, directors of community organizations, and politicians were in attendance to learn more about how they could get funding for art projects that would be mutually beneficial to both artists and community.
ARTISTS, COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS, and POLITICIANS. The audience was rich in talent and interest but in need of funding and ideas of how to engage community and artists in shared endeavors.
Callahan and Chris
It was fun to see my friends networking before and after the forum started. Callahan Pope McDonough, a visual artist and board member with me on the Women's Caucus for Art of Georgia (WCAGA), took time to talk with Chris Appleton, co-founder and executive director of WonderRoot, about the arts organization expansion in 2015 to a new facility.

Duluth Mayor and Christine
At the end of the forum, my friend, artist, and fellow InterPlayer, Christine Gautreaux spotted the Mayor of Duluth and wanted to connect with her envisioning future opportunities to engage in art and community in the suburb of Atlanta where she lives.

In addition to learning about intriguing, fun, and beautiful outcomes in major US cities as a result of endowments to the arts in Creative Placemaking from the NEA and Artplace and the powerful impact of that art in the communities was one big surprising fact!  While 96 percent of people value art, surprisingly only 27 percent value the artmaker! The perception of the artist in our communities definitely needs to change!

I was also left pondering something involving our own perceptions of self as artists. 

Jamie Bennett said that when people in an audience are asked if they are soccer, tennis, or golf players, a vast number of hands are raised. However, when an audience is asked if anyone is an artist, there may be only a few hands that haltingly go up. How is it that in the continuum of athletic prowess, people are willing to acknowledge their abilities to play a sport, even when on a continuum from beginning golf player to an expert one like Tiger Woods, their is a vast difference in performance ability? Yet in the art continuum of beginning singer, musician, painter to professional accomplished ones, people are reluctant to even to claim a beginning artist status. They don't even step into the arena!




If you happen to be one of these artists reluctantly claiming your place in the artist's continuum, I want you to write to me immediately and announce yourself as an artist! Do it now!

That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me!
I AM AN ARTIST, A BLOGGER, A CREATIVE COMMUNITY BUILDER. As the creator and administrator of the Daily Creative Practice, a Facebook Group with more than 800 members, I am interested in how individuals can be supported by an online community as they explore their creativity in their homes. As a member of the board of WCAGA, I am also interested in supporting and finding ways to mentor upcoming artists in real time and place here in Atlanta. 

With reluctance, I did not write on today's prompt for #REVERB14 (Day 2).  
What unfinished projects from 2014 am you willing to release now? (Regret not required.)

INFORMATION ABOUT #REVERB14: Hallelujah for opportunities to reverberate, to REVERB with Kat McNally, whose mission is to remind you that you are never alone! Situated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Kat has been hosting this December blogathon since 2011, and she does a heart-warming and inspiring job! Join #REVERB14 here for 21 days of continuous blog writing, posting, and commenting to prepare you for 2015!

Monday, December 1, 2014

#REVERB14 (Day 1): Change is good--of this I am absolutely certain!

LIFE SPIRALS AND WE RENEW OURSELVES--of this, I am CERTAIN. In life, we are offered many opportunities to begin again while staying in the same place. For me, returning to the Georgia Tech campus to teach an advanced speaking class for the Language Institute today was one of these opportunities to try something different in a class I had taught at least many times over a 20-year period. (all photos by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)
Hallelujah for opportunities to reverberate, to REVERB with Kat McNally, whose mission is to remind you that you are never alone! Situated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Kat has been hosting this December blogathon since 2011, and she does a heart-warming and inspiring job! Join #REVERB14 here for 21 days of continuous blog writing, posting, and commenting to prepare you for 2015!

Today's prompt for #REVERB14 (Day 1) is this: 
Today, I invite you to take a quiet moment to consider: what can you say right now with certainty?

WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, I PROCLAIM:
1. The change in my life is good! 
2. Life spirals offer renewal!
3. Embodying English creates confidence!
4. InterPlay provides tools that make the English classroom a fun place to learn!
CHANGE IS GOOD. The Language Institute at Georgia Tech has blossomed beautifully into the Biltmore extending itself from its Sixth Street location into ample office space and new classrooms. This morning's teaching experience brought me to this expanded location for the first time, and OH! was my heart beating with joy!

1. I'm certain that the CHANGE IN MY LIFE IS GOOD!
Many of you know that I left my regular teaching position at Georgia Tech's Language Institute more than a year ago because I was ready to try something different. Even to continue teaching, I was craving a new approach, a way of being in the classroom. With great courage, I left my 20-year position as an English Language Instructor to deepen my experience in art making, creativity coaching and community building, and leading InterPlay, an improvisational system that has many uses in education and creativity. 
EMBODYING ENGLISH INCREMENTALLY. International students welcome the opportunity to play with English. Here, I am warming up students with a fun improv activity called 1,2,3. It provides an incremental step to having the students use all of themselves when communicating in these English speaking activities.

Like an infant learning to walk, I have experienced my professional life outside the classroom as challenging with some awkwardness and spills. However, overall, the changes in daily routines have been immensely stimulating. I have met numerous people and begun new, meaningful friendships. Training to be an InterPlay leader has been life changing, to say the least. And I love being the administrator of the Facebook group, The Daily Creative Practice, which I started to create a warm online community to support the "uniquities" in everyone (join us here). Also, I have been fortunate to be invited back to the ESL classroom on various occasions to begin integrating the improvisational tools of InterPlay into my instruction--and that is FUN!



2. I'm certain that LIFE SPIRALS OFFER RENEWAL!
Okay just what is a "life spiral"? Instead of seeing the repetition in your life as a "vicious cycle," why not claim all of your experiences and acquired wisdom and see yourself on a journey rising up on an ascending spiraling staircase of success?

For me, today was thrilling, as I--a master teacher--re-entered the ESL classroom, at Georgia Tech's Language Institute ready to lead two classes of international students in InterPlay, a new methodology to me (but celebrating its 25th anniversary this year). Blending the old instructor with the new revived me, fueled me up, and made me question, "What's next?"
INTERPLAY IN THE INTERNATIONAL ESL CLASSROOM. We moved. We vocalized. We babbled. We told stories and played around with vocal variation. Most important of all? We had fun!
3. I am certain that EMBODYING ENGLISH CREATES CONFIDENCE
This certainty I have about language instruction has been forming for several years now. Along with the help from my friend, former creativity coach, and improv teacher, Lesly Fredman, I developed an ESL-Improvisation class in 2012 at the GT Language Institute (see this blog here for a taste). Seeing the transformation in the students from the beginning of the 8-week session to the end was surprising and fulfilling. 

Improv gets students away from their desks and creates opportunities for them to interact fully bodied, entering and exiting, standing then moving, and using their imaginations in subtle yet powerful ways. Once, a female student from the UAE remarked at the end of an improv class that she felt like herself for the first time since coming to the United States.

4. I am certain that INTERPLAY PROVIDES TOOLS that makes learning English FUN!
As I continue my journey on this particular life spiral, I am certain that using the improvisational tools of InterPlay makes teaching and learning English as a second language fun. 

Today, 31 international students "played" with me in the language classroom! Coming from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Senegal, Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, Libya, and the Ivory Coast, these students enthusiastically engaged in the lesson on "embodying English" that I brought to them. I am so thankful for their earnest commitment to learning English and trusting me to teach them using the methodology of InterPlay. We all had fun evidenced from the laughter, the volume levels and interactions!
BIG BODY STORY. As students played around with speed, volume, and pitch, to tell their stories, they began to use their entire bodies, first standing and then moving off their spot to other places in the room!
There is so much more that I am certain of but for now that's Coffee with Hallelujah!  

SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what you can say with certainty!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

GRATITUDE DAY #1: Hallelujah Your Truth Journey Companions

I AM A SOUL PILGRIM and SO ARE YOU! I am so excited to be here with you on this journey! I have been searching for you so we can HALLELUJAH OUR TRUTHS together. I am so grateful for your presence. Thank you! (art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for eight days of GRATITUDE, extending from Sunday to Sunday, embracing the Thanksgiving holiday! Hallelujah for the JOURNEY that I am taking with all of you spiritual art companions and for soul blogging with you! Join my Facebook group, The Daily Creative Practice here, and join us in expressing our gratitude.

Today I am beginning my  GRATITUDE days with a big THANK YOU to YOU and for the way that YOU are "Hallelujahing your truth"! We are not alone dear creative souls! Thank you!

Here are only a few of the amazing and wonderful photos taken of YOU with my Hallelujah Your Truth stickers that I made from my art work and sent out to my fellow creative souls. Thank you for embracing my art, my truth and yours!
DARLENE SPERBER. Hallelujah for your presence in my life. You  are my first online friend who I met via Facebook. I treasure you and your creative life. Your deep expressive work touches me deeply. Your work is you. Thanks for being here in this world and for Hallellujahing your truth and mine so courageously! Love it that you put my sticker on your phone!
CHRISTINE GAUTREAUX and ME. Hallelujah for the abundant joy and love that you have brought into my life. Hallelujah for your big heart and expansive creativity that gets expressed in everything that you do including our InterPlay play, training, and teaching. You are such a treasure in my life. Thank you for being the creative soul and loving friend that you are!
DONNA FROMM. Welcome dear InterPlay friend! How vast the world is but how comforting to have found you via Facebook, via InterPlay, via Cynthia Winton-Henry! I love your creative soul and that you are sharing your colorful and playful life with me and others on the Daily Creative Practice! What more will I learn from you on this awesome creative journey? Hallelujah your Truth Donna! Thanks for wanting my Hallelujah Your Truth sticker!
JANICE LYNCH SCHUSTER.  Janice thank you for being such a wordsmith and lover of beauty. You speak your truth every day courageously. You amaze me with your energy and strength! Thank you for Hallelujahing your Truth with me. How awesome to have met you via Facebook in the Daily Creative Practice! In this vast random world, we creative sojourners find each other!
TRISH WEAVER. One amazing person is Trish Weaver, who has become such a central loving energy on the Daily Creativity Practice. You are Hallelujahing your truth without even knowing what it is. You create from the vastness of the unknown and wrap us all up in your vision and strength. Thank you!
I am so thankful for the many others who requested my "Hallelujah Your Truth" sticker and have posted photos of themselves on the Daily Creative Practice! Thank you! It is because of you that I am not alone. I love you!

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what your creative journey is like! What are you grateful for today? Will you speak to me tomorrow? What is your TRUTH? Hallelujah your truth with me!
I AM SO THANKFUL FOR YOUR CREATIVE SOUL. Your presence means I am not alone. We are here together. (art by Hallelujah Truth)