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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reverb10, Day 14: The ripple effect of 7 highly creative people

Prompt: Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

The author of this prompt is Victoria Klein:
27 Things to Know About Yoga

'To acquire knowledge is incumbent upon all, but of those sciences which may profit the people of the earth, and not such sciences as begin in mere words, and end in mere words." ~Baha'u'llah~

"What greater bounty than this that science should be considered as an act of worship and art as service to the Kingdom of God." ~Abdu'l-Baha~

There are many sources of inspiration in this universe, and endless ways of expressing our creativity. The internet has meant that we can share our creative endeavors around the globe with each other in real time, exchanging ideas, and being inspired by projects happening on the other side of the planet at the same time that the people who are physically implementing them are experiencing them for the first time.

I have had the experience this year of chatting with a new friend of mine in New Zealand through Facebook chat. She is 19 hours ahead of me. For those of you who need a visualization in order to grasp what that means in practical terms, when it is midnight here on a Monday, it is 7pm on a Tuesday for Pascale. She has already moved through the entire day that is my tomorrow before I have even ended my current day. I grew up traveling between North America and the Middle East, and generally do not bat an eyelash to the idea of communicating across time zones, but even I am blown away by the reality of being able to have a conversation with someone who is that far away from me as if she is sitting right beside me enjoying a cup of tea.

You are probably wondering where I am headed with all of this.

I have come to appreciate many things over the last year, but since I have to settle with one, something that has impressed me over the last year is the number of individuals that I have met who are doing truly amazing things with their lives. They are using their knowledge of the arts and sciences, and applying them to transform their local and global communities. They are exploring new forms of creative expression. They are making people around them stop and question things that they have been doing and ways they have been thinking and behaving their whole lives. They are creating dialogue between people from different cultural backgrounds. They are empowering women and men, children and youth. They are capturing the profound beauty latent in all things. They are engaging their friends and colleagues in dialogue of social discourse and action. They are tapping into the amazing power of creativity and transforming the world around them. And they are using the powerful tool of the internet to share all of this energy with each other and with anyone who crosses their paths. It is more than inspiring. It is infectious!

About a month ago I mentioned in my Facebook status that I had been doing a yoga class on resistance. The question posed to us at the beginning of class was to notice throughout the practice when we encountered resistance in ourselves, to try to ascertain whether it was mental, physical or spiritual, and to observe how we responded to resistance in our lives. It was an interesting question, and I enjoyed the practice, and reflected on this idea for the remainder of the week. What I did not know was that my Kiwi friend, Pascale Battrick, had read my status update and it had created a ripple effect in her life also. Pascale is one of the remarkable people mentioned above. In the last year she has moved from Japan back home to New Zealand, and established Oxygen Fitness Excellence. Oxygen Fitness Excellence, in Pascale's words, is:

"an individually tailored health and fitness service, conducted in a fun and motivating atmosphere where no goal is out of reach. It is my aim to introduce people to a completely holistic approach to lifestyle change that is three-pronged in nature. It encompasses the Personal Training of functional exercises specific to Your health and fitness goals, personalized nutrition plans and advice that branch into home-based assessments, grocery shopping expeditions and cooking class initiatives, and something I call a Spirit Cleanse™, which aims to help You to overcome stresses and other negative forces that sap Your energy, can potentially sabotage Your weight loss efforts and affect Your mental and emotional state on a daily basis."

Sound amazing? It is. Trust me. The woman is a fitness ninja -- how many fitness instructors do you know who incorporate spiritual health into your plan? I rest my case. And she is also working on a cookbook, that I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on, full of tantalizing recipes. I encourage you to visit her website and ask her about it. Maybe all the encouragement will help her get it published sooner rather than later!

So obviously, when a woman who can create all of this over the course of only a few short months hears an idea that intrigues her, the resulting ripples are going to look more like tsunami waves. About a month after I had taken part in the class I received an email from her with a link to her Soulpancake page, and an entry called Responding to Resistance. She basically took the idea from my yoga class and turned it into a creative prompt that she shared with thousands of other people. More mega ripples. Her creative presence in the world, and the way she receives my ripples, re-configures them in her own unique way, and sends them back out into the world to inspire others is an example of the type of creative souls I am feeling grateful for in 2010. And here I am receiving her ripples and using them to fuel my creative process! It is a never-ending chain of creative energy. 

It is impossible to fully comprehend Pascale and her joyful, energetic presence without seeing her. So here is a great shot taken of the two of us while we were on pilgrimage in the Baha'i Holy Land in Israel this past spring: 

Pascale is only one example of creative souls changing the world that have rocked my universe this year. Another is someone whose path just crossed mine today. Justin De Leon is a documentary film maker, an amazing photographer, a scholar and an agent of social change. In his own words, he has:

"traveled the world, working in many different environments, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Delaware, focusing on development and ethnic conflict. From working with the poorest of the poor in the streets of India and the Philippines, violence stricken communities of Northern Ireland and Nepal, to the largest slums of Southeast Asia and Africa, De Leon has always tried to understand, capture, and share the stories of those he's encountered."

One of the things that impresses me the most about Justin's work is how he integrates his spiritual values and his passion for film and photography so seamlessly. The effect is powerful. He is currently working on Give to Live, a documentary film that examines the ripple effect of human compassion, intended to inspire and enable individuals to explore global issues in Africa and the US, and to become effective agents of social change. Are you feeling inspired yet? If not, here's a shot of Justin in Africa, where he spent a month filming his documentary. I am borrowing the shot from his website, hence the awesomeness of it (I hope you will not mind my using this image, Justin. It just seems to capture the work you are doing so much better than my description does!):

There are so many other individuals that I have come across this year who are sending out ripples of amazing creative energy into the world. Ahava Shira, who I have mentioned before in my blog, is inspiring women by facilitating workshops in Loving Inquiry from her home on Butterstone Farm, a 23-acre organic farm on Saltspring Island in British Columbia. She has also just released a new CD of her poetry, Love is like this, which can be purchased through her website, and recently launched a radio show, Love in the Afternoon, which you can listen to here, on Mondays between 1 and 2pm, west coast time. Ahava Shira, which means Love Poetry in Hebrew, fully embodies her name in her life's work. The woman is so inspired it is contagious! Here is a great shot of her bathed in the poetry of sunlight and presence on the farm: 

Louise Mould, an artist living on Prince Edward Island is creating amazing landscape-inspired paintings that embody the light and contours of the places she has lived: namely the Congo, Israel, and Atlantic Canada. Her paintings are also spiritually inspired. You can check out her beautiful paintings here, and below is a photo of Louise and I taken this past summer at the wedding of a close friend of ours, on Prince Edward Island: 

The individuals I mention above are only some of the creative folks I have crossed paths with this year. Steve Zaat, a talented musician back in New Brunswick, Canada, is writing tunes inspired by his spiritual beliefs; Paula Biasi is creating sparks in the dance world in Milwaukee (if you live anywhere in the Midwest and feel like a drive this weekend, she is performing a show called "In a Black Mood" with her kickass dance troupe, Your Mother Dances. Show times and ticket prices are on the website, and don't let the title mislead you -- these women are the most upbeat performers I have ever seen. It is a challenge to stay in your chair when you watch them perform); Rafael Routson, is a very talented emerging non-fiction writer currently doing her doctoral research on desert oases in Baja, Mexico. She has co-authored two books: A Heritage in Iron (see link on left), and Last Dollar Ranch, and is currently working on a non-fiction book about her experiences in the Australian outback (title still to come -- stay tuned!!)...the list goes on, but it is getting late, so I will stop here. I don't want to overwhelm you with all this inspiration! Here are some shots of these inspiring folks:

And some shots of how I go about receiving some of their ripples:

I deeply appreciate the diversity of creative people that are constantly finding innovative ways of putting their knowledge into action in the world. I express gratitude to them by telling them, as often as I can get away with it without driving them crazy, how truly INSPIRING they are to me, to my own creative process, and to the world. I also express my gratitude by allowing all the creative energy spinning around me to fuel my own creative process. Ripples create ripples. Here's hoping some of the creative energy from this entry will radiate out into your creative process too!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my life you are such a little gem Ariana - i'm smiling and almost crying at the amazing energy and love in this post! I have to say, i didn't quite fathom the magnitude of the ripple effect you just laid out in print...it truly is an inspiring time we live in, knowing that small, seemingly insignificant things can inspire one individual or a multitude, at the click of a button. And you my dear are absolutely one of those individuals to me! (I am going to have to post another link back to your post to keep the connective energies flowing across our 19 hours of space!)

    So much love to you dear soul sister xxx