Creativity

Guest Post: Jenna Bonnichsen, aka JBonn

Posted by in Creativity, Featured, Guest Post

Guest Post: Jenna Bonnichsen, aka JBonn

Ah! Over here!

Sloppily swimming in a sea of expectations, I find it difficult to access my true self in the world that surrounds me. The expectations begin to wash away my opinions, dreams and ideas while I start to accept other people’s beliefs as my own. Nevertheless, I still have enough resistance to want to escape the tides of torment and go into myself and release my true being free into this world. How must I sort this out? Who am I when I am waiting in the car before my first date? Who am I when I am alone during a thunderstorm with no electricity? I don’t remember!

And so I dance.

I do not go to group fitness classes at the local YMCA. I do not follow steps laid before me. I find an open space. Whether it be in a church basement, community music center room, hallway of a kindergarten school, open field in a park, lobby of a low-traffic theater or an actual dance improvisation class, I do what needs to be done and I dance there. Simply put, I move with or without music the way that I choose to move.

This freeform movement is known as dance improvisation, ecstatic dance or moving meditation; plenty of other titles are associated with it as well. Whatever the name, it is an important aspect of adult play. Generally speaking, this is a solo experience that allows a moving expression of what you are feeling in the moment. It’s about discovering your own way to dance letting your body be the inner guide and teacher. This can potentially help to release stuck patterns in the body, emotions, mind and spirit.

The applications are infinitely delicious and benefit every single person on Earth. Dramatics aside, examples range from senior citizens who have become lonely and long for youthfulness again to dancers that are looking for an escape from regiment. Due to the nature of its personal content, what one person will reap from freeform movement may be drastically different from that of another.

For me, dancing is a natural mode of abstract communication with myself AND others. While dancing, I feel completely free from pressures, judgments and commitments and am able to glide into my true self. Knowledge flows freely and is imported into my brain when I dance. I feel in control, guided by my soul, and I make decisions easily. I am released from the constant knot of anxiety and gifted with pure joy in the form of control, strength, direction, ambition, knowledge and confidence. This joy could be my connection with some sort of divine power. No matter your religious affiliation, I do find the spiritual aspect of the freeform movement quite significant. Dancing lets me access my own senses, let go of external distractions and then partake in powerful movements. This progression allows me to open up and define my strength and place in the outside world. Because human connection is a goal for me, I value that I am able to contribute to society in my special way and not the way of doctrine or cultural normality.

Creativity is the backbone of freeform movement. And contrary to popular belief, every single person has the ability to spark creativity in themselves. The myth that creativity and imagination are only for seven-year olds, writers, and art students is gooey old news. Rather, creativity is about making connections, accepting imperfection and moving forward. For example, I would not call myself a writer. This article won’t be the best one written and may be choppy to read. True. I did draw from different sources of inspiration. Yes. Someone probably already wrote about this topic. But, I was able to get my ideas down on paper thanks to the experience and information that I possess at this point in my life. And so. I can call this my article.

I imagine a way to access your own creativity through freeform movement is to:

1. Stop thinking (or start with step 2).
2. Start moving.
3. Something will happen.

Go ahead. You got this. Something will happen.

About our Guest-Poster:

From the time she was a little girl, JBonn has always been restless with the desire to create beauty by moving. Through her experience of learning what she loves and is passionate about, there has always been one main factor of helping people through movement.

Though not classically trained, JBonn has a background in dance and aerial arts (jazz, expressive, hip hop, lyrical, experimental, dance improvisation, aerial hammock, trapeze, pole) which helps her with her endeavors in body movement disciplines. Originally from Minot, North Dakota, she is a bit of a dancing nomad. From studying Dance Movement Psychotherapy in Scotland to performing as an aerialist at Sky Club in Portland, Oregon, JBonn has danced her way around the world. In the future, she would love to continue investigating movement, facilitating ecstatic dance events, performing, filming creative dance projects, traveling and exploring obscure expanses where she can dance. 

Explore more here.


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Pregnancy and Toe Jam

Posted by in Creativity, Featured

Pregnancy and Toe Jam

I’m pregnant with a book. If it were a ten-pound baby, I’d just wait until my due date, uncomfortable as I was. But this baby, this book, needs to be born.

Sometimes it’s just better to get the sucker out. I just need to give birth and then deal with the squalling baby.

Why do I hold back from producing things, from creating, from putting my efforts out into the world? God put no restrictions on Adam in the Garden of Eden when he set him loose to create. He gave him dominion over naming the animals, calling forth what they were. He didn’t say, “Bring me your list, and I’ll copy-edit it.” He let him loose to create.

I feel like I have to have permission or wait for a blue moon or see who thinks I should sequester myself and write instead of doing whatever they think I should be doing or wait until the day when I feel confident, clear-headed, limbered up, calmed down, in touch with my masculine and feminine sides, and have nothing else to do.

There are endless reasons why I don’t tend to the labor process. A few of my fears about my book:
It might not be good enough (for what?).
Somebody might not like what I say (they won’t).
It might illuminate my blind spots (it will, and then I’ll know those and still have more).
It might require more work (it will, and I can then do that).
I’m not anybody (who is?).
I’m not a real writer (yes, I am. Writers are people who… write).
What would I do next if I finished this? (It’ll be fun to find out.)
It might, just might, impact some readers (and that’s both scary and so exciting).

“If it’s in you, let it out.” I’m preaching to myself. What’s the hold-up? Why should fear win the day?

I’m going to keep laboring, make every effort to deliver the book baby. In real labor, if your water breaks you need to deliver within 24 hours. I’m just going to act as if my creative water has broken… which of course it has, long ago. And I’m going to try to live in the urgency of getting the baby born.

Much like when we hold in emotions that should be expressed, and we therefore spread those feelings where they don’t belong, not giving full expression to our creativity can be dangerous. We can end up with our creative juices trickling down our chins, oozing out of our pores, getting stuck between our toes like so much toe jam, and the result is a half-assed mess and nothing to show for it instead of a good-enough-for-prime-time product.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you’re pregnant with a book, deliver it. If you’re pregnant with a baby, consult your midwife before delivering (ideally).

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Power to the Grown-ups

Posted by in Creativity, Featured

Power to the Grown-ups

“It took a grown-up to imagine the Harry Potter books,” author Neil Genzlinger writes in a New York Times piece reviewing two new television shows, 2 New Ways to Relive Childhood.

I love that line.  He was exploring our idealized vs. actual childhoods and how certain activities and toys (as explored in two different television shows) transport us back to those — potentially — good old days.

He said, “A 10-year-old’s imagination doesn’t really go very far. It took a grown-up to imagine the Harry Potter books.”

That line really got me excited. Power to the grown-ups!

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Yet One More Muse, Steve Martin

Posted by in Creativity, Featured

Yet One More Muse, Steve Martin

I adore Steve Martin. Rumor has it that he once stepped into my family’s entrance hall to pick up a date, who was the friend of a woman who was babysitting me and my sister). I wasn’t home; I can’t confirm that he was there… though my sister tends to be a trustworthy source.

Yet that brush with fame isn’t the reason I love him. Like Dave Brubeck and David Byrne, he is prolific and operates in many creative directions.

Let’s start with his website, which is one of my favorites. Google “Steve Martin” and you’ll see his site with the annotation, “Steve Martin’s #1 source for looking himself up on the Web!” On one page, the header says, “The Web’s 660,943,817,855,213rd hottest destination.” He’s just clever all around.

He acts in movies; he writes books for kids (I’ve read ‘em) and adults (I’ve not); he tours playing the banjo with the Grammy-nominated Steep Canyon Rangers (coming your way)… oh, and he’s a comedian.

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Another Muse, David Byrne

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Another Muse, David Byrne

My last post was about Dave Brubeck, a major inspiration in my life. And here’s another prolific, creative, talented “DB” who has influenced me mightily — David Byrne.

I’m just taking some time this summer to think about (and share with you) a few men who have been muses for me in my own baby steps in writing and creating.

David Byrne is prolific in so many genres. His website has links for his Journal (a brilliant blog), Art and Books (he creates! he designs! he writes!), Music, Film and Theater, and Sound & Video to just start the list.

Byrne is known for his band Talking Heads but he has also collaborated with Fat Boy Slim and Brian Eno. His concert, Ride, Rise, Roar, is my favorite I’ve ever been to.

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My Muses: First, Dave Brubeck

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My Muses: First, Dave Brubeck

I’ve heard Calvin Trillin speak a couple of times. The man is wicked funny. The last time I heard him he recited poetry in which he rhymed “Rodham” with “Sodom” and “Señora” with “Gommorah” in describing Bill Clinton’s presidency. Nothing against Clinton personally but Trillin is funny. He’s one of my heroes for his prolific writings and for the varied forms he tackles and dominates.

I’ve got three other heroes of the same ilk (prolific and working in different genres): Dave Brubeck, David Byrne, and Steve Martin.

I’m just taking the time to celebrate the creativity of these men by sharing some of their work with you. Today’s focus is Dave Brubeck.

Dave Brubeck is 91 and still performing with his quartet, one of many incarnations of it. He graced the cover of Time magazine in 1954 and the band became known for unusual time signatures, touring on college campuses and innovative jazz. In the quartet’s heyday, they put out four albums a year. He performs and records prolifically and is still going strong as a jazz pianist and composer who melds jazz and classical music. . 

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I love random, pointless missions.

Posted by in Creativity, Featured, Identity, Spaciousness

I love random, pointless missions.

A subscriber to our site, Logan, sent me a link to an article I love. It’s called 6 Habits of Truly Memorable People. It’s from Inc. and is by Jeff Haden.

I’ll share a section from it about my favorite “habit” listed (“Embark on a Worthless Mission”):

You’re incredibly focused, consistently on point, and relentlessly efficient.

You’re also really, really boring.

Remember when you were young and followed stupid ideas to their illogical conclusions? Road trips, failing the *cinnamon challenge, trying to eat six saltine crackers in one minute without water… you dined out on those stories for years. [*Editor's note: this is an effort to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon in one minute, apparently not easy and apparently gag-inducing as evidenced by a spate of YouTube videos that I don't want to link to because I don't like watching people gag. Just me, perhaps.]

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Before You & I Die…

Posted by in Cary Umhau, Creativity, Featured, Identity, Joey Katona

Before You & I Die…

What do you want to do before you die?

Art installation walls asking that question are popping up around the world. D.C. is sporting one down near Logan Circle at 14th & Q Streets, NW. You can read about it in The Washington Post.

I’ve loved visiting; I went twice in the first three days. It’s such a joy to see the connections made between people who are simply stopping by to add something or to read the entries. And it’s fascinating to read what people are writing.

I love it that the Post article says that the D.C. one is more multi-lingual than others and that we are a bunch of do-gooders. Not a shock. I love my gloriously intense city.

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Which generous one are you?

Posted by in Creativity, Featured, Spaciousness

Which generous one are you?

Have you seen the video of Caine’s Arcade?  You NEED TO stop and watch it now (please!). If you don’t, this post won’t make sense. But more importantly if you don’t, you’ll miss a chance for your life to be enhanced.

This has been all over the internet, and it’s worth wondering why it strikes such a chord.

Okay, you watched?  And you’re back?

 

Let’s talk about the characters in this real-life story:

  • Caine’s dad — gave his kid space, believed that he could do something productive while he himself worked, let him have some materials, encouraged his gifts, allowed the flash mob to happen, helped facilitate it
  • Caine —  did his thing without worrying about outcome, enjoyed the process
  • Nirvan — played a game when he stopped in (that’s no small thing in and of itself; most people don’t do that), and then went a lot further and created the flash mob and made the movie (which led to a huge scholarship fund for Caine)
  • The crowd — read about it online and came out and played
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Who do you want to play with?

Posted by in Creativity, Featured, Joey Katona

Who do you want to play with?

I want to play with the kids who don’t care if they have egg in their hair. And who want to try something new. And who don’t mind if they’re a little too much of whatever their culture says is wrong (dark skin, light skin, big, small, funny, serious). Who just think, “Screw all that; I’m going to have fun.”

Those are the people I want to play with or hang out with or drink coffee or margaritas with… those people who won’t be defined by shame or perfection or shoulds or by anything other than their God-given fabulosity and the right to take up space on the planet “as is.”

I read a quote once that I loved. It was by Sarah Broom, in O, The Oprah Magazine.  She wrote about poetry parties she hosted in her Harlem home, inspired by a New Orleans childhood. I just copied this quote down and stuffed it in my “Why didn’t I say that?” folder (except I couldn’t have said it cause I’m not from New Orleans, except way back two generations). In messy hand-writing, it says:

When I was young in New Orleans, I never invited anyone over to my raggedy, falling-down house, out of shame, and now I want to make up for all that silliness and pushing away.

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