Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mirror Neurons

Last December I wrote my intentions for 2015 while visiting NYC in a deep friend vortex. We sealed them up, I tucked them all somewhere they would be safe through a few moves and just last week was reminded to pull them out. I sent the others back to NYC for my friends and opened mine up to see what I had written....

2015 Intentions
Continue on this path I have started to walk: Managing my health by diet, movement, supplements and hope it keeps my pain at bay. Continuing to be self aware with drinking in moderation or not at all. Continue to make healthy responsible relationship choices and treat those around me with equal or more love than I receive or expect. Learn to let go. Establishing a vision of what home is/can be: House in the country 2-4 bedrooms, cozy, clean and functional for work and play. Continue self soothing habits like relaxing, reading and small projects. Also maintain established relationships (friends & work) while expanding on community. Settling into my new skin. Stay focused. Keep smiling. It’s all looking amazing!

Even without this short letter to remind myself things are going well I would feel like my life is right on track. See you later 2015, you represent the end of what was a really difficult period for me. As I move forward grounded within all the hard work I’ve done to get this far I still have no idea what’s in store. I don’t know what my professional life will look like by this time next year. And for the first time in a long while I'm not worried and just enjoying the moment.

Making the time and space to slow down and heal was vital. That paired with my new found ability to pace myself I’m way ready to pounce on this forward momentum. It’s time. I am entering a new era of my life and it’s looking mighty fine so far, and all from my tiny country house tucked back into a holler in Tennessee.

Photo: December back porch view from my house
Upcoming in 2016:

January: Residency, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN
May: Curator, CounterCraft: Voices of the Indie Craft Movement, Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton MA
July: Workshop leader, Craft Thinking: Ideas on Making, Materials, and Creative Process at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, ME

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mindful dedication

Hello Friends!

As some of you may already know in the past year I have experienced major shifts within my life. For a number of reasons I made the decision to move from my home of 13 years in Milwaukee to explore living in the South. Simultaneously I took some massive steps back from my work in order to focus on self-care, learning to understand and manage what had began to become shockingly debilitating chronic pain that was affecting my day to day life. Both of these events were incredibly emotional and eye-opening and I publicly talked about this with ease for the first time this past January. With sharing my vulnerability came an overwhelming out pour of support, understanding and kindness from friends, acquaintances and total strangers. This motivated me to stay focused and assured me I was on the right path. Thank you if you commented, sent a note or even just took a moment to send me a good thought - I FELT IT. 

With mindful dedication to slowing down and healing I have had massive breakthroughs and am successfully learning how to manage my pain. So far one of my biggest lessons has been learning how to take small steps that lead to larger goals. Holy crap it is so hard to break old work patterns! Within these new parameters I am relearning how to feel productive, creative and inspired. However difficult it has been, I'm happy to report the positive long term effects are obvious at this point.

With being able to feel a difference after taking so much “time off” I am super excited to be feeling inspired again. I had/have a lot of anxiety about "wasting time" and was worried about my lack of motivation. With relief I am starting to feel ready to focus on new projects, experiment with living rurally, get to work on my book project that’s been waiting patiently with long time collaborator Cris Siqueira and begin story-boarding a new experimental short narrative film I plan to direct. I also just returned from Detroit where I had some work in a fantastic group exhibit "Alchemy" curated by Monica Canilao at Inner State Gallery, up through the end of July.

Along with my ecstatic joy for feeling inspired again I am super excited to share my new website. This has been on my “to do” list for about 5 years, and I realized NOW IS THE TIME. I’m no web designer but feel real proud about seeing all my accomplishments in one space. It loosely catalogs the past 10 years of my work from films, photos to the long list of amazing shows I was able to curate in Milwaukee. If you have a moment please check it out, feedback is always appreciated.

I've used this blog as my hub since 2007 and plan to continue to make sporadic posts and keep it as an archive, as always I encourage you to follow me on instagram @faythelevine for real time updates. Otherwise stay in touch and if you happen to have a job that may be a good fit for this malleable artist, hit a lady up, I am in the market!


PHOTO: Planting echinacea on the new cancer moon in rural TN, July 2015

Sunday, December 28, 2014

On to the next one!

Dear friends, family and colleagues,

2014, I’m glad to see you go. Twelve months of overwhelming transition and hard-learned lessons. A year filled with all sorts of highs and lows, admittedly the most difficult of my adult life. My goal for the year seemed simple enough, it was to slow down, motivated more by necessity than choice. I had been fighting knowing I needed this for a long while. Fighting so hard my body actually began to fight back until finally, inevitably my body won. This is when I was forced to admit to myself that mind over matter was not working and I had no choice but to take a step back. Many steps back, in fact. I simply could not keep up with expectations I had placed upon myself. Unfortunately I could no longer ignore the chronic pain moving through my body, a result of recently diagnosed medical conditions either. Now it’s clear I was slowly and steadily sinking deep into a hole of denial. 2014 was the year I finally acknowledged I wasn’t actually moving one direction or another; I was knocked on my ass. 

As a result I’ve made massive adjustments to my daily routine. The most challenging element was the release of my habitual fast paced workaholic lifestyle. This has been hands down the most counter intuitive thing I’ve ever done. Retraining my muscle memory for self-care, for survival by challenging myself daily to sit still, relax, and breathe. The clarity that rises within this stillness is terrifying. This process was slow moving and before I could even begin to learn this wild thing called self-care I had to hit restart. 

In order to begin this healing journey it took those first slow steps of being able to surrender to the pain and exhaustion from going non-stop for too long. Admitting to myself and [now] to others it was affecting my mental, physical and spiritual health. It feels real good. Real REAL good. I have a new perspective on what feeling “normal” can mean, what a day without pain can feel like, and how liberating it can be. 

I did a lot of my restarts quietly this year to avoid questions I couldn’t answer. I didn’t officially announce I moved away from Milwaukee, a place I called home for the last 13 years. I have temporarily relocated to Birmingham Alabama- for how long I don’t know. I am currently living with other artists and exploring the South, letting myself get inspired again. There are no plans to start production on a new film any time soon but I am slowly working on a book research project. As I move forward I plan to continue doing creative educational programing and other freelance work. I’m also humoring wild new ideas like moving to a rural southern location and enrolling in college for the first time ever.  No pressure. It’s all subject to change! 

Part of my life practice is striving to make connections between those creating beauty in our world and those who appreciate that chaos manifested in art, through outlets like painting, music, writing, building, performing, growing food, etc.  I will continue to invite this meeting of the maker and observer swirling together into my life. This is where I find myself. This is the community I want to nurture as I move forward into unknown territory with my creative practice, my career, and my personal life.

My friend Amanda sent me a text this week that perfectly articulates the message I want to convey as I let go of 2014. She sent this to me in the context of discussing taking downtime for oneself, “We are generating strength for something powerful, which might just be the act of being, as we are now.” I shed a skin this year and it feels amazing, it’s a reminder to be gentle to myself as I get up off my ass and move forward. 

If you are interested in my current adventures and unfolding projects I suggest following my Instagram feed @faythelevine

Photo: "We Are Thankful" captured the evening of 1/1/2014