To Christmas or not to Christmas, that is the question.

Somehow Christmas triggers experiences of utter disconnection in me.
Possibly because it is a time set aside for, among many things, the coming together of people.
A time of year I feel disconnected from everything and everyone more than at any other time. It is a life-long experience, cyclical in nature, tuned in with the coming and going of seasons, solstices, years, birthdays. A sacred season turned silly season by cultures that have lost the skill of marking time (rituals). Hallow times of being have turned into hollow and shallow times of doing. I long for a change and right there, in that moment of longing hits the experience of disconnection. I look at the communities around me, what people say and do, what they don't say and don't do and what I would like to do. Contemporary Christmas seems to scatter any notion of community. "What is it that you want?" you will no doubt wonder. A sense of being connected is all I want for Christmas, as such a sense will bring with it peace, inner peace and world peace.

Till then I will be riding out the tidal wave of the silly season.

To give you a glimpse of what my sense of connection could be I have enclosed a video clip I found this morning.
I like the story told in the last minute of this video.
May peace be with you.

Neva Murtha, somewhere off the coast of Canada.
By Charisse Baker, copied as per creative commons.

The gift of giving.

Sometime it can be hard to let in unconditional love.
In that case you can choose to give unconditional love instead,
because as you give unconditional love it will flow through you first.
As it flows through you it will nurture and recharge you as well as the receiver.
-Marcel Baaijens

A Blur of energy, Istanbul, Turkey.

Art and Intellectual Disabilities Syurvey

Click here to take survey
Please click on the link above if you want to participate in this survey.
To qualify you need to be working in an art educational capacity with people with intellectual disabilities.
The survey closes 30 November 2010.
Please pass this on to anyone you know that may be interested, anywhere in the world.
Many thanks, Marcel

Sounds of Silence

Old fashioned drafting.

It has been quiet on my blog, little to say, little time to post and my camera died, so no new images to share. Bogged down in survival mode, resettling back in New Zealand for the last 18 months and battling bureaucracy of the city while trying to get building permission for a small eco house on a tricky site. I am still working on my film in the little spare time I have.

It does not mean I achieved little. I have grown in my new job as a mentor at The Learning Connexion, a private tertiary art school, the largest art school in New Zealand. It is through this school I am returning to a line of work that I am very passionate about; facilitating the creative process, specially for people with intellectual disabilities. I have received a research grant and I am determined to make tertiary art education accessible for this population. But first... a well deserved and much needed break, a trip to Europe that will be a family visit, a holiday and research combined. I will visit The Netherlands, France, Portugal and Spain and visit a few art centres for artists with intellectual disabilities. I look forward to being creative again myself, dip my toes in the ocean and experience different cultures.

Time for new horizons and enjoying my new camera.

Day 20: Rosa goes to Mardi Gras 2010 (part 1)

I never 'do drag'! I don't feel comfortable dressing in women’s clothes because... I learned from an early age that being feminine or gay and feminine was not acceptable in a hetero sexual society, even today in male gay circles it is often frowned upon.
Doing drag has therefore become a big deal for me, conditioned out of me to such an extent that I feel I can't do it even if I wished to. Going in drag feels like a bad dream in which you suddenly realise you are not wearing any clothes in public!

So I gave myself the challenge to 'do' drag. First in a semi-private and 'safe' environment at the dress-up Christmas party at work, I took on 'Rosa', a cleaning lady as my character. I was nervous beyond belief. Afterwards I realised how liberating it was, but not liberating enough. It was only a first step in claiming back the power that I had lost by being fearful in many homophobic situations throughout my life.

With this first challenge completed it was time to take the next step: taking part in drag, in public, in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney, Australia AND fly there... in drag.

Thank God Air NZ put on a Pink Flight from Auckland to Sydney, not much of a challenge you may think, but... internal fear was still overwhelming. I made a doll, mini Rosa, as a 'stand-in' for Rosa on the domestic flight from Wellington to Auckland as I expected it to be an ordinary flight. Taking a dressed-up doll through check-in and on a 'normal flight' was in itself a challenge. Feel the fear and do it anyway I reminded myself again and again. I filmed the trip myself, producing plenty of shaky footage, but it is the proof that I did it. I am done now with the challenge, no longer carry the fear, I have claimed back the power I lost and feel soooo much better and stronger for it.

Part 2 featuring Rosa and Mini Rosa walking in the Parade and interacting with a 300.000 strong audience, clowning around as a cleaning lady removing 99.9% of all historical homophobia, in the crowd and of course myself will follow.

Big thanks to Air New Zealand for creating the Pink Flight with all its trimmings, and special thanks for the drag queens who escorted the passengers, you were my guardian angels. You were all fabulous! XXX.

Day 19: heard my favorite music, live in Wellington.

Delighted to discover that there is a band playing my favorite music right here in Wellington. Looing forward to work with them, yay!