Friday, December 2, 2011
4-H & 4-F’s
This week I share part of the performance I did at Highways Performance Space for November’s Queer Mondays (the last monday of the month) - what follows is the abbreviated written form of the essence of that piece and the slide show that played at the end. The slideshow with music by Jonsi, displayed many photos from the summer at Dirty Face Creek Farm (website coming in 2012) in Iowa as I danced around (it was kind of "corny"). In-joy the video and performance text about the 4-F's:
The Thanksgiving weekend got me thinking about how grateful I am for the experiences of growing up in 4-H and the foundation of experiences and principles it conveys. The 4-H’s pledge reveals what the H’s stand for: “I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger services, and my Health to better living — for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
It also got me to thinking that I am also a firm believer of and grateful for the experience of 4-F’s as well, which I find also provides an important basis for a life of art.
The first one is FARMING, and I’m not just talking about physical farming, but metaphorical farming. We would do well in our lives and creativity to plant seeds of many varieties. For we need to have a well balanced diet and as a precaution because we should not expect that every crop will always succeed (for there are always unexpected things like weather, bugs, or blight). We need to do our best to nurture and be tender to the fragile sprouts, giving them a chance to develop until they are strong. The soil/Earth needs to be tended with care. Water and minerals must be provided, but not too much! Natural fertilizer is made from compost, which is basically from waste products. It must be noted how the cycle of death and life are intertwined. As the “plants” grow we should enjoy the beauty of their blooms and take time to smell the flowers — and witness/participate in the process of pollination. Spiritual pollination is a process of sharing ideas, inspiration, influence, encouragement, and advice and we have all depended on it to create the society and culture we now have. As our metaphorical crops mature, we harvest the results and have what we need to feed ourselves and others with our sharing. Feeding our souls, minds, and bodies. Farming is an important element we participate in to grow.
The second F is for FISHING. Metaphorically speaking it is partly how one comes up with new ideas, using a mix of imagination, faith, skill, and luck. It is about casting out a line into the waters of the unknown, into the waters of the unconscious and catching something from there and bringing it forth into a tangible form. Sometimes as artists we cast our lines and might only get a nibble, but we must keep at the practice. You never know when the big one may come, or get away. Fishing comes in handy in situations when you are starving or feeling stuck. Putting out a line could produce something that takes you a whole new direction. But remember, to fish, you must put something out on your hook: so start with an intention, a prayer, a hope, or a plea — it helps increase your chances to have a juicy morsel as bait. See what happens, but patience and faith are required. When the line starts to “vibrate” you must yank on the hook and bring it in - one can’t be casual about it or the fish will get away. It takes work to reel in the prize! Keep at it until the idea of whatever form the fish arrives is tangible.
The third F is really two of them and stands for both FRIENDS & FAMILY. We cannot do without them! We need them for support, for love and guidance, for community, for sharing of harvests and fish, for a variety of elements. But sometimes we get stuck being too dependent or independent from them, and we must learn to be inter-dependent. Families often come with dysfunction, but they provide lessons for us, and if they get to difficult, remember we can create our families. There is freedom from where we are born into if we need it. Family members can be whomever we choose for us that nurtures us when we need it and pushes us gently to grow beyond what we could do without.
The fourth F stands for FUN! It’s an essential nutrient of the soul in order to stay young at heart. We need to make sure we get enough, but not too much. Just the right balance, giving us the energy to keep going and enjoy life. Sometimes you may have to force it in order to move beyond a challenging situation. Everything has it’s time and place, but fun is the magic that makes life worth living and comes in many forms! That's part of the fun - exploring them and finding out how it makes you feel!
Of course I can imagine many more F’s and many more letters to explore in a life of art!