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 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jessie + Joel // The Message Is Clear

"We arrive here each of us to become forever a part of this commitment between Jessie & Joel. We arrive here each of us to act not only as witness but as magician. We arrive here with active responsibility. We arrive here to impact our gifts of friendship. To lend a portion of our memory to the event of this weekend - a portion of our memory to the conscious bond made between these two persons on this day."

Michelle Embree read these opening words on July 26th for Jessie & Joel and the hair on my arms stood on end. My eyes welled up with tears and I looked around feeling nothing but gratitude for my family, my community at this place in time. My gift has always been to attempt to capture that love we have for one another at these rare times we all gather in one place to celebrate and rejoice be it for the ceremony of love, music, art, performance or just to sit and watch our gardens grow.

For those of you who were there that these images recap the amazing vibes of this weekend. For those of you who couldn't make it that you can glean the magic that was generated and for you who don't know these folks that they conjure inspiration for nurturing love of those you hold close to your heart. I suggest listening to this song while checking these out.

If you want to dive deep into the weekend there are over 500 photos to jump into.

July 26th 2014

Michelle Embree

      We arrive here each of us to become forever A part of this commitment between Jessie & Joel. We arrive here each of us to act not only as witness but as magician.
      We arrive here with active responsibility to impart our gifts of friendship.
To lend a portion of our memory to the event of this weekend - a portion of our memory to the conscious bond Made between these two persons on this day.
      We arrive here to make ceremony in service to the body of love. To seal a bond of union with our presence with our faith that this union will act as an expression of love. 

      Love is the highest knowledge and when two people commit to love one another they commit to living in service to love through the actions they make toward one another.
      Love is the highest knowledge. It comes before any of us, it comes before any of this.           
      Love is the highest knowledge and some are called to serve this knowledge through union with another. Some are called to create a union that serves as a living expression of love. 

      Love is the highest knowledge and it is the purpose of those who serve through union to see the other in their highest worth- to see the other as their greatest self. To see the other as healed. As whole, as complete.
      Love is the highest knowledge and it has summonsed all of us today. Each and every one of us has been called here to work as magicians to act as witness to the highest worth of each of us.
      Today we are called to act in service to the body of love. To see one another in their highest worth is to see in love, in wisdom, in truth.
      Look around you- see one another as healed- see one another as whole. 
See each in their highest worth.
      See each as healed, as whole. This is your work as magicians.
      This is your gift to give.
      See each of you and you and you as whole.
      This is your gift.
      It is your power and today we all—each of us—are called to use it. To use our power. Our gifts in service to the body of love. 

      Today we make ceremony for the union of Joel and Jessie. We offer ourselves in friendship. We see you both in your highest worth. We see you as healed. We see you as whole. This is how we know you.
      Today we stand with you both as witness and as magician. We commit a portion of our memory to this day evermore and act to seal this bond in time.
      Today we see as the highest knowledge must always see. Today we see as the body of love. We see the most beautiful of all things.
      We see life.
This glorious pulse.
      This ineffable ache.
      This valiant struggle to become closer and closer in love.
      Today we stand in our highest worth. Today we know ourselves as healed. Today we acknowledge that we are whole. 
Today we witness union in service to the body of love and by the power vested deep in our beating hearts through the blood of life we bestow our bonding magick’s upon this alchemy of soul. Today we see with love and know that it is more than enough. 

      Love is the highest knowledge and today is lived in its honor. Today we see ourselves and each other in our highest worth. We see ourselves and one another as healed, as whole.

      Today we thank Joel & Jessie for their commitment to serve the body of love in union. And we thank you all each and everyone of you for being exactly who you are.