“Herspiral,” I say to folks, giving them my email or web address. Then I spell it out, and just to make sure, at the end I say, “As in a spiral belonging to a woman.” They always seem to know what that means.
When people ask me what I teach, I tell them “Contemplative Arts.” Note that “contemplative” comes before “art” – so when I am teaching Miksang Contemplative Photography, I am teaching a contemplative practice that happens to be photography. Ditto with Contemplative Writing and tritto with Shambhala Art. All of my teaching is based in Dharma/Buddhism, but you don’t have to be a Buddhist to enjoy or benefit from any of it. Perception is available to us all, all of the time – and perception, a basic, ordinary but magical connection to our world, is the basis of any inspiration or creativity.
Contact me with any questions. If you are interested in joining a weekly Contemplative Writing class, visit the Schedule page to find out times, then email me about which you time(s) are best for you. Most of the Miksang and Shambhala Art classes have links to registering at the location where I am teaching. Sign up for my newsletter below if you would like to receive bi-weekly or monthly updates.
Finally, I am on just about any form of social media you may participate in – find links to those at the bottom of any page of this website.
Mission Statement for Herspiral Contemplative Arts:
I have been teaching for ten years now. Here is my new mission statement – my mission hasn’t changed, but it’s gotten a lot clearer.
I want all of what we create to be of benefit. From the shortest poem to the longest novel, all of our stories and creations have potential to harm or to be of help. In fact, the smallest pieces are the best place to start, for it can be hard to see how, overall in our lives, we have any effect on the world at all, especially in creativity.
But we do. Laws of Karma in Buddhism say that even thoughts are actions, have interaction with the world. In the creative process, we can start quite small and notice how we interact with just the media in front of us – whether pen, brush or our own body – and from there, engage curiosity, compassion and realize that we are always communicating something. Out of that risky place of communication, we can harness our own power and use it for the powers of good.
If we are not comfortable with ourselves, if we disconnect from our own existence, we cannot help but cause harm. It all starts here, in our own bodies and minds. We purify through our actions – the creative tiny actions of pen to paper, arm to air, color to canvas – and those actions help to clarify all of our other actions. Contemplative Arts are our practice for everyday life – because, as it so happens – art is everyday life. There is no separation. All of life is constant creation and action. If we can begin in the creative process, through meditation and perception, awareness and compassion, feeling the power of inspiration to keep not just our art(s) going but also our lives, it makes living that much more worth while.
This is not a small venture. I am not in it alone. I am a part of two great lineages – Natalie Goldberg and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. It is these heart teachers who keep me clear about how to lead forward, guiding my students through the risks and rewards of creativity, towards a larger vision of Enlightened Society. Won’t you join me?