What we do with our hands carries with it a blessing.
I, for one, and maybe the only? have not always walked with that blessing in mind.
But every day I wake up alive is a chance to improve on that story.
Hands of Gold
In Armenia, there is a blessing that is bestowed upon a maker when a handmade gift is given. The recipient says to the maker, “Your hands are made of gold.” The women I work with in Gyumri have not heard this much in their lives. Women are not readily complimented in Armenia when they stray beyond the proscribed boundaries of female behavior. So, when I proposed that we use this phrase as a blessing in our morning circles, which we would bequeath one to the next, without anything being exchanged besides presence and attention, tears flowed, smiles bloomed, and our community expanded by this act.
Taking matters into our own hands
When we take back tools that the patriarchy has weighed upon us, tools which have served to divide us or raise one up while condemning another or parceled out damning comments when we are too loud or expressive, and we embody our presence with all that makes us individual, there is room and space for everyone to shine. A sense of plenty pervades, there is enough to go around. Bounty replaces what has felt for so long like a race to get a limited number of goodies before everyone else does.
Have you ever felt that if someone else succeeds, your chances of success diminish?
Or that the accomplishments of another negate or deny your achievements?
All that hierarchic thinking is ingrained in us, here at the top of the food chain.
Bringing the feminine into our daily lives, allowing ourselves to embody joy and enthusiasm, to be inclusive instead of exclusive, to trust in the rightness of our intuition, to express our emotions in real time–these are some of the ways that we walk past the long-trodden ruts of patriarchy.
I heard a comment the other day that unsettled me. A person asked, “what is the point of subscribing to someone’s website when all that will happen is we’ll be asked to buy something somewhere along the line?” I was surprised at how much the comment stung me. Yes, people with online platforms are often in the act of selling. For many of us, this is part of how we make our living, selling artwork and filling our classes.
But it has also become how many share the wealth of life: good news, important news, the projects of friends, and things that might serve readers.
What I offer here on this website, as a resource to you and as a location for my professional work in the world, is not intended to batter you with sales pitches or fundraising.
I stand as a resource for women interested in igniting their lives through creative practice.
And I celebrate the work of my colleagues because I love them, I believe in them, and I think you might be fed by them.
This is an act of feminine leadership. Putting awareness on the plenty. If you want to learn more about this, go learn from Jennifer Armburst. Her 12 Principles are here.
In the past 2 weeks, Katey Schultz, Anne Anthony, and Rachel Zucker all came out with new books. Each of these women are thoroughly gifted and their work is something I want you to check out. I am packing each of their books to read when I leave for Armenia next week. Request them at your library or follow these links:
We Used Our Hands at Backyard Art Camp
Here is the first set of images from Backyard Art Camp by Pearl Elsbach.
Does Camp look like something you’d enjoy? Backyard Art Camp will run August 8-11, 2020. If you are on this list, you will be notified when enrollment opens next January. (This is a benefit to subscribers)
There are a few other things happening that I want you to know
Holly Wren Spaulding has opened a Patreon page as a creative writing resource for people who want to be nourished by her generous work. Holly’s page lays out very clearly what it means to work as an artist and offers many different levels to engage. You can see it here.
Leesa Renee Hall is touring the US with her work that seeks to unpack unconscious biases. It is important and vital work. I learn so much from the writing I do to her Expressive Writing Prompts, which you can access here by becoming a member of her Patreon page. Here are her tour dates.
Lastly, Immigrant Families Together spreads the word of positive work being done at the border of the US and Mexico, along with raises funds for the work they implement. I follow them on Instagram here. Backyard Art Camp made a donation to their Rapid Response Fund in September. Learn more at their website.
There is much work to do.
And it all starts with our hands.
Do me a tiny little favor. Put your hands over your heart and say to yourself,
“Your hands are made of gold.”
Drink that in.
Say it again.
Then pass the blessing on.
I leave for Armenia next week.
Want to know more about that work? Go here.
Here is an 11-minute interview about that project.
With much love,