Back in August I completed an artist questionnaire to be featured on Culture on the Line’s Creative Five series. I discussed how life is my medium. Art is the journey of life. The expression of self. I really enjoy expressing myself through paint, photography, henna, writing, dancing and singing… among so much more. I share my top 10 favorite books, and new ways of thinking.
Culture on the Line
An online site that brings light to local artists, and culture.
South Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland are separated by the Mason-Dixon Line, and this location and its settlers have had a historical impact on the arts and culture of its communities. The county lines seem to bring along their own subtle differences as well. Culture On The Line aims to share & document the area’s cultural highlights.
The founder of Visual Realia, LLC, Andrew Smith, is a true asset to the artist community here in Southern York Pennsylvania. He created the amazing online platform Culture on the Line, and facilitates so many amazing projects. I am so honored to know him and to be apart of this community!
This years Earth Love Festival at Amethyst Retreat Center in Duncannon Pennsylvania was a beautiful demonstration of community, collaboration, and love.
Nicole Sharkey is the visionary who thought of this beautiful festival 3 years ago, and has since turned it into an amazing opportunity for all, to gather and to heal.
The Earth Love festival grew out of my desire to experience and share joy, forge connections in our community, and understand different perspectives on how to live in harmony with each other and the Earth.
The Earth Love festival is my way of sharing my gifts to create beauty.
I hope you will join me as the Earth Love festival evolves into its second year.
Thank you Nicole Erin Sharkey for following through with your beautiful vision and leading by example… when we are compelled to create something, we should let go and follow through with actions to manifest our deepest desires.
Thank you Pat McCabe, Susquehanna Alchemy, and Sarah Poet for facilitating such a safe space for communion and vulnerability. The stories you shared, the passions you have and how they all intertwined with our now, was a beautiful synchronicity, balance and flow to be witness to and apart of… thank you for helping me to remember the romance.
I am so grateful for all of you.
Amethyst Retreat Center is a space for all who wish to find peace and love within the land, and their community. During this event there was a pretty intense storm that damaged a few vendors tents and products, as well as one of Amethyst’s new event tents. Please consider donating to the retreat center to help keep the space beautiful and available for new and exciting events!
In the summer of 2016 I went on a hiking trip with my dear friend. We hiked the Appalachian Trail starting at PenMar Park in Western Maryland. We hiked south towards Ravens Rock shelter.
Pen Mar Park was owned and operated by the Western Maryland Railroad and had its beginning as far back as 1878. Within a few short years it soon became the “Coney Island” of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the children and remained one of the most famous resorts of its kind for half a century.
At one time the park area supported seven hotels, plus a number of boarding houses. Many families spent their entire vacation on the mountain top. The Western Maryland Railroad found that the excursion business it engendered was most profitable, and in 1898 — twenty years after the park was established — it carried 1,200,900 passengers and over half of these were excursionists to Pen Mar Park. Today, even the Western Maryland passenger service is but a memory.
When we started on our way, a black snake crossed our path. We had already decided before we left that we would both go through this experience with purpose and intention…. in a magickal way. So we both took the snake as a sign.
We hiked for almost 2 miles, through a forest on a hill of rocks. It was a strenuous climb at times…definitely a leg workout. But we finally made it to High Rock Park. I felt like the Indigenous people who lived there were rock jumpers and this was one of their sacred spaces.
North from High Rock Near Pen Mar Park Highfield-Cascade, MD
There is an amazing and ominous feeling at the top of the rock. It feels like you’re standing at the top of a pyramid, looking out over your civilization. It is beautiful and deadly. Last year when we got to High Rock, a teenage boy flipped off the rock above me, flying over me and off the cliff.
Seeing, feeling, experiencing someone fall from a cliff at least 100 feet down is not something you believe you will experience. The people on the cliffs get very brave and risky… it is very slippery because of all the traffic and the graffiti.
Luckily, the next day we looked up incident reports for the area and we found out he was alive. Talk about a significant magickal journey.
So last weekend I and another dear friend of mine went for a hike and started at PenMar. When we started this hiking journey, we just wanted be out in nature… but the universe took me on another magickal journey.
We hiked to High Rock, but it was getting late and we weren’t sure if we’d make it to Ravens Run Shelter before dark so we decided to stay off the Appalachian Trail at High Rock. We set our hammocks up in the pine trees just off to the side of the main cliff. Because we were so close to the cliffs we didn’t really get up to walk around much, and stayed in our hammocks all night.
View facing edge of cliff
View behind me
We laid down for bed around 11pm and there were still groups of kids on the top of the rocks. At 12 o’clock they left and another group drove in right after. The groups were loud and rowdy, some of them even getting into arguments with each other. At one point there was a bear sighted and the group of kids ran to their car and set off their car alarm.
I was ready for bed, I was sleeping in a hammock, I did not want to be involved with anything that was happening 100 ft from me…. but I was scared out of my mind. Every time I heard a persons voice, or someone yell or laugh loudly it startled me.
I had such high anxiety… I knew this was a fight or flight response, triggered by the events that had happened 3 years earlier. I had not processed that energy to release it in a healthy way. I pushed that experience aside, utilizing coping strategies that allowed me to rationalize my emotions so that I did not have to feel them.
This time I sat in the feeling. I sat in the emotion, the physical sensations. I sat with my imagination. I sat with myself.
I sat and listened…. to the world… and to myself. I listened to how I process, and perceive. I listened to where my thoughts wanted to take me. I sat in my shadows.
My imagination and I, battling it out…. all the ways something bad could’ve happened continued to play through my chest, over and over….
In and out, I had to breath and know I was alright, and face my feelings and face the shadows, to see they were of my own making.
And I had to wait until the sun came back up to truly see that my fears were irrational.
Everything was alright, everything turned out just fine.
I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the Gamut Theatre, as I am from Maryland and do not know much about Harrisburg, or many places in PA for that matter. As I opened the doors, any expectations I might have tried to create went out the window. This theatre was gorgeous and I was only in the lobby! I was graciously greeted by three lovely ladies as I paid my donation, hung my coat and was directed into the Capital BlueCross Lobby.
As I walked in all I could say was… whoa. I felt like I was in a movie. The audience was surrounding an open stage area, enjoying their drinks and snacks that were purchased at the bar. Being that I was by myself and didn’t really know what to expect, and the whole room was full, I caught my breath as I started to ask questions to the kind bartender Zane. He shared so much information with me, and was so knowledgeable about all that goes on at the theatre. I was totally surprised and totally excited to now know this place exists!
The play I had the pleasure of attending was Gallathea. This play was apart of the Stage Door Series which seeks to expand the reach of Gamut Theatre Group in its mission to preserve and perform classic stories.
The goal is the presentation of classical material in engaging and educational workshop productions, focused on streamlining the production experience to highlight the essential elements of theatre: the text, the story, the action, and the actors. Because of this, their shows are affordable and accessible to the audience through the motto, “Come as you are, pay what you will.”
Gallathea is an Elizabethan era stage play, a comedy by John Lyly. The first record of the play’s performance was at Greenwich Palace on New Year’s Day, 1588 where it was performed before Queen Elizabeth I and her court by the Children of St Paul’s , a troupe of boy actors.
Before a trouser-wearing Viola swayed Illyrian hearts, before Rosalind dressed as Ganymede and wooed Orlando, before Puck used Cupid’s flower to wreak merry havoc, there was Gallathea. This 1588 gender-bending, love-affirming play by John Lyly is an Elizabethan rarity filled with gods (big and little), sea monsters, overprotective dads, enchanted nymphs, thwarted virgin sacrifices—and two cross-dressed girls who fall head over heels for one another and declare that…
love is love is love.
My dear friend Joshua played the role of Tyterus… a loving father who disguises his beautiful daughter in order to save her life from Neptune. This opening scene set the stage for the entire play. Tyterus comes in with his daughter discussing the demands of Neptune and the need for the village to sacrifice a virgin every five years. The virgin must be the fairest of them all, and is ordered to be tied to a tree so that Agar the sea monster would come and devour her for the good of the community. If they did not provide the fairest virgin, the village would be drowned by Neptune. This demand was payment for the destruction of Neptune’s temples many years before.
The tone was set.
I loved how the first scene was serious, and full of vital information for the rest of the play… and I loved not knowing anything about the play before seeing it. Paying attention to the details to uncover the plot. As the play went on, there were many laughs had, as well as some serious questions that could be posed about the theme of the story and how it relates to whats relevant today. Questions about Love vs Virtue, service to self vs. service to others, and perspectives. It was a beautiful reminder that love is love is love. <3
Francesca Amendolia was the fantastic director. The roles were cast in a way that added a level of depth to the story line, bringing it from the 1500’s into modern day, with an Elizabethan dialect, and I found it easy to follow along. I was thoroughly delighted, entertained, and curious watching this fantastic play!
If you’re interested in supporting the local arts, and theatre, a generous Gamut Theatre supporter and donor has offered to match every donation made to Gamut’s capital campaign (up to a total of $500) in honor of today’s performance of Gallathea.
This past weekend my little Element, who will be 5 years old in nine days, had her first ballet recital! She has been doing Kreative Kids Dance and was in the Creative Movement and Rhythm class at EMC Performing Arts Studio. Her teacher, Rachel Cyr, is amazing with the girls. Rachel is always so positive and uplifting, I am happy Element has a chance to learn from her.
Upon first entering EMC we weren’t sure what to expect… I am not typically in dance studios. We were kindly welcomed by Kathy, and Robin the owner.
Dance has been apart of Robin’s life since the age of 3, and when it came time for her to open her own studio she says:
I wanted to create a program that delivered a legitimate technical base in a nurturing, supportive environment.
In 1992, she opened EMC Dance Company and for the past 25 years she has given her all to developing the EMC community and training young people to be poised, professional and passionate as they enter “the real world”.
The studio isn’t only for dancing. Landyn and Element are in Discovery Gym gymnastics classes which they both love and really have a wonderful time every week. The gymnastics classes have a performance called the Spring Fling where the students get to show off their skills. EMC also offers Theater and Music classes!
So after attending our first performance at The Pullo Center in York, PA… I will say, Robin has definitely built an amazing company. I was not only pleased by seeing Element do her dance routine, I was impressed with the sheer organization and commitment Robin, her staff and the students themselves put into their time at EMC.
Let me start first by saying how amazing our two wonderful class moms were, April and Capri. They volunteered their time and energy for our daughters to keep them happy and safe during rehearsals for the recital. Not only did they make sure our girls had fun activities, food, and rest… they sent us emails prior to the show to make sure we all knew what to expect.
The show started with acknowledging the graduating seniors! It was so inspiring to hear their stories and then get to watch them dance the night away. The first act was the band “The Black Jacks” playing a few songs… I really felt like I was at a concert, they were that good…and then the dancing started…
There are so many classes at EMC with so many dancers the show was 4 hours long…though by the end it did not feel like it. The dancers were amazing to watch, and the song selection really kept my interest. Each routine was unique and beautifully choreographed. The daddy daughter and mommy daughter dances were awesome and made me want to get involved next year! Even my dad, who said he might not make it after the first 3 performances, said he was thoroughly entertained and completely engaged for the 4 hours.
I honestly left feeling a sense of pride that my daughter was able to be apart of such an amazing show. Thank you Robin, for following your heart and creating this beautiful space for all to come together to learn and to express ourselves.
I have to be honest… I was little anxious about 15 students joining our ever growing group of 10-20 people. Firefly Hollow has a beautiful large room where we hold our circles, however I was just a little unsure if it would be too tight.
On top of feeling anxious about the amount of people attending, I started to wonder how 15 middle and high school students would do, in terms of beat and rhythm of the instruments. This drum circle is definitely not geared towards advanced drummers only… we have a lot of new people who come and want to join in the music making because it fills their heart. That is why I lead… because when we create whether art or music, vibrating energy into the universe, and when we put positive intentions into those creations, we send out the love.
So as always I reflected on the evening, and how the event unfolded. Wow, the universe really showed me beautiful things happen when we are willing to surrender and let go. When I let go of my expectations for the drum circle, the anxiety lessened. When I opened my heart to the moment, a whole new experience unfolded… one that had never crossed my mind.
I was anxious because I thought I would have to teach these boys and girls … changing the tempo of our circle from making music to “follow these steps”. But what really happened was that these beautiful souls were brought to the circle to teach us a lesson… on how to let go and surrender to the moment.
When we let go, they all let go. It was so beautiful to watch unfold. One of our regular drum-and-dancers decided to get all the girls together to teach them a few ceremonial dance moves that went to the beat of our drumming. Every girl that came was up learning and doing these moves. My heart was full… of love and light… watching everyone from different walks of life, come together in song and dance.
That drum circle I learned to let go of expectations when they are causing fear, let go of worry… doubting things will turn out a certain way, and be open to whatever the universe presents for us, with gratitude and love.
Thank you Angie for bringing your beautiful students to join our circle. I hope to drum with them again in the near future. Thank you everyone who attended our May drum circle… you all made it a magickal experience for me and touched the lives of those boys and girls.
Angie told me that they were so excited afterwards they talked about the circle the whole bus ride home! One girls mother asked her if she was sick because the girl went straight home and went to bed. She told her mother she was just exhausted because of all the fun she had during the drum circle. It was truly an experience I will remember.
My dear friend Amber and I have come together to host an art and soul retreat. Unleashing our Divine I am through art, nature and meditation.
Amber Evans will lead yoga and meditations for the three day retreat, discussing releasing old patterns and awakening our divine energy within us. We are each powerful beings capable of living the life we desire, we just have to remember how! Focusing on our intentions and the power of positive affirmations, we can manifest our desires.
When each of us is focused on being the best version of ourselves, we help each other be the best as well. The Ojibwe say all roads are equal, no path is higher than the next. By being authentic and respecting each journey, we all shine light on each others paths.
I will be facilitating the release of things that no longer serves us through intuitive art making. We will tap into our energy and express it through a free flowing painting process. No painting experience necessary! Intuitive art comes from the heart… everything you do comes from within… the colors you chose, the shapes you make, the lines you see… everything will evolve as it should, representing your energy through your mark making.
This intuitive painting is all about the process, but will create an energetic piece for you to take home and use as a reminder of your Divine I am.
Here are few examples of some Intuitive Painting Workshops I have facilitated
The retreat will be hosted at Amethyst Retreat Center in Duncannon, Pa. It is a beautiful location in the middle of nature. A perfect place for a full moon fire ceremony and lots of releasing and healing. There will be a nature walk, and a meditation in the labyrinth.
Ceded land is land that was given over as apart of an agreement. The eight tribes, Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Crow, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations, agreed in 1851 to live in peace on the land which was known as Native territory.
Since then peace has come and gone, and today water protectors are standing once again in peace for our earth.
After researching this more…I found a few interesting pieces of history. There were at least 2 treaties in Fort Laramie.
The second was in 1868, The Treaty of Fort Laramie (also called the Sioux Treaty of 1868). This was an agreement between the United States and the Oglala, Miniconjou, and Brulé bands of Lakota people, Yanktonai Dakota, and Arapaho Nation signed on April 29, 1868 at Fort Laramie in the Wyoming Territory, guaranteeing the Lakota ownership of the Black Hills, and further land and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The Powder River Country was to be henceforth closed to all whites. The treaty ended Red Cloud’s War.
The treaty of 1868 was written because of the many europeans who were traveling through Sioux land, utilizing the native’s resources without compensation.
Such a parallel with what is happening there now. The oil companies coming through to utilize resources… however the Sioux no longer want compensation… they just want what is rightfully their domain.
This treaty includes an article intended to “ensure the civilization” of the Lakota, financial incentives for them to farm land and become competitive, and stipulations that minors should be provided with an “English education” at a “mission building.” To this end the U.S. government included in the treaty that white teachers, blacksmiths, a farmer, a miller, a carpenter, an engineer and a government agent should take up residence within the reservation.
In order to insure the civilization of the Indians entering into this treaty, the necessity of education is admitted, especially of such of them as are or may be settled on said agricultural reservations, and they, therefore, pledge themselves to compel their children, male and female, between the ages of six and sixteen years, to attend school, and it is hereby made the duty of the agent for said Indians to see that this stipulation is strictly complied with; and the United States agrees that for every thirty children between said ages, who can be induced or compelled to attend school, a house shall be provided, and a teacher competent to teach the elementary branches of an English education shall be furnished, who will reside among said Indians and faithfully discharge his or her duties as a teacher. The provisions of this article to continue for not less than twenty years.
In the late 19th century, the federal government shifted from mission schools on reservations to establishing Indian boarding schools; the first was the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. The website for the US Army War College says that students were recruited directly from the western reservations of the Sioux, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, and Arapaho.
I had no idea there was an Indian boarding school here. I live very close to Carlisle, and the Appalachian trail runs right past the boarding school. Except it is not a boarding school any longer… it is the Army War College. Carlisle Barracks were used for training since the late 1700’s. I think this would make a fantastic day trip.
Its fascinating to me that I am so close to this place and have never been, and not only ties directly back to what’s happening at Standing Rock but it is also directly connected to the childhood my mother had. She was sent to attend St. Joseph’s Boarding School at the age of 6. So much of this is hitting home.
And I set off to write this blog about the buffalo medicine! I shared all of this history in connection with the present day. On October 27th, 2016 police and military stood face to face with peaceful prayer warriors who are protecting not only theirs, but each of our domains. Resources are in jeopardy, it is time to come back to center and find a way that is in harmony with the earth.
During this standoff, water protectors were hurt and some even jailed, thrown in kennels and given numbers. Horses were laid to rest, and sacred land was desecrated. Water protectors from all over witnessed the arrival of the buffalo, as they ran up over the hills where the pipeline is being built.
The Buffalo/Bison’s medicine includes manifestation, protection, earth, creativity, abundance, knowledge, generosity, hospitality, sharing work, courage, strength, challenge, survival, giving for the greater good, formulating beneficial plans.
They show us how to walk a sacred path, honouring every walk of life. Buffalo will assist you in establishing a deep connection with Mother Earth and Father Sky and will ask that you pray/meditate/focus on harmony and peace amongst all beings. Buffalo will bestow you with strength of character.
Buffalo teaches us that true prosperity comes when we are grateful for what we have and when we live in harmony and love with every body and being contained within the universe. You will live like buffalo when you know that abundance is present and when ALL relations are honoured and known as sacred, when you express gratitude for all parts, all aspects of creation. This is also the Ojibwe way, each road shines light on the others.
The story of the White Buffalo Calf Woman originates from the Lakota people, she taught them that all things are interconnected and that it is not necessary to struggle to have abundance. The one thing that is necessary, however, is to be connected with Spirit…
Black Elk saw the earth becoming sick. The animals, the winged ones, and the four-legged ones grew frightened. All living things became gaunt and poor. The air and the waters dirtied and smelled foul. Below, Black Elk saw a blue man living in and empowering the sickness. The powers of the four directions, represented by four horses, charged the blue man, but were beaten back. The Grandfathers called upon Black Elk. His bow changed into a spear, and he swooped down on the blue man, destroying him. When the blue man fell, all life came back upon the earth; all things became fresh and healthy again.
So the buffalo came over the hills, sharing their message, two days ago I received a sacred buffalo medicine pouch, and yesterday I was told to paint a buffalo.
The medicine is in knowing that we are all connected… the answer is in harmony… the middle way.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a yoga and paint night at Life in Balance Yoga, with Misty Stillman and Traci Kelly. It was my first time ever attending, and it was the first paint night that I went to and wasn’t the teacher!
We started the evening with a nice easy and releasing yoga session. Misty was awesome, the tone and pace of her instruction were perfectly matched. It was my first yoga class as well, I usually do Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, but I must say there is something very magical about being in a yoga studio with other people.
After yoga we enjoyed some food and wine, and socializing before we got started on our painting. When it was time to paint Traci took over and the creating began. I knew what the painting was going to be before hand, and I had already felt like I wanted to do mine a bit different. Traci was more than happy to let each of us work as we pleased. The other ladies stuck with the painting style Misty and Traci picked out, but I changed mine a bit.
The evening was relaxing and fun. I had a wonderful time all around! Thank you ladies for hosting such a wonderful evening!! Check out Life in Balance Yoga on Facebook!