Alexhandra Grilhikes was the first person who introduced me to this idea in the creative memoir writing class I took from her in my Philadelphia student days.
The class was called “Record of Existence”. She had us play very close attention to the things we were drawn to and then write about them. I imagined a record spinning, a record of our life. When it spun, and the music played, the things that got recorded would resonate each and every time to our core being. In the echoes of our existence we can see patterns, hear repeating sounds..and when put all together make up who we are. As we create our record we may add a layer of experience or a layer of time but move along in a spiral instead of in a stuck groove. As we pass through memory we may think “this reminds me of so and so, or such and such”. We might play our tune fast or slow but the spinning is constant. This is the visual that came to me as Alexandra had us writing it all out.
As I have spent the last six weeks recording how I have drawn myself out through creative and expressive arts an underlying echo has made its way to my listening ear once again. Whether through dance, drawing, ceramics, or writing, creatively expressing myself has brought me one main thing: Connection.
Connection to myself, connection to the world and connection to others.
After I had my son, I struggled with sleep deprivation while taking care of both of my children and myself. With so many changes..of moving across the country 8 months pregnant, living in a new apartment, missing my Portland friends, I felt like a big scratch came across my record with the needle suspended in mid air. It was hard to keep playing and moving forward. I needed sleep. I needed help. I wanted a village community so I wouldn’t be playing or listening to music all alone.
I joined a meetup group called Mindful Families, hoping to find similar minded friends and mothers I could connect with. I followed up on a post for a Writing Mother’s Workshop from a mother who was working on her master’s degree in Transformational Arts at Goddard College.
I found a tribe. Like my prenatal yoga class, like the waking the seed dance workshop, the record of existence memoir class, this was it. This was my way of accessing my core, my truth, in a safe place. I could express my thoughts and feelings about motherhood and write from the raw, sleep deprived and struggling place I was in. Somehow I managed to continually meet with the other writing mothers, because the benefit I was receiving was that meaningful. The most important thing was to show up. Like Alexandra said, there are just two things in the creative process. You and It.
My experience is when you are in that creative space, nothing else matters. Being present, being fully present, trusting and allowing the “It” to guide you has brought me closer to myself. At the end of the Writing Mother’s Workshop I realized I was ready to make the shift back into teaching and doing art but with a focus on women and mothers. I am still working on my writing and finding my voice, another piece of the orchestra that makes my record sing.
So here we go again,
another spiral, another echo, another turn of my record of existence.
One week from now, where I was in the moment I wrote this will be history.