When you’ve got a microphone and a national stage, why not show your heart? This is why I’m hooked on this Canadian band…Read More
I can't believe it is already Monday and that by the time I get to actually posting this Monday will be practically over. It might already be Tuesday, who knows [and as it turns out, this didn't get posted until Wednesday]. All I know is that it seems overnight, all of my time has gotten accounted for.
My last post was Wednesday and everyday since then has been filled with productivity and a whole lot to be grateful for.
: This was my doggy's dental appointment which turned out to cost me much less than I thought it was going to. In addition to this great financial outcome, I saw one of my regular client's this day who bought herself a new package and included in her check a VERY large tip. Having seen me for over 100 sessions, she has given me a gift like this once before and both times my jaw dropped. In the note on the check she wrote, "Happy Thanksgiving!" Happy Thanksgiving indeed. Let's just say that it would pay for several doggie dental bills, but it will probably just pay off my credit card debt, which is such a blessing. My day ended with an amazing open mic night at Cafe Hey where I felt honored, cherished, and loved. I left early because I was exhausted and had several long days ahead of me.
I was thankful
to have someone else who can run the show and give me time to go home and relax, since that time has been few and far between lately.
: I started my day at Gaither High School, my second school this year in the Arts Council's Poetry Jam program that I get to do every year. I am one of the Arts Council's poets that visits schools around the county and share a love of writing and the power of poetry and the spoken word. AND I GET PAID FOR THIS.
I am eternally grateful
, my poetry teacher, who suggested my name to the Arts Council when they were looking for poets. These often involve me being at high schools before 8am, but I don't care. This is one of the best jobs I could ask for; the only part I would change is to be able to do this all year long. I was at Gaither until 2pm, then had a little time off before an evening client. It gave me time to go to the bank, stop by Kaleisia for some tea and a snack and take a little time to review the final proof of my chapbook that will be debuted this week. What an amazing Friday...
Saturday and Sunday
: I spent all weekend in the first workshop in the CranioSomatics training program. Back in 2006 I started studying Structural Energetic Therapy, developed by my teacher Don McCann, who combines cranial releases with deep tissue bodywork. Don learned the cranial work from Dallas Hancock, the creator of CranioSomatic therapy. Now I am learning the cranial work for my teacher's teacher, and it is blowing my mind! I am only at the beginning of the training but will say that touching the cranium will never be the same again. I spent two days filling my head with all this new awareness of the cranium, and it is a good thing we did some releases on each other because frankly, I need a little more room in there to fit all this information! It was great to reconnect with some of my previous class mates and fellow therapists and I am SO excited to integrate this work into my practice. Six months ago I decided that this would be the next step for my practice.
I am thankful
that it is finally coming to fruition (and I should also mention, that my mom helped me pay for the class!).
: Here we are at Monday. I am writing this is the morning but know that the day will bring me more to be grateful for. I know this because I welcome it. If there is anything I've learned from this continuous gratitude practice is that when you are open to the world, it opens for you. I have had so many opportunities emerge in the past few months that I can't do anything but be thankful. Something that takes almost no time at all, makes the biggest difference. So
I am thankful
for today and the time I had to write this post.
Now it is Wednesday and I haven't even posted all this yet! Let's recap and get back on track.
(revisited): Monday turned into a great day! I saw three clients and got to try out some of my new techniques, with great success. My day ended with seeing a bunch of my family at Skipper's for a big fundraiser concert. Though I am sure the musicians that night were super talented and deserved respect, I was really only there to hang with my family. And I was glad they were there because I made a bad choice for my parking spot and got my car stuck in a bunch of sand. My male cousins knew exactly what to do and got me out of the hole, which involved rolling back up over a steep step, scraping the bottom of my car and popping off the corner of the front bumper. But here is where gratitude comes in:
I was super thankful
that it wasn't any worse (like leak-inducing or something) and that I already had plans to take my car in the shop the next day for routine maintenance. All in all, it turned out okay.
: I woke up not feeling too well and wondering if I needed to cancel my work. I went to work anyways and was relieved to find out my first client wasn't feeling well either. I moved my second client (who was coming in for a double session) to another day and had the whole afternoon to catch up with things. It was just what I needed. Though
I am grateful
to be so busy with work I am also grateful for understanding clients. I felt good by the afternoon and stayed to see my last client for the day. It was the second time I had seen her and the session was incredibly powerful.
I am thankful
to be increasingly working with clients on all levels, mind, body, and spirit. This is truly what I am here to do.
: Now, here we are. Today I am thankful for some time to just be. My days have gotten really full, as the rest of this post explains, but I am learning more and more the lesson of finding that quiet time within. I was able to take some time this afternoon to just enjoy and breathe, which was a great way to get ready for another Tea + Meditation at Kaleisia this evening.
Yay! I am glad to be back on the wagon. Only a few more days to go before the end of this project. I suspect, though, gratitude will continue to be a driving force of positivity in my life. After these past few months, it seems like I can only see it as essential.
One day while I was working at Sam Ash, many years ago, a guy came in to buy some things and we got to talking. He told me about this open mic near USF at what used to be Holiday Cafe. That guy probably has no idea that tip changed my life forever.
I started attending this regular Sunday night open mic and met my first poetry mentor, Charles Kory. Charles was in his first few years at USF and had graduated from the creative writing program at Blake High School. Having listened to my poems for a few weeks, he said to me, "You know, you should go to Blake." I was already in my sophomore year at my neighborhood high school, but he told me that I can still get in my remaining years. So I took his advise and applied, a few months later I got accepted.
My last two years of high school, I studied poetry with the teacher there, Gianna Russo. Gianna has been a staple of the poetry scene in Tampa for probably longer than I have been alive. She helped me to write more, to write better, to help others become better writers through workshops. She took us to the Writer's Conference and guided us in the creation of chapbooks (small collections of poetry) our senior year. My life was ever changed by those two years with her. I understood how the application of techniques to my self-expression created well-crafted poems, which often contained more truth than I was even aware of. It was through this process of creation that I felt a connection to something deeper. I would say in a small way, I felt like a mystic. Gianna was my experienced guide through these inner realms; she gave me the map to the intersection of my individual and the collective unconscious. She may not see herself this way, but for me, she was a shaman.
Lucky for me, our relationship continued after high school. Almost 10 years later, I am a longstanding board member in her non-profit
. YJP publishes new chapbooks by Florida poets every year through two annual contests as well as hosts some of the best poetry events in Tampa.
Though Gianna admirably hands credit over to her poets and students for their part in their creative work, but I will state right here that our love for our craft is no doubt infused with her belief in us. Though Gianna is not officially in the role of teacher for me, she still teaches me about community, dedication, and love of the arts. It is because of her the I KNOW that poetry can make the world a better place because I experience it. She is just following her heart, but look at what beauty emerges from that. It's something that we all can learn from.
So we've been running this Open Mic at Cafe Hey for 4 1/2 years. First it began with me and my friend Penny, but about a year into it we realized that we needed some help. I recruited one of our regular poets to start to host too, and shortly after we had another poet step up and say that he wanted to host. Since then we've had a solid team of the four of us, and would take turns with the responsibility of hosting.
I've been so grateful over the years for this commitment that the others have made. It is hard work running a show every week and it's a lot for just one or two people to manage. I don't think we would have made it this far without help.
And with help, we are going a long way. It's gonna be awesome.
I love it when one of our regular open mic-ers goes up to the mic and plays my favorite song of there's without me even having to ask.
Tonight, Barry did just that. Barry's been coming to the open mic for a years now. Though he had been on a hiatus for a bit, this was his second week back and we are glad to have him. About a year and a half ago, he turned me onto a fabulous George Harrison song, called, "All Too Much." I have
, but I will do it again.
In less words, I will just say that I hear this song and feel relieved to know that someone else feels the same way I do. I feel it characterizes both the beauty and despair of the spiritual life.
See what you think:
Over four years ago, my friend Penny and I decided we wanted to start an open mic, a place where people could come and share their thoughts, their crafts, and themselves in a supportive environment. Luckily for us, a good friend of ours had just opened a
and did not have an open mic night yet. So on May 28th, 2008, the
With the exception of a handful of nights, we've held open mic at Cafe Hey every Thursday night since. It's gone through many evolutions but one thing stays the same: Anyone is free to share whatever they want. It is amazing to see what unfolds in a space like that.
I've said for a few years that I would like to write the book on open mic. Maybe I will, but until then I will just keep sharing and be thankful to those who share too.
Oh yeah, and we won Best of the Bay from Creative Loafing for the second year in a row this week! That's quite a feat because I don't think any of us voted. At least some others did!