Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year to be Daring

lately i've been feeling terrified. of the unknown. of the known. of the what if's. of money. i've been going against my motto of embracing the vulnerable. in fact, i've been very vulner-not-able. (reality check, rach: we can't all always practice everything we preach every single day! okay, thank goodness... now that that's out of the way and i don't have to feel GUILTY about it...)

i'm going to the beach with a few close friends tonight to celebrate new years in a more quiet way than recent years past. tomorrow we're heading to assiteague island where i'll have myself a little ritual of letting go of my fears & even my resolutions. i'm letting go of both because there's something about having new years resolutions that also carries with it an intrisic weighted fear. fear of not living up to what we promised ourselves. of failing ourselves. of being a failure. and i just want to let it go.

i'm resolving to be daring in 2010.
(this is my daring face)

i went back and forth for a while about what i wanted to zoom in on this year... focused, intentional, fearless, trust, honesty, faith... but it came down to daring because saying the word makes me SMILE. and because it's the most spot-on. i'll never be completely free of fear, but i CAN be daring enough to move past it. i'll never be 100% intentional, but i CAN be daring enough to set honest boundaries. i'll never trust the universe every single time, but i CAN be daring enough to leap anyway. i'm LOVING that daring is my word for 2010.

still, i know that there will be days when i'm not daring at all. when i let the whole thing go to the wayside. when i suffer a small silence of resignation and pretend i never wished to be daring at all. i want to treat those days with compassion, with tenderness, with patience & with understanding. because the reality is i didn't make myself a new years resolution just so later i could beat myself up for not fulfilling it 100% of the time. i made it because it's something to work toward--because i feel happy when i'm daring, and because being daring adds value to my days. but there are also days when it's daring to let go of our self-expectations, of our committments, and our need to be perfect.

we're entering a new decade in a time when things feel precarious but still, the possibilities are through the roof. why not make room for forgiveness? for gentleness? for letting go of those things that only hold us back? this year, among other things, i'm letting go of the fear of failing myself. because i can't fail. simply saying my dreams outloud is daring enough, and i've already done it. all that i'm left with when i let go of my fear is the duty to hold myself with compassion, patience, and care, and to love myself more deeply, through and through--even when i slip up, even when i'm imperfect, even as i grow.

wishing you the most loving and gentle new year, full of all the things your heart and soul ache for.

see you in 2010 :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

i love keri smith.

i love her ideas (and the things that inspire her) so very much.

this, for instance.

"the problem today is -the only possible project (and young people should complete an active effort now) is working to ‘decondition’ people from the god of merchandise." -Enzo Mari

i both struggle with and am fascinated by ideas of deconditioning people from "the god of merchandise"... and the thousands of deeper layers of conditioning we've yet to free ourselves from.

it's only natural for me, after so much tedious production work, to surge full-force into innovation mode. and lately i've been playing with ideas of unfiltering and deconditioning my interactions with other human beings. for instance, learning about the unemployment in the city by talking with the unemployed as opposed to reading statistics in the paper. or standing next to a list of all my sexual preferences and being totally open to talking about them as opposed to letting a magazine ad vaguely and (most likely) incorrectly inform people of what i'm interested in. (hellloooo...everyone has individual, specific interests!)

i have ideas for a new collective of people who are committed to this kind of work in the public sphere--this kind of face-to-face, on-the-streets approach to learning about each other's lives. i see this movement as akin to the Do It Yourself movement that was a reaction to the distance and lack of ownership people were feeling in regards to the process of turning materials into goods. similarly, this Person-To-Person movement is a reaction to the constant filters through which we receive our information about others. i feel such distance from distance and lack of authentic connectedness that i feel with my community, my city, my generation.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Out There In The World

I am so excited to finally bring you my first ever zine: Vulnerable is Beautiful. These professionally printed, individually hand stamped & colored zines are available for purchase here at my Etsy store.

There's an incredible story behind this zine... how there was a message waiting inside of me that I so badly needed to believe, to trust, to know... how one night I spontaneously scribbled it in my journal, then decided I wanted to show people... how with Brian's little camera I shot a low-res movie, and played Ingrid Michaelson's beautiful song, "Giving Up" in the background... how I posted the movie on the web and then people asked, "Where can I buy a copy?"... how I then thought, I'm supposed to print these things?!... and how somehow, in a matter of 2 weeks, with the incredible help of Leah Williamson, I learned and executed every single step of Do It Yourself print production... and how finally I'm running on E and deliriously happy to have this baby finished... to have the message that I needed to believe deep down in my bones out there in the world--on people's bed side tables, in festive holiday stockings.

Thank you to all the people who told me this story needed to exist in print. This zine would've never happened without you. Print production really, truly has been a vulnerable process! But I'm hoping that you love the final product as much as I do.

Okay--now to fill my belly with food and make a celebratory toast. Ciao, my loves!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

leap after leap in the dark

What I found as I was cleaning up the mess from my art shelf that collapsed on top of me:

An honest and important (albeit, somewhat terrifying) reminder that in our moments of doubt and feeling frozen with fear, fessing up about not knowing is a very brave place to begin. Wishing you all the courage you need to take beautiful leaps and guesses. (and hoping the same for myself!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Case of You" + Art Updates

My jaw dropped at the beauty of this piece, as I sat watching on my parents couch. "Case of You" is one of my all time favorite songs, and I couldn't imagine a more perfect dance than this one to do the song justice.

In other news...

Things have been so busy around here that I didn't even tell you the exciting news! I opened an ETSY store featuring many original paintings that would make great gifts for the holidays! Check it out here!

It took me a hell-of-a-lot to breakthrough my neurosis, perfectionism and doubt and finally put up my ETSY store. And let me tell you, even though I'm happy it's there, I'm still coming up against major road blocks in my heart.

So this week I'm dedicated to giving myself the space I need to work through my frozen places. With slow walks in the crisp autumn air to this magical haven of mouth-watering empandas, phone dates with soul-sisters, The Wizard of Oz, jasmine incense, this highly enjoyable book (have I mentioned I love John Green?), and this challenging but essential one.

What about you? What are you committed to giving yourself this week--amidst the holiday craze and consumerism-extravaganza--What small refuge will you offer to yourself?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

once the last absolutes were torn to pieces...

November 1968

you're beginning to float free
up through the smoke of brushfires
and incinerators
the unleafed branches won't hold you
nor the radar aerials

You're what the autumn knew would happen
after the last collapse
of primary color
once the last absolutes were torn to pieces
you could begin

How you broke open, what sheathed you
until this moment
I know nothing about it
my ignorance of you amazes me
now that I watch you
starting to give yourself away
to the wind

-Adrienne Rich

This is my November poem. Thank you for writing, Adrienne Rich. For daring us to begin once we tear the last absolutes to pieces, once we shed our hefty layers. Your truth is magic to my ears.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

feelin good, nina simone

Birds flyin' high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by you know how I feel
Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me
yeah, its a new dawn its a new day its a new life for me ooooooooh

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel
River runnin' free you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree you know how I feel
Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me
And I'm feelin good

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what i mean dont you know
Butterflies all havin' fun you know what I mean
Sleepin' peace when day is done that's what I mean
And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me

Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the crime you know how I feel
Your freedom is mine, and I know how I feel
Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me
(Free styling)

So many things I wish I knew how to tell you...

Really. There are.

I wish I knew how to tell you all the stories of all the times when I was just about to give up hope, but something came along and turned the tide in my direction.

Or that I know how it feels to compromise myself for the possibility of love, but that the only way real love has ever evolved in my life was from the stubborn determination to Offer Who I Am.

Or how hard it feels to stop telling myself lies about my own self-worth and potential. But how deep the pay off is when I do.

Or how much I'm riding on trust.

I wish I knew how to tell you that in between my endless pout over living in a basement apartment, there are moments in the early morning when that big jewel in the sky shines her rays right through my one window, right onto my morning cup of coffee, and warms my hands, reminding me to slow down, to be present.

I wish I knew how to tell you without so much fear that I have art waiting for you. That I've been creating like crazy over here, and that soon I'm going to let you in on my creations and pray that you'll want one.

And I wish I knew how to tell you that I know I'm making compromises right now--playing the "working woman" role, and leaving less time than I'd like for my soul work. But how I also know that I need this--at least one month without complete havoc over how I'll pay my rent.

I wish I knew how to tell you that I'm not afraid of the living the life I'm meant to live--I'm not afraid of my path. I'm ready for it. Today. This very minute. But even still, I find myself coming up against new edges, new fears, and having to contract again in order to expand again.

I wish I could tell you that I know what it's like to feel lost from my path. Like the universe is not on my side. When I'm wishing and dreaming and things still aren't coming true. But that all those things are part of my story. Part of the sadness and the struggle and the resistance that help me hope with even more heart.

I wish I knew how to tell you that having you here with me gives me courage, gives me trust, and helps me believe that I'm meant for this.

We are in this together. Our dreams are waiting for us. And the world needs us to be true to our hearts. Especially now during such desperate times. The world needs us to create more beauty--and beauty doesn't come from waiting for the right situation, the perfect moment, a better economy, or enough credentials. Beauty comes from the broken, the vulnerable, the honest, the true. It comes from the hopeful heart.

Today, even when I don't know how to express myself like I'd prefer, I come to you from my heart, offering myself to you as a partner-in-dreaming, hoping you'll say Yes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The words that are following me around

"When you wish, if it's a wish that's really integral to who you are, it presents new challenges. It doesn't just end there, with a state of fulfillment. It takes you to a new edge." - Noelle Oxenhandler

Saturday, October 24, 2009

7 Rainy Day Treats

1. The daylight here video song by Lauren O'Connell and Nataly Dawn

2. delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies made by my adorable roommate, Alyssa
3. pumpkin spice coffee
4. $4 white wine from Yes! Organic Market
5. Project Runway
6. everything by Pomplamoose.
7. permission to stay indoors and paint until dark

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why I Love Working On Really Large Canvasses

I could wear industrial rain boots, and it would be appropriate
I could wear a tool belt, and it would be appropriate
I could need a ladder to reach the top, and I could climb the ladder in my amazing industrial rain boots, and it would be appropriate
I could use a really long T square with a pencil in my mouth, and it would be appropriate
I could drink Gatorade (or wine as if it's Gatorade), and it would be appropriate

In another life, I want to work construction.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Word of the Year

Cammie at the top of the Rocky Mountains in July

2009. This is the year I've been waiting for since about 10th grade of high school.

It was then that I knew no one else's plan for my life would fit me quite as well as my own--even if it meant learning some things the hard way. It was then that I began my first real sketch journal, my first exploration into the creative cosmos. I read Thoreau and Emerson and sunk deep into Transcendental thought. I dreamt of abandoning my car and the suburbs for my journal and the woods. I read SARK and plotted impossible things like driving the perimeter of the great USA in 2 weeks with $200. I was full of desperate urgency--the now-or-neverness of rash teendom. "Reality be damned!" I'd cry.

And still today, I can't seem to shake that audacious attitude. But I've gained a sort of knowing that even if I damn reality, it will still be there--with or without my permission. And I've learned that it's better to say yes to it all--to impossible dreams, ingenious problem-solving capacities, hundreds of generous & believing supporters, disgusting inequality, moments of throwing in the towel, and the way my soul knows no answer but to hold onto hope. To say yes to all of these, and then to roll the dice, play the odds, and somewhere in my heart, believe they're in our favor.

Rolling the dice of reality takes something I'm just beginning to let into my life. Something even more brash and brave than dreaming impossible dreams. Something I didn't understand as part of the shake, as the other side of Adventure's coin.

It takes permission to be Vulnerable. To sink into the raw and naked unknown...that dear state of putting your big brave heart on the line and crying your truth to the universe. (All with the hope that somehow when your confetti of dreams fall, they'll give rise to possibility just as they hit the ground.)

My dear sage Jen said to me the other day, "Even when your life feels secure, stable and well planned, it's just an illusion. Because just as fast as you can create a beautiful 5-year plan, something unexpected can come along and wash it right away. Stable people have their lives pulled out from under them every single day."

Sitting across the table, my heart crept up into a cumbersome lump in my throat, about to pound its way out in tears. I know Jen's right. And I've been oscillating between working my ass off for some sort of stability, and surrendering to the inevitable Vulnerability of life.

The path before me is clear these days. This is my year--to sink in deep, to say Yes against my fear, to let go of perfection, to create from the pit of my heart. This is the year for the Vulnerable.

I hope you join me on this ride. I'd love your company along the way.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vulnerable is Beautiful

...a little gift from my heart to yours.

made in one take. no edits. no cuts. just love.

Vulnerable Is Beautiful from Rachael Maddox on Vimeo.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A True Story

The art we create in the world is the healing our own hearts need most.

I cannot wait to share this little story with you. To let you in on my own deep healing that's in the process of unfolding these days. The healing in my heart that knows, no matter how icky it feels, Vulnerable is Beautiful. Truly.

More soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mondo Beyondo 2009!

inspired by Jen Lemen & Andrea Scher's incredible online course, Mondo Beyondo!

i want peace (with myself, my loved ones, my community, the world)
which means that i want listening and reconciliation
i want real effort-full equality
i want to truly practice honoring all living things... i want to work through discovering what this means for me
i want community and togetherness... a village!
i want to be fragile and raw and know that i have back up
i want empowerment and honesty
i want to stop lying about silly things, to stop worrying how i'll be percieved for my imperfections & mistakes and learn how to laugh at myself!
i want to expose my flaws and be okay with them
i want security and stewardship with the earth... i want my grandchildren and their grandchildren to enjoy mother nature... i want to consume as little as possible & repurpose as much as possible
i want patience
i want to be part of a village that raises children
i want to love deeply & openly & enthusiastically like i did when i was 3
i want to not take myself so let myself laugh more be more lighthearted
i want to live in south dakota on the reservation and give all that i have to the Lakota
i want to know what it's like to sing silence, to paint stillness
i want to be completely present in intimacy.
i want cooperative housing at university of maryland to be the best thing since sliced bread...i want to find the perfect starting house and get a million dollar grant... i want to be in the founding group of people who change the corporate landscape of college park to a magical city of authenticity
i want to be part of the coolest arts collective in all of washington dc
i want a garden full of WIND CHIMES and WINE BOTTLE PATHS and UNHINGED DOORS painted incredible colors and vegetables that are LUSH and NOT BORING (ie-not radishes) and YELLOW TULIPS
i want a magical sketch journal that chronicles my life through the images i connect to daily, through what i just had to sketch
i want all the black people and all the white people in washington dc to sit down with each other and to hear each other's stories
i want to feel part of my neighborhood, to form life-long friendships with the people on my block
i want to feel safe where i live
i want to harness my identity as a jewish woman more deeply. not in terms of religion, but in terms of history, culture, and connection to oppression.
i want to go to the columbia heights unitarian/universalist church!
i want to practice non-violent communication and teach it to many people
i want to be my own boss, and earn money facilitating, problem-solving, helping people discover their super-powers, helping people heal... i want this to be in a space that is welcoming and warm
i want to be able to have multiple jobs without burning out
i want to have incredible mentors, and also be an incredible mentor...for the rest of my life
i want a magical cottage where all the amazing women in my life retreat to, where we bring bright blue nail polish and boas and red lipstick and diva cups, where we cry and skip rocks across the river, where we drink red wine and cappuccino, where we share all of our deepest inspiring truths and novels and poems and wisdom and youthfullness
i want to be able to ask for what i need without feeling selfish or guilty
i want to live in a humble home that has awesome windows and magically colored walls
i want to live in a cooperative community for as long as i can stand it :)
i want to love my body more
i want to reconnect to the vitality of my body
i want to start running again
i want capitalism as we know it (corporate oligarchy) to fall & community based economies, bartering & cooperatives to triumph... i want to create alternative economic structures for people to participate in... a different model for people to use when the current one is deemed broken
i want empowering group living opportunities for young adults coming out of foster care, for the elderly people who are still able but lonely, for anyone needing a family
i want to write my grandmothers biography
i want to travel to germany and greece with my see where she spent her life when she was my age
i want to ride my bike across country with brian
i want to ride my bike to jen's 95% of the time
i want money to matter LESS (and i think with all the online mechinisms that trade services and goods, this is beginning to happen more)
i want to add more art to the streets!
i want more bike lanes in dc
i want more affordable quality housing to people traditionally denied ownership opportunities
i want empowerment for those historically made voiceless (i want to help people have the opportunity to tell their own story, themselves)
i want every young person to be encouraged to dream, encouraged to pursue their passions, encouraged to discover their strengths
i want standardized tests to disappear
i want to promote education that encourages curiosity, dissent, ingenuity, innovation, creativity and problem-solving
i want more opportunities for education, world wide
i want to be fearless enough to talk to people on the metro, on the streets
i want to remember to pause more often ... to reconnect to mindfullness
i want guitar sing-alongs in my house all the time
i want a tribe that isn't always dispersed across the country. i want true-blue friendship that's here-and-now
i want contentedness
i want to publish a book comprised of my father's bullet-point, life-lesson e-mails, alongside photos i've taken of him or excavated from his past
i want to know what the settings on my camera are and then master them...i want to shoot awesome photographs and never use a flash!
i want to collaborate with incredibly talented and soulful people
i want to learn mixed media techniques and stretch my painting further... i want to be unafraid to ask for advice
i want to have a hang-out session with joni mitchell, and a personal concert of all my favorite tunes...
i want, one day, to have a really incredible wedding with brian where all of our friends scattered all over the world venture to be with us and celebrate love... i want it to be really inexpensive, but out-of-this-world fun!
i want all of my friends to have the right to legal marriage privileges
i want to camp at the bottom of the grand canyon
in 4 years, i want to have a 5 year reunion in Florence with women i lived there with!!!
i want to develop the skills or know the people with the skills to make all of these things possible!
i want to tell my story about sexual violence so that more women and men feel comfortable telling theirs
i want to give a hug and say thank you to Audre Lorde
i want to leave copies of the essay "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action" everywhere i go
i want to learn how to fly (really really badly)... or at least have flying dreams more often
i want to let go of comparing myself to others, let go of envy, and embrace respect and admiration
i want to give away most of what i own...cleanse myself of things
i want to maintain a life that feels balanced and healthy.

Let all of this come to me in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and joyous way! Please only bring to me the dreams that are divinely right for me and the best thing for the world…

what mondo beyondo, outlandish, wild & daring dreams are you wishing for these days? be brave and share in the comments below.