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Friday, February 21, 2014

Update on the Huge Foolish Project...

So nearly 18 months ago I left a high-status tenured philosophy professorship to do more important work in the world. I gave up the financial stability, the status, and the predictability of my position, moved three thousand miles cross country and proceeded to expand my teaching and speaking career beyond the academy and to focus my energies more on art and spirituality.

I have decided to make contributing to the ongoing planetary shift in consciousness my number one focus and to refuse to limit the audience of my work to any particular community or geographical region. I focus on social justice as a way to teach love. I bring people into dialogues across difference in order to teach oneness. I employ both philosophy and poetry/rationality and beauty/thoughts and emotions in my work in order to reach people's hearts as well as their minds. I am engaged in what others might see as a "huge and foolish project". How has it gone?

I have spent the better part of the last year and a half on the road, performing poetry at universities, coffee shops, and bars, giving philosophy keynotes at conferences, setting up tribal archives, teaching workshops, tutoring children, and writing books, poems, and articles. It has been fun and exciting and rewarding...and challenging.

I have had to live on a restricted budget, have had to forego medical care, have had to follow an altered diet of inexpensive food,  had to sometimes live in uncomfortable lodgings, have had to spend monies I had saved for retirement, have had to follow an unpredictable schedule. In short, my decision to follow my dream has not been a convenient one. Nor has it been an easy one.

But I have remained persistent and I have been creative. During the last two years, I developed three new businesses: Mixed Messages Productions (public speaking, performance, and workshops), Sovereign Wisdom Consulting Services (Archival Planning, Curriculum Development, and Policy Writing) and Jennifer Lisa Vest, Medical Intuitive (Energy Healing Services).

First-time Entrepreneurs like myself often find that the money ebbs and flows. The hustle is constant. Work time is all the time. There are a lot of unknowns. Organizations do not always honor their contracts with independent contractors, marketing tools that worked last month do not always work this month. Supply and Demand is in constant flux and even the shape of our dreams have a way of morphing, expanding, and contracting even as we are following them.

And then there is doubt...There are always plenty of people out there ready and waiting for an opportunity to tell you that what you are doing is crazy, impractical, foolish,  or doomed to failure. It is easy to begin to doubt, to allow the doubts of others to creep into our own thinking.

I have sometimes doubted my decision. Still...

I meditate daily. I ask for help. I try to look for signs. I trust. I hope. I try to get out of my own way. I listen to advice. I try to continually better myself. I do service. I am grateful. I remind myself why I chose this life. I refuse to be a victim. I focus on the positive. I spend time  with positive, spiritually-minded people. And I keep writing. I have faith in my vision. I believe in the integrity of my huge foolish project.

I don't worry. I trust that one day the money will come. I will sell lots of CDS. I will get consistently well-paying gigs. I will write and speak and teach without worrying about how to pay my bills. I will live in my own comfortable house and eat a variety of delicious foods of my choosing. And most importantly, I will inspire and heal and help many people with my art.

Because my huge foolish project isn't really that is  necessary.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Impossible Tour Grounded: Is Time an Illusion?

So the Impossible Tour was glorious but I am taking a break from it and sitting still for a while. Of course I will still be traveling from time to time but I won't be in a different city every few days as I have been for much of the last 6 months.

Sometimes an artist needs to sit still for a while in order to create art. So, while I am grounded in Los Angeles I have decided to make some videos. A number of friends have long encouraged me to post a series of video lectures ad talks to add to my collection of video-poems.

Although I am public speaker who travels and lectures all over the country and although I gave many lectures during the ten years I worked as a professor, I was reluctant to record video lectures. In particular, I was reluctant to make recordings of myself taking about topics other than poetry or philosophy. For many years I  kept my supernatural and spiritual life quiet. But now that I am offering workshops on Shifting the Energy the cat is out of the bag (BTW, why are cats ever in bags?) so I might as well go all out and publicize all my views on woohoo, kooky, dead people, near-death, reincarnating, ghostly subjects, right?

Accordingly, I have created a new playlist on Youtube called "Questions and Quandaries."

This question, "Is Time an Illusion?" is the second video in the series. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why Are You Here?

Why are you here? Do you know?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Streaming Hope Feature Artist Interview with Dr Jennifer Lisa Vest

An interview I did in LA a couple months ago.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What is it? A New Poem about....

It is this

the discomfort
when I walk in the room
The suspicion the uneasiness
Sometimes the fear
The hesitation
The subtle pause in conversation
The stumbling over
What to say
What to ask
Who are you
How did you get here
Who let you in?

It is this
This line I must walk
This dare I must always make
I dare you to stop me
I dare you to ask me
I dare you to let me
I dare you to look at me

It is the always
Being on alert
Always already
Preparing in my head
What to say
It is the ready response
The glib reply
The feigned indifference
The subtle sarcasm
I must employ
To mask
Quiet cringing and quivering anger

It is the times I forget and walk freely
Imagine myself ordinary
Entitled, anonymous
Full of my own thoughts
About my own life
My own self my own rights
But am slammed
The borders of their
Belittling Incomprehension
Oops: I am
(foolishly perhaps)
Stunned shocked

All over again

It is this
the everyday
The getting up out of bed
The picking out of clothes
The doing of hair
The polish on my shoes
The proving paperwork
The current state of my car
All the things which could reflect
Not just on me
But a whole people
All the opportunities
All the excuses they could provide
All the justifications they could become
For my removal

It is this
and so much more…

Monday, October 28, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Impossible Tour: Artists are Such Wonderful People

I am still on my Impossible Tour. I cannot think of a good reason to end it so it continues on...Tonight I performed at an event called Streaming Hope in Hollywood. It was my first real feature in LA. Most of my gigs this year have been out of town or out of state. I was the feature but about ten other artists: comedians, musicians and spoken word artists took to the stage before and after me. A nice crowd. Some good talent. Positive energy. It is nights like tonight that I am reminded of a basic fact about me that remembering is essential to my well-being: Artists are my favorite people!

I was having a crummy day today. Got some bad news and then some more and yes, I meditated, but not long enough and too late in the day to erase my simmering bad mood. I actually found myself driving to the gig expecting something bad to happen. It was that kind of day...

But then I got there and the beautiful host, Brianna, chatted with me and revealed that she had done some research on me....and had many nice things to say about my work. A nice surprise. Next, some ridiculously hilarious comedians came on stage and I thought if only I always had comedians as starters before my gigs...I would be so happy and giggly by the time I walked up on stage each time. Note to self: Find comedians and talk them into going on the road with me....It occurred to me tonight, that tour or no,  I need more comedians in my life.

I was interviewed by the charming Brianna and then read only a few short  poems (as I was given serious time constraints: 11-14 minutes!) Included in my set were: Demands of Existence (Impossible poem), You Look Like my People,  Would the Shock..., Poverty, We Are the Women, Some Wounds, and, The Spark ( a new poem in progress)

I was shocked to find that I was a big hit. I gave cards out to many people after the event (failed to bring CDS- ugh) matter how often I hear people telling me how much they like my poetry it still always shocks and embarrasses  me a bit when they go on and on about how much they liked it. Of course I expect to be successful but I still never cease to be amazed when I am. And it matters that I am, but not for the reasons that success matters to some artists. It matters to me because for me it comes as validation of what I am trying to do with my art. Change the world- shift it to a higher level of vibration.

As one of the artists said to me after the show, "Most of the time when I hear people say they are trying to change the world, I just laugh. I don't believe them or take them serious. But you really are changing the world! We laughed about that and then I replied, "Yes, I am dead serious when I say that."

At another point in the conversation, another artist told me that I should not worry that I had  abandoned my students at the University when I left my professorship. I just had new students, he said. More students, he said. everywhere I go, I am holding class each time I perform, he said. Ah, yes...

Thank you to all the artists who stayed afterwards and encouraged me in my mission. Artists are such wonderful people!