In ProgressProjects in 2022
In January 2022, I released my story on nurses on the frontline and have begun planning a new collective story project. I am also a full-time student in the Master of Fine Arts program at California Institute of Integral Studies and a participant in the the second year of a program on Socially Engaged Buddhism through Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Nurses on the Frontline
A collective storytelling project gathering the experiences of nurses on the frontline of care during the Covid19 pandemic.
The purpose of this project was to bear witness to nurses’ experiences providing care to Covid-19 patients as the global pandemic began. I interviewed nurses from the ER, ICU, and Covid hospital units from May through September 2021. The final product of this project is an immersive, audio-driven essay film that combines the nurses individual stories into a collective one. Click the title image to watch the film on Youtube. I am profoundly grateful to the nurses who shared their stories. This project was my 2021 service offering as part of my studies on engaged Buddhism at Upaya Zen Center. My work in 2022 with this project is to seek opportunities to share it in places where it might be of service
Women & Cancer
Glass and Stone. The blue sea glass pendant is the last gift I received from one of my dearest friends; the pink rose quartz behind it is my last gift to her.
My relationship to cancer came through one of my closest friends. She was diagnosed with two very different forms of breast cancer during her life. Accompanying her over the course of her treatments, her healing, her living, and her dying, I learned from the seat of witness and became committed to doing what I can to support women going through this disease.
In 2021, I was honored serve as Artist-in-Residence for Audre: Spiritual Care for Women with Cancer, a program that envisioned a new model of spiritual care for women with cancer, developed by Dr. Ayo Yetunde of Center of the Heart. During my tenure as Artist-in-Residence, I began planning for a collective storytelling project about women’s experiences of spiritual support while living with cancer. In 2022, I plan to implement this collective story project.
Pilgrimage To Original Face
“Show me your original face, the face you had before your parents were born.”⏤Zen Koan
From the summer of 2018 through the summer of 2019, I took three trips to Alabama where I grew up, revisiting places of most meaning to me in my childhood, and reconnecting with my growing up years on the University of Alabama campus from 1969 to 1980 while my father was president there. I was four years old when we moved into the University President’s Mansion and fifteen when away permanently. We moved in just six years after the first African American students were successfully admitted to the University. Student protests for racial justice and peace are part of my earliest memories.
As part of my work in the Master of Fine Arts program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, I am experimenting with ways to present this project in multimedia forms. At the heart of the project is my exploration of the Buddhist concept of Original Face and an inquiry into the idea of who we are before the events of life shape us. Prior to enrollment in the CIIS MFA program, I spent a year and a half in a seminary exploring both Buddhist and Christian ideas of original self, investigating teachings from philosophy and psychology, as well. I hope to bring all these elements together in the story of my own personal search.