CURRENTLYWhat I am doing now
In 2021, I have three major endeavors. In the first two, I seek to combine the essence of multiple people’s stories into a larger narrative. In the third, I am working on my own story. I am not presently working with people to produce projects on their individual stories, but may do so again in the future.
“Show me your original face, the face you had before your parents were born.”⏤Zen Koan
In the past five years, I have been puzzling over the idea of who we are before the events of life shape us. Who are we at our essence, originally? And how do we re-connect to this original essence if we have lost touch?
To dive into these questions, I spent a year and a half in a seminary exploring both Buddhist and Christian ideas of the original, essence of self. I looked for answers in philosophy and psychology, as well, and I have only begun to scratch the surface.
From these studies, I am developing a list of conversation touchpoints to explore the memories, people, places, and experiences that are foundational to us, seeking to shed light on the Self that existed even before our awareness of self.
I plan to have conversations around these touchpoints in recorded interviews and combine the essential elements of these conversations into a larger narrative on Original Face. My hope is to demonstrate how this idea can be used toward our individual and collective healing and wholeness, particularly with those who are nearing end of life and their loved ones.
Women & Cancer
Glass and Stone. The blue sea glass pendant at right is the last gift I received from one of my dearest friends, and 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.
This year, I am pleased and honored to be serving as Artist-in-Residence for Audre: Spiritual Care for Women with Cancer. This new program was born out of a pilot study on Women, Spirituality, and Cancer that I worked on as a research assistant while pursuing a Master of Arts degree this past year. Sponsored by Caring Bridge, the study was headed by Dr. Pamela Ayo Yetunde who subsequently created Audre, named for poet Audre Lorde, to offer a new model of spiritual care for women with cancer.
I will be available to participants in Audre to work with them and their stories to help support their healing and wholeness.
If you are a woman living with cancer and you would like to participate in an Audre spiritual care group of 6 to 12 women, please email Ayo Yetunde at firstname.lastname@example.org and complete the COH Audre Peer Support Group Application.
From the summer of 2018 through the summer of 2019, I took three trips back to Alabama where I grew up, the revisiting places of most meaning to me in my childhood, trying to reconnect with my growing up years on the University of Alabama campus from 1969 to 1980 while my father was president there.
Working with the support of the Master of Fine Arts program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, I am mining the materials I accumulated in those trips⏤journals, photographs, recordings, research⏤to tell the story of what I learned.