Tag Archives: Social Change

On Thanksgiving, Giving Up

29 Nov

After co-leading a wonderful weekend workshop looking at the ways we internalize our defeats and let oppressive messages stop us from going after our deepest desires, I am still asking myself “do I have the courage to be happy?”

That depends. 

Go, don't go?

Go, don’t go?

Do I know what makes me most happy and am I able to see it and feel it clearly? By clearly I mean am I able to see past the layers; the media images of happiness, the broken record of social messages about happiness, the fear that covers any impulse to disbelieve the imposed voices.

While the U.S. is meditating on thanks and having (we talk about giving thanks but isn’t it always focused on what we have — a series of things on a checklist — like a Christmas list?)  I’m walking away from the deeply held notion that I need more money to do what I most want. 

Says it all

Says it all

 

It’s a big intention and it isn’t easy as an artist (and as a raised working class immigrant woman).  I have a clear understanding of how most artists are devalued, ignored, not seen as having importance in society unless their work comes with a huge price tag or media fanfare. 

Art is our human heritage and our birthright.  It goes beyond economics.  In fact, human beings are drawn to art not from a place of money and commerce but from a place of human curiosity, zest, emotion and connection.  Values which are necessary for human growth, social understanding and transformation. 

Friends are so good.

Friends are so good.


These values, are given little monetary value and we need to examine why.  More importantly, why do we go along with it?

Most of how we assign monetary value has little to do with what we truly treasure.  Human connection is what makes much of life bearable, livable. Our relationships (to each other and the planet) give us the sustenance we need to blossom and grow.  Yet we spend so much of our time cultivating relationships with things – thinking that this hamster wheel will get us to a better place. 

What could we think of if we stopped thinking in terms of money?

What could we think of if we stopped thinking in terms of money?

We end up worn out and alone, frustrated at ourselves for not following our intuition, for not acting on the knowledge that our liberation doesn’t sit at the edge of a dollar bill.

So I’ve decided to give up. I must live my values.  I’m giving up on holding back my energy, time, love, and creativity from myself and others because there isn’t money attached to that exchange.  I’m going to work on cultivating relationships with people who will make me a better person, I am going to think big no matter what!

I’m in the process of writing a new play, and somehow it’s blooming.

The postcard for my play

The postcard for my play

Being held up by others who are putting their creative minds into a project they believe in, for no money.  I am grateful for that.  For human reciprocity, sharing, community, and love. 

May you all give up.  May you have the courage to be happy.

Love,
Kayhan


Go, don't go?
Go, don’t go?

 

 

 

The postcard for my play

The postcard for my play

Circles

20 Jun

I haven’t written an update for months. I’ve wanted to, but every time I sat down to share a thought, or an observation, I was acutely aware that something was incomplete. And so, I said to myself, why offer a fleeting, shredded little thing when you can gather up your thoughts for something substantial? Little did I know, that the substantial is made from the tattered bits and pieces.

Image

Fresh catch.

 

 

Some of what I learned was really to appreciate myself, my mind, my smarts.   I started to notice the little inner voices that would tell me I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, it will never work.  But reality was filled with space, room for me to do exactly what I dreamed up.  That contradiction, between outside and inside my head, was just what I needed in order to recognize and silence those voices of doubt. 

Image

 

 

 

 

 

Through living as fully as I could, I was offered pieces of myself – pieces that peer back at me as I peer at them, initiating an act of uncovering.  It makes me think of revelation not as some passive gift that is offered from on high, but an endeavor that has to be initiated and carried out. Revelation comes when you push the limitations of your own mind, a new world is revealed as old thinking is moved aside and deeper knowledge is allowed in.

 

This work doesn’t necessarily need stillness and quiet – it can come through lots of interaction, stimulation and, sometimes, from being in a totally different context.  Though I suppose part of the work of reflecting is just that, recognizing your own mind amid a great deal of information. Recognizing how you see, how you get in the way of seeing and how you fit within a larger picture.  I am grateful to have had 8 months to hone the art of seeing, and to gain an appreciation of my place in this world.

ImageI am grateful to all the people who offered me kindness, sweetness, great food, and a a bit of their perspective on the world.  I look forward to completing my play, having it produced, to writing for other projects in India, and to running theater trainings and community projects in the U.S.  I’ll be MCing the Women in Islam awards this month in NYC, I’ll be in Little Rock, Arkansas next month, and I’ll be back in India come September to offer support to an International school in Bombay on their arts programs and curriculum.  So, the story continues.  Thanks for reading and let’s catch up sometime.