Hi, I’m a "serious girl"
on a path to be more playful and free. I hope you’ll
join me. Here’s a bit about what led to my desire to bring more
creativity & play into the world, and to help people find or make meaningful, Fun-filling
Caveat: I wrote this narrative partly in response to my inability to define a "niche" as marketing experts suggest.
Creativity seems obvious but is too broad by itself. I'm not a fan of prescriptions or formulas. So, though I understand it makes sense, I resist niche advice.
Maybe anti-niche is my niche!
Until I figure it out, I offer a bit of my story, there may be several hiding in plain site ;-)
I wrote it in 2018-19 and much has changed since then, amusingly, I may have found a niche.
I have a new site at Little Haven. Thus, the below story will go away or be quite revised, but finishing the new site comes first. Until then...
Playing in the hay and swimming in liquid glass lakes, life was enchanting & much was idyllic growing up on a farm in VT.
My mother, a loving, intelligent, artist enjoyed living the farming life. In addition to my parents and 3 brothers, my paternal grandparents were a part of everyday. All the love and connection to the land provided a great base for weathering the gusts of life when the inevitable storms arrived.
My Dad attended the University of VT where he met my Mom, a nursing student. Not satisfied with the return to the relentless work of 1960s dairy farming, he left it to find a better way.
Unfortunately, trapped by alcohol & drugs, he never stepped into his potential. The sorrow I experienced seeing this, fueled my desire to help others discover their creativity, follow a passion to develop a fulfilling life.
I also know the challenges of being stuck from the inside. I have worked through plenty of tangles to be able to honor my
A shy introverted kid, it wasn't until I attended art school at State University of NY at Purchase that I began to find my fold and not until I landed at the Women's Studio Workshop (WSW) that I felt I belonged. As an intern and then employee, WSW was a perfect setting to continue my artistic development as well as, a safe context for needed healing.
After I worked at WSW for several years, I decided to follow previously unrecognized skills and interest elucidated through my healing and the pleasure of helping others, ie; neighbor kids and interns.
In the transition before starting graduate work in psychology, I spent a season with Victoria Garden’s. I loved reconnecting to my farm roots, preparing the soil, planting, growing, creating…
I would return to garden again during the stormy start of the century. I continue to find centering and pleasure collaborating with flowers, trees and bees.
Only months into an entry level job, I jumped fully into my new field and advanced to a position as a crisis intervention family counselor to families with children at imminent risk of placement. Starting with little experience, the intensified learning environment of this new position added greatly to my graduate studies.
Enrolled at Goddard College, their non-traditional education spurred creativity more than I would have encountered in mainstream academics. Yeah!... Gulp! Because, I had worked through creative blocks in my visual work, I hadn't expected the challenge I would confront to write a thesis.
Goddard's process invites deep inquiry and led to wrangling with a complex research structure. Up for the added challenge when something piques my curiosity, I bit my advisors invitation to try an unconventional approach. A new creative edge, in a new medium, I worked through more blocks to complete my thesis. It took longer than a straight ahead path and was ultimately a more rewarding experience.
On-call for 5 years, after I completed my Master of Arts in Counseling/Psychology in 1997, life's next adventure summoned me. I left the crisis family counseling job in fall of 1999 to create my own practice.
My oldest brother Jonathan was diagnosed with leukemia in spring of 98. After initially surviving the bone marrow transplant, we lost him in August of 2000. He would have been 40, dying just after my mother's husband, Ray died in May. What a year! With the loss of 2 more family members in the span of 12 months, it was a bumpy entry into the new century. Loss, it wakes you to your own life. The great contrast of our mortal journey!
Thankfully, bright forces appeared. I met Ed, the love of my life in 1998 and with him, discovered Greenland qajaqing (kayaking). To learn something new uplifts me. I took the CTI Co-active Coach Training in 2001.
I was inspired by this relatively new field, it seemed to be a blend of
creative process (applied to life) and training I’d received in strength-based
models of change (Narrative Therapy, Solution Focused, Internal Family
Systems (IFS) and in 2003 Future Search).
After 3 years of coaching practice, questioning the self-employment path (no health insurance, unpredictable income) I took a job as Director of Counseling at Castleton State College (Now Castleton University of VT).
Back in a traditional therapy setting, I loved working with young adults and being part of an educational institution. However, my inner creative rebel beckoned. I left CSC in 2006, to return to my practice; to refine and recreate it.
My experience of studying theater improvisation (begun in 2003), coupled with my discovery of Stuart Brown’s TED talk (2009) and his book Play, sparked a new interest in play, especially with regard to its effective use to shift power dynamics.
I believe play has a powerful role to facilitate transformation on many levels, from personal, to interpersonal to political (and planetary).
I had absorbed a bit of the misguided cultural myth that play is frivolous, this new interest in play was a seminal point. Prone to getting on my soap box, play doesn’t come easily. Involved in my rediscovery of it, when stressed, I can still revert to “dear-in-headlights” responses to life’s invitations to play.
I intentionally have no biological children. Ed came with 3 “ready-made” nearly grown, when we met. I had known from a young age that I didn’t want my own. Growing up, I had several child-free role models and decided that the world needed more people not attached to having their own.
The fun of long pointed watercraft entered my life in 1999, on a magical vacation with rented kayaks. Ed and I soon acquired our own and it wasn’t long before we ditched our euro-paddles for the more elegant, versatile skinny stick of the Greenlandic Qajaqing Tradition.
We discovered there is a refreshing pay-it-forward generosity among this community of paddlers. I enjoy mentoring others as I continue to learn at Greenlandic qajaqing events.
2013, began a series of eldercare situations. Ahhh, how themes emerge. Earlier, I mentioned my paternal grandparents influence. I was also lucky to have my maternal grandparents live with my Mother, brothers and I during high school.
The rich complex experience with elders in my formative years certainly tuned me to help elders recently. What was new in the recent experiences?
Poorly managed diabetes and Alzheimer's, fortunately not in the same person. Both illnesses, opened my eyes in new ways... Fortunately, my experience with theater improvisation proved helpful with these friends.
You can count on it changing but for now, my story has brought me to a desire to live simply, peacefully, playfully, on purpose and support others to do so.
With Point to Creativity and 3 Keys to Live Lighter, I hope to uplift, inspire lighter footprints, diffuse judgment, invite creativity & play to help transform the world into a better place.
I come from a family with artists on both sides, so I got a lot of support for mine. It seemed natural to pursue a career in the arts. As you may have read above, I discovered other paths which took precedent. I
have however, continued to make work throughout the ebb and flow of years.
If you’re curious, there are some older images of my art on this site. For more recent work, go to Little Haven Arts.
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Rosendale, NY 12472