I'm so excited to be supporting my friend Kate Mick this Saturday night at The Parlour for the release party for her second album, Sugar In Your Teeth.
Fellow mountain adventurer and creative collaborator Matt Gillooly will be kicking things off at 8pm along with the amazing John Farone. It's going to be a great night!
I'll be scooting over right after my Small Business Saturday art sale at Joyful Bliss Yoga from 1-4pm to join Kate with our band The Swampbirds! More info here.
It was AMAZING to be invited to be a part of Kate's creative process. The week I returned from Spain, Kate was in my living room with her banjo and I was on my bass, and together we worked over the next few weeks to come up with some bass lines that could accompany some of the banjo melodies and vocals that she had been working on over the last year.
From there, we collaborated with Derek Santos on guitar, and later with Pedro Weinburg on drums for a song titled Knees, and then with the with whole Swampbirds band for Moon Song and Rock & Roll.
It was fascinating for me to experience how with the addition of each instrument, the song would morph and transform, taking on a new energy. It felt fulfilling to be able to simultaneously contribute to, and experience, a highly creative, collaborative metamorphosis!
About a month later, I found myself at Big Nice Studio in Lincoln fumbling around on my bass with a sprained ankle, eating pizza and sketching mountains for clients in between takes 😂
With every step I took out of my comfort zone (which began with saying YES when Kate asked me if I'd contribute to her album) I could feel myself growing. As challenging as it was for me being so new to playing music, I am SO grateful to have been a part of this project!
Kate made it so much fun to collaborate and work together. I loved how open she was to inviting in the talents of so many wonderful people in RI, including Jen Long of the Whale Guitar, who designed the cover art.
I was inspired by Kate’s commitment to the process from start to finish. She has the emotional resilience of an ultra-marathoner; committed to bringing her best work forward with consistency, patience, determination, and kindness. I'm grateful for the insider's perspective I now have on the process of what goes into making an album of music with a full band: this project was a HUGE undertaking!!
I welcome you to email me directly and let me know how I can support you on your path.
When I was 15, my dream was to attend art school in Vermont.
I had this awesome vision of immersing myself in the mountains every day, getting lost in the stars each night, and making incredible art that told of the awe and wonder I felt from it all. I'd do whatever I needed to do to get in with Burton Snowboards, and eventually I'd work my way up to designing the most incredibly awesome line of women's snowboard decks that anyone had ever seen.
Last night I got to meet one of my favorite contemporary printmakers, Daniel Danger, at the Sprinkler Factory, and ask him a few questions about his creative process, surrounded by vibrant walls adorned with *fifteen years* of his work as a full time artist!
Growing up in a family of makers, Daniel never doubted his ability to make a living as an artist. He shared with me that he dove right in to full time artist right out of school; even though he wasn’t quite sure what the path looked like, he knew himself well enough to understand that full-time devotion to his craft was the path to success. He couldn’t NOT do it.
Curious to learn more about his mindset, I asked him what sort of routines he had for himself. I was surprised and inspired to learn that pre-fatherhood, he didn’t instill any specific habits or routines with his work; his motivation and enthusiasm to create was enough of a driving force to lead him towards success. Now that he’s a father, he shared that he’s instilled habits and routines out of necessity- and he’s still a full time maker!
Check out Daniel's work and order prints on his website.
“IF WE GO, WE GO TOGETHER.”
15 years of screenprints by Daniel Danger
Sprinkler Factory, Worcester MA
Opening Reception: Saturday November 2, 5-8 pm
Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm and visit the Sprinkler Factory here
I'm so excited to share the footage below from my recent creative adventures with Aurora Collaborative!
Up until this point, I had never painted to live music or in front of an audience, and yet something about exploring this unknown territory had an inexplicable pull on me. In fact, this very concept had been calling me for over a decade! You can read more about my decade-long journey with silk painting and the inspiration for the project here.
It felt awe-inspiring and humbling to be in a position where my artistry was lending its own unique contribution to the collective experience, just as our conductor, Sam Hollister, and each of our 13 musicians, served the work through their own individual expressions.
I learned quickly that this type of artistry requires a special attunement to the intuitive wisdom of the heart; to the practice of listening and responding, to serving the work in a way that extends beyond the individual self.
To know when to hold back, and to know when to burst forth in color. To understand the potency of simplicity. And to discover how, just as Time is the great Sculptor of mountains and rivers and the great Healer of broken hearts, it is also what gives form, structure, and feeling to music.
Art was my instrument. My brush and dyes were the bow and strings. The hot wax created form and structure for the mountains to contain the fluid, fleeting dye colors; flooded at first with the glowing dawn of first light, and later gaining volume and contrast as the music unfolded the love story of Copland's Appalachian Spring.
This live painting experience marked the beginning of a deeper devotion to my love for what inspires me as an adventure-driven, heart-led artist. I'm so excited for what's to come in the year ahead!
Interested in collaborating on a live painting event?
I'd love to connect with you! Please email me!
”Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work; a future. To be courageous is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences.
I took this photo with our Driftwood Adventure Treks group during our descent back down the Lukla Valley from 18,500'.
I remember gazing at these mountains for hours on end, softly placing one foot in front of the other, breathing deeply and steadily; face and fingers tingling, feeling invigoratingly alive as cold, thin air was warmed by lungs.
It was a privilege and a gift to take in the Himalayas with all of my senses.
I promised these sacred mountains that I would do everything I could to express the sense of humility, awe, and wonder it filled me with to immerse myself in them. I remember taking this photo as a seal to that promise.
And in that moment, something hit me: after all of the time I had invested in training for the ascent, this was the first time I was really considering the emotional and spiritual implications of the descent, the reintegration.
Coming to this realization in the midst of such a stunning backdrop, with a heart fully open and unguarded, brought me to my knees. I remember hugging my group and letting out a cry as if it were to be echoed back from the mountains, and my fellow trekkers holding me up as my knees gave way from underneath me. It probably only lasted a few seconds, yet it felt like an entire lifetime flooded through me in this moment. .
After spending my first four years of learning to navigate the outdoors as a lone wolf, it was here where I really began to understand how much more enriching it could be to experience the mountains in the companionship of friends across cultures, old and new. This newfound perspective of experiencing mountains seemed to echo the totality of life itself.
Following that spellbinding moment, an eagle soared overhead, blessing us with the gift of perspective and effortless grace.
My heart was set free again.
Memory: From the Mountains to the Ocean, April-May, 2018
Over the last five years, I've accumulated two suitcases full of memories; spiral-bound, 5-subject journals, dating back to September 2013, filled with stream-of consciousness observations and real-time reflections on navigating my way through the world amidst a series of life-altering transitions.
During this time, I've grown increasingly interested in how journaling can offer insights into the ways in which memory is formed, and how interpretations of memory shape perception.
As a starting point, I recently transcribed all of my journal entries from my spring travels to Nepal and Portugal, running the raw text through a word cloud engine to identify predominant themes in my writing. (If you aren't familiar with word clouds, the premise is that the larger a word appears in a cloud, the higher its occurrence in a block of text.)
I was curious to identify common themes that were coming through in my stream of consciousness during my time in Nepal and Portugal as the energy was fresh, and how the themes aligned with my current memories and perceptions of these experiences. What was there to learn?
I was also curious to examine my travel journalling from a bigger picture perspective, combining both sets of journal entries for the word cloud shared at the top of this post.
As illuminating as it was for me to synthesize hundreds of pages of travel content into a handful of ideas, this exercise generated more questions than answers:
Seeking thought partners.
Pictured here is my beautiful friend May, who I met by chance on a spontaneous nationwide women's rock climbing meetup in Alabama with the Ladies Climbing Coalition. When May learned that I was traveling to Base Camp with Driftwood Adventures, she eagerly jumped at the opportunity to join us. Her presence brought such a radiant, bright, and peaceful energy to our group. I'm so grateful for the sisterly bond that we developed as roommates over the course of our 17-day trek.
What's special about this photo is May is seated by the beautiful bay window in the home of our sherpa, Tshering, and if you research trekking groups in Nepal, you'll soon understand how uncommon it is for tourists to be able to stay at the home of their sherpa, let alone spend the day at their local village school, receive cooking lessons in their kitchen, or sit around the dinner table with their local friends and family from the village and dance together - more on all of this soon.
We shared many memorable moments by this window, gazing at the mountains, sketching, writing poetry, drinking tea, and speaking of dreams. It was our home base before our departure to Everest, and it also welcomed us back upon returning from the mountains - all of us, inevitably changed from the people who we were when we first laid our heads to rest on the comfortable beds of our sherpa's guest rooms.
Tshering's home felt like a reflection of his heart: it offered a peaceful reprise for us to gather ourselves and be joyfully present in the moment.
I believe that one of the greatest strengths of Driftwood's programming is the level of trust and connection that founder Bri Gallo works so hard to seek and establish with all of her expedition leaders, as well as program participants. Bri has a gift for connecting with people across cultures and fostering a sense camaraderie within groups that is interwoven into every expedition she leads. Her lighthearted, gregarious, and deeply-caring energy seems to attract the kinds of guides and leaders who have a twinkle in their eye, an expert knowledge base, and are genuinely interested in offering guests authentic experiences that are full of connection and meaning.
I'm excited to share more about this in the weeks ahead.
While it's been over 7 months since my first trip to Nepal with Driftwood Adventures, I've only recently begun to revisit memories of this incredible journey from a place of quiet contemplation.
This might sound strange, but the trip was such a profound experience for me that I grew fearful to look back on my photos for quite a long time. I was afraid of the intensity memory, scared of the whelm of emotions it might stir up, and believed that touching back in with my longing to return might just possibly break my heart. I have to laugh now, as it's so obvious that these fears were all constructs of my imagination. In other words, my fears were all in my head.
This realization was perhaps Nepal's greatest gift for me. Simply being in Nepal and connecting with so many calm, heart-centered people helped me realize how much of my life I tend to live "in my head", rushing around, reacting, taking on too much too quickly, forcing things, living in fear, forgetting to trust my intuition, putting myself down.
Yes, even as a yoga teacher and coach, I go through phrases where I struggle and get caught up with these things, and it tends to happen when I fall out of daily mindfulness practices. I think this is only natural, given the pace, pressures, and demands of today's society.
Immersing myself in the energy of the Himalayas, connecting with with friends who grew to become family, and taking in the calm energy of the Nepali people, all served as powerful reminders for me to slow down, and connect back in with my heart, with greater frequency and intention.
Nepal didn't just feel like a reboot - it felt like a system upgrade.
I feel privileged to offer my best attempt at lending words to describe more experiences from Nepal that moved me in the weeks ahead, as well as giving voice to what makes the Driftwood trekking experience so unique.
I am pleased to now offer my Himalayan Dreamscape pen & ink drawing as a sticker. Put it on your water bottle, journal, even add to your bike or car bumper.
10% of all sales from this image will be donated to the LRI School in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Scroll down to read more about this incredible school, and click here to purchase a sticker.
Curious to travel to Nepal? Click here to learn how you can trek the Annapurna with me this April with Driftwood Adventures.
Created over the course of a 17 day trek in the Kombu valley of Nepal to Everest Base Camp with Driftwood Adventure Treks, this piece began as a plein air sketch (meaning, drawn on location) of mount Thamserku, a mountain in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal.
I outlined an initial impression of the mountain range a few days in to our trek, and every evening, following a long day of moving meditation, I'd return back to the drawing as we would gather with our Nepali guides and warm our bodies around the stove. There was a tingling sensation in my fingertips from the altitude that I have never before experienced, and by the time the drawing was nearly finished, I could barely feel my hands connect with the page anymore as they grew colder and colder from the ascension.
My dreams were impressionably vivid during this time, and tears would burst forth from my eyes every single day on the trip, to the point where it became a running joke in our group that something quite powerful was moving within and through me, and indeed, it was. Something about immersing myself in these mountains and connecting with the people here felt like a direct pathway to the Heart, in all its radiant purity.
I worked with Tshering, our kind, wise, and compassionate sherpa, a man with the strength and endurance of a seasoned mountaineer balanced with a childlike levity of spirit, to add the Nepalese spelling of the mountain peaks, as well as "Shanti", or Peace, in Nepali script, in the lower right corner.
This image is as near and dear to my heart as the landscape and people of Nepal, and I'm thrilled to offer this as a sticker as well as an archival print.
Click here to learn how you can join us in Nepal this April.
The LRI School
During my visit to Nepal with Driftwood Adventure Treks, I had the honor of visiting the LRI School in Kathmandu and offering the Shri Yoga Curriculum, following in the footsteps of another Shri teacher who did her graduate residency at the school and offered mindfulness and trauma recovery skills to students and staff after the devastating earthquake of 2015.
On my final day in Kathmandu, the leadership team, including the founder of the school, Yashodhara Pant, welcomed me with generosity and kindness, and I spent the entire day working with the students, building community between Nepalese and US students from the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, as well as connecting with the founders, development director, principal, and teachers, learning more about LRI's mission, and seeing the school's values in action.
I was blown away with the level of engagement I felt from the staff as well as from the students. LRI is equipping young people in Nepal to become actively engaged global citizens who lead with empathy, compassion, and a deep-rooted sense of social responsibility. I'm excited to find ways to bring more of LRI's mission and values to school and after-school curricula right here in Rhode Island.
Additionally, LRI also offers sponsorship programs for students whose families otherwise could not otherwise afford to send them to school, an also acts as a boarding school for children from rural villages to access education by living and studying in Kathmandu. Please stay tuned for more information on how you can sponsor a Nepali student's education from across the ocean.
I'll never forget Yashodhara's eyes light up as she shared with me,
"We may not be rich in money, but we are rich in heart, and in community."
This couldn't have been more apparent to me by the generosity, kindness, and enthusiasm that I felt flowing through everyone who I connected with - students, teachers, and leadership team.
Please consider purchasing a print or sticker of my Himalayan Dreamscape image and help support equal access to innovative education for the next generation of global citizens.
Join me next week at Denali for my first lecture on Breaking Into the Outdoors!