Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Art and Physical Activity are sometimes seen as opposites. The recreation and leisure field see the two as complimentary like yin and yang, black and white, resilience and fragility. This attraction of opposites has me thinking about my experiences with physical activity and the arts. I guess you could call me a jock, even though I really don't like the term, I was on sports teams in school and pick up physical endeavors quite easily. My body 'gets' how to move, it's agile. My artistic self, on the other hand, is something that I have to work at. In school the arts were not on my radar and the skills necessary continue to be tentative at best.

I admire artisans. I long to be a natural artist, be it in the performing arts as an actor or in the visual arts as a sculptor. I dabble in sculpting and focus on the human form, body parts. I had a short stint painting toilet seats, 'custom painted seats to suit your seat' until it was pointed out that I couldn't make a feasible business out of painting toilet seats, which was not really my goal, but I eventually, defiantly and with head hung low, resigned myself to that fact.

This leads to the 'fragile' notion. I'm self-conscious when it comes to my creations. I rarely share the products I create - no sculptures to friends for Christmas, birthdays or as housewarming gifts (a good decision on my part, nothing worse than getting a 'masterpiece' from a friend and having to display it). Kind of like the Friends episode when Feabs gives Monica the scary lady picture who's jumping out of the frame.

My question is how do we honour the fragile nature of individuals, relationships, groups and communities when we naturally protect our Achilles heels? Perhaps when something fragile is staring at you in the face listen closely, act boldly, connect to your own Achilles heel. By listening and presenting it to others rather than shoving it away you can discover deeper connections and freedom from restrictions. Share your fragile nature to increase inner agility. Your thoughts?

Next time some fun, visit me at

Friday, November 14, 2008



Ideas do it for me so I was a little surprised when I stumbled on numbers that sparked my interest and that reflect community, family, friends and self.

148.7 is Dunbar’s claim to fame, he came up with the Neocortex Theory (for those of you who aren’t numbers people this may seem a little dry but it gets better) which explains the importance of 148.7 (rounded up to 150). Hutterite colonies, yes Hutterites, pacifists, women wearing long black skirts and polka dot scarves, men in black with beards and hats. You may have bought magnificently fresh eggs or frying chickens, organic veggies or honey from them. So what’s the fit? Once a colony reaches about 150 people they divide into a second colony, because the fabric of the community, connections and support are impacted by larger numbers. A strong community is foundational to their way of life and their experience is that when you have too many people the community breaks down.

What connection does that hold for me? I was brought up in a Mennonite home (there are differences between the two), and have a similar experience. My parents felt the importance of strength in a close, caring and supportive community and so when our Mennonite church grew to be bigger, together with others, they divided and created a new congregation. Interesting how numbers affect relationships and connections.

The ACE (Active Creative Engaged) Communities initiative (under ARPA) has also been growing, more coaches, team members, communities and leaders. With growth comes some discomfort, challenge and change. It’s difficult for some, this is when I’m in my glory! A little chaos, uncertainty, fascinating… I get to explore new relationships, develop bonds, learn from unique and dynamic situations. So I keep asking, how do we continue to grow maintaining strong connections, building a solid and supportive community? My parents’ journey took twists and turns, they built a loving, supportive community that’s diverse and dynamic. ACE Communities is on a similar voyage.

A couple other numbers for your left hemisphere:

I attended a Conference and our goodie bags were full of SWAG (Stuff We All Get) but the one gift that was most meaningful was 2 hours of leisure. A presenter gave us each 2 hours of leisure time to do what with what we wanted, no strings attached, time for enhancing myself, maybe my community, definitely my quality of life. It’s something we all can choose to give and take. Loved it!

86,400 the number of seconds in each day, we’ve got lots of time. My oh so brief philosophical thoughts on time are that the present, NOW is all we have (Plato would definitely roll his eyes). Our traditional definition is limiting, hurried, never have enough, it flies, it’s fleeting, it goes by like the snap of fingers. So live each moment … I’m not one to get up early, I emerge later in the day and it’s the night hours when my creative spirit howls, so when I don’t get up at the crack of dawn I haven’t missed the worm, I’ve soared with the owls. Moments are precious and I keep asking how am I living each one so that my actions reflect my values? Enjoy each one.

Drive to my website in a candy apple red Mustang with the top down, let you hair fly (still in development but a few pics to gaze at)