I’ve Moved!!

I have some exciting news to share…I’ve got some new digs! Life Refocused has been moved over to my new website, meghandavidson.com. I have lots of new ideas percolating and I was feeling like I needed a bit more space to spread out. The new site at meghandavidson.com allows me much more room and freedom to let these new dreams take wing.

I hope you continue along this path with me, and that you hop over to the new site. Please update your Google Reader, your RSS feed, your email subscription, or whatever way that keeps you connected to Life Refocused. I’m grateful for all of you and look forward to seeing you at my new home!

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NYC Dianas

The past month has born witness to me getting reacquainted with my lovely little Diana who has been sorely left out of my camera bag for months. Lomography is quite a different challenge photographically (at least for me) compared to shooting with a digital SLR or with my beloved Polaroid cameras. Although it can certainly be difficult to switch to analogue AND to be using a viewfinder that only sorta-kinda represents what the lens is actually seeing, I forgot how much FUN it is!

You’ve seen one of my favorite Diana shots from my recent trip to Oregon here in this post, but I thought I’d share a few from my time in NYC this month. For those that might be interested, all three of these were shot with Fuji Pro film with an ISO of 800.

I love a vintage sign…

The chess guys in Washington Square Park…

And my absolute favorite Diana from both the Oregon and the NYC rolls of film…

I’m grateful to be reconnecting with my Diana. I’ve missed her. And I’m looking forward to bringing her along on more adventures (next up, Boston!).

What about you? Do you switch up cameras? Or other modes of creating (acrylic vs. oil, paint vs. pen)? Any other Lomographers out there? Anyone else get such BLUE tones with Fuji film?

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A Tribute to The Tribe 2011

I just had to share this gorgeous video. Melissa, member of the Tribe, and half of the amazing duo that is The Long Haul Project and Long Haul Films, created this spectacular tribute and capsule of the Tribe’s inaugural retreat in Manzanita, OR. This was her gift to us, and it is my gift to share with you today. Sublime. (I encourage you to click on the link below the embedded video so you can watch it BIG!)

The Tribe 2011 from The Long Haul Project on Vimeo.

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Neighboring Constellations

I’ve been back home from my coast to coast travels for a week (although there was an overnight trip to Kansas City thrown in there a few days ago to see Ray LaMontagne and Brandi Carlile), and I’m just now beginning to feel a bit more settled. As I wrote last week, this re-entry has been rocky. The rockiness stems in part from the widely diverse portions of my trip and the unfortunate timing of them, as well as from some difficulties I found myself immersed in and having to manage immediately (and ever since) upon my return. I’ve learned the hard way that a creative retreat scheduled back-to-back with an intense training institute for work does not a good combo make. Although I ultimately had no control over the scheduling of these two very important experiences, I wish I could have done it differently. Flying directly to research training in New York City following the Tribe retreat in Oregon couldn’t have been worse timing. Suffice it to say that being launched into discussions and presentations on heady emancipatory research methods and philosophies did not allow for the time and space I desperately needed to savor, reflect, percolate, reminisce, re-live, journal, sing, smile, and cry about my experiences with the Tribe in Manzanita. I tried to get up early each day while in NYC to write “morning pages,” to journal, to capture my memories, thoughts, and feelings about this inaugural Tribe retreat…but it simply wasn’t enough. However, I am grateful that I carved out these little bits of time as it allowed me to at least hold on to some fragments of my experience with eight other amazing women in a small coastal town in Oregon…

There are 11 of us in the Tribe. Two of us couldn’t make the trip. It broke all of our hearts. The rest of us 9 came as almost-strangers. I knew the most members having had the luxury of meeting 3 women previously. Some of us knew one other person in the group, whereas most knew no one with the exception of their online personas via blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. Yet we each took a leap of faith…a chance to find community and support for our creative journeys. An opportunity to perhaps discover mirrors for our lives. We each said “yes” to a calling, a yearning, a longing. We each trusted the Universe to do its thing. And we each did our part.

I can’t possibly recount all the details of our 3.5 days together. But I can tell you that when a group of women come together with open hearts and courageous souls, MAGIC happens. I can tell you that there was poetry and songs and dancing. I can tell you that there was creativity with words, paint, glitter, ephemera, tesserae, and film. I can share with you that there was an abundance of love, kindness, joy, trust, compassion, patience, faith, sharing, play, and wholeheartedness. I can also tell you that there was doubt, heartache, fear, uncertainty, sadness, and not-knowing. And there was room for it all.

I can tell you that I’m savoring the shared experiences of our histories as well as our disparate paths. I can share that I’m holding close the expectations of thinking and planning grand and then the shift toward beginning small, starting close in. I can tell you about the bravery of being re-pictured and the strength to roar. I can tell you that it takes courage and struggle to know oneself, truly know oneself. I can share with you the constancy of the ocean and the stars, and the surprise of the sun. I can tell you about the small and not-so-small kindnesses. I can tell you about the collective conversations, and the more private ones, too. I can share with you that there is power in a tiara. I can tell you about the “yes, those earrings/dress/pants/t-shirt/ring/scarf is perfect for you.” I can share with you the ways in which 9 voices formed a beautiful collage. I can tell you all of these things. And yet…none of it scratches the surface of all that transpired, all that we shared, all that I felt.

Photo by Darlene Kreutzer

As I have been reflecting on this gift of a retreat, I’ve also been diving (again) into The Artist’s Way. Much of what Julia Cameron writes regarding sacred circles for the Artist’s Way is exactly what I was looking for in putting together the Tribe and dreaming this retreat into reality. Cameron writes, “as artists, we must find those who believe in us, and in whom we believe, and band together for support, encouragement, and protection.” She goes on to say, “Like neighboring constellations, we can serve each other both as guides and as company. In walking your artist’s way, my deepest wish for you is the company of fellow lights and the generosity to light each other’s ways as we each pass temporarily into darkness.” YES! This is what I was craving and needing (and still need!) when I began to put this seed of an idea out there. I am grateful to the 10 “yeses” I got in return. I also want to encourage any of you reading who don’t have this support to create your own group, your own Lovebombers, your own Tribe. The Universe will rise up and meet you. It will do its thing!

Thank you to Sophia, Darlene, Celina, Elizabeth, Sarah, Melissa, Rebecca, Emily, Stef, and Lindsey ~ for saying “yes,” for being my neighboring constellations, and for allowing me to light some of your way. And thank you, Universe, for doing your thing ~ as always.

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Tribe Love

I’m still gathering my thoughts and trying to wrap my mind and heart around my time in Oregon with the Tribe. I am getting closer…closer to remembering the ocean breeze, closer to savoring the shared intimacy, closer to almost-still-feeling the warm embraces of these remarkable women. In the meantime, here is a beautiful video of photographs and music from our dream of a weekend. This loveliness was compiled by the amazingly talented, Darlene, and all the photography is hers.

tribe love from hippyurbangirl on Vimeo.

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I’m back from my travels, from going coast to coast, from relishing in the quiet coastal air of Oregon to immersing in the loud frenzy of New York City. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind ~ tranquility, creativity, and collective spirits as well as intense learning, fighting oppression, and radical research methods. I have much to integrate from these two very disparate journeys. And to be quite honest, I’m a bit discombobulated. This re-entry is feeling rocky. I need time and space…time and space to cull back the feelings, the connections, and the embodiment of my time in Oregon with The Tribe…time and space to consider the direction of my research and work.

While I’m recollecting and re-collecting the two halves of my West coast and East coast sojourns and all that they entailed and unveiled, I’ll leave you (and me) to dwell in the beautiful words of poet, David Whyte. I shared this poem at the start of The Tribe retreat and it serves as a good reminder to me as I look forward…to not get ahead of myself, to not feel pressured to have it all figured out, to start close in.

Photograph by Rebecca Murphy

Start Close In by David Whyte
Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.
Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.
Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
To find
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
to another.
Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.
Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Photograph by Rebecca Murphy

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Coast to Coast

I’m getting ready to head out on a two-part trip that I can only imagine will be a-mazing. I’ll be going coast to coast and visiting two of my favorite places ~ Oregon and New York City! No doubt this OMA–>PDX–>LGA journey is gonna kick the funk and blahs right out of my head and heart. The first part of the trip is the realization of a dream I’ve had for a few years. I’m a pretty huge fan of the Lovebombers, a group of creative women who have formed a network of support and love to cheer each other on (you can read about them here and here and here and here). I’ve fantasized about creating my own group of Lovebombers, and although my first attempt didn’t take, it’s happening now! The Universe was doing its thing, I’m sure. Nine fabulous, inspiring, generous, artistic women are coming together to play, create, rest, and dream with one another on the Oregon coast for 4 days. Two of the Tribe (that’s the name we’ve claimed for our group) can’t make it (this trip!), but I will be bringing their spirits along and making sure their presence is felt.

Then after reveling in the gorgeous ocean and fir-filled air of Oregon and drinking in the creative spirits of the Tribe, I’ll be heading to NYC for a week-long training institute put on by that rockstar psychologist I told you all about last November. This is the first institute that she’s ever offered and I’m thrilled that I was selected to attend. It will be an intense week of learning, and I cannot wait. I know I will grow so much by participating in this training, and I’m excited to bring new ideas back to infuse in my work with women survivors of domestic violence. I’m also thrilled to be able to see a few friends and a new show while I’m in the city.

I just know that these two adventures are going to fill me with energy, support, and new creative sparks. Can’t wait to share it all with you when I get back!

He’ll be doing some gardening and soaking in his first days of summer vacation while I’m away. What are you all up to?

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