A new birthday tradition has emerged. Having the privilege of living many years on this planet and never having been big birthday celebrators, making the shift to giving of our selves on our birthdays has re-inspired us to share the anniversary day of our births with others.
It’s strange, a little uncanny actually. Last year we had birthdays where our ages 57 and 66 both added up to 12. We started finding all kinds of interesting meanings for 12 and invited this exploration with several artists. That exploration closed with a ritual performance at McHugh House. This year both birthdays add up to 13. Another exploration awaits us.
In the spirit of living into the sacred gifting/healing economy MICHAEL explored a new idea for his birthday this year on April 18, we invited people to a public talk at McHugh House, and people could also join the event online. We had guests from Hong Kong, Florida, Oregon and Victoria join in. The title of his artist-philosopher talk “Politics and the Meaning of Betrayal”– seemed fitting because of his recent exploration into the “political sphere” with a new consciousness and intention to become more political, however that will manifest in the next years. It was also the day after the Alberta provincial elections. The word “Betrayal” holds a lot of complexity as not only a psychological emotion but for Michael it has a resonant wave of electricity that seems to flow from the ‘soul.’ Some 8 people joined in the evening. We share here an 8 clip of the intro to the talk with a sound recording by Barbara & Michael from a visit to the Qu’apelle Valley in Saskatchewan.
The day after the talk Michael found an archived piece of writing he did in 1990 for a manuscript entitled “In Search of Fearlessness” (never completed). On p. 2 he wrote,
“The wounded human, like any wounded creature behaves from a ‘live or die, kill or be killed’ deficit reality and mentality. This is what unhealed pain makes us do. Fear rules this mentality and underlying it is a deep sense of betrayal. The betrayal is the ‘best kept secret’ of modern civilization. To utter the questions out loud or to even think the thoughts raises a terror within. The betrayal is unconscious and deep underground but it wants to express itself, and it sounds like this: Where were compassionate, caring and loving adults when I got hurt? Why have the adults who say they love me hurt me? Why have they not let me totally heal? These are the questions of the child to our adults and our culture. These are the questions the ‘inner child’ asks of the adult today. These are the same questions as Christ asked on the cross when he lamented; “My father, my father, why have you forsaken me?”
On BARBARA’s birthday artists were invited to come to McHugh House for an art sharing evening and potluck. Some artists we knew, others we did not. Ten artists came with art and ideas to share. The gift of shared respect, care and reverence for each artist and the gift of their creation was moving to experience.
Image below: Michael sharing his mixed media artwork in progress, working title “Mammalian Play In Three Worlds”
Image below: Barbara shared a short video of her collaborative Ancestoress project and performative research with Tannis Hugill while at the dance studio in Vancouver, followed by talking about her performative experience with her ancestral shawl and great grandmother Walter’s crocheted table cloth (in the foreground of the photo below).
A photo of listening to the sharing of an art piece in circle.
“…lifelessness leaves the soul when a gift comes towards us, for gift property serves an upward force, the good will or virtú of nature, the soul, and the collective.” -Lewis Hyde
We are grateful to those that have been able to share these birthday events with us allowing us to open to the gifts of art, the gift of connection and the gift of extending beyond our personal private selves into the playful political sphere.