Reflections on JOURNEY

By Spirit & Place

Spirit & Place Festival’s 2014 theme, JOURNEY, explores the ways in which we move and our reasons for doing so. The journey between “here” and “there” is filled with movement and meaning. How is this movement shaping—and being shaped by— identity, spirituality, public policy, and civic life? From the instruments of mobility in all its forms (education, money, waterways, trails, bus lines, bike lanes, policies, etc.), to the reasons (quality of life, self-expression, community development, health, persecution, pilgrimage, etc.), JOURNEY will explore the dynamic passages of peoples and places.

Many Hoosiers embark on spiritual journeys that can be both internal experiences and physical pilgrimages. Physicians innovate in the field of palliative care, exploring ways to end the journey of life in a way that is dignified, strong, and supported. Artists create works that transport others to a different time or place.

Yet even as we are inspired to travel spiritually, physically, and emotionally—both individually and together—we must strive to understand our methods, motives and directions. What expressions are we using as we journey? What holds us back from embarking on a journey? What places exist to encourage journey? Who or what do we take with us as we move toward or away from places spiritually, emotionally, or physically? How do we encourage and create opportunity for personal and collective movement?

We’ll delve-deep into our theme and explore answers to these intriguing questions year-round on our digital platforms and through dozens of “never-seen-before” programs at our 10-day long festival.

Join us this November to witness audacious performances, exhibits, thoughtful discussions, hands-on workshops, and other engaging programs that explore how our JOURNEY shapes our life.

Risk Recap – Touchy Subjects: Art, Sex, and Humor

118c159f-88f9-4475-8d1e-c3ce6219daf2Event name: Touchy Subjects: Art, Sex, and Humor

In one sentence, describe the event: A look at the risk artists take in creating edgy work.

How would you describe your risk-taking personality or lack thereof?: I don’t actually take a lot of risks. The biggest risks I take on a daily basis probably include the various media pitching strategies I use for my job. Sometimes my correspondence to get others to respond could be considered a bit risky.

What was the most memorable and/or meaningful aspect of the event?: I loved the discussion with the artists. It was vital in understanding the event itself and the risk the artists took in creating the work. Understanding the art from that level brings a greater appreciation for the work in an entirely new way.

What’s one thing you learned about risk that surprised you?: Risk comes in all forms! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect!

Each year’s Spirit & Place Festival’s theme influences the next year’s theme. Through the lens of this year’s theme of “Risk,” what types of events do you anticipate for next year’s theme of “Journey”?: I could expect an art installation there, as well. The part I enjoyed the most was hearing the artists talk about their personal journeys to the installations they presented.

Taking My Risk

By Rexene Lane

“Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection. If you’re like me, practicing authenticity can feel like a daunting choice—there’s risk involved in putting your true self out in the world. But I believe there’s even more risk in hiding yourself and your gifts from the world. ”
- Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

I attended “The RISK of Pursing Your Passion,” a Spirit & Place panel discussion event on November 7, 2013 in Indianapolis. The event was life changing for me and touched my very soul. The panel was made up of five very talented and creative people, three of whom I know personally.

Stephanie Lewis Robertson, fabric artist and academic arts administrator, is an amazing woman, a mentor, and a loving friend to me. She has led me on many risk-taking and creative journeys over the past seven years. David Hochoy, Artistic Director of Dance Kaleidoscope, is a dynamic and yet introspective man originally from Trinidad. Lali Hess, owner and chef of a catering company, The Juniper Spoon, specializes in using local and organic foods in her cooking.  Lali shared many insights on taking risks in her own life. Diana Ensign, a published author and blog writer, is a soft spoken woman with some painful yet meaningful experiences to share. Diana and I have crossed paths more than a few times over the past year. Marg Herder is the owner of Softsound and CircleWebWorks and the Director of Public Information for EEWC-Christian Feminism Today. I know Marg through her involvement with the Indianapolis Winter Solstice Singing Ritual, an event I became involved in six years ago as a choir member.  Even before I attended The Risk of Pursuing Your Passion, Marg had challenged me to pursue my own passions, and she actually dared me to risk writing this blog post. Here I am!

“The fear of not being good enough caused me to live on the perimeter and to take negative risks, rather than positive, healthy, life-producing risks.”

I grew up in a household and a religion that taught me I was not good enough and I would never be good enough. My father (also my pastor for most of my growing up years) was the child of an alcoholic with little insight about his own issues and scars. The independent, fundamental, Bible-believing, New Testament-teaching, evangelical religion fit perfectly with the dysfunction, rigidity and shame-producing environment of an alcoholic home. I bought it all—hook, line, and sinker.

I could relate to so much of what the members of the panel shared about what their biggest obstacles were in risking the pursuit of their passions.

In my house growing up I couldn’t even do the dishes well enough to please my parents!  This gave rise to constant negative self-talk which has led me down many sorrowful paths. I didn’t believe I had anything to offer anyone. Consequently, I have always been my own biggest obstacle. The fear of not being good enough caused me to live on the perimeter and to take negative risks, rather than positive, healthy, life-producing risks.

During the event several panel members said how important it was to risk being vulnerable by revealing details about yourself in your work. A tear or two trickled down my face as I felt the shame of believing I had nothing good to reveal about myself. Shame is my familiar companion. But within just a few minutes I found myself smiling and laughing as a panelist shared something humorous that I could relate to.

“It was meaningful to hear that I have to surrender to risk-taking in pursuit of my passion every day. 100% surrender.”

Most of the panelists agreed that through sharing yourself authentically, your audience can see themselves in your work and learn from it.   My own experience has taught me that this is true. Hearing stories similar to my own has helped me to begin to heal from my childhood injuries.

It was meaningful to hear that I have to surrender to risk-taking in pursuit of my passion every day. 100% surrender.  And it’s okay to be afraid.  As a matter of fact, one of the panelists suggested when fear takes over it helps to call a friend and talk it out.

At the event I found myself feeling that I was in a familiar place, amongst familiar people, people of a like mind. I was exactly where I needed to be!

Stephanie passed out permission slips giving everyone in attendance permission to take a risk in pursuit of their own passion. If my biggest risk is being my authentic self, to tell a bit of my own story, then today I have taken that risk.  Maybe it’s just one small risk, but my hope is that if it doesn’t kill me, I’ll be willing to take many more.

Rexene Lane is studying Studio Art and Pre-Art Therapy at the University of Indianapolis.  She attended the November 7, 2013, Spirit & Place event, The Risk of Pursuing Your Passion, a panel discussion held at the First Mennonite Church in Indianapolis.

This is a re-post of a post that originally appeared in Risk of Pursuing Your Passion blog, posted Nov. 19, 2013.

Risk Recap: The Hungry Games

Event Name: The Hungry Games

In one sentence, describe the event: Ever entertaining, learned a lot about Indy’s history

How would you describe your risk-taking personality or lack thereof?: I thought the students were very brave from going up on stage and competing for their charities. You could tell some of the competitors felt uncomfortable, but some of those ended up going very far in the competition. It was great to see dedication for a worthy cause.

But they never specifically addressed “risk”.

What was the most memorable and/or meaningful aspect of the event?: Seeing high school students dedicate their time and volunteer efforts for such great causes. It was nice to see them run around to gain more donations for their nonprofits.

What’s one thing you learned about risk that surprised you?: Risk can be conquered with teamwork and dedication.

Each year’s Spirit & Place Festival’s theme influences the next year’s theme. Through the lens of this year’s theme of “Risk,” what types of events do you anticipate for next year’s theme of “Journey”?: I could see events such as: how my journey of risky moves paid off… something along those lines.

Risk Recap: The Puzzling History of Will Shortz

Event name: The Puzzling History of Will Shortz

willIn one sentence, describe the event.: Puzzle-making behind the scenes

How would you describe your risk-taking personality or lack thereof?: My risk-taking personality ebbs and flows — Sometimes I feel I take risks much more than others around me; other times I feel like a scaredy cat. Lately I feel like more of a risk taker. :)

What was the most memorable and/or meaningful aspect of the event?: The audience interaction was so awesome at this event! It was a sold-out, standing room only crowd, and The New York Times puzzle-maker Will Shortz involved the entire audience in word games and puzzles, splitting them into teams. Perhaps most memorable was when an 11-year-old girl solved a 25-word puzzle with only one letter!

What’s one thing you learned about risk that surprised you?: I was further enlightened to the fact that the notion of “risk” and “risky” things differs for everyone.

Each year’s Spirit & Place theme influences the next year’s theme. Through the lens of this year’s theme of “Risk,” what types of events do you anticipate for next year’s theme of “Journey”?: I anticipate events that highlight the actual “journeys” — the ups and downs, obstacles and achievements – of both well known and everyday risk takers. Taking risk is one thing, but observing where it takes you, whether it’s months or years later, is what makes things interesting.

RISK RECAP- $20K: A Competition About Race

We polled our festival attendees for their feedback on our ‘risky’ events and here’s what one of our fans had to say about Spirit & Place Festival’s Opening Night event – $20K: A Competition About Race

f40ae3ad-f3ea-46b1-aac7-e067df826df0In one sentence, describe the event: Four finalists vying for a $20k prize as they present their daring idea on changing notions of race in Central Indiana.

How would you describe your risk-taking personality or lack thereof?: My risk-taking personality — as of late — has been quite palpable. Traditionally I identify as someone whose risk-taking personality ebbs and flows with the people I’m surrounded by, current life and work situations, or the desire to try new things versus remain at a temporary standstill.

What was the most memorable and/or meaningful aspect of the event?: The most memorable aspect of this event was definitely the announcement of the winner. It was so neat to see these four finalists present something they’re so passionate about pursuing and furthering, but it was so impactful to see Javier Barrera achieve this and hear the cheers from the crowd as he took home the prize. It was particularly awesome to be involved with the final selection from an audience perspective.

What’s one thing you learned about risk that surprised you?: I learned that risk comes in all different colors, from all different backgrounds, and at all different times of life. Essentially, the risk is packaged differently for everyone.

Each year’s Spirit & Place Festival’s theme influences the next year’s theme. Through the lens of this year’s theme of “Risk,” what types of events do you anticipate for next year’s theme of “Journey”?: In this case I foresee a follow-up event that focuses on where the winning organization is with the development of their proposed project, and the journey they have been able to take through the prize they earned from the risk they took.

Risk Revisited

Sleeping-BabyBy Joe Dudeck

A baby sleeps upon my lap right now…a 12-hour-old, eight-pound little man, swaddled tightly in the hospital’s finest linens. His chest rises and falls in short, erratic repetitions. His arms rise and swat the air. His face tells the story of a magical dream unfolding in his tiny head.

He has no idea of the risk it took for me to be here…nor should he.

“Lots of tears, anger, yelling, counseling, growing, falling, kicking, screaming, and surrendering.”

Presently, he’s not my child. Not yet. Not until adoption paperwork gets signed in another five hours. My wife and I are simply caring for him as his birthmom sleeps on another floor of this same hospital. And so all we do is hold, hug, burp, kiss, snuggle, sing, and cry.

We’ve been here before.

Three years ago, we spent a night in a hospital with a birthmom and her newborn, only to discover the next morning there would be no adoption on that day. She’d decided, perfectly within her rights, to retain custody—making it an arduous drive home with an empty car seat staring at me from the back seat.

It took a long time to get back here again.

Lots of tears, anger, yelling, counseling, growing, falling, kicking, screaming, and surrendering. I didn’t always want to return to this place. Some days I wanted to run away from the pain of that moment altogether. And many nights I tossed—wondering if I’d ever be a dad, and, if not, asking myself who I’d even be then?

But for me, it eventually came down to faith and hope…my antidotes to fear and risk.

“It eventually came down to faith and hope…my antidotes to fear and risk.”

I rediscovered a faith in my God who I now fully believe wants a real, honest, unpolished relationship and lifelong conversation with me. And I realized I’m not defined by being a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a photographer, a writer…or even a father. Rather, my purpose here gets perpetually defined in every moment my life crosses paths with another.

And so, four months ago, I found the courage to step back toward the risk of this moment, fully hoping the door to parenthood would swing open this time.

We’ll see in five hours.

Joe Dudeck owns two Indianapolis-based businesses: Joetography and Keyhole Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at either @Joetography or @KeyholeMktg.