These were the five ‘values’ I used in one of our first class discussions. We were then guided on a ‘heroes journey’ in which we were going to have to relinquish one of the values.

To get across the river, I gave up inclusion
To quench my thirst, I gave up clear communication
To appease my hunger I gave up diversity
To climb the mountain I gave up integrity
and, upon arriving at the gates of hell I held in my hand my final un relinqished value of JOY, the positivity and optimism to keep going?

Goodness knows in my work there are plenty of situations that have seemed like hell, and my tenacity and positive vision have really kept me on task.
I do value my integrity, but in some cases compromise and flexibility are more useful in getting the job done.

We revisited our values recently in our reflective practice class, its hard to choose five from a sea of great values, all of which I know are important. Now they were:

This time the last value that I could not relinquish was freedom.

As I said in my last post about freedom, more specifically (for now) emancipation, has become a strong motivation for my community work.

Perhaps its because the ancestors of both my parents were slaves. I feel a connection to their spirits and believe strongly they are guiding my path in this life, and protecting me.

Ritual and spirituality are the inspiration for my artistic practice. I grew up as a catholic. My Irish mother loved to build alters, the house was full of icons and it seemed almost everyday was some saints birthday.

It was these religious mysteries that lead me into the world of mythology, first in school with the gods and goddesses of north western Europe, then as my curious mind began to wonder, into ritual and magic from all over the world, and the fascinating work of Joseph Campbell. 

It is in this realm that creativity exists for me, Wish the ancestors. Perhaps my values are rooted in the mythological stories from the beginning of time that have guided us with teachings of how to be a human in the earthly realm.

I love this talk by Arlene Goldbard, she touches on a lot of what I’m grappling with in my process and offers intelligent concepts and solutions for a positive future.