“Under the Winter Sky”, an Artist in Residency weaving sky science, democracy and seasonal changes

There is a jewel of a school tucked away on a quiet street called The Montessori School of Calgary near downtown.  The kindhearted staff and students have already embraced my work as we joined in multi-aged groupings to build star formations!

Benevolent leaders guided visions.  From gas particles to gravity pull and nuclear fusion a Protostar was born!  I am not kidding!  This was the first day!  Quickly we took large elasticized fabric and stretched our bodies into abstract and concrete forms. They celebrated community with the ties that bound them.

They built houses and flew freely.

The Lower Elementary students had plenty of giggles as we improvised comedic voices using “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. They have begun a journey about a grumpy senior who needs to learn to have fun. The UEs  delighted in the “Annoying” game personifying a star determined to earn importance in the solar system!

There will be so much more!

Celebrating the multi-cultural aspect of winter we will culminate our study in January! Picture silhouetted figures lit outside the school to invite the audience in from the cold night sky.  Perfect!

I left with the gentle snow falling softly on the empty playground.  The slow ride home made me think of how much I love to create.

Soon we will build winter spirit masks and invent our own constellations.  Soon I will be researching the winter skies and figuring out how to do a living installation of all that we will learn.

Soon…

 

Teachers’ Conventions, here she comes!!!

(This is how I feel when I am excited!)

The same day I wrote my last post, I got confirmation that I will be a speaker at the Calgary Teachers’ Convention February 14-15 2019!!!  One day later the South Western Teachers’ Convention February 21-22, 2019 invited me!!!

This is my workshop:

LOVE!

Lana Skauge, forty years of hands on practical drama practitioner experience transferred into a poignant entertainment where she will model story structure, weave a tale and embrace each and every one of you!  Come and feel the reinforcement that will propel you through the next few months of teaching!

Make sure you let me know if you are interested!  It’s food for the soul and I think every teacher deserves to put their papers away for a moment of laughter!

(Ready to kick up my heels!)

Love!

     

(No, that’s not me in 1967.  That’s Lulu! I was nine years old at the time. Do you remember “To Sir with Love”?)

A few years back I told a school staff that I was there to love them.  You could have heard a pin drop!  Those who knew me chuckled but those who didn’t were scared half to death!  Why?  I reprimanded myself initially and put the whole concept on a back burner.  I was already the drama teacher.  Did I need to make it even harder for them to relate to me?  I began to show my love in actions rather than bursts of enthusiasm. Small loving gestures like tea, muffins, planting a food bank garden or going on a walk provided noteworthy outcomes: knowing glances, subtle tears, whispered confessions and often laughter.  Was I onto something?

Recently I thought I would take it up a notch and offer some focused in services for teachers based on love.  How would that work?  Well, the story is everything to me so entertaining the group was essential. What else?  My personal testimony sharing memories of the love path! There’s lots of laughter there, mostly at my expense, but I enjoy my “fool” status knowing it is a wise teacher. Hmmmm.  But how do I reach the teacher that doesn’t want his/her time wasted? Got it!  I will throw in a story structure sample so, at the least, they can leave with a concrete offering.

muffins

Picture me handing out “Manna muffins” (food from heaven) with handwritten tags attached.  Envision a staff, some with arms crossed and sighing heavily, while others pretending to listen as a million lists crowd their thoughts.  Hey, don’t feel guilty!  I did the same thing.  Then, watch it unfold.

If I can connect with even a few teachers who really need to hear that

who they are

and

what they offer

is valued

I have been successful.

Teachers are inundated with expectations.  I believe it’s time to build them up not tear them down “shoulding” them to death. They are living, breathing, sensitive people trying to do their best.  They are not perfect and neither are the students they are guiding. We are all on a journey to awareness.  Loving someone through it will provide a much healthier future for everyone.

sidney-poitier-dancing-with-judy-geeson-adrienne-posta-and-lulu-during-a-break-in-filming-to-sir-with-love-june151966-file-reference-1062-004tha-jrc-the-hollywood-archive-all-rights-rese

Maybe an hour with me will be just the affirmation they need.  And now, I shall crank up Lulu singing in the background while I churn out a batch of Saskatoon muffins.

I love you, teachers!

Where has Lana been? In the studio! Yeehaw!

My dearest companion, mentor, soul sister, Sally Truss has invited me to back her up on her latest recording called “Roots and Boots”.  Laying down tracks that exudes Sally’s authenticity (she has travelled with Cowboy poets, toured extensively and honoured her roots that span from Great Britain to her immigration into Canada with rich words) I am captured by her emotionally driven project of the heart!  Riding beside Sally makes every trail pure joy!  Our journey continues!  New songs to rehearse today! I’m saddled up!IMG_20181009_141122969

The Body Speaks, a reflection

A few weeks ago I had an awesome experience with a group of adults and fantastic facilitators in a workshop entitled “The Body Speaks” sponsored by the Wellness Hub at Wild Rose United Church under the direction of Barbara Grant, Spiritual Health Practitioner.  Wow!

Feldenkrais teacher Jennifer Herzog gently guided our bodies with ease as we moved into awareness awakening our range of motion and breathing through the tightness that comes from slower body rhythms.  Soothing, intriguing and vital!

Carolyn Pogue,  writer and visionary, took us through free fall writing then brought us to the “Council of Beings” where we spoke our promises to the earth.  Revealing and thought provoking with mask, word and heartfelt messages!  Unforgettable!

I provided a focus on hands, their memory and their expression in the landscape.  Participants found “pearls of wisdom” in boxes of sand where the tactile experience invited a moment of thoughtful meanderings about their own sage advice.  Giggles and camaraderie was inevitable!

Patrick Griffin, Social Worker, therapist, Certified Mindful practitioner, lovingly brought us back to savouring the now and defined mindfulness as he tied our experiences together asking us to consider heart questions, practical questions and acknowledgment of gratitude. Invaluable!

It has taken me many weeks to digest what I experienced since I participated as well as shared.  So thankful for this experience to kick off my year of 60up!  Thank you Barbara Grant for being such a weaver!!!

I was humbled by the wisdom that surrounded me.  The heat is on!  The inspiration has been ignited!

 

Time

Time. There’s never enough.  I always feel behind so, I procrastinate.  Does that make any sense?  Not really.

After neglecting my “should list” for the entire morning, I took off to join up with my 83-year old buddy, Annabelle. With fourteen blockages around her heart, her time is definitely “limited” although you would never know it. Annabelle wasn’t on my “should list”. She was in my heart as a “must do”. My heart is one thing I adhere to!

She welcomed me at her door with an infectious smile, homemade coffee packed in a thermos, delicious store bought treats for later and her walker ready to be repacked.  “The doctor doesn’t want me to drive anybody,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. “So I just go by myself.”  But today I was honoured to be her chaueffer.

The conversation began in her usual way, with gratitude. Accepting her recent diagnosis, she soon dismissed talk of her health and focused on how happy she was that I would meet her friend whom she visited often and fed supper to every Sunday.

Riddled with Multiple Sclerosis and in a long-term care facility, I was escorted in with the intention that I would write about this remarkable woman who had once been a model and was a mother of five.  Resilient, determined and forthright Annabelle’s friend filled our time with stories and much laughter!

But it was Annabelle that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.  Was it the comforting words and shaking hand as she fed her companion? Was it the resourcefulness as she pulled out her own forks and plates so as not to impose?  Or could it be that little girl giggle as she heaped the whipped cream on our delicious goodies while telling an off coloured joke?  I sat feeling I was witness to something sacred.

Remembrances of her friend welled up in Annabelle as she apologized for her frequent enthusiastic interruptions. She kept telling me to write things down and I did but it was all about her.

I dropped her off and promised a coffee date.  I knew it had to be soon.  I left with a tremendous peace.  If it was one thing Annabelle didn’t waste, it was time.

I woke up the next morning invigorated.  This day I would live it like Annabelle.

The 60s are here, man!

Hey blog readers!  I am back after a brief hiatus into birthday frivolity!

The 60s are here, man!  Yes, I have officially entered that decade with humour, energy and, I must admit, a lot of sass!!  Hahaha! Two cakes later, delicious Indian food and more celebrations this week, I am looking through those rose coloured glasses into a year of major shifts and creative sparks!

My new year has always begun with the fall.  The fresh air, bright colours and shorter days invigorate me.  Returning from Edmonton on meandering back roads reminded my sister (a visual artist) and I how important it is to live with eyes open. Our perpetual seeking has given us the gift of vision whether whispered between us or shared with an audience. It’s truly not a choice but a “must do”. By the end of our drive, we both determined to do more!

***House concerts await with a combination of music I love and stories that pour out of me like exhaling air!

***Short spurts of exhilarating fun and plans for an evening concert cabaret has begun!

***My “I love you, Teacher” workshop has morphed into a beautiful presentation to nurture those frontline warriors!  Gulp!  I want to give them a PD of bolstering their confidence without a handout out!!!

As you can see, I am NOT winding DOWN but definitely winding UP!!!   I encourage all of you to do the same.

I guess I am finding my inner “pearl”.  Pretty cool, I think!  Or should I say, “Far out!”

Love to all of you groovy people!  Lana

 

Tai Chi and tally-ho!

Okay, so that was probably politically incorrect since “tally-ho” is a hunter’s call and Tai Chi does not represent that in any way, shape or form but basically, I AM on the hunt!  As some of you already know, 60up is all about challenging myself emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and, God forbid, physically!  Please note how I put “physically” at the very end.

Focused adept Tai Chi participants surrounded me last night.  Many years ago I had taken a few classes that removed the stage fright I thought was a necessary “process” to my acting journey. Not!!!  It was invaluable and I dropped it. Sound familiar?  Why do I do that?  Why do I drop the practices that are the healthiest?  I lose focus so easily.  That’s why when I work with children who have difficulty attending I smile knowingly.  They are my people!

So these women (mostly my age and older) moved gracefully through their routine with tremendous tenacious hearts.  The one fly in the room insisted on buzzing around my face!  It was probably attracted to my terror sweat!  Bones creaked, muscles complained and I watched the clock.  Holy crap, Batman!!!! My dear instructor, God bless her, used every minute!

I hoisted myself into my vehicle and came home, filled my face full of popcorn and reflected as my body started to seize up.  This morning, many coffees later, I reminded myself how important starting is and re-committed myself to the challenge.  Crap!  I want ice cream!

The day before, my dear husband and daughter took me on a “leisurely” paddle on the Upper Lake in the Kananaskis.  I played “African Queen” in the middle until the water got choppy. Hey, this wasn’t my plan!  The wind picked up.  I watched the two of them master the challenges with confidence as my arms turned into noodles.  “Uh honey, you know if you get tense it affects the boat,” warned my husband.  I snapped back something like, “I am just fine!” Liar.

When we got back to shore I could barely get out of the boat.  The two of them gingerly hoisted the canoe over their heads and refastened it to the car.  I sat inside warming up as my daughter took pictures of the now calm water while her father jumped into the icy cold lake.  Well at least I was out there.  It was eleven kilometers of beautiful views.  Funny what I see when I look up and get over myself.

The trumpet is sounding and I am off again!  Walking outside isn’t an option in this smoke but a stationary bicycle beckons. Tally-ho!

Lessons from my garden!

I love gardening!  Well, let’s rephrase that, I love the way I garden.

I try not to see my garden as a burden but an invitation to escape the “should” list. Yeah, I am one of those who putters about leaving some pots empty, others turned over and allowing hardier plants to flourish while saying a fond farewell to those who don’t.  Weeding comes and goes.  So what?  We have a sign now that says “Experimental dandelion farm.  Do not disturb weeds.”  That always gives passersby a chuckle.

The apple tree, not pruned and dangling, has met the large juniper forming a perfect canopy for me to sit under as I sip a cup of coffee in hopes of inspiration. Gorgeous geraniums drop petals and renew themselves with very little help from me.  The word “listen” is etched in stone to force me to pay attention and has been tucked away in a pot for me to ponder in the shade.

This is paradise.

Today I watered.  Usually I let Mother Nature do this but the predominant heat has demanded it so that my perennials will resurface next year and we found a major hole in our rainwater cube.  Nuts. I love using rainwater.  I remember when my grandma pumped water for her garden.  She even used her dishwater.  Dry southern Saskatchewan taught me to appreciate every drop!

On a recent trip to Kelowna I was gifted some lavender by one of my dearest friends. I feel like she’s with me as I doctor the new member of my garden family.  Come to think of it, there are a few plants in this meandering meadow that are very significant.  A delicate Iceland poppy reseeds itself reminding my of my dear soul sister gone too soon and a persistent yellow rose bush juts out from the fence given by my tenacious gardening mom so many years ago.  No wonder lingering here gives me so much peace.

From the sidewalk it might not look like much but my son has encouraged me to not get fussy.  I appreciate that.  Infact, the more I have left this garden alone, the better it has become.  Less interference has brought a beautiful wild beauty to it all.

Oh where is that “should” list?  I check the clock and I know there’s much to be done.  Self-employment also means self-driven but sometimes you gotta kick off those boots and let your bare feet feel the earth again.  You have to catch the flicker of a butterfly from the corner of your eye and savour the last of the raspberries in the palm of your hand.

Season change is coming….but for today…I will bask in a wee bit of heaven!