amazed by this life!! music, coaching, creativity, lateral thinking, transformation; my passion and joy

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Anita Roddicks death - connecting up some threads

Many years ago, wow, 20 actually, (in 1987) I was involved in taking part in setting up Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre, a cooperative of deaf hearing, disabled non disabled people and people with mental health problems.
Having just heard that Anita Roddick has died I remembered my connection with her. It was one Sunday afternoon when I was in the office on my own doing some fund raising, wondering if it was possible, was it worth it to continue to try to get the fledgling company going.
I was looking thru the list of possible funders and had this intuition to call The Body Shop Office and yes, its true, a Sunday afternoon and Anita answered the phone. I told her the vision of what it was we were doing of exploring the arts as a mixed group of people and of finding a Common Ground between performers from different cultural and social backgrounds between deaf and hearing people and people with different disabilities.
This was a decisive moment and, not many people know, that at that point I was wondering if all these hours day s and weekends I was spending , often on my own in the office was worth it ( though a musician and performer in the company most of my life now was in an office, only very rarely did I get into the studio or do performances or workshop with company) I was seriously considering whether I wanted to carry on. I'd learnt how to use a computer and spreadsheet, do a business plan ( one the Livewire completion) and got a grant from the Scottish Arts Council but we need some extra money, or the first tour for Common Ground would not go ahead and what turned out for me for me an involvement in an extraordinary 10 year social and cultural experiment would probably not have happened.
A while after I left the company split and there are now two incarnations; one a more deaf focused deaf arts company, the other more an arts focused arts company. Along the way many people passed thru the company learning and training in this experimental cauldron. Amongst the people that went thru the company we had people that went on to become director of Graeae Theatre, one of the deaf trainees became the present director of CGSDT, the co director of Green Candle Dance Company also contributed a great deal to the company. We had people of different ethnic backgrounds, people who we discovered (when they died) had aids, and one of the company members who struggled on and off with bouts of mental health problems, ended up taking her life. So , all in all, we were exploring many of the rough raw edges of life.
It was extraordinary to explore, wrestle, and tussle with the creative aspects of white western arts culture, deaf culture, disability culture; it was the mid 80's and quite a melting pot. It was however not only the creative exploration but also the often more hidden social things we were grappling with.
When I had that Sunday afternoon conversation with Anita I seem to remember that she didn't actually say she'd give any money, I do remember her great enthusiasm, support and encouragement for what we are doing and I though that was that and with renewed inspiration decided to carry on and give it another go. To my surprise a few days later a cheque for £500 arrived in the office and that meant we could go on our first tour.; a few months later I was driving the community transport hire van up the M1; we were heading to Scotland for 3 weeks for our first tour . ( subsequently we toured throughout the UK, and overseas including Denmark, Estonia, Venezuela getting all the associated sponsorship and grant funding along the way.
Now I am doing my own work and which I've called Moving Sound and have performed and lead workshops in many countries around the world. I've continued to use and develop my passion for sound and movement, and provide fun profound and deep ways to go into unknown territory and come back inspired with amazing and beautiful jewels. I work with small groups and individuals, taking people on a very profound and deep Personal Journey, to explore things that are important to them about their personal or professional lives.
Along the way I've also become a certificated Trainer and Consultant and taken my work into the corporate world with Moving Sound Business to help people look at team and group dynamics, and discover inspiring and surprising new possibilities for a particular topic or challenge.
Playing music continues as something very precious to me, whether it's playing in small intimate setting in a house concert or as part of mediation, yoga or healing retreat or to welcome people at large conference events or to give them a moment to pause, reflect and assimilate during the day.
I continue to do projects in the community ( schools, old peoples homes, hospitals, open drop in groups) these Moving Sound sessions explore sound and movement to inspire people to journey deeper in their lives and with each other, and give opportunities for people to share with each other on a deeper level with and without words.
Whichever context I do this work in, I'm constantly amazed and humbled at how sound and movement and non verbal conversations can inspire, heal and uplift.
Exploring the seemingly unseen and unheard connections between people continues as a main focus and inspiration. That's developed to include the connections and interconnections we have with this beautiful planet we live on and this extraordinary thing of being alive and of existence. I'm amazed at this and by the miracles, marvels and challenges of life and the unknown, and the great creative force and potential of limitless possibilities - no wonder I call my company Infinite Source.
It was actually soon after speaking with Anita that at 4am one morning the name and vision of Infinite Source was created . For a while I had it registered as a limited company to support the beginnings of Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre. I I've had it 'hidden' in the background. ( and have had and kept the website for many years) several years ago I recorded and made a CD 'Iona' and have used Infinite Source as the recording label, Moving Sound is also an Infinite Source Project.
Recently in looking at how I take my work forward after taking a couple of years off, I've been talking with several people about the branding of what I do and as I revisit and write this story I am again being re inspired by the bigger vision of Moving Sound and Infinite Source.