AA Principles and Big Ideas
Artist Ashram Mission
Artist Ashram is an artistic haven which nurtures innovation by creating an inner space where creativity flows most freely and each participant may explore his or her true artistic self. In the Artist Ashram, participants may experience deeper levels of listening, extended periods of inspiration, and constant streams of innovation, thereby manifesting a broader sense of imagination. Come play, co-create, listen and drop into the flow of your own free expression.
Directions for participants
Express yourself through poetry/writing, art/drawing, music/drumming and expressive dance/movement. Begin with creating an intention and evolve through the night in self-discovery. Connect with your own inner child and that of others. Be inspired by each modality covered, moving at will throughout the space and creating art by choice.
Principles and big ideas
There are a few basic principles, or bottom lines that guide the Artist Ashram that are helpful to keep in mind. These are mutable and evolving, meant to build the container of our practice and hold us in it’s merciful embrace.
- AA is about free expression, deep listening, connection. If you are uncertain about what to do, drop into one of these: follow an impulse in your own self, listen (with any of your senses) to what’s happening in the room, or connect to something in particular in the room.
- You are always “in”. No matter what you’re doing, whether you feel that you know what you’re doing or not, whether you’re in the bathroom or asleep, whether you’re late, engaged in one connection or aware of the whole space, you are part of this composition. You are “in” the work, “in” the practice.
- Be 100% of however you are. For example, if you feel that you are operating at only 60% of your ideal capacity, be 100% of that 60%. You do not have to be different or more than what you are in any given moment. And it is in this compassionate acceptance that you will offer your fullest presence to our collective practice. You are welcome to be here in whatever state you are in, whatever energy level, whatever your desire. Feel the invitation to be 100% of however you are.
- Play like a child. Sometimes we actually have children here, and they can remind us how to play, how to follow our impulses. But this is a space for adults to play like children, with that freedom and joy.
- We want you to leave questioning the limits of reality, because what you experience here breaks down your habits and norms. Let yourself find your edge in whatever way feels good to you. Let yourself take risks, follow your heart, lose yourself, flow in open creative expression, channeling the divine in you.
Lenses for making choices, witnessing and experiencing the Artist Ashram
As you move through the space, through the stations and through time, there are a number of specific lenses that we offer to help guide and support your practice, regardless of what station you are in or what degree of engagement you are in.
Each lens is just one possible way to look at the Artist Ashram. Play with it all, experiment, research, explore, enjoy. These options are not here to limit or direct you in any formal way, but simply to support you in keeping your attention present and receptive.
- Observe and experience the group composition: see the whole room as one entity, one dance, one piece of music, one poem, one painting, one spirit soul. What connections do you observe or experience, in yourself and in others? What synchronicities? What rhythms? What contrasts? What tensions? What resonance?
- Express yourself or look for the expression of the theme. This can be very explicit expression or very subtle. For example, if you are dancing and the theme is “EARTH,” you can experience that you are dancing through gravity on the surface of the earth; dancing as a prayer for the earth; spinning in your dance as the earth; channeling the dancing joy of the earth’s heart; dancing with the elemental essence of earth; rooting in stillness or moving with gravity; etc. When you witness or listen to the group improvisation, you can listen for the voice of the earth, see the element of the earth, look for images of the earth, see each person as a piece of the earth, etc.
- Each station is assigned another station to appreciate for each Artist Ashram. Appreciation in any direction can be a lens, and can be further focused by giving your attention fully to the suggested station. Begin by simply noticing and appreciating that station. Let it inspire you. Zoom into it, seeing the details, experiencing the subtlety. Zoom out and see the whole station, how it is offering it’s heart and fullness to the whole. Your choices in your own artmaking may be utterly undirected by this appreciation or you may orient all your choices to manifesting your appreciation.
- Do what your heart desires; do what feels good. Look at what you want to, look at what feels good to see. When you reach a fork, move toward the direction that feels best. Notice what you like and are drawn to, let the magnetism pull you. Can you listen to your own desires, pour yourself fully into following that guide, and still listen to the whole?
- Experience and hold space for the whole as a children’s playground. Simplify. Watch as if we are all children, watch as if you are a child, play as if we are all children, play as if you are a child.
- “Space Travella! Space Travella! Hey!” when this power phrase is heard, it’s time to make a change, literally travel through space. (For example, put down the drum and go to another station.) It can also be an invitation to go deep, innovate, make a move you normally wouldn't do!
- Singing Bowl Song! The sound of the singing bowl indicates an invitation for all participants to pause in silence and stillness, looking around the room at the snapshot of our practice, appreciating each member of the group, appreciating the group as a whole.