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23 February 2023 / poetry, queer, artivism, releases / 0 comments
Woodpecker drums up
thin mist and scattered birdsong.
Sudden patch of ice.

Early March in Oslo, and here I am again longing for spring. I can feel it creaking and rumbling under the ice and lingering desperations of winter. Ceramic spring - still cold and fragile, a bit chipped in places, but with its own brittle beauty.

The magpies have started chattering and rasping about the repairs they are making to their big nest in the birch. The sun has returned with a mix of gentle warmth and brutal honesty. I feel shabby and worn, then energized and inspired, then anxious and tired - and curious about how my experience of different seasons has stayed the same over time yet is also changing subtly as I age. Life always both cyclical and spiraling.

For the past few years I have become a part of queer-centric micropublisher Mohini Books. I have had the great pleasure and frustration of trying my hand at co-editing an anthology of queer perspectives on the Covid-19 pandemic, and now "Queers In Quarantine" is finally in print and we will officially launch it on March 11th. May it find its way to everyone who needs to discover it, and may it be shared in all sorts of likely and unlikely places! I am very proud to have helped to make it happen. I have learned a lot from the process and collaboration of co-creating it, and I got to slip one of my own poems in among all the other juicy queer richness.

A big project this year is the latest project and performance with 71bodies, called "A True Story". It premiers in Bergen in June 2023. Once again we invite you to join us in exploring and celebrating trans lives and the many forms of loving, learning connections and family we are part of. Creating and performing with 71bodies is always transformative for me, and we do our best to invite and hold transformative space for our audience too.

Last and not least I am inching towards new recordings and releases of my own songs and poetry. More on that later. I give myself permission to deeply want to share my words and voice, and to often be scared, slow and distracted along the way. Oh look, the magpies have brought a new stick to add to the nest! I trust they have their own system of what goes where and how. I practice extending that trust to myself.

Now it's time to do some singing for my house plants, and hear what feedback they may have. Other than the amazingly resilient Monstera who is saying "Yes, yes, decent song, but just fucking re-pot me already!" - it will happen this weekend, you have my word!

Exploring difference, connections and inspiration with other artists and activists.
The past two years have been a bit of everything and a lot of happening. With a global pandemic as a constant influence on all plans. I have worked a lot - with my clients in my therapy & coaching practice, with my teams and tasks at the University of Oslo, and with my artistic and activist collaborations. I am always learning. I learn from my clients and colleagues, from fellow artists and activists, from my chosen family, from being and doing. I get lost and confused and stumble back on track.

I am involved in several projects I feel lucky and proud to be part of: Promoting non-binary representation as part of Linda Bournane Engelberth's photo series Outside the binary, creating and performing with transgender inclusive dance and performance company 71Bodies, making queer space, dialogue and resistance with Book of Change and Triumf Amiria and celebrating queer voices and perspectives with Mohini books and the upcoming anthology Queers in Quarantine.

I have a big stack of unrecorded songs and poems that I want to share more of with you, at least a selection of them. I don't know how yet. In the last two years I have been exploring earth and water again, and now fire is making itself felt. There will be both letting go and letting grow, and I am both anxious and excited about that!

A little YouTube experiment
Hey Cosmonauts, I hope this finds you well, and if not I send you gentle thoughts and extra supportive wags.

High summer is sliding into late summer and we've finally had some much needed rain. You can feel the trees and grass eagerly reaching for every drop. Today everyone and everything is being shaken and stirred by huge gusts of wind, a wild dancing in the branches sings of a different season on its way. Soft dark has crept in under the boughs and eaves again at night, and a few evenings ago I met a family of badgers rootling and munching around in the brush by the roadside.

I have started a little experimental project where I am sharing rough little live recordings from my weekly music practice by posting them on my YouTube channel. Sometimes songs, sometimes poetry, musings, whatnot. We'll see where it goes.

If you find something you like and think someone else you know might like it to, please point them at it - I'll be sending you grateful wags!

- therapist page published
Sweet relief! 3rd year of therapy studies and therapist training completed and exams passed - now for the final lap!

I have even managed to scratch out some basic info on my simple therapist page,

It's at the stone tablet level of web design, but hey, it gives potential clients some pointers to who I am and what I can offer as a gestalt practitioner.

And yes, yes, I know that in reality the 4th and final year of this particular education is also just another year in a life-long journey of exploration, embarrassment, exhilaration and continuous learning. But humour me, ok?!? I am savouring the moment and celebrating this particular step and the work and connections involved in making it. Whoo hoo!

I am hereby broadcasting major wags and massive thanks to my skilled and subtle teachers, not least of course my intrepid clients who show me such trust by allowing me to support them in their process, and such grit and stamina in facing their own work.

The same goes out to my nearest and dearest and all well-wishers and inspirers near and far. Whenever I stumbled into a hole this year, whether it was a new one or an old favourite, you all helped me climb out, dust off and get back on track. You know when to offer a cup off tea, a pat on the back or a kick in the bum, and in which order they are most needed.

I feel so lucky and blessed to be part of my lovely class at the Norwegian Gestalt institute. What a privilege to be immersed in this four year individual and group process together, able to support and be supported by each other. What an honour to be encouraged, inspired, challenged, pissed off, confused, enriched and enlightened by such a diverse gang of fellow explorers. So much to be discovered, grieved and celebrated. So much hard work and healing laughter.

Now it's time to hang up my laundry and put on something other than the old underpants, bright red Chinese robe and psychedelic tie-repurposed-as-belt I am currently sporting, and face the world. I hear the forest calling (no doubt enhanced by the siren song of a battalion of thirsty mosquitos)! Love & happy t(r)ails!

Well, I woke up this morning worrying that I was too open in yesterday's post about my own twists, turns and doubts on my path to becoming a fully-fledged Gestalt therapist.

But the thing is, I firmly believe that it's my capacity and willingness to do my own work, dig through my own darkness and look closely at my own patterns, avoidances and excesses that can make me a relevant singer and/or useful mirror, soundboard and support for other stubborn, curious, confused, anxious, hurting or stuck human animals.

I'm not an example of perfect enlightenment. I am certainly not an expert on you and your process. I'm an authentic, open, caring, curious person who will support YOU in becoming the greatest expert on your own living, loving, letting in and letting go.

Of course I also practice specific skills and techniques that can be useful in healing hurts, restoring healthy function, befriending and re-wilding yourself and exploring new potentials. But the most fundamentally healing thing I can do for anyone in my therapist role is to be present with integrity, awareness and attention, willing and able to face whatever you are facing WITH you.

Therapy is like music is like life: I play better if I listen well and practice diligently first, and I keep evolving if I keep listening and practicing and learning as much as I can from all good (and bad) teachers and encounters along the way.
Forest time
Forest time

What better season to turn over a new leaf or three?
Spring is on with a boom here in Oslo, after a long, hard winter. Seems like nature is making up for lost time, everyone who survived the frost is budding, flowering, chirping and nesting like there is no tomorrow. Each morning their is a new, fine layer of gold on my blue balcony chairs, and the wind is eager to cover my face in the love life of local greenery.

A diligent pair of thrushes have built their nest and are speed-raising a hungry brood in the tree next to my north facing window. Trying to keep the worms coming while keeping a watchful eye out for the opportunistic gulls and crows who patrol the rooftops, eager for food for their own family projects. It's an exciting drama far better than television.

I find it easy to empathise with the confused and anxious fledglings outside my window. They mirror my own confusion and anxiety during the past year of starting to stretch and test my wings as a psychotherapist in training. I have almost completed my third year (out of four) at The Norwegian Gestalt Institute, and am now working with clients in private practice in addition to my work as an advisor and coach for The University of Oslo, and my poetry and music-making.

My recording work has crawled along at a snails pace because there are too few hours in the day. The slow pace of recording frustrates me, but I am happy I have managed to stick to my regular practice sessions, played quite a few gigs locally and written some new songs. None of which I have managed to write about here. Facecrack (Facebook) is useful for promoting gigs and shit for my capacity to update my own web lair. Not sure yet what to do about this.

This has been a year of ups and downs and shake-it-arounds, both professionally and privately. There has been a lot of ungainly flapping, teetering on brinks, scrambling back into the nest to analyse and adjust, and the occasional proud moment here and there of "aha!" and "ooh, we did good work there! Maybe there is hope yet!"

In short: The confusion and anxiety of learning by doing, which I find that theory and practice can prepare me for, but not protect me from. So hard to let go of my childhood fantasies of confident expertise and infallibility, and accept life in all its brutal sensitivity and glorious imperfection!

It has been a bigger challenge than I like to admit to not get discouraged. So I am looking to those scrawny little chirpers outside my window for inspiration and encouragement!

Money is an issue these days, and I want to make a new relationship with it. One that is more matter of fact and pragmatic. Bills growl menacingly in my inbox as I fret over my empty account near the end of each month - and yet in the bigger scheme of things I am of course incredibly privileged and lucky to have a roof over my head and the chance to study and practice new skills and worry about life goals, spiritual callings and core purposes and whatnot.

One of the next items on my "to do" list is to make a short presentation of myself as a therapist and link my page for that to these pages here, so I can let the world know I have capacity for a few more clients. And book some studio time again. And nag.. err... I mean politely remind someone that they promised to send me live recordings from a recent gig.

And... and... breathe while I watch the leaves dance and flutter in the breeze. Yesterday I hiked through the woods to swim in one of my favourite local lakes - a moment of pure (freezing) joy when all ticking clocks stopped and everything was as it should be. Wide open inner landscape and the rushing song of tall pines sweeping through and putting my house in order. Thanks, Gaia.
The smell of sun-warm peat.
The smell of sun-warm peat.
Every spring I fall in love with green
Every spring I fall in love with green
Shameless roots
Shameless roots

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