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Ronna Detrick

From Amy Palko's Revolutionary Lips to Ours: A discussion with Ronna Detrick

I just finished devouring Amy Palko’s soulgift From Revolutionary Lips for the fifth time. And I will do so again and again. In her foreword, Amy says: “early readers reported back again and again this sense of being taken on a journey. And not just any journey. But one that would take them deep into their own lived experience of their body, their desire, their voice, their frustration, their loss, their wounds, their sexuality, their place, their heart, their shame, and their truth.”

I was one such early reader. But I think I was wrong. I think in this revolution, Amy’s creating an exodus, really. It may be MY journey. But it will be OUR exodus.

Dancing with Amy's words, I see it laid out like this:

The collection, the journey, the exodus, the revolution starts with a sigh. An awakening, really. A scan, an inventory of what’s here. Really here. Soft belly, stretch marks. This mysterious land with no map. To learn, by us, for us, from the inside. Oh, it’s THIS leg of the journey that we avoid. And many of us stop here. Stay here. Wishing there was a map. Sipping tea and shrugging shoulders with resignation. But when the tea’s gone cold and the prospect of not moving forward becomes unbearable, we rise from our chairs. And we walk to the edges of oblivion. To the depths beckoning to be explored. The wounds of broken spaces, Scabby places. We will smell the rotting of pain and taste the metallic blood of grief. We force ourselves to stay here, probing the toothache of the soul, because we know it’s here that the questions reveal their gold. And yes, we know they’ve locked people up for less. But we must keep looking ‘round corners to see what’s here. Twists and turns. Collars flipped up to guard our necks from the chill. Until we see the glow. There it is. What we’ve hidden for so very long. What we’ve silenced. What we’ve ignored. Our desires. Ready to be reclaimed. Ready to be chosen. Again and again. Ready to take us home.

Yeah. It’s like that.

It must be like that.

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I wanted to talk to my beloved friend (and this week, I'm thrilled to have her as my house guest!) Ronna Detrick about this business of wanting and owning our desires.

Here's the poem I've chosen to read and to discuss with her. May it lead you home.

Latent

The veil of ambivalence settles close to the skin when desire lies latent - tamped down by stories of excess and extravagance. Oh, she's too much, we say, all the while denying ourselves the permission we seek to want what we want without shame without fear without

 

Ahhhhh.

Please consider this questions and DO share in the comments (or over on my Facebook page for Amy and Ronna to see):

Who would you be if you could want what you want without shame, without fear, without...?

Thank you, Ronna. And thank you Amy, for the gifts upon gifts of this collection.

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Amy Palko is the creatrix of Red Thread Voices – a publishing house that aims to offer a home to the voice of exiled feminine, She is also a goddess guide, poet, photographer and lecturer whose work has been featured internationally. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and three teenage children, in their home that overlooks the deep harbour, and the wide mouth of the River Forth as it opens up to swallow the cold waters of the North Sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feedback needn’t be a slippery slope. It’s a gift.

I’ve been telling this story a lot lately…that’s usually a good cue for me to share it here with the intention that it serve you well. When I was first starting out as an Account Exec at a marketing/advertising agency, I had a client who became a pain in the ass. Or rather, the RELATIONSHIP became a pain in the ass.

The road to said asshood was long and wind-y, but we both contributed to the ultimate destination.

Big part of it was that my then boss wasn’t a huge fan of boundaries. And I knew precious little about exerting them. Which, as we know is the death knell of any good relationship.

This was a "sexy" client (read: big fish), so our orders were essentially to hand them the sun, the moon and the sky, nomaddawhat.

It started with the creation of a rebrand (and logo). Normally, you would start here with a couple of black and white options and build from there. Not so with this client. They wanted to start much, much further along. Colours, sizing, variations…all buttoned down right out of the gate. We tried to deliver. No matter how many times we were sent back to the drawing board, we were told by our boss to keep going until the client was 1000% satisfied. No small feat, as they made all decisions by committee.

I recall us creating an iteration that was exactly, precisely TO THE what they had asked for. It didn't look right, or even kind of close, or even decent, but we presented it anyway because we had learned the hard way by that time (round #34?) to show them EXACTLY what they wanted...nomaddawhat.

But by then, they were seriously pissed that we were still so off in our design approach. How could we present something that looked so awful? (Great question.)

No matter how loudly we protested that it was EXACTLY what they had asked for, the response we got back was infuriating:

"Your job is to engineer the solution to the challenge".

Asshat comment. AND completely right. It WAS our job. We got it right on logo #53.

Yep. #53.

When we finally started to do what we should have done in the first place: own our expertise and stand in it. The very reason we were hired in the first place.

Two things I learned then:

1) Relationships require boundaries that honour both parties. Shame on us for not having delineated ours and requested theirs.

2) My job as the service provider IS to make the client happy (within those respectful boundaries). 

3) Good feedback is a gift. One that we weren’t offered…nor did we really deserve it. We all behaved badly.

The subject of feedback, one I’ve been interested in for some time, came up in my Beyond Compare partner Lauren’s conversation with author, web designer and truly fabulous guy Paul Jarvis.

It was in the context of a discussion about evaluation. You see, one piece of our agenda with Beyond Compare is to help transform disdain (that quality of looking derisively down on someone) into the conscious critique of evaluation. (And transforming hero-worship into celebration...more on that another time).  

BeyondCompare-TheComparisonMatrix
BeyondCompare-TheComparisonMatrix

Disdain’s easy to understand…it’s the “I can only see your flaws and limitations and deny my own”. Rich and fertile ground for discovery, as you can imagine.

Evaluation’s trickier and the place where we tend to fumble. It’s the “I see your limitations and recognize that I have some too” place. It’s the place of feedback and the choice to engage critically with someone’s work without making them wrong. Assessment, debate and difficult conversations live here. For the benefit of both parties. Like I say, tricky.

So I totally appreciate the clarity and simplicity that Paul uses when he talks about working with his own clients as the creative. He does what my team ought to have lo those many years ago LONG before logo #1 was even imagined…he shares a one-pager with his clients to make sure the exchange of feedback is fruitful, nourishing and USEFUL for both parties. Efficient too.

His top 2 biggies for offering feedback if you’re the client?

#1 - Refer back to goals when asking for changes; and,

#2 - Don't be prescriptive - describe what isn't working and allow me to problem solve how to fix it.

Super clear. The client is the client and the creative is the creative and the work gets co-created in a place of mutual respect. (He shares much more about this in his upcoming course for creatives.)

Let’s face it. Feedback feels like it’s a slippery slope because we all come at giving and receiving it from a strong and defended (and defending) ego.

But it needn’t be.

When we can focus on the goals, see the inherent possibility of the gift of feedback and come at it from a place of compassion and mutual respect, we are really that much closer to bringing our very best EVERYTHING forward.

Which is what it’s about, non?

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The same old song: Our jobs as creators and fans.

If you’re a creator (and you are), your responsibility rests in finding your own edges. In staying open to the gifts that you will receive from the unimaginable source. In giving yourself wings - big flappy wing of expansion, and plenty of room. Taking off requires that. If you’re a fan (and you are), your responsibility rests in celebrating what you have appreciates about the artists’ work and to allow them their own space to evolve. It’s true, they may evolve beyond us and fly off to new places we don’t care to visit. It’s a risk we all must take together. It’s called progress.