“Like attracts like. Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright. Automatically, as we shine who we are, asking ourselves every minute is this what I really want to do, doing it only when we answer yes, automatically that turns away those who have nothing to learn from who we are, and attracts those who do, and from whom we have to learn, as well.”
― Richard Bach, Illusions
Professional bios make me squirm. Sure, I have a list of accomplishments second-grade me would have been tickled pink (and confused) to list and pin up in a display box*, but when I really ask myself "who am I?" these aren't the things that first come to mind.
What does come to mind is that I create space for conversations that matter. I invite what's real. I revel in joy. I make things that are true and beautiful - - and that connect us meaningfully.
When I was baby Dela, I was an unstoppable artist. I would draw on anything, with anything. I could often be found, blue eyeshadow streaking my lids and my sister's much-too-large lace wedding pumps wobbling on both feet, playing Jem-and-the-Holograms-style faux-keyboard on the sewing machine lid while my sister sang her heart's thrills into a stapler. I would dance to no music in nothing but my Sunday tights. I would smile wide and toothy at strangers and sit, rapt, at even the most mundane of their life's stories. Life was enchanted.
As I aged, I felt much less enchantment and much more... expectation. By my early-twenties, signs began appearing in neon persistence that in my life Looking-good and Surviving were winning the internal battle against Freedom and Connection. I was disconnected from my creative core and my body, I didn't have a community of kick-ass people, and I was always seeking, never fulfilled. I had forgotten what was important in all the effort of acquiring comfort.
I chose to change my life.
Since that time, with the help of these persistent and kindly soul-konks from the universe, I've realigned my life. I divorced, gave most of my belongings away, moved to a nourishing home, overcame several defeating patterns in my life, refined and shifted my work, began a spiritual and yogic practice, chose a name that resonates deeply with me, quit a "dream job" and shifted my work again, spent six months blissfully job-free, met the love of my life and created an epic relationship, began writing and dancing again, traveledtraveledtraveled...
The list can go on and does. It sounds like a lot, fast, but, in fact, it felt more like the ease of reading a really wonderful poem. I was ready for these things to unfold. It all came from an urgent pull to be fully self-expressed.
I learned again that I'm an invitation. I'm a dancer. I'm an artist. I'm a writer. I'm whole. I dig freedom, I dig connection, and I dig slow.
And I belong in community.
I keep at it now, this care-taking of my spirit. I trust that my body knows the truth. I know that my joy comes from creating and collaborating with others. It comes from being who I want to be in each moment, and feeling how I want to feel. From this place, I act with pure intention and I have all I need. I live in simple abundance, following what feels right and letting flow my deepest desires. I am unapologetically me. And, most of the time, it feels fucking awesome.
i want you to feel fucking awesome, too.
Life can be so delightful and easy and luscious and meaningful when we allow it to be. And, damn, I want your life to be juicy as fuck! Why? Because I want the world to be filled with people so jazzed with life that they're shooting lightning made of candy from their ears. Because I want honest people in the world, who are doing real - really real - meaningful stuff in alignment with their deepest desires and in circles of people held tight by love. Because I want to live in a world that works, and does it with panache. I'm committed to that. And you're what hope looks like.
You are whole and creative, wise enough to know yourself and resourceful enough to realize what you want. I believe you have all that you need, so the experiences you find here are all offerings - not solutions.
You don't need me to get where you're going; you'll get there on your terms and in your time. But you don't have to do it alone. It's a hell of a lot more fun and happens more quickly when you have another bad-ass on your team - someone who groks you, stretches you creatively, tells you the truth, and is a stand for the world you want to create.
*second-grade dela's display box
For those who are interested, here's my professional alphabet soup:
- Executive Director, Friends of Congress Square Park, a gem of a park in the middle of Portland, ME's Arts District, generously offering a place to gather an meet community at all times - and free art and music programming Summer through Fall
- Partner with Nuf Sed, a communications and consulting boutique
- Trained in coaching through the Coaches Training Institute, an International Coach Federation accredited organization and one of the leading coaching schools in the world
- Graduate of the Coaches Training Institute's Co-Active Leader Program
- Studied Leadership and Organizational Studies through the University of Southern Maine, focusing my education in the areas of creativity, creative leadership, global strategy and human resource management
- Educated in experiential training and social change through various organizations including the Presencing Institute and Training for Change
- Graduate of the Landmark Forum, the Forum in Action Seminar, the Advanced Course, and the Communications Courses, through Landmark Education
- Former director of Leadership Maine and Leadership Maine: Education Leaders Experience, programs designed for organizational owners from all sectors
- Background includes over a decade of experience in areas including coaching, leadership development, deliberate creativity, community impact, economic development, strategy, communications, human resource management, training, and wellness
- Self-taught artist who has taken classes in everything from bookmaking to painting to creative writing to graphic design through schools including the John Herron School of Art at Indiana University/Purdue University, the Maine College of Art and the University of Southern Maine
- Co-founder and Board President of Portland Intown Contra Dance, a kick-ass dance community
- Board member of Mayo Street Arts & DownEast Friends of the Folk Arts