Next Portland speaker
AUGUST’S THEME IS JUSTICE
Justice can be a path to healing in fractured times.
When we envision moments related to justice, we often think of suits, a gavel hitting the surface of a desk, or people marching in the streets. Change happens when enough people raise their hand to work together.
Author Omid Safi wrote, “Justice is love, embodied. We cannot speak of love without linking it to justice, nor of justice unless it is permeated by love.” Justice is restorative when empathetic and innovative solutions are brought to the forefront.
Through generous listening, we all hold the ability to form moments where people can feel safe, strong, and at ease.
JULY’S THEME IS END
Ends are unique opportunities in disguise. They allow us to make meaning out of our past relationships, experiences, projects, and seasons in life.
On the other hand, beginnings are romanticized and energize us to envision all the impressive things we will do. Headlines celebrate the latest rising startup or ‘it’ destinations travelers must see.
But reaching the end of something can also carry meaningful joy. Author Wes Moore once talked about the difference between our jobs and our work. Moore said, “Your goal should never be to start something. Your goal should be to end things.”
When we truly fulfill an ending, it reflects growth and real change. We can create projects to end loneliness, walk away from empty relationships, change habits, or choose a different career trajectory.
The secret about 'the end’ is that it actually contains countless possibilities.
JUNE’S THEME IS WONDER
Our sense of wonder is the code for tapping into our most creative selves. It enables us to expand our horizons and encounter parallel universes that haven’t been explored yet.
According to the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” By drawing us out of our typical patterns, wonderment reconnects us with our ability to marvel at new and beautiful things.
We all have the capacity for wonder; but why do we lose sight of it?
As our lives get busier, we tend to streamline our schedules and relationships to become more efficient. We want to know what will happen and when it will happen. But extraordinary things occur if we make room for the unexpected.
When we leave space in our plans, we create magical conditions for our imagination and thoughts to collide with one another. And it is from these sparks that our best ideas are born.
MAY’S THEME IS PRESERVE
The beauty in our world deserves to be cherished, sustained, and rediscovered. We share this life, and every day we have the opportunity to act as thoughtful participants in it.
What do we care about? What do we take for granted? Would we miss it if it disappeared?
Preservation begins with asking deep questions and turning our attention to the environment around us.
Marine biologist and explorer Sylvia Earle wrote in her book, The World is Blue, “Should we race to see how quickly we can consume the last tuna, swordfish, and grouper? Or race to see what can be done to protect what remains? For now, there is still a choice.”
Our daily habits are a mirror reflecting back what we truly care about. Our actions are key to protecting the wellbeing of our communities, cities, and planet.
Pause for a moment to notice what is being neglected and take an audit. We can break out of patterns, simplify our lives, and focus on the things that will last a long time.
Together, we can chart a brighter path into the future.
APRIL’S THEME IS INCLUSIVE
When different people come into our lives, they bring gifts.
We can blend the best of our wisdom with the best of theirs. We can teach and learn from each other to produce closer circles that foster community and commit to diversity. People who include with intention, raise their hand to do the work of embracing what is unfamiliar.
Inclusion is an attitude to consciously be open to ideas that come from outside of our settled ways of thinking or feeling. It’s about making a decision that comes from a place of love, of caring for others.
When you place inclusivity at the center of how you live, it has great power to heal, elevate new voices, and change the narrative of who belongs. As diversity advocate Vernā Myers once said, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
MARCH’S THEME IS WATER
It’s the main source of all life. The lifeblood element that makes up 60% of our bodies.
It’s the liquid that we don’t drink enough of, yet waste effortlessly.
It’s home to millions of species, mysteries, and undiscovered knowledge.
We know more about the stars in the sky than the depths of our oceans.
We can use it to save lives. If used foolishly, it can take lives.
We think there is an abundance, yet only one percent can be touched. If we don’t protect our waters, then what will happen to life?
FEBRUARY’S THEME IS SYMMETRY
What do a planet, an attractive face, and a snowflake have in a common? Symmetry.
Symmetry is prevalent throughout life. You can fold a sunflower in half, stories have an arc, and the human body can bend and create mesmerizing shapes. There are also irregularities that enhances life; it adds beauty and complexity. If there’s symmetry in nature, then there must be a kind of symmetry in the way we lead our lives.
Symmetry cannot be possible without asymmetry, the same way sadness magnifies joy.
Alan Lightman wrote in The Accidental Universe, “I would claim that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in.” But chaos will happen whether we like it or not, it’s how we respond to it that either creates order or more chaos.
When in chaos, create your symmetry.
CreativeMornings Portland is back.
We hope you’re ready to help us get this going again. Because it’s not just an event. It’s a community.
And it doesn’t exist without you. (Or without coffee.)
Join us at our first event of the year on Friday, January 25 at 8:30 a.m., hosted by Portland Center Stage at The Armory.
Bring a friend. Drink coffee. Be inspired. Meet new folks. And most importantly, take the experience with you into the world when you leave.
You can RSVP starting Monday, January 21 at 9 a.m. Don’t worry—we’ll send a reminder.
This is a brand new volunteer team and we’re learning as we go. We’re still looking for:
- Event photographer(s) for January, February & March events
- Coffee and breakfast sponsors
Are you interested in helping out? Know someone who might be? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
We can’t wait to meet you.
JANUARY’S THEME IS SURREAL
When you look at the artwork of Frida Kahlo or Salvador Dalí, there’s an element of surprise. Why does it feel familiar yet also otherworldly?
Surrealists sought to break free from the shackles of the rational mind and dive into the deep end of the unconscious. The canvas, then, became a mirror for what emerged out of that process. This movement was inspired by events in the 1920s on the heels of the first world war and continues to influence artists, writers, photographers, and filmmakers. This cultural and artistic movement ushered in new techniques that helped humans expand their minds.
Today, we recognize a sense of the surreal in unexpected moments in daily life. Art exhibits like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room are becoming readily available, encouraging people to immerse themselves in experiences that break reality. A ballet performance or a silent meditation retreat can be a dreamlike experience.
Whether we experience a surreal moment or dabble in processes like drawing without thinking or writing without self-editing, there’s something to be learned about ourselves and what lingers under the hood of our desires to keep life orderly and controlled.
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the amazing people in the creative community.
Rebecca Gates is a prolific musician, curator, artist and audio editor. She has released five albums, toured internationally and appeared as a vocalist on numerous records, and she has been featured as an artist all over the US. We got a chance to ask Rebecca a few questions about travel, collaboration, and her creative process.
See Anthony Georgis’ photos and the interview below.
How do you balance all your creative roles? Do you place your energy and attention on one of those more than the others?
I think of my work as united by sound, listening, and geographies. The geography might be landscape, architecture, communities, corporeal, or emotional. So, it’s not really a question of balance of separate practices, as much as where the focus of my inquiry or action lands at any point. It’s imperative for me to maintain an active intellectual practice as well as a more ambiguous sensory based one, and the threads of different creative roles allow that, informing each other and my process as a whole. I’ve worked to move beyond being solely identified as a musician, as I’ve found it can limit (because of other’s perspectives) my opportunities to participate in projects I find compelling. That said, without playing, singing or writing, I lose access to my core point of orientation. Once when I was fretting how to quantify my experience a designer friend of mine said, “You navigate the hyper-local to the global”. It’s all about breath!
As someone who’s involved in more than one creative discipline, how do you stay grounded and focused on projects while traveling also seems to be a big part of your artistry?
It is an exercise in presence and discipline. The beauty of a creative practice is the opportunity to embrace complexity. That said, I constantly work to calibrate my organizational, producer, scrutinizing inclinations with my muse-y, quiet, observational, thoughtful ways. Regarding travel, I love being completely present in a moment, amid the dynamics of a space or group of people, and I think well in motion, in liminal modes. Though travel might bring complications, it offers access to a personal creative space as well as a chance to learn from a wide range of experiences. I’ve toured off and on for many years. The life of a touring musician means we have to learn to be on the move for work, we just have long commutes.
What’s your dream project (and/or who's your dream project collaborator)?
What a terrific question! I am fortunate to have collaborated in a number of disciplines with great, talented people. Oh dear, that list is long. It ranges from vocalists I’d like to sing with to any number of designers, architects, policy-makers…. I’m currently thinking about the intersection of civics, infrastructure and sound based work, who wants in on that?
What is one thing you need in order to keep doing what you’re doing? (This might be something you already have or it may be something you are still looking for.)
Being careful I don’t support a one-sided share economy, a.k.a. money. That might seem flippant but isn’t meant to be.
A close second is the freedom to ask “Why?” and “How?” and “Why not do it better?” and “Why do it that way?”
What are your thoughts on time-travel?
The current moment and the moment where we can shift experience and opportunity are the most fascinating. I enjoy studying history but have no desire to go back, or forward. If someone will get on developing a sci-fi transporter and bring it to life, I’m all for it. As much as I adore the interlude and exposition that movement provides, there are times I’d jump at the chance to sparkle travel in seconds. So, maybe not a lot of thoughts on time-travel, but very clear desires for travel time.