One in Three

The poster is here!

Please share!
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If you would like to get involved, please contact me at openheartspace9@gmail.com.

We are looking for performers, poets, speakers, flash mob dancers. Feel free to get creative and make your own sign. Like this one.
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And of course please follow us on Twitter @OBRTulsa

RISE RELEASE DANCE

ONE BILION RISING TULSA

ImageOne in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

That is one billion girls and women.

1,000,000,000

That is one billion too many.

When I stop and think about it, my heart sinks. I become emotional and enraged that we are not all on our knees begging for this insanity to stop.

I choose to Rise for Justice. I choose to Dance. I choose to celebrate women and girls. I choose to acknowledge their strength and their wisdom and their JOY. I choose to focus on what we can do to help.

We can gather together and we can make a lot of noise by dancing, singing, sharing our stories and of those who cannot share their own. We can make signs in protest AGAINST the status quo. We can register to vote, we can VOTE, and communicate with our representatives. We can raise money and give it away to the groups and organizations who fight daily to bring an end to the systematic violence perpetrated onto billion of girls and women, through unfair marriage mandates, child labor, sex trafficking, war, rape, legislation, incarceration and much more.

RISE | RELEASE | DANCE

ONE BILLION RISING

I hope you will get involved in the global movement to end rape culture in our world. I am making my best effort to provide an opportunity for us to do this in Tulsa. We will gather together and we will dance and raise our hearts and our voices.

Join the global movement from your workplace, from your house, your car, in the middle of the street, the public square, online and in your hearts on 2.14.14.

Join the LOCAL event on 2.16.14. All proceeds will be donated to local organization Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) and the alternative to prison program called Women In Recovery. Help us double what we raised last year!

PART 1: On Sunday 2.16.14 at 10AM-12PM we gather in a sacred spiral, for ecstatic movement meditation at Shedding Skins Sacred Sunday at The Fly Loft (117 N. Boston Ave downtown). Minimum donation is $10 to enter. We move in silence to a powerful playlist, inviting us to open our hearts and MOVE our feelings. No dance experience necessary.

PART 2: On Sunday 2.16.14 at 12PM-2PM we move outside to the Guthrie Green (111 E. Brady downtown). We will continue to RISE with protest signs, drums and dancing, poetry and readings, and the Break The Chain Flashmob dance.

Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter @OBRTulsa

If you would like to get involved, have questions, or would like to donate please contact Margaret at openheartspace9@gmail.com.

Support Local Art

I recently went to the theater. It was not your typical run of the mill theatrical experience. Yes, there was a stage, some actors, magical lighting, live original music, songs, a plot and some laughs. However, it is not the type of show you would see unless you tend to seek the weird, or roam a little off the beaten path.

The path to the Nightingale Theater is not so hidden actually. Having recently celebrated their thirteenth year at the current location, the Nightingale is home to Midwestern Theater Troupe, Horsemeat Flea Circus and the recently added The Calamities musical ensemble. According to the Tulsa Area Community Theater Alliance (TACTA), the theater is located “in a small industrial park on Fourth Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. One block East of Peoria, the theater borders both the East Village and downtown, and is easily accessible to the growing Brady District.”

While it may be on the physical map, at 1416 E. 4th street, it most definitely does not ring bells in people’s minds when they think of going to the theater. And why not? Theater, as an art form, begs the questions…what is beautiful? Or better yet, what is meaningful? The answer to these questions might reside in obscurity.

Baby Fat swoons

Baby Fat swoons in “The Method and the Madness”

This play that I went to last night, called “The Method and The Madness,” certainly got me thinking about these questions. Written by Paco Ortega, a pen name of Tulsa playwright, actor and director Joseph Gomez, is first and foremost a love story and that came through loud and clear. Look a little beneath the surface and you will find a story about a man, once broken by love and life, and his off and on mental instability. In an interview with the Tulsa World, Gomez commented that, “the tone of the show is largely comic – the better to deal with some of the more serious issues and ideas contained within the story.”

To be honest, it took me a minute to get over the initial shock in the first Act of seeing Paco’s brains splatter painted onto the backdrop. Suicide is nothing to take lightly and for the most part I do not subscribe to absurdism . But I had no choice. As soon as the first musical number started up, I was caught up, and I didn’t stop chuckling till the end.

“Love Blisters” performed by the whole cast had me smiling. “Drag the River” about the missing girl, Bessie, displayed real parental heartache. Honoring the Nightingale Theater’s innate ability to make anyone feel at home, especially those with creative talents, “Circus Girl” and “Swing Out Wide,” were both clever numbers full of rhymes, colorful costumes and fun choreography. The entire cast rose to the occasion, never dropping a bit on its face, always standing strong, even when faced with complicated tongue twisters or iambic pentameter.

I think it was the duet “Cow” between Paco, played by Gomez himself, and Bessie, played by Cassie Hollis, which really got to me. I am a sucker for love songs and this one was smart and well executed, as the two characters shared why they love each other so much. Their relationship borders on the demented and somehow Gomez makes that seem sweet. Because, why can a crazy person not know how to love?

Johnny Eyeball in “The Method and the Madness”

Of course it wouldn’t be a Gomez play or a Nightingale production if there weren’t some raunchiness thrown in for the fun of it. Numbers like Paco’s “Here For The Chicks” and “I Wanna Fuck You,” by Johnny Eyeball played by Chris Williams will for sure test your sensibilities.

In the midst of these musical numbers and slapstick comedy, is something real. And this is where the reason for the blog comes in. As with most creative endeavors, the good ones anyway, in between the lines lurks a message. If it weren’t for Art and Audience, what a sad and drab world this would be. The ability to laugh at ourselves, our failures and our breaks, is tantamount to surviving this existence. If you or someone you know struggles to conform to society’s cookie-cutter, homogenous, sterilized and overly perfect mandate, consider telling them about a really cool project that supports artists with “mental illness.” Check out Icarus Project.

I just wanted to say how proud I was of Joseph for putting himself out there, naked, for all of us to see, and for doing it in a way that dresses up the madness, without covering it up.

Gomez calls the Nightingale Theater his creative home. I know why. I would not be who I am today if it was not for the good graces of the Midwestern Theater Troupe, casting me in performances a decade ago when what I needed most on my journey was to laugh at myself amidst family and friends. So, if you care about Art and you believe it comes from a deep and sometimes dark place, go and support live theater, live music, original visual art and spoken word. These people bare all so we may grasp what goes on inside the mind.

The Method and The Madness” is one such opus. And hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.

‘THE METHOD AND THE MADNESS’

When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Aug. 2-3 at 8pm

Where: Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St.

Tickets: $10 at the door.

Why I want to break the silence about domestic violence…

ImageToday, on the planet, a billion women – one of every three women on the planet – will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, and friends violated. In the United States it is one out of four women.

I am personally invested in breaking the silence about this alarming and tragic statistic. When I was just a young woman in high school, I experienced a date rape. Back then I didn’t think to tell anyone and more than that, I blamed myself and hence suffered from shame and depression for years.

Because of my low self-esteem, I found myself desperate to belong and I ended up getting mixed up with a very unhealthy religious sect that sought to control me through physical, verbal and emotional abuse. They lead me to believe that suffering was what their God wanted from me. I was scared and broken. It was five years before I left and began my healing process.

People often wonder why women stay in abusive relationships. It is complicated and it takes compassion and true curiosity to begin to understand the dynamics involved in such an unhealthy relationship. Abusers are very savvy about who they choose to abuse. It is a usually subtle at first and progressive, only later resulting in physical abuse well into the relationship.

Author Leslie Morgan Steiner says, the first step in an abusive intimate relationship is “to seduce and charm the victim.”

For starters, many women who end up stuck in an abusive intimate relationship or marriage were abused as children by a family member or friend. But not true for all abused women.

I believe that violence of any kind is part of a cycle that includes shame. Until we bring it out of the closet, talk about it and resolve to address the systemic factors, we will live with it.

Many times the abuse is never physical. Husbands worldwide control their wives financially preventing their wives from obtaining an education or from pursuing a career. This very tactic is one of the reasons why women have difficulty leaving. If she has no way of earning money, she stays bound for survival. Verbal and emotional abuse takes its toll and a woman who is beaten down in spirit has forgotten that she has intrinsic worth as a member of our human family.

Steiner writes in her book, that the second step is “to isolate the victim.”

It isn’t until the abuser introduces the third step, “threat of violence,” that things begin to get scary. Even then some women don’t know that they are stuck in a “carefully laid, physical, financial and psychological trap,” says survivor and writer Leslie Morgan Steiner.

People who ask, why does she stay? Why doesn’t she just leave? Are in a way, blaming her. Most people don’t know this, but the most dangerous thing a women can do is to try to leave.

The final step in the pattern is “to kill her.” Over seventy percent of DV murders happen after the relationship has ended.

This is why we must beak the silence. Abused women need help to talk to their neighbors, friends, family members, coworkers.

It is time to tell the truth about domestic violence.

On February 14th, 2013, Eve Ensler has invited us to walk out, DANCE, RISE UP, AND DEMAND an end to this violence. One Billion Rising is a promise that we will rise up with women and men worldwide to say, “Enough! The violence ends now.”

I am organizing a dance event. We will raise our voices by moving our bodies and say to our community that violence against women and girls, is unacceptable.

Sign up on the One Billion Rising event page: http://www.onebillionrising.org/page/event/detail/startarising/wdc

Check out our Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/109748405872133/?fref=ts

Together we will RISE UP and move into a new paradigm where women’s voices are heard and we no longer stand for abuse and rape and violence of any kind.

So, what is permaculture anyway?

It occurred to me after I posted the last entry on Rainwater Harvesting: A Bottom-Up Approach, that some of my readers may not know anything about permaculture. I decided to write briefly here about what I have learned and why I am excited to learn more.

When I lived in Salvador, Brazil I made friends with two lovely ladies named Elicia and Rachel. Together they are the founders of Youth Art Haven, which is grounded in permaculture and its ability to heal the human spirit while providing essential life skills. Since returning to Oklahoma I have been waiting for permaculture to present itself so I could learn more for when I return to Brazil. Nearly five years later I finally meet Samuel Sneller. Sam is one-third of a green start-up company in Tulsa. Green Country Permaculture is doing so many cool things. Check their website to find out more about them. I am so blessed to have Sam in my life and am loving what I am learning.

I want to live a life based on three simple ethics, which are at the core of permaculture: (1) Care for the earth, (2) Care for people and (3) Sharing the surplus. The main tenet of this design science is that nature is the model for everything. We look to and for connections and flows; where things are in relationship to one another. Permaculture seeks to carry a low carbon footprint by favoring biological resources over heavy fuels and chemicals. By celebrating diversity resilience abounds.

This idea of mutually beneficial relationships is key and by working with nature, nature will work with us. I think we can all agree that we are part of nature. Somehow many of the systems we depend on have lost this connection: our food system, our education system and our governments. All of these infrastructures have become so complicated that they are in danger of collapse, just as any ecosystem is when it becomes overloaded, overused, abused and/or neglected.

Permaculture is about sustainability. This no-till method of gardening, aerates the soil before planting, and continues to feed and water trees, shrubs, and plants while they grow. Essentially it is a drought prevention method of farming. Low inputs (fertilizers, chemicals, labor) with high and healthy results. Now, that is my kind of living. We can apply this to life in general. Give your relationships what they need, invest in them and they will be abundant and healthy without a lot of drama.

Which brings me to my next point. Permaculture is not only about farming. Initially, a design science with its concentration on agriculture, permaculture is an idea that works for many systems. It is also about human relationships. In my research I came across the idea of Social Permaculture.  This year I have been reflecting a great deal on living and working in community. I love it when everything I need to learn about just comes to me. I must be on fertile ground!

There is so much more I could say about this subject, but I will end with challenging you to find out more, and better yet, to incorporate what you learn about it into your own life. Most importantly, pass it on…….

Water Harvesting: A Bottom-Up Approach

When I teach about the planet to young children we discuss how miraculous it is that just enough rain falls from the clouds onto Earth. We discuss how it masterfully recycles from the rivers and oceans back up into the atmosphere, ready to be used again as rainfall. They totally get it and they know how amazing it is.

A few years ago I began questioning why this system was no longer efficient. Why do some places have too much water at times, while others suffer from drought? Water is an essential resource and yet humans seek to control it, profiteer from it and even fight over it.

My interest in water and sustainable practices for its use has remained at the center of things I think about regularly. I began researching water practices in the good ‘ol US of A and was surprised that more people do not harvest their own rainwater for grey water uses like watering the lawn when temperatures are scorching. I also learned that in some states it is illegal to capture rain on your own property. What?

Luckily for us it is not against the law to harvest rainwater in the state of Oklahoma. The most common method of capturing rain is from your rooftop and into a 55 gallon drum or a store-bought barrel. ** Oklahoma ranks 30th in annual precipitation, with 36” per year. In the number one place is Hawaii, which receives an average of 60 inches/year. Nevada ranks 50th with only 9” per year. You can calculate the amount of rain you can expect to collect every year with an easy formula:

Collection Area (sq. ft) x Rainfall (in/yr.)  / 12 (in/ft) = Cubic Feet of Water/Year
Cubic Feet/Year x 7.43 (Gallons/Cubic Foot) = Gallons/Year.
* For example, a 500 sq. ft roof that gets 36 in/yr. will produce 1,500 Cubic Feet or 11,145 Gallons of water per year. 

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My roommates and I have installed rainwater barrels to capture the water that falls from our roof during a rain.

Rainwater is clean and abundant.  This works beautifully. The only problem is that we it costs money to create the system (about $100 for two barrels) and we also have to wait for the rains, and unfortunately we aren’t getting much rain so far this summer. So, what can we do as an alternative to the typical barrel approach?

Recently, I attended a workshop called “Where There Is Water, There Is Life,” hosted at the awesome 306 Phoenix House. It is a community gathering space and often hosts informative and fun workshops that serve to enliven and empower both individuals and the Tulsa community. We love the Phoenix House!

The workshop, presented by Green Country Permaculture (GCP), was part theory and part experiential. James Spicer and Samuel Sneller gave us a basic understanding of the water situation in Green Country, what threatens it and what we can do about it on an individual level.

We were told that when the demand for water goes up too much or too fast, the ecosystem cannot repair itself. A common side effect of population growth is the contamination of the water supply, which results in a need for chemicals and energy usage. An increase in phosphorus levels dissolves the oxygen, which culminates in a total collapse of that ecosystem. Pollution from runoff, cattle and chicken operations and other industrial processes, all threaten to collapse our water supply.

What’s the solution? A bottom-up approach. Limit the consumption and diversify the sources from which we draw our water.

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James Spicer and Sam Sneller of GCP with workshop participants after digging the first swale.

 

Swales are essentially ditches. This method is used to hydrate your landscape without the need for money or materials or labor time to move the water to your garden. By rehydrating your soil with water from the ground up, you give it life. In this way, swales actually recharge the groundwater system. You can think of it as a “slow approach with a long-term investment,” says James Spicer of GCP. Individual swales contribute to a reduction in water usage from lakes and reservoirs.

If we all do our part to limit the use on the water supply, by capturing rainwater we reduce usage and reduce the need for chemicals to clean the water. It all starts with education and I am so grateful for the abundance of knowledge in the Tulsa community with start-ups like Green Country Permaculture and for places like 306 Phoenix House who open their doors with open hearts.

* Source: http://www.keepoklahomabeautiful.com/rainwater-harvesting

** Source: http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/US/average-annual-state-precipitation.php