SPEAKEASY: CREATIVE WRITING + SPOKEN WORD WORKSHOP

February 19, 2019

Last week, we joined forces with local spoken word artist Tomas Stanton to present our first Speakeasy at the Flowerlounge. A secret password was required to get in, people adorned themselves in black + gold and flower-powered mugshots were taken at the door ....

If you attended this event and want your high-res mugshot, go here!

During the Speakeasy, we sipped on Truth Tonics, felt the rain of truth on our faces as Truthteller Aura Mist infused the space, shared intimate stories from the heart, wrote poetry about our lives (revealing the kinds of things your bio wouldn't tell) + spoke them into the world.

This is the poem that sparked within me during the workshops:⁣⁣

my feet rest⁣
on the solid ground⁣
of this building⁣

where pillars of strength⁣
prop us up⁣
as we try to stretch ourselves⁣⠀
more intensely into who we are⁣

phoenix⁣

is my home⁣
I have spent 18 summers here⁣⠀
burning my hands⁣
on the steering wheel each time⁣
marveling how the exotic⁣
red bird of paradise⁣
goes into full flourishing bloom⁣⠀
under 115 degrees of flame⁣

phoenix⁣
is where I met my teachers⁣
began my formal path of purification⁣
faced my innermost demons⁣⠀
even threw a dinner plate at a concrete wall in the back alley⁣

it is where I opened my heart⁣
to the wild love + fire of alchemy⁣
where I learned to say goodbye forever⁣
dissolve relationships⁣
when they might harm me⁣
or release beloveds into freedom⁣

like one month ago⁣
when I witnessed the last breaths of⁣
my sweet dog, Joy.⁣
I brought her body to the furnace⁣
and afterward looked in wonder at her bones and was overwhelmed by⁣
the magic + beauty of life + death⁣

I imagine⁣
it’s because of the heat —⁣⠀
that phoenix⁣
is a place where you can see⁣⠀
horizon to horizon⁣

it calls you⁣
to go to the edges of yourself⁣⠀
with curiosity + an open heart⁣⠀
even when you are ablaze⁣
or consumed with smoke in your throat⁣

as the swelter of the struggle⁣⠀
forces you to melt⁣
into a puddle⁣

there is nothing for you to do⁣⠀
but drop to your knees⁣
lie back in surrender⁣
into a dissolution of yourself⁣

and as you⁣
look up at the sky⁣
the fire-breathing dragon⁣
of your pain⁣
is just a passing cloud⁣
as you see the vast expanse ...⁣⠀
freedom + wildness of who you are⁣
held gently in the container of your body⁣

and you?⁣
you’ve called yourself⁣
into this room⁣
because you are unafraid⁣
to walk on fire⁣
to eat flames
embody the phoenix
and become the sky

This mademoiselle (above) also shared her creative writing piece that evening! Esteve is a badass, quietly fearless. She's done several silent 10-day Vipassana retreats (no small feat! have to look at your own inner volcanos). She holds a high bar for her ASU students to truly learn & improve. And she's that rare kinda person who will be there for you even if you call her at 3am. Her integrity is rock solid & she's funny as hell. Imagine her reading the following poem in her cheeky French accent. ; )

Titled :: ⁣Phoenix First Time⁣⠀
⁣⠀
The first time I sat foot in Arizona, it was August 6th or 9th 2015, I don’t quite remember. I went straight from the airplane to the airport terminal, to the luggage carrousel, to the car. I only came outside miles later, in front of a restaurant downtown Phoenix. Chris, my lover who had just picked me up, was standing next to me.⁣⠀
⁣⠀
It was 11 am. The sun was high and hot. ⁣⠀
⁣⠀
As I came out of the car, I felt a deep dry warmth right away. My bones felt good. It was like a giant hug that touches every single bit of your body and soul. ⁣⠀
⁣⠀
It was good.⁣⠀
⁣⠀
I was like a cat, stretching every part of my body, from my feet on the concrete to my arms up in the air - tired by a 18h flights across the Pacific. I stayed there for 1 minute, enjoying the caress of the sun.⁣⠀
⁣⠀
After that minute, no more caress: the sun started burning. It burnt my feet, my shoulders and my neck.⁣⠀
I could feel the air burn my nostrils and suck up all the water in my body.⁣⠀
My mouth was dry.⁣⠀
My eyes couldn’t tear.⁣⠀
My eyelids, when closing, touched a warming up eyeball.⁣⠀
I passed my hands on my face: my earrings had become so hot, their touch left a red mark on my palm. ⁣⠀
Even my flip-flops looked like they were going to melt! ⁣⠀
The warm caress of the sun was now a suffocating and terribly-tight embrace.⁣

How was it possible? So much heat!

I had walked inside an oven. Each breath started to burn me deeper. From the nostrils to the throat, to the lungs. My skin got warmer and warmer.
“I am cooking; like a chicken!” I hurried inside the restaurant - oh solace! - and revived at the freezing contact of the air conditioning.
My skin got chilled; like a chicken’s.

Wow! So, THAT’s Arizona!

How can humans even live there?
This sun consumes.
In only a few minutes, it consumed me.
What about a lifetime? “This is Phoenix”

Or maybe it is me

I am not a chicken; I am a Phoenix

And as I burn, from my ashes, I will be born again.

For the entire gallery of photos from the Speakeasy Workshop + Writing Intensive, click here.

Huge thank you to Tomas Stanton for hosting wildly creative, fun + engaging workshops for our community at the Flowerlounge. Incredibly grateful for the insights sparked and connections shared. Follow his work + stay up to date on his workshops + spoken word performances here.

Special thanks to friends at Press for sponsoring the yummy wake-me-up coffee for our Speakeasy Intensive.

Love + flower petals,
Katie + the LOTUSWEI Team

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