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 ....
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
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
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
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
it’s because of the heat —⠀
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
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.
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