Monthly Theme: Freedom

“I wanna change the world little by little, piece by piece.” These words are spoken by poetess Patience Briggs, who will feature a themed performance on freedom during the July Dharma Talk. Desert Song met Patience and her co-artists through association with Free Arts for Abused Children. These talented young people came through the Free Arts program and have artistically developed honest, stark depictions of life specific to their experiences in this world.

Freedom holds a different meaning for each of us. Join as Desert Song hosts a community gathering of raw, powerful, expressive spoken-word performance by a group of exciting youth artists. Freedom, in all of its many forms, is as complicated as our current society. The July Dharma Talk may seem a departure from the familiar formula of uplifting, positive exploration of a particular topic. This emotionally charged performance will offer glimpses into lives of our brothers and sisters that are city neighbors, but may be worlds apart in terms of life experiences. The intention of Desert Song is to honor all people and deepen our understanding of each other on this many faceted path. There is freedom inherent to our shared humanity.

There is a teaching offered by Thich Nhat Hanh that states, “Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice.” One of the many gifts of yoga in my life has been learning to recognize the living experience of my own personal truth, through which I am better able to recognize and honor the truth in others. My yoga practice has been a way of freedom, a way to cultivate a relationship with my deepest Self. My practice supports me in peeling away the layers of restriction, oppression, shoulds, guilt and shame that the simple act of living life can unknowingly pile high. I am learning to recognize the freedom I have in unpacking that giant suitcase of stuff. I can set it down. My hunch is, and experience tells me, that I am not alone in this recognition. This is one of the most beautiful aspects of our Desert Song community, sharing this journey towards freedom – practicing our wholeness.

As I agreed to facilitate the July Dharma Talk, I had no idea the depths to which I would be called to dig deep into my own experiences so that I could accurately and honorably support these youth in sharing their truths with the larger Desert Song community. I have been a social worker for fifteen years and seen life in both its most crude form and its most richly beautiful. Freedom contains the full spectrum of life experiences, the highs and the lows, the joy and the pain. It has felt important to acknowledge this reality and support these youth with an open heart and deep respect as they share an evening with our precious community.

Come experience freedom as an expression of the creative process seen through the eyes of three young millennials; a poet, a singer, and a musician. This evening of exploration invites the audience on a journey to look into the depths of what it means to be free and how that is unique to each of us. How this word can polarize and also unify; can limit, as well as elevate; can open our hearts and, with compassion, find gratitude through our shared expressions of freedom.

Jen White