As I get older, I find that truly profound experiences leave me literally speechless. Words cannot express the feelings and emotions.  This was my experience today, as I tried to understand the experiences of this past weekend attending the XI Encuentro Indigena de las Americas-XI Native Gathering of the Americas.

I have incredible gratitude to the Delegates, Elders and Tribal Members, who shared their rituals, stories, dances, and hopes and dreams with those of us non-indigenous people in attendance. To allow us to be a part of your conference, was an incredible honor, and one I will always hold sacred. 

Kiauhi de Mexico, and her Mother dress for the evening dance 


What is truly amazing is how complete strangers can form deep bonds, even when there is a struggle to speak one another's languages. Perhaps it is just this part, the willingness to try and understand and learn from one another, that creates the intense connection.  

My heart was heavy, as I said goodbye early to the Delegates we hosted-Humberto de Puerto Rico and Alejandro de Costa Rica-due to a winter storm warning. I have so much gratitude to both of them for letting me practice my broken Spanish and to Humberto and my friend Anne (who also hosted Delegates), for helping me to communicate, when needed. If you look at the smiles on both these GENTLE-men's faces, you will know their hearts. Both of them are fabulous story tellers, with a wonderful sense of humor. 

Alejandro Y Humberto. We woke to snow yesterday, which was a treat for both of them! 

This morning, I felt as if I was in a fog. I was not completely grounded and knew that I needed to head into the studio to work through my emotions. I was grateful to have the time, as I had not booked clients, expecting to still be hosting. The familiar internal tension was present, an urgency of sorts, letting me know that the simmering had begun. So many feelings were stirring inside, I tried to write about the experience, but nothing came; only single words. I knew it was about trusting the images to help me integrate. 

The time spent preparing the paper and the studio, is almost a ritual. The act of preparation allows the images to stew, eventually surfacing, revealing the images. As I put things in order, I know if I relax and trust, I the images will appear. Once the canvas is ready, I reach for the first color, pick up a brush and…LISTEN. 

This is what appeared today. It is the beginning of a story…



3 Responses

  1. Sheri, this post is so inspiring in so many ways. I am writing a piece of fiction about a Chippewa man who is a wood-carver and a harbormaster. He seems real to me now, though I only know a handful of Native Americans. I also agree that different cultures really help me understand my own better. My friends from Brazil, Kenya, Japan and India all make my life richer. I also start out an art session sorting, making space, throwing out old paper palettes and brooding. Then the art comes to me. Again, great post! Way to go Feisty Woman!

  2. Thank you so much Katrina. I would love to read your story when you are ready to share it with the world. It sounds beautiful. It’s important while we are in the birthing process to keep our creations sacred.
    The clearing of the studio for what is to come is almost a meditation. It’s great to know this is your ritual too.
    BIG HUG and thank you for commenting!!!

  3. Sheri, I have the first 3 small bits of my story on my blog under portfolio and novel in progress. Thank you for sharing and being such an encouraging voice for all of us in the art community.