Author Archives: joanbechtwillette

“Celebrating Queens Women Artists”

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http://www.queenscouncilarts.org/calendar/2017/2/8/celebrating-queens-women-artists
   I am so blessed to know so many talented women artists. It has been three year journey uncovering my creative venues, that have transformed my life!  I have always been an avid reader, writer and creative arts person in my classroom and in my home.  I grew up with a tribe of creative painters, teachers, crafters and musicians in my childhood home.
  My talents and secret creative dreams remained in the confines of my heart and home for decades!  I was so busy with juggling family, career and community for decades, that I had little time to ponder and create our into the world.
   The I left my full time career and marriage and embarked on an amazing solo adventure of creativity!  Suddenly I was whisked into the heart of the Queens Arts scene by “The Rebel Poet of Queens” Audrey Dimola – who introduced me to so many reading and open mic venues – to read my freshly minted pages aloud, on stage and in public!  Hoong Yee Krakauer- Director of the Queens Council on the Arts mentored me and welcomed me with open arms into the plethora of artist workshops and performances at her venue.  Yvonne Shortt, an innovator and director of RPGA awarded me my first grant – to create poetry in Socrates Park for community members. Mari Fernandez- founder/producer filmed and televised me for my for TV show on QPTV.
  I started “The Enchanted Goddess: Literary Creative Arts Series” two years ago. So many women read, wrote, shared and collaborated in community.  Jennifer, May, Lucy, Sikeea, Sanyukta, Tania, Christina… all writers, artists, phographers and musicians sat down together sharing their dreams and creative visions!
  And now we have “Celebrating Queens Women Artists” performance to celebrate all these creative goddesses!  I am bursting with such love and gratitude for all these amazing women who create, collaborate and celebrate together!

For more info: http://www.queenscouncilarts.org/calendar/2017/2/8/celebrating-queens-women-artists

Astoria Characters: The Enchanted Goddess | The Huffington Post

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http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5884cc77e4b0d96b98c1dd26

A Dream Come True”

  I am so blessed to have an amazing and inspirational community behind me! My family and friends have been so supportive!  This is the year where seeds burst through the ground and take flight – “The Enchanted Goddess: Literary Creative Arts Series.”  Women are growing, awakening, collaborating and creating. This has been my dream for decades, after a decades long as a Public School Teacher. The skill set morphs and alchemizes!  To be continued…..

“Crossroads”

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This is 2017.  A time for reflection.  This street art piece, by Audrey Dimola, speaks to me.  We can all be spectacularly unique, fluid and changing, but still be complete in this very moment in time. Yet the masterpiece of me and you, are definitely works in progress.

 

Me, as I know me, is a beautiful midlife creative writer, mother, teacher, lover, friend and bridge builder. I have been this masterpiece all my life! As the decades march on, I still embody all these roles of being. Spectacularly, I might add. And so do all of you!

 

Take a peek behind the curtain of your life. Look at how “12 years old” you are in so many aspects of your life! This is where the “alchemy” comes in your “work in progress” parts of your life.

A new career, an empty nest or a divine unrest stirs. Impetus for broad brush strokes of new living, loving and creating are in the air! Do you dare to look under the bed?

 

Will it herald an invitation to dance to write a book, start a new business, settle old business, a love affair with yourself or another, a new creative venture, tango lessons, an excursion to Bali…..

 

Well, after decades of full time teaching, I did. I opened that door. I left a marriage I had outgrown. My divine daughter was grown and on her own path. I left a career overcome with layers of bureaucracy. I bought my own home of belonging, in Queens (of course!) I took classes, did various odd jobs of teaching gigs and started to write and actively create. I was finally “allowed out to play” in my life.

 

A new fresh creative community of friends and mentors entered my life. Rekindling of tried and true long term friendships with new adventures ensued. Dancing, dating and blue hair with bohemian flair graces my new life. Open Mic’s, gallery shows, artist events galore knock at my door.

 

With rapidly beating heart, I curated and hosted my first show “Celebrating Queens Women Artists” last March. It was a smashing success, in which the artists were celebrated in local TV and print media!  I  am also starting to write my first book “The Enchanted Goddess of Queens.” Just jumping into the deep end of the pool, I am!

 

Within the first year , after leaving my career, I published several pieces of work, was featured in “The NYC Poetry Festival” “Queens Lit Fest” and on QPTV shows “The World of Art” and “ArtistSpace” as well as received my first QAI Grant. I also started “The Enchanted Goddess: Literary Creative Arts Series.” Not bad for a “work in progress!”

 

In the second year I started “The Enchanted Goddess Performance Revue Series.” I was published in another book, “These Winter Months.” I hosted several other shows and started a creative collaborative group. Oh, and did I tell you – I went to Venice (alone) on a writing conference!  It was transformative!

 

I know that you can do this too! Life is an adventure, if you dare to dive in. The “forever young” are the bold of heart – like us! Being a work in progress, is a great place to be – flexible, sensual, open, adventurous and endlessly creative. That is how malleable our lives are.

So what colorful brushstrokes are you going to use, with this great big wonderful masterpiece of your life?

“A Man with a Mission”

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A life so full with family, health and friends

That approaching ninety is not the end.

That you can live a rich full life,

And embrace hope, with a second wife.

Dad marches across the decades seamlessly,

While being strong and vital effortlessly.

His tribe of eight watch in wonder,

As he runs around and has optimism without conundrum.

That doesn’t often takes place,

Of a person occupying this age parking space.

He drives cross country and travels,

With memories of forty years with my mom, he does not unravel.

Leading the way,

By facing each new day,

With a fresh start in his heart.

A father’s wisdom does he lovingly impart.

I find answers to the reasons

Of the ways into all the seasons,

Of major changes of home, career and heart.

And gives us courage for our own fresh starts.

In life, health and love,

Anchored with prayers from above.

With his steely Taurus resilience conquers all the phases,

Of stunning losses and life changes.

His eternal youth cultivated by Joan, his loving spouse,

Has given him great health and a beautiful house.

With satisfying longevity 

He has blessed us with many decades of levity.

As a career educator well into his eighties,

Half of his children followed in his footsteps gratefully.

Into such a satisfying career,

Into the future we did not fear.

We are blessed by his ongoing legacy,

Running around way past seventy,

As a happy octogenarian!

Thank you Dad for forging the way, we love you always!

Loss and Light 

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Photo credit: screenshot from FB video of SARK

This is one of the most profound, loving and joyous tributes to the physical loss of a soulmate, by Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy for her beloved John Waddell, (video is on SARK’s FB page.) Her words of courage, that conveyed a deeply spiritual connection, that goes beyond this life.

  

  Susan spoke with such tenderness, clarity and humor. She is a light bearer to what transpires when a loved one dies. I am so moved by her words. She gives us all hope – with a new lense to bring joy and transcendence to this baffling transition for us all. She wrote a brilliant book, “Glad No Matter What” several years ago, that provide comfort and insight to millions.

  Susan spoke of being a “Greening Window” versus a “grieving widow.” John’s wishes were to have Susan honor her joy through the process. To wear bright colors, crack jokes (ei. “There are advantages to being in a relationship in the non-physical…) and to celebrate the ongoing love relationship with her beloved.

  What a fresh uplifting shift of perception on death -to accept and experience love from beyond. Wow!!!  She also talked about the “Sudden Villages” (coined by France’s Weller) that form, surrounding the passing of a loved one and their families of belonging. I am so moved by the love and joy that is commingled with the pain of loss.
  Her new book, cowritten with her beloved John, “Succulent Wild Love” was just released in 2015. Susan continues on her journey of love with John, in life, in her teachings and in new adventures. Follow her, she is wise and so “grace under fire.” We can learn and grow, by her experiences.
   I have spoken personally via telecasts, with Susan and John during the past two years. What an honor and privilege it has been! I have basked in their joy of creating and giving love creatively and in community. I have reaped the benefits of opening my own heart to love again and heartily and hungrily embrace the six habits of their book, “Succulent Wild Love.”  It’s a must read for all of us, it lights the way, as no other can!

   I am humbled, deeply grateful and in awe of these gifted, loving and wildly creative souls. An earthquake of recognition, that “Love is forever” and reaches from beyond our physical states is huge! We are so blessed by Susan and John’s ongoing celebration of love! 

“Don’t Let Them Take Away Your Light!”

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“Don’t let them take away your light” is a very powerful statement, artistically depicted by Audrey PeterPan Dimola “The Rebel Poet of Queens!” When I saw this urban inspiration – I had to spontaneously embrace it and jump in! Luckily, my friend NiirmalDev Mari (extraordinary artist and producer of Empyre Media Studios) caught the magical moment on film!

   Art does that to you! It brings joy and inspiration- like the cycle of life! That magical state was re-remembered in my cells! I always felt that, even as a little girl, that I was not to be “shut down” “toned down” or to follow “the status quo.”  

  I believed in magic, faeries, saints and Angels were lighting the way within me. During the dark times, trying times, playful times, and no turning back times – they were there. The eternal “pilot light of the soul” never extinguishes. Ever.

   Ou culture teaches us to “hide our light under a bushel basket.”  This especially applies to women. Men can strut out their trophies of accomplishment on the field or in the boardroom. Women demur, and “take one for the team” at work, in relationships and in their families.

  Women support others, and rarely take credit for the feats they accomplish on the job or in their family management. This bites. We need to stand up and own our light! We empower our daughters, sisters, friends all around us. 

  

We are creatrixes at the matrix of society. We hold full time careers, run homes and do community service and shine, seamlessly.

  Let’s get out there and be brave and be trailblazers.  Nobody can shut down the light of our souls.  It is our guiding force. Where do you think your intuition comes from? Or flashes of brilliance? Stoke the fires and don’t let anybody dim your hopes or dreams. They are yours. Carpe diem.

    In my life, with loss of loved ones, career changes, divorce, illness, crippling disappointments and derision – that light led the way. I never gave up hope. I have seen the other side of apocalypse and yes, there is life and light! Our light lights the way. It is our redemption.

   Take a long deep look into your eyes. Find that defiant 10 year old with the indomitable spirit, that is still you. Look at the light in the eyes of her soul and harness that. Go after that job of your dreams, go back to school, find love in all the right places. The path is lit from the light of your soul. 

Take a chance. We’ll do it together!  

Creativity Transforms Lives

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   A compelling and heart wrenching  interview on http://www.lennyletter.com by Jessica Knoll, author of “The Luckiest Girl Alive.”  

This is a true heroine. “She who speaks her truth” through the pain, shame and blame that she endured. Jessica stuffed her feelings with food, as so many of us do. She suffered in silence, as we often do. One of the most powerful statements she did was, “I thought living well was the best revenge, but it isn’t.”  
   We can stuff, dress up, rationalize and somatize trauma. We can run, but we can’t hide. Therapy helps. Friends and family can help. Getting crazy busy helps us forget – air the moment. Only the spiritual salve of healing creativity and open heart sharing in a safe space can heal us.

   It is “the river runs through us” that colors our days and nights into existence. Our health and our relationships are profoundly effected by unexpressed truths and traumas. Creative modalities of music, writing, photography, painting and videography are the perfect places for us to release and redeem our experiences freely – in our own unique modality, time and place.

  Women are natural creatrixes. We give life to projects, relationships and communities. There are worlds of magic behind our eyes and mystics beneath our humble daily gear. 

  Alchemy is afoot – as we heal the wounded hearts of family, pets, friends, community causes…. Picking up the pen, paintbrush, camera, violin, whisk….. is the most powerful healing tool we have in our lives! This is the bedrock principle that The Enchanted Goddess: Literary Creative Arts Community was formed on!

  In my life, I have faced many challenges in career, family, health, traumas, finances and relationships. Some of them, I thought I’d never recover from. When the great pains that were embedded in my soul, that were left unexpressed – they festered. 

  In one year, I retired, moved, had financial challenges, substitute taught in unknown circumstances, my soulmate dog of 16 yrs died, and I ended up in an ambulance with chest pains. Thank God/dess, I just started to embark on my creative journey of writing, joining the SARK community – where I found “joyfull solutions”, doing Open Mic’s and giving wings to my dreams of creative community.

   The doctor asked me,”What experiences from your life are being unexpressed?” “They are wreaking havoc in your body, and will create illness, if you don’t find an outlet to express unresolved issues.”  

   I immediately got on it. I started writing, sharing with trusted friends and in a healing circle. Dr. Christiane Northrup states, “Our biography is not our biology!” I sincerely believe that, I’ve seen it happen in my life. 

   So let’s choose our “wands of creativity” and express our soul’s truths to ourselves and heal our lives, as Louise Hay’s famous book “You Can Heal Your Life” shows us!