Grandmothers

A photo posted by Elise Ramsay (@eliseramsay) on

I stood in front of this photograph for nearly ten minutes at the Gordon Parks exhibit at the MFA. There’s something about this photo, and something in the air lately, that makes me appreciate and long for the wisdom of older women.

Issues of female representation in both my professional and personal lives are increasingly top-of-mind. I long for the perspective of someone who has been to hell and back, and can tell me how they did it.

A friend of mine just lost her grandmother, and we both reflected on how cruel it is that at the age when we appreciate them most, they have to go. In lieu of bringing them back, we can celebrate and share their legacies.

I’m collecting grandma lessons and memories, and I’d love to include yours. Email me one or several stories of your grandmother, and maybe some photos, too, by Friday, March 20. I’ll post a compilation shortly afterward. [Edit: the first collection of stories in the series can be found here.]

I miss you, Grandma. I’m more sorry than ever that we can’t be together now.

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Invisibilia

Cooking Sunday dinner with a glass of wine and radiolab led to a great new podcast discovery: Invisibilia!

Launching in January 2015, Invisibilia (Latin for “all the invisible things”) explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.

This first clip tackles the idea of gender and presents a certain type of gender fluidity that I’d never heard of before:

Even more compelling, in my opinion, is Invisibilia’s first episode on thoughts of all kinds, particularly dark ones.

Co-hosts Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller ask the question, “Are my thoughts related to my inner wishes, do they reveal who I really am?” The answer can have profound consequences for your life.

The episode explores common experiences with negative thoughts, extreme ones, and an incredible story of someone who was quite literally trapped inside his paralyzed body with only his thoughts as proof of life. It’s heavy and fascinating.

That’s it. Go listen and let me know what you think.

Vegas

I had the chance to speak at Team Summit in Vegas this past weekend, and I got to roam the strip a bit afterward:

 


Holding the universe together

photo by Jovan Todorovic

She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.

- J.D. Salinger

 

Photo by Jovan Todorovic

#videowkd 6.22.14

 


#videowkd 6.15.14

 


#videowkd 6.8.14

 


Things

I love Radiolab. What a dream job, amirite? Dive deep on a few fascinating stories, then move on.

I just listened to this episode on things. Yep, physical things. The attachments we make to objects, their significance in history, and whether or not they actually contain memories in their physical form.

I don’t quite skew toward the latter extreme, but I’ve come to terms lately with the fact that I am not a minimalist. This pains me, mostly because I wish I were. There’s something clean, calm, and put together about minimalist spaces. And yet, I get lonely without my objects.

My compromise is this: I’ll rid myself of useless, meaningful things, and only hang onto the special ones. But I won’t feel bad about surrounding myself with things.

I collect meaningful objects from different periods of my life, and they are—bear with me here—sort of my horcruxes, but in a non-evil way. 

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For example, this (brass?) star from Nepal was given to me by one of my first dance teachers when I was a kid. She used to tell us that we had these burning lights, like stars, inside of us, and that performing onstage was an opportunity to let out a bit of that light for people to see.

That still perfectly describes the exhilarating vulnerability of performance, to me. Hanging this star from my ceiling makes me remember both that early mentor and the addictive, truest-to-my-self feeling of dancing onstage.

One of the most intriguing excerpts from the Radiolab episode was a story of a man who loved a maple tree in the yard of his childhood home. The tree and the man faced many adversaries together. He salvaged its remains after it was chopped down and replanted them in the backyard of his adult apartment.

One night, the maple was defeated yet again, this time by the man’s landlord. The man collected the pieces of his tree for a second time and, instead of replanting them, commissioned a box. In this box, he stored other meaningful objects, which had even greater significance being housed in his beloved maple.

There’s this continuity. I find such comfort from that. So it, in turn, holds all these objects that have their own individual stories and their own meaning to me.

I get it. I really do. So as much as I wish I was the type of person who could live completely possession-free, I’m quite fulfilled and comforted by certain material objects. And I’m really ok with that, as I realize my feelings about them aren’t actually superficial at all.

 

Sound of Summer

If summer has a sound, this is it:

#videowkd 6.1.14

Saturdaze.

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