Monday, July 25, 2011

Creativity and Madness

Next week I will be sojourning to Santa Fe, New Mexico with some of my favorite colleagues.  The Creativity and Madness conference has replaced my "have to" continuing education in various cold hotel meeting rooms with typically boring lecturers to an "I can't believe I get to go" experiential week long workshop.  It is now a tradition that the first week of August means a full syllabus of intense learning, great food, beautiful art, and deep personal reflection. 

The amazing learning core of the conference focuses on the coexistence of creative genius and mental illness. We have studied writers, musicians, visual artists, and performing artists.  Professional speakers have presented fascinating perspectives on anxiety, depression, suicide, and recovery. Each workshop day is filled with the promise of profound mind expanding study.  Some of our biographical lectures have highlighted Janis Joplin, Woody Allen, Sylvia Plath, and Mozart.(Wouldn't that be an interesting dinner party?)  It saddens me to think we will soon be examining the life, death, and addiction of Amy Winehouse.

Part of the Santa Fe week involves serious eating.  My travel companions are connoisseurs of authentic Mexican cuisine as well as fine cooking.The Shed, Tomasitas, and The Pink Adobe satisfy our cravings for spicy delicious.  When we want to go fancy we trek to Canyon Road to taste the specialty gourmet of The Compound and Geronimos.  I strive to wake up early enough to get a hearty breakfast at Pasquals at least once every trip.  For a delicious perk of caffine with definite dessert twist, the cafe l'egouis at the french bakery inside of La Fonda makes Starbucks pale in comparison. 

Artists abound in this city that celebrates artistry.  Downtown boasts more galleries than grocers.  It is a visual feast to walk in and out of museum quality artist shops.  It stimulates my creativity in a new way, delivering an almost electric charge to produce something.  Last summer I wrote a poem, edited a manuscript, and aimed my camera lense from a different point of view. 

The Creativity and Madness conference has challenged me to experiment with a range of sensory experiences that I can use to recharge my professional and personal life.  Here are some of my "firsts" from Santa Fe adventures: green chili, spa, energy healing, opera, elk (yum), and Whole Foods.  Each is a blog in and of itself.  I have talked with artists, professors, healers, and musicians. It is life changing.

You can spot the newcomers to the conference--psychologists, counselors, nurses, and physicians arrive on Monday in professional garb.  By Friday theyare transformed by the information, food, and culture of Santa Fe. Scads of health professionals return to work from New York to California adorned in torquoise and broom skirts. I'm already packing mine from previous trips.

It is an expensive trip.  Every year I return with new eyes, renewed energy, validated commitment to my clients, solid practical and interesting information, and of course a silver bangle or two--Priceless.


  1. I'm so excited for you. I love hearing about each trip because the energy and excitement carries through you and transfers.

    The photo above is interesting. It looks as if you've caught the sun and placed it in a cage.

  2. Can't wait to hear about the upcoming conference! I know how transformative these experiences are for you, and I have to confess to being very envious. (In a good way.) Have a wonderful time!