Ryn Silverstein

Ryn Silverstein

We had the pleasure of speaking with Ryn on our podcast, Salon Sophia.  We explored a variety of topics, such as the Jewish calendar and spiral time, embracing Jewish priestesshood, imposter syndrome, sanctuary as something both internal and external and something you carry around with you which is akin to the Tabernacle in Judaism.

You can listen to that episode here.

Guest Post from Ryn

Up until this past weekend, I hadn’t written anything in the last couple of years that has really satisfied me.

While there’s certainly something to be said for Martha Graham’s quote on the “queer, divine dissatisfaction” that propels art-making, what I’m talking about has felt more insidious. Instead of the generative, if uncomfortable, ache that accompanies the dissatisfaction Graham invokes, this took the shape of a fundamental disconnect between what I wanted my writing to say and what actually ended up on the page. This disconnect only seemed to widen the more I wrote. 

I’m well acquainted with the undulating waves of imposter syndrome. Oftentimes moving through those waves requires just showing up at the page, again and again. Perhaps I’d simply gotten to a point in my writing apprenticeship where my craft had not quite caught up with my sensibility. 

The words of others brought some comfort and solace; Ann Cvetkovich writes in Depression: a Public Feeling about impasse “…as a state of both stuckness and potential…slowing down or not moving forward might not be a sign of failure and might instead be worth exploring.” Similarly, a teacher reminded me that every blockage is also an opportunity for a breakthrough. Nevertheless, I continued to feel like I was shoveling earth into a bottomless pit. 

It’s better, sometimes, to just walk away and try something else for a while. 

This past weekend, I read a book. I actually don’t read that much these days. A childhood spent devouring novels faded into an adult life where there just isn’t time, and what time there has been is habitually siphoned into the endless flurry of social media. Reading long-form text has, on the whole, become much more difficult—something about the brain growing accustomed to short, digestible word-bursts and rebelling when approached with anything weightier.

I found, however, that my brain settled somewhat after ten to fifteen minutes of reading, during which time it abandoned its attempts to bounce out of my skull and began, instead, the gentle absorption of, and engagement with, the book I had offered it. The time I spent reading suspended me in a state that was somehow both attentive yet deeply relaxed. 

As I read, I was struck by a feeling that sometimes comes upon me—I found myself longing to write with the ease that this particular writer’s prose promised. While I’m fully aware of the ways in which skillful prose can disguise a more difficult writing process, something about this writing struck me on that day. I felt moved to pick up my pen in response. 

In that moment, in the holding of the pen and the easing of my hand onto the page, a thought floated down around me in perfect clarity—what I needed was to write with a softer gaze. 

When I wrote then, it was with a somatic settling, a kind of forward-motion articulated through the realization that I already had what I needed, that there was no need for strain.

Visit Ryn’s website to read more of their writing.

Welcome to Salon Sophia

Welcome to Salon Sophia

A podcast brought to you by Sanctuary of the Arts. We’re having conversations about art, creativity, spirituality, faith, and religion. We’re interested in all the ways that creativity sparks soulful connections.

Your host for these conversations is Monique and she’s the community prioress with Sanctuary of the Arts or SotA as we’re fond of calling it. 

What’s SotA?

SotA is an emerging contemplative arts community seeking ways to provide a peaceful and gentle space to engage with art. Right now, we’re an online community and have big dreams for a physical space one day. There are three volunteers who are tending to SotA with this podcast and an online gallery as two of our initial projects. We also host weekly online creative co-working sessions called “Crafted Connections” and you’re welcome to join us. Registration is on the events page of this website.

While the vision of SotA predates 2020, our formation of an online contemplative arts community took root as the pandemic drastically altered our lives and how we gather together. We’re delighted to be exploring ways to build online communities and we’ve witnessed how Zoom sessions can be contemplative and foster relationships when done with that intention. And so, even as bricks-and-mortar venues start to open up again we’ll continue with an online presence because it brings geographical distances closer and supports accessibility. 

Space to Pause

As all the ways of gathering in community are being redefined and restructured, we’re curious about finding peace and rest, creativity and art, and how it all relates to sanctuary and spirituality. You may ask, does it relate? We think it does and hope that you’ll come along as we ask these questions and many more. 

This is your invitation to contemplate how creativity shows up in your own life and how it contributes to soulful connections. 

As well as this podcast, we invite you to linger for a while at SotA’s website. We have a gallery and scriptorium where many of our podcast guests will be sharing their artwork and writings. We’re dreaming of future offerings that may include poetry readings, bedtime stories – doesn’t that sound good? – and creative workshops. We have many ideas and are committed to keeping a gentle pace as we tend and grow.

Salon Sophia’s Rhythm

We’re bringing you new episodes on the first and third Monday of the month and most will be about forty minutes. There will be show notes as well as the transcript and a few questions for you to contemplate on your own or with friends and family. 

Thank You

It’s an honour to come into your space and introduce you to the guests that will be coming onto our show. We don’t take that for granted and very much look forward to these upcoming conversations about creativity and soulful connections.

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