This past weekend, the Orlando community came out for Solillaquists…in the short car ride over we started swapping tales of Dantes and Kit Kat from back in the day. My co-creator in community, Emily Rankin, and I both had the same “meeting Nevaeh” story and it was a beautiful moment coming into a room full of everyone you know. I was appreciating this moment and the many times spent breaking it down with my girls back in the Sapphire days. The artists and cosmic community healers that make up Solilla took the stage and I immediately notice the statement they are making.
In bold type, Swam’s tshirt says: “Chuck Dinkins Helped My Career” while DiViNCi’s reads “Anthony Cole Inspired Me” and Tonya’s declares “Jungala Crew Keeps Me Dancing.” I couldn’t see Alexandrah’s from where I was standing, but in my head, I was thinking: Right. On. Solilla always represents exactly the way we all should, and todays demonstration was extremely apropo: authentic appreciation to local people who moved them in some way, letting the world know that we are all connected, that the talent you see on stage is but a mere reflection of the talent and genius all around us. That we all impact each other.
Share + Authentic + Local + Appreciation = Kind + Community.
Right about this time, my heart is ready to burst with pride at seeing these friends continue to be the wayshowers they have always been, bringing us right along with them, loving us Orlando folks into deeper and deeper community. I look at Alexandrah and am having this distinct memory of seeing her before she ever knew me – a woman of such poise, dignity and inner power. She always made an impression on me, back before Dandelion existed, I would always notice her around town selling her craft. Now, while DiViNCi is doing his magic in the foreground, it is occurring to me that prior to Alex, I had never seen a woman making her own way through the world quite like her. Quietly, awesomely and creatively dedicating herself skillfully and playfully to living on her terms made a tremendous unconscious impact on me, giving me permission to attempt the same. A woman unapologetically being an artist full time, and killing it every single time. Look at that!
It is at this very moment, when I am feeling most grateful for Alex and Solilla, a friend tugs at my arm and asks if I’ve seen the message on Alex’s shirt. I’m coaxed forward, wondering what awesomeness she has laid out there, because this woman is always right on it. From where I’m standing it was hard to see, but I saw something that didn’t comprehend. I asked what it said, because I couldn’t believe it.
“Julie Norris is my entrepreneurial inspiration,” my friend said. I totally lost it. This is the point where I can’t even begin to explain the tremendous honor, at this exact moment, by only Alex and our history witnessing, encouraging and supporting one another in our growth while coming into our powers….whew, it was intense.
I got home after an emotional evening of processing and wrote this: Tonight I was honored in the most incredible way by one of the women I most respect who inspires community with a group I have grown up alongside and whose members planted the seeds of localism and craft and goodness and togetherness that eventually grew into Dandelion. Full circle. Perfect wayshowers on how to walk in truth and integrity and magic and hard work and mad skill and talent. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I will share my story of being inspired by Swamburger and Alexandrah in particular in another post. I put in a decade in Orlando before Dandelion opened, and most everyone only knows me as an entreprenuer. I was just a regular gal in an appreciative crowd before I became an active participant in co-creating community. The inspiration to do so came directly through artists and musicians in Orlando at the turn of the millennia. There is a very real process of engagement that I’ve experienced and witnessed others go through, it starts with being a listener and, after awhile, begins again exactly the way Solilla demonstrated in their explanation of wanting to remerge with the audience. If you want to know what conscious evolution is, keep watching these artists who are crafting it.
[Please read this great piece in the Orlando Weekly for a more complete picture of Solilla and their meaning.]