Poetry and Potential


Today, I am buzzing around between my office and meetings and errands. Among all of these things which are a part of a normal work day, I am delighted to be scheduling 3 meetings  with people along with interviews and photoshoots in London for later in the week.

People are amazing! And these 3 individuals with whom I will soon meet are inspirations to me in very different ways. One is the director of an organization dedicated to increasing happiness in the world and workplace, another is an advocate for asylum seekers as well as  a refugee himself, and the third is a performer who has lived through incredible physical challenges. They will all be modeling for me this week for the  In Your Own Skin  portraits and revealing something concealed.  I will have the privilege of engaging in an inquiry with them to decide what word or phrase they will chose to share. Its such an incredibly wholehearted and surprising process because it is simple and real. And, at the moment as I progress with the lead up to the launch of the first major crowd sourcing for my In Your Own Skin Project documentary, I am blessed with so many positive responses.

These 3 Londoners with whom I will soon meet are extraordinary and also, of course, very ordinary folks. As I prepare and pack my bags for the journey, I am struck once again by how the combination of these portraits with words on skin create a simple giant poem to humanity in all its shades. And I am further reminded in my own life and via others by how we are even MORE beautiful when we are deeply present in ourselves, especially with the thing we fear the most or something that is concealed.

In the midst of all this, as luck would happen, I stumble upon the Aimee Mullins talk on TED.com (March 2009) where she asserts in her inimitable style that “Poetry matters. Poetry is what elevates the banal and neglected object to a realm of art. It can transform the thing that might have made people fearful into something that invites them to look, and look a little longer, and maybe even understand.”

I could not have said it better. And the very gorgeous Aimee Mullins, a double amputee with her collection of prosthetic legs, who set records in the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, and who has a modeling career as well as an acting vocation sure knows about “celebrat(ing) those heartbreaking strengths and those glorious disabilities that we all have.” She is amazing.  And far from “disabled.” by the traditional definition. In fact, she asserts that,“From an identity standpoint, what does it mean to have a disability? Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do. Nobody calls her disabled.”

And thank goodness for the power of art to transform.  It is the vision of an artist and scientists that created those amazing woven carbon fiber sprinting prosthetic legs modeled after the hind leg of a cheetah for Aimee to win track and field events in.  It is nothing other than alchemy…. Transforming straw into gold. Transforming the hidden into treasure. Transforming the vulnerable into the most valuable form of happiness.

And on a much more everyday level, how delicious it is to have the space within the busy fullness of the day to take the time to notice this simple poetry that is a part of all of us, with all of our wonderful imperfections. The things we once thought we were afraid to show are our juice and vitality. And we can breathe it all in and say simply, thank you.

PS  And Aimee, if you are reading this, would you like to be a part of my In Your Own Skin Project Please?

In Your Own Skin is an social art multi-media project to spread authenticity and happiness with photographic portraits from over 100 people who have shared for a moment what is hidden as a gift to us all. What word or phrase would be absolutely true about you but not obvious to strangers?

“Katheryn Trenshaw’s In Your Own Skin Project confirms my faith in deep essential human beauty and the innate benevolence in us all. It is an inspiring visual anthem to humanity.”

-Jamie Catto, musician and film-maker, creator of dance music super-group Faithless, Grammy award winning 1 Giant Leap

In Your Own Skin Film Trailer Premiere & Fundraiser June 13th @ the Barrelhouse, Totnes UK 7.30pm.

With special appearance by Juliet Russell (singer and BBC 1’s The Voice coach) and Matt Harvey and many more.