Reflection on The Young Writers & Artists Festival: Alexandra Fuller
by Alexis Chauvette
Alexandra Fuller changed my life. I have never met a person as cool and in–tune with her soul. Starting with a twenty–minute meditation (which is actually very difficult), she challenged us to push past our limits and clear the chaos from our minds. I learned how important it is to “declutter” your mind to free the trapped creativity. By eEliminating the mindless distractions, Alexandra taught me how to procrastinate with a purpose. By making us put away our phones and asking us to sit in silence, Alexandra forced us to face our inner selves, ignoring worries about homework, thesis assignments, and the college process.
In the afternoon, the entire group walked in silence to the median next to Ben and Jerry’s to meditate in public. Sitting on the grass with my eyes closed, I felt how the warmth of the sun soaked through my clothes into my skin. In place of embarrassment and self-consciousness, I could feel nothing but the sun’s warmth.
Back at school, we reflected on our meditative experiences throughout the day. I know it sounds cheesy, but I assure you it wasn’t. Then Alexandra, being the amazing person that she is, told us to all take a nap. When we all stared at her in awe, Alexandra said she knew that we wouldn’t be able to create to the best of our ability if our minds and bodies were deprived of sleep. Reason number 1,679,928 why she is the coolest person I have ever met.
On Saturday, we regrouped, did a ten-minute meditation, and wrote for about ten minutes. Alexandra wanted us to write our paragraphs with the least amount of words possible. Throughout the workshop, she taught us that words are invaluable and urged us to not spend them unnecessarily. She taught us that length does not determine the depth of an essay, but it is the significance of the words that makes an essay great.
I want to urge everyone reading this article to take Alexandra Fuller’s workshop if you haven’t already. Your life will be changed in ways you never thought possible. Even just being in Alexandra’s presence for two days will open your eyes to the beauties of our world and direct your attention and appreciation to the littlest of things, like Chipotle bowls and composting toilets.
Below are the paragraphs that were written after a ten–minute meditation on the last day of the Young Artists and Writers Festival:
“I am in a trance by expectations: those imposed by society arrest me, but those forged by myself imprison me. No jailbird is coming for me; it is trapped inside. Wait until I gingerly open the cage.”
– Kristina Mullen
“It is dark outside. There‘s the sound of a car passing by. Perhaps it‘s a cab. It brings memories of a big city, an old home. There‘s the lone sound of a ball bouncing. What would it be like to play basketball with yourself in the middle of the night? There‘s a yearning to be free for a moment from here, from the ache in your back.”
– Angela Zhu
“Don’t run away from your own mind. Acknowledge the ugly feelings hiding in the shadows and face them. Take off the mask. What lies underneath is worth letting the world see.”
– Alexis Chauvette
“I rise while the sun is still asleep, and I‘m driving when she awakens. Most days, her deep color palette goes unnoticed. I‘m blinded by my exhaustion. Tomorrow, I will try harder.”
– Andreanna Hardy
I am imprisoned by my expectations of the collective you. I expect you to act like me, to share my values, to reciprocate my every emotion with equal strength, but expectations are inherently linked to disappointment. I cannot control you like I can control myself. I do not have the right, so I will embrace the confusion and try to ground my thoughts in the sounds and movements of the world instead of leaving them alone, suspended in stillness and silence.
– Lina Ghosh
I have noticed that I notice nearly nothing. From unintentionally furrowed eyebrows to the emotional distress of my only sister. Things in plain sight can be obscured from my vision. I have more than one set of eyelids to pry open each morning.
– Crystal Zhao
Photos taken by Sidney Li