Category Archives: Drake Powe

A Creative Reframing of Stress and Superpowers

Overcoming your fear of utilizing your creativity.

Frame: noun  – “a ridged structure that surrounds or encloses something.”

“Reframing…Your frame is the house you live in.  That which you tell yourself on a regular basis.

What you talk about, you make real. Words are magical incantations.

Create a home that works for you, that brings you peace, that makes you calm.

Frame something that makes you feel good, makes you more patient, more kind.

It’s not a destination, it’s a way of living.”- Drake Powe

One of the advantages of being a travelling musician is getting to listen to audio books and podcasts on the way to various gigs.  Two recent highlights have been Elizabeth Gilbert’s wonderful resource book about creativity called Big Magic and her follow-up podcast Magic Lessons.

In episode 12 of her podcast, she has a dialogue with author Brene Brown. During that discussion, Brene noted:

“Without (creativity) I am not OK and without having access to everyone else’s, we are not OK.

I absolutely understand, personally and professionally from the data, there are no such thing as non-creative people. There are just people who use their creativity and those that don’t, and unused creativity is not benign.”

Brene Brown

My friend Drake Powe is someone I think of whose living presence is an expression of creativity. Drake was the best man at my wedding. Each interaction I have with him, brings me fully into the present and shifts me back to what is vital in this moment.

Even before he had an outlet for his creativity, Drake’s canvas was interaction.

Drake is a big persona. He is not only larger than life in personality but also in stature.  You might be surprised that despite being over six feet tall with a barrel chest that houses his immense heart,  Drake has wrestled with a fear of being attacked. This might stem from growing up in a rough neighborhood, however, fear of being vulnerable extends to being criticized as well.  Anyone with a presence on line, risks being attacked by mean spirited individuals with a lot of time on their hands.  Both Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown talk of having to deal with trolls who antagonize them for being powerful women who choose to demonstrate their creativity in an empowering way.  Drake has pushed past his fears and the stress of being an empowering black man in his community. As a yoga instructor, he has felt comfortable dealing with individuals and small groups but recently he has challenged himself to begin speaking in public.

In one of these presentations, he talks of accessing his inner superhero whose power is being calm and optimistic in stressful situations. He has managed to reframe his story, (fears of attack) by applying this superpower. He has recognized that very thing that stresses him out, simultaneously has the power of fueling his gift.

“Conflict is our opportunity when we realize how powerful we are… We are stressed because we feel vulnerable…You are not what you are stressed about…our true state is calm and loving…

Change the size of your framing, make yourself big, make yourself magnificent, because that’s who you are.”- Drake Powe

When I think of what super power I want to have, it is the ability to step outside of time, to be able to experience and bestow a state of timelessness. What pushes my buttons and causes me stress are, most often, fear based time-related issues, such as deadlines and ‘to do’ lists, even if they are self-imposed. When I react from a time-stressed center, my frame becomes small and, as my wife would say, “I am not my best self.” I have experienced that my creativity is heightened when I activate my superpower. Timelessness brings me back to benevolence. Benevolence extends the frame of my being beyond space. The music that flows from that, reduces stress and dances without constraint.

I wonder if each of us has a superpower that is restrained by stress, fear, or not fully utilizing our creativity.

Just for this moment, allow yourself to step out of time, reframe. Go beyond the self you know.

There really is no frame to what we actually are.  Being able to sit within our natural state of being gives us access to our creativity, our ability to be Faster than a speeding negative thought- More powerful than criticism -Able to leap stress at a single bound!


Poetry- Bold and Shivering

“Poets, come out of your closets,

Open your windows, open your doors.

You’ve been holed-up too long

in your closed worlds….”

“Poetry is the ultimate inner refuge.

Poems are lumina, emitting light.”- Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“My responsibility as a poet, as an artist, is to not look away.” – Nikky Finney


Nikky Finney

Nikky Finney’s 2011 National Book Award in Poetry acceptance speech : (Start at 4:50)

Happy 20th annual national Poetry month!

Watching Nikky Finney’s acceptance speech for winning the National Book Award in Poetry, I am reminded why I feel even the word Poetry deserves to be capitalized when it is delivered to us from the midwives of devotion. I must admit I had never heard of this Kentucky poet before Julia shared an NPR link with me.  So many vital things are like Poetry, tucked away at the back of society’s store.  Ms. Finney starts her speech citing a South Carolina law, which prohibits anyone teaching a slave to read or write.  This cruelty was, “determined to control what can never be controlled: the will of the human heart to speak its own mind*.” With the soft shaking voice of the survivor’s victory, Finney invoked those who suffered indignities and death to be able express themselves. She described them as they moved around the room, sitting now where they liked; in finery, in dignity, bold, and shivering.

Yesterday I was talking to my friend Drake Powe, whose very presence is Poetry. Drake said that he still has to battle innate fears of being attacked. This is someone who is well over six feet tall with an obvious strength within and without; someone who generates a deep-seated and infectious calm. Nikky Finney’s professor told her, “Black people were the only people in the United States ever explicitly forbidden to become literate.”

There is legacy that results from that. We have the most eloquent, well-read, intelligent President in office right now. President Obama has endured with dignity, grace, good will and humor, continuous demeaning slander that has welled up from a fury that the old South Carolina laws have proved to be sand-castles dutifully washed away by the tide.

Here is an excerpt from Drake Powe’s blog:

“No matter where we start, or how difficult the situation, we can achieve a state of rest, of contentment and peace… Once as a child I fell into a swimming pool. I was alone, fully clothed and did not know how to swim. I sank like a rock to the bottom of the pool, and knew that it was not where I wanted to be. I pushed off, and shot right back to the top. …you can get to where you want to be from where you are…Stay positive, be open and love your life, as it is. Love is always the best starting point.”

Drake Powe

May you play in the tide that sweeps the beach clean of your heart’s barriers.

Love you, Ira

PS- Check out my good friend Rick Lupert, a wonderfully funny and poignant Poet!

*- from Nikky Finney’s acceptance speech