Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Savor

As the sun set over Phillips lake, it became difficult to tell where the sky began and the water and land started. With camera in hand, the water beckoned me off the porch and down the hill a bit. My footing felt precarious as I continued forward, not really having a sense of when I reach the water. 

I was mesmerized by the deceptive horizon line. I felt very discombobulated, and for a moment could not tell which end was up or down. I was transported. I attempted to take a picture of this magnificent vision, but of course, without my tripod in tote, I knew the picture would never come out, but I tried in vain anyway. I took three pictures, that came out totally dark as expected, although I unrealistically hoped that my camera might help me to seize the magical moment, for me to hold onto, to remind me of the moment, if I happened to forget over time.  

I felt as though I had stepped into a Rorshach test, a psychological test in which a subject's interpretations of a series of standard inkblots are analyzed as an indication of personality traits, preoccupations, and conflicts. The sky and land as reflected in the water, were absolutely identical. I wondered if there was someone on the other side of the lake having a parallel experience with me, as part of the collective consciousness that I believe exists in our world. The moment of limbo was fleeting, but pulled me deeply into a feeling that I have not experienced before, and it felt surreal. The force was palpable. I stayed with the moment for just a bit longer, until there was nothing to see but darkness in front of me, but upon looking up, I saw a sky filled with countless stars. An entire other world was mine, and all I had to do was to look up from my life, from holding onto the fleeting moments that you want to last forever, and in that holding on to the past, sacrifice missing the next gift that is there for the savoring. Savoring involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life to their fullest.

The brightness of the most massive planet of the solar system, Jupiter, glowed with a muted halo surrounding, it that was hypnotic. Jupiter is the god of the sky and is often associated with the eagle. It spins faster than any other planet, which I unfortunately identify with. Ironically,savoring life starts with a mindset. It's a mindset that believes that excess, that rushing, that busy-ness, that distractedness is not a healthy way to experience life. Savoring cannot coexist with spinning at the speed of Jupiter.

In the end,there was no way my camera could capture what I was experiencing at that moment. Somethings just can't be recorded, but have to be just experienced, savored, and that has to be enough..........and it was.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Without Dance We Are Lost revisited

Yesterday, I gifted myself with a second viewing of Pina in 3-D at the Living Room Theatre. As I entered the theatre, The Lorax was just ending. There was one man and his little boy, viewing the film, having the theatre all to themselves. I looked up and saw the ending quote of the film,

 "Unless someone like you.. cares a whole awful lot.. nothings going to get better, its not.."

As they passed me leaving the theatre, the boy looked up at his dad and said "that was great"! and I felt warm inside, cherishing my loved ones, a feeling that grows stronger each day, and truly taking in those words, that I too believe.

As I snuggled in to once again experience the enormous richness of the film, I was filled with anticipation. There are so many dimensions to the film, that seeing it again, was like seeing it again for the first time. What struck me this time, was the surrealist quality that Pina imparted into her choreographed morsels. I was absorbed in both the movement and narratives, but saw a sort of existentialist, absurdist, surrealistic humor, sadness in the depth of the beauty, isolation, connection, trust and surrender of the dancers to the process, nature, each other and the dance. The contrast was so powerful. As the dancers fell deeper into their experience, they took me with them. I am not sure, bu I will possible go back to see it a third time, since I trust I will experience it on an even deeper level. As I have experienced in my personal dance, the more you trust the process, the more you sink deeper into the dance, the cracks appear and you enter the unknown and therein lie the openings to new beginnings, in dance as in life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweet Moments When Fate Shines Down on You

Last Wednesday, I finally returned to work at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and got into a conversation about the things we are gifted with from our elders. Do we save them or use them. Is it destroying them if we create art with them, or are we transforming them, giving them a new life? I am referring specifically to the monogramed hankies that I have from my mother, mother in law, and two grandmothers. When Gabby told me she was making a quilt out of those delicate hankies gifted to her by her grandmother, that she would use to enjoy  summer picnic,s it made me ask myself that question. Do we hold on to them as they were, preciously stored away, or do we use them? My first thought was, OH NO! you will ruin them, and then I realized that they have no life in them, as they lay closed up in the drawer somewhere. The next day, I decided to use one. As I readied myself to attend a dance performance, I selected one with the monogram "F", my mother's hankie, and placed it into my purse. When I went to get my ticket from my calendar for the evenings performance, I noticed that it was going to be danced at the Newmark Theatre, the same theatre I had carefully chosen the seat on which to have plaque installed on the armrest to honor my mom.  When I looked at the ticket, my heart skipped a beat, as I realized that the ticket I was holding was only a few seats from the one I had dedicated to my mom. As I walked downtown to meet my friends for dinner, I had butterflies in my stomach in anticipation and hopes, that one of the other six members of our group held the ticket for the seat I longed to sit it, seat H-5, H for my mom's last name and 5 for the day she brought me into the world. Sure enough, when I asked, someone had the ticket and was happy to switch with me.

 I entered the Newmark theatre with a feeling I could not quite name. I held the ticket preciously in my hand, as I awaited entry to the theatre.  I sat in the seat, our seat, and gently fondled the plaque on the right armrest, and read the inscription with reverence and love. I thought about the hours, too many to count, that my mom and I spent at the theatre, enjoying the ballet, throughout my childhood and into my teen years. I wondered if she would have liked this performance, that was rather dark yet powerful. I caught a whiff of perfume from another patron in my row, which made it hard for me to breathe, and I remembered how the smell of my mother's perfume always bothered me. Smell is such a memory trigger. As I became engage in the dance, I thought less about my mom, but held onto the arm of her seat just the same. I left not knowing if fate would look down on me, and wondered if I would ever have the chance, the gift, of sitting in that seat again. None the less, the seat and the plaque, the memory remains. As I write this, I have the ticket sitting next to me, on my armrest at home, although only the stub remains, I am saving it just the same.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2012 table & Chair Affair Update

6th Annual table & CHAIR AFFAIR

Many of you were a big part of making this event 
so fun, fabulous, and fruitful.
Together, we've raised $127,932 and counting!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When Do Know When The TIme is Right?

I have been waiting and wondering, with great frustration, for a sign to come to me to know when the time would be right to return to dance. I am still struggling with back and mostly hip pain, stuck energy, chi, according to my acupuncturist, so how would I know when to be able to resume dancing? After much deliberation yesterday, I decided that last night was the time to dive in gently and try to meet my body where it is now, and dance. To even change my definition of what dance is. I knew I would have to take extra care of my body, and stay present with it at ever moment, not something I like to practice. For some reason, I felt unnecessarily nervous going back, but it reminded me of Where The Wild Things Are,  when Max returns home after all his adventures, and "his dinner was still warm". Well, my place in the dance studio was kept warm for me by my dance family. I even had an envelope waiting for me with some lines chosen for me, and saved by my fellow dancers in my absence. It was so sweet to sip that nectar, and receive my much missed and needed hugs. They told me I had had the best lines and I agree. The three lines were:

"I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of 

(Indeed I want that!!!)

"full of gorgeous life" (Yes! Yes!)

"and you try" (always a bit too much)

So I decided to "try". My body at once felt at home, as I chose my own line this time, from the current Mary Oliver poem, The Messenger, and it could not have been more perfect, once again:

 "Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird"

It made me think about my experience at the lake this past week and my life. I was gifted with the spotting of no less than three hummingbirds on my feeder at once! I thought about how hard the hummingbird works to stay suspended in air, as it flutters it's wings, sipping the nectar, yet he makes it look effortless. They can actually hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–80 times per second although they appear to be suspended and still. I think it sometimes must seem like I "do" life effortlessly, yet I work incredibly hard at it, yet rarely stay still. What lessons to be learned from observing nature, and then from looking within. Can I stop flapping my wings, and trying so hard? Can I slow down and listen to the rhythm within? Can I truly try to make my life feel effortless. The only deadlines are those I choose, yet I always feel as if I am flapping 80 times per second. Where does the effortlessness lie?

I thought about how the large sunflower reaches toward the sun, even during times when she is not aware that the sun, the hope of summer, is there for the reaching. It grows tall and strong each year and then drops it's seeds for the future. 

There were many lines that resonated with me from the poem last night.

 "Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?",
made me think of the comfort of wearing or experiencing something that is so known and so incredibly comfortable that it feels like a second skin like Tim's line:

 "these body-clothes"
the place that gives us comfort but is not necessarily the persona we wear in the world. 

An then of course G's line:

"Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? "

What is young? Is it a number, a feeling in an aging hurting body, or a feeling in one's heart and spirit. I choose to stay young even though my body so often tells me differently. And what is "half-perfect"? Is there such a thing? I have always felt that way, but there is such a yearning energy to be somehow better, and one I would like to discard like a lizard leaves his no longer useful skin.

And finally, Michael, who was celebrating having turned an amazing 70 years old, the day before, and seems like he is in his 50's in movement, body and spirit. His line was:

"Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here".

That is the biggest piece to try to remember. All the ingredients are here, and you don't have to flap your wings 80 times a second to stay aloft in the air or to stay afloat in life, to keep your head above water. You don't have to try. All the ingredients are indeed here already in this moment, this body, at this age, in this heart and spirit. And my heart does not have to beat 23 times a second, like the hummingbird, to do this!


by Mary Oliver

"My work is loving the world.

Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird
—equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.

Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?

Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?

                                                                                          Let me keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be


The phoebe, the delphinium.

The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.

Which is mostly rejoicing, 

since all the ingredients are here,

Which is gratitude, 

to be given a mind and a heart and these body-clothes,

a mouth with which to give shouts of joy

to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over,

 how it is that we live forever."