Wednesday, May 30, 2012

heavy head uplifted, I do not close the book

Last night we danced "The Loon" for the second time. The piece of paper I had been eyeing, was snatched up by G, and when she read it, I knew it was my line for the evening too. I chose my own, and it too spoke to me but not as much as
 with his heavy head uplifted he calls out. 
My line was, 
 I do not close the book.
My thoughts and my body responded to both lines in the poem, as though they were my own. After all, the words are all ours for the taking and G sweetly said, I could "have" hers as well. My body felt a dance of hopefulness, rising up with, as the music crescendoed. 
My thoughts and my body explored the ways that we can be present for those in our lives, how we hold each other up at challenging times, as well as lean into each other during times of joy. How do you listen to the quiet calls out of your loved one, even if he is whispering his calls. When our heads are heavy, we don't have to hold them up alone. We can whisper our needs or shout them out, with hopes of being heard. We can reach out, and trust, that we are not alone in our struggles, although sometimes it feels as such. It is a learning to ask for help. Our society dictates self sufficiency, and does not praise us for needing, but how could we sustain our lives without needing, support, reaching, interdependence? As it is said, 
"Joy shared is twice the joy. Sorrow shared is half the sorrow."

And so I listen, I try to sit with the quiet, in order to hear the very soft whispers, imperceptible at times. I hear them. The road doesn't seem smooth, the journey doesn't feel even or easy, but I can travel it none the less, knowing that I can help hold up the heads of the people in my life, and remember, that I too do not have to hold my head up alone. I read on, travel on, live on, the story continues,  I do not close the book..........

The Loon    ~ Mary Oliver
Not quite four a.m., when the rapture of being alive strikes me from sleep, and I rise from the comfortable bed and go to another room, where my books are lined up
in their neat and colorful rows. How
magical they are! I choose one and open it. Soon I have wandered in over the waves of the words to the temple of thought.                                            
And then I hear outside, over the actual waves, the small, perfect voice of the loon. He is also awake, and with his heavy head uplifted he calls out to the fading moon, to the pink flush swelling in the east that, soon, will become the long, reasonable day.                                                 
 Inside the house it is still dark, except for the pool of lamplight in which I am sitting.
Neither, for a long while, do I read on.
 I do not close the book.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


How wonderful it felt to be able to be in town to be a part of dance on Sunday. Winky put out the prompt for us to consider, kelp. What an intriguingly visual  image, to conjure up in my mind and translate into and through my body.

Kelp survival is positively correlated with the strength of the substrate. The larger and stronger the rock on which it is anchored, the greater the chance of kelp survival. Winter storms and high-energy environments easily uproot the kelp and can wash entire plants ashore.

Indeed, that translates to life as it feels right now. Trying to stay strong and rooted deeply, to withstand the storms of life, and to stay anchored, to survive amidst this high-energy environment called life.

Holding Memories in Your Heart

When one leaves for the stars, that person will be the one to blink at you in the night-sky and show you the way. While s/he will no longer be able to touch your hands s/he will forever be able to touch your heart.
Karla A. Claeys, M.A

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Looking Upward

Looking around, it seems as if so many people I know are feeling the weight of a dark cloud, and trying to come out from under it to see the light. It feels like I am trying to find the quiet within the storm, to find that resting place, within and without, to make room to breathe. I am about to go to dance to try to allow that space. Sometimes all the moving and busyness gets in the way of finding that quiet respite. I have to remind myself that the quiet, the stillness does exist, if you stop for a moment and let it emerge. It is always there, it is just often clouded over by the doing. The stars exist all the time, even when we cannot see them. Ironically, the doing, the moving through dance, helps me carve out a space for the quiet. I just have to remember sometimes, in the words of James Taylor, to
~~ "look up from your life"~~~

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And Then You Dance!

Last night I was overjoyed, to be able to have a clear head and heart and attend dance. It was a celebratory dance for me, a celebration of life! I danced with every bit of heart, and soul and energy I could draw from within, as we said our final goodbye to dancing Mary Oliver's poem, The Messenger. We had been saving our weekly lines in an envelope, and last night was the night we each gathered our lines and rearranged, reconfigured, reinvented, transformed and paste our lines onto our envelope to share, and then to dance. The poems my fellow dancers spontaneously created, in reaction to their saved lines, moved me and astonished me, (one of the words of her poem, by the way, was ASTONISHED). My lines, created themselves into the perfect Messenger poem for me to dance my celebration. I continue to be grateful for a place to show up and dance my life, however it shows up at that moment. Having a place to retreat to each week, when my life and my body allow, is a blessing, as is my dance community. It is my spiritual practice. The past week was more challenging than imaginable, and being able to dance it out , was a true gift. When I danced on Sunday, my dance was much different. It was filled with fear, trepidation, tentativeness, the unknown, contraction, smallness, powerlessness, rubber leggedness, and emotions that I could not even begin to name. Last night was different, a very different dance. It was a different life I was dancing in. A dance of new beginning, of hope, of gratefulness, a feeling of a personal Spring. This is how my poem became my dance of the moment, reinventing Mary Oliver's words, to perfectly fill me, the way I needed to be filled last night. Her words are like chameleons, and they never cease to amaze me, even when we took liberties with the original poem, to be what we needed her words to be for each of us:

"We live forever.
Are my boots old?  Is my coat torn?
We live forever.
The phoebe, the delphinium,
We live forever.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird~~
and THAT is how and why,
We live forever"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hope ~  by Emily Dickenson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

When I Don't Know Where to Put It

When emotions well up inside, and I don't know what to do with them, I take some solace in the gift of having my hands connected to my heart, soul and spirit. Through them, flows the energy of my emotions, whether it be sculpting, writing, creating an assemblage, or as in this case, drawing. I bought four large sheets of delicious Stonehenge paper and new blocks of soft graphite about a month ago, with the intention of trying a drawing series, something I haven't done in a long time.  For some reason, this time, the paper and graphite called to me, instead of the clay. It called to me to lay down a deep thick ground of dark grey and then with an eraser, chisel away at the dark and find the light. By sculpting the graphite, I am always awed by the experience, in which my head becomes detached in a sense from my hand, and my heart and spirit flow through and leave a creation. By adding and subtracting the dark and light, the images begin to reveal themselves and tell me their story, a story that only becomes visible to me sometime after their creation. The titles seem to drift into my consciousness as well, from somewhere I have yet to discover. The two offering so far are,

 "Under The Wings of Love"

 "Let Me Be Your Anchor" 

They speak volumes to me. I don't know when the next two will "become", but I trust that they will. The lines, the dark, the light, are lifelines as life itself, 

"For only in darkness can you see the stars"~~Dr. Martin Luther King