I have been invited to write on the topic of The Feminine for an anthology. Such an enormous prompt will take its own time; meanwhile I let the theme make its presence felt in whatever other writing I take up. The following piece has come from a solitude at Ravenrock. I didn’t plan to learn what I am learning but think now, in reflection, that the experience is far more powerful than anything I could have theorized and designed.
I’m in a time machine. I read Virginia Wolf’s essays, written hundred years ago, as if they are written now while living in a place without electricity or running water that could’ve been typical in a rural setting a century ago. Only the occasional highflying 747, a propane refrigerator, and a phone where teensy weensy heads of state underscored by terse headlines break the spell. The refrigerator is in a shed in the meadow; sometimes I forget to go to the fridge. Sometimes I forget to look at the phone. Sometimes I forget which current events I’m in. That, it turns out, though I didn’t plan it, is my great experiment—reversing time. Read more
One evening, near the end of the 2018 Movement Monastery retreat, we did Witnessed Self-witness. It yielded for me what our minds might consider a surrealistic episode, yet for the body this is a normal perceptual way.
The exercise: Witnessed Self-witness. Couples sat cross-legged, facing one another murmuring. One person spoke with eyes closed, tracking sensation in the body and speaking out loud these self-witnessings while the partner listened. In this retreat, we have explored listening, or visually witnessing, in a new way. We moved beyond responsibility for and guardianship of our partner, and opened to being influenced. In the Old French and Old English, the meaning of ‘influence’ was “the flowing in of ethereal fluid affecting human destiny.” Read more
As I continue to delve into the significance and apperception of embodiment, the gap between sensorial terrain and day-to-day living’s emphasis on appearance widens. It is almost a schizophrenia.
This morning I admired the elegant, understated attire of the female finches at my feeder. Devoid of their mates’ fancy crimson headwash, their long deep brown side stripes are neat but not fastidious. They look well-put together. Shortly after birdwatching, I read Virginia Woolf’s adept, scathing review of ‘‘The Belle of the 50s’ (‘The Essays, Volume I’), Read more
‘Pretty, fit , and fun’—that is how we value dance in our culture. Part of me always cringes at this pimping. We pimp dance because it is in a body and it is bodies the culture pimps. Anyway, I did that, danced and dug into that mud, wringing as much as I could from ‘pretty, fit, and fun’ all the while yearning and fumblingly dancing into my earthy darkness to visit my secret heart. I found my heart’s dance. I know how to get there and take my inevitable rustling and rooting in ever-new undergrowth in stride. Because of this, I champion all bodies who yearn. Read more
I’ve taken a break from working on Dancing into the Deep, my book on Dancemeditation, because I’ve come up against the problem of declaring myself. Nonfiction tends to require taking a position and if I don’t explicitly state one, I have to at least know it, or let the reader know my ambivalence. A book about striving into one’s interiority implies the reach for something greater than the self, and the typical assumption is that ‘greater than the self’ implies god. I feel coerced by these assumptions. I resist. Read more
I sat with Ric, Carleen, and Betsy sipping water with lemon on the patio of Santa Fe Bar & Grill. It was late afternoon. Overhead, a pergola with thick festoons of wisteria shaded us. Across the patio, a waterfall gurgled. We relaxed together after a Dancemeditation workshop. It felt as if we had lifted aside heavy drapes of a circus tent, left the ordinary world, and entered a non-ordinary world. I talked and my mouth made shapes, throat and larynx rolling pitches on the exhale into words that eddied out with the dithering humminess of a Winnie-the-Pooh variety. My mind sat beside the waterfall where a little girl picked up a leaf and dropped it again and again into the infinitely changing burble. My body purred. Read more
The cycle of light and dark means we are turning as Earth—a dervish—faces the sun then the wide cosmos. The salubrity in light and dark is a matter of degree; bright light and blinding light, soft dark and blinded dark. Dusk. Closed eyes. Sleep. Hiding. Beneath a crust of autumn leaves tiny shoots grow. In shadowed places are freedom, gestation, peace, recovery, quiet, liberation, respite. Read more
It has been a while since I’ve been able to write a post, but I found this scrap in my journal and it opened something about chaotic, uncertain inner periods.
“In creative process, there is the inland sea and there is the book or dance or symphony—masterpieces, competencies, mediocrities—that litter the beach to be seen, to be turned over, to be heard. Art is the jetsam of the great submergence.” Read more
Dancemeditation is to the Body what dreaming is to the Mind.
I would hate to never dream…I love to wake and wonder where I’ve been, grasping at dim air, fading figures amused at my futile attempts to catch their tail. I love the improbability of making sense of their portentous magic that flattens and dulls as I note it in my journal or recount it to a friend. Lost is the weave of one place tucked into another, actions looped and looped, tunnels of dense color, haunting fragments, timelines crossed. Dreams come while we lie still, our bodies suspended in sleep while our minds journey far and wide. What if the reverse happened? Read more
My practice yesterday evening…
The sun had just set. Outside, a frigid wind pummeled the house. Inside, I danced for 40 minutes then lay down under a pile of sheepskins while dance tracks—Sheesha Lounge—bounced softly around. Out of nowhere, a casual, offhand invitation arose for one of my most significant sexual partners (why was he still lingering in me?) to leave my body. Then a sequence of invitations—please, I invite you to leave words came on their own yet from me to what was, apparently, in me. Long-term boyfriends, one night stands, two ex-husbands, and finally, after a bit of coaxing, abusive partners. Each went in a faint puff of the relationship’s predominant tone. One by one by one by one…I had to be patient with this ceremonial retinue of fleshy intimacies. The occupying armies departing after many years. Read more