Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Shed - research part 2

One day last fall, Yogi Kristen spoke these words before our yoga practice at The Restorative Center. I was in the midst of purging a multi-family storage unit and questioning my role as an artist, mother, and partner.

Kristen spoke of the trees. (I love The Lorax by Dr. Seuss).

"Every year," she said, "The trees let go of their leaves. They don't need them anymore. They don't get upset about it, they just let them go. New leaves emerge the following year and the trees seem to be confident in their own cycle. But, they have to let go in order for the next process to occur. We need to let go of stuff that doesn't serve us anymore in order for us to grow."

BAM! (That was one of those I'm-not-really-sure-if-I'll-make-it-today days. I'm so grateful I went to practice.)

I've been holding Kristen's words as I've been purging - not just my stuff, but my body too. My body is different now. As my physicality has changed and my physical practice has needed to change. After an injury, the goal is usually to “get back to normal”. But after giving birth, there’s a new “normal”. This new practice is learning how to understand new pathways as I develop a new relationship with my body in time and space.

In my pre-Mom-life, I spent years under the mentorship of Kun-Yang Lin and Nora Gibson. As any dancer tries to, I tailored my physical practice to the needs of their choreography and artistry. Since stepping away, I've been able to let go of some of their aesthetics as my body discovers new pathways that are uniquely mine. I write this with total gratitude. I understand a student will always acclimate nuances and stylistic impulses from their teacher, but there is also a time when the student needs to step away and continue to grow.

Kun-Yang and Nora will always serve me and be a huge part of my heart and story, but it's been time (and I’ve been reluctant to admit it) to step out on my own - as a mover, artist, teacher, performer, creator, director...

So, Shed is informed by letting go, and saying "Thank you" to that which has served me, to the things that I've held onto, and to the people and places who have shaped me. Not just movement pathways from Kun-Yang and Nora, but the books from my grad program, pictures from old vacations, treasures I've saved, the dining set that's been a centerpiece in most of my adult living spaces, notes from friends who made a lasting impact on my heart... Dancing these feelings and stories is a way to move through this time of change with authenticity and awareness.

It's a very scary and vulnerable place and I'm so grateful for my past and the people who are emerging in my present.

1 comment:

  1. You are in a great place. A temporarily hard place. Part of the diiiculty is that you are so good at what you do...or did. All those skills are still in your kit and you may use some modified. But as you know, new skills will have a higher premium. Progression in the US military is based on that premise. YOU HAVE GROWN A NEW KIT OF EMPATHY. You know a larger love. You are coming to know a larger, more imaginatve life well suited to remembered tools and new ones. No one’s life may stay still. Yoo can’t not grow. When Ellen died, I started anew. With shaky wings. I’m rebuilding the foundation she graciously created for me. I am creating new things I have never done before. And they pass my “so what” test. You have past through a similar threshold. I can’t wait to see the emergent beauty. Be blest Jessica. Feel graced.