feeling

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The other day, after our ride, my lovely 24-year old stallion, Capprichio, surprised me.  Capprichio is not a horse that you can touch casually.  He is often standoffish, a little cranky, extremely specific, and private.  Early on in our relationship he suddenly, efficiently and unexpectedly removed a diamond stud from my ear with his teeth and swalowed it.  I think he was putting me on notice.  I respect him, his space, which does not keep me from continuing to look for openings, to find that lovely touch that he will enjoy.

So the other day, after his shower, I began by finger combing his mane which is huge and thick and long (he is an Andalusian), falling from a massive crest.  He began to settle, drop his head, his eyes closing – a little dreamy.  So I kept going. Thirty minutes or so later (horse time is so very unpredictable), I stopped and began to leave his stall. I lingered in the door for a moment and he moved toward me – very clearly, “not yet”.  I put out my hand. He placed his nose on the back of my hand.  And stayed there.  For another maybe thirty minutes.  Little soft strokes, breathing, just letting go of time, or doing anything but being. He was leading, guiding.

Reciprocity –  being touched by what you are touching. It is so very hard for us humans to remember that  – to receive, to allow, to follow.  Capprichio is a Zen master. We have been together for over ten years, and perhaps I have just now become ready for this lesson.  Thank you, most beautiful.

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the female body; the body politic

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I recently attended the Body-Mind Centering Association conference in Montreal.  Sylvie Fortin, the keynote speaker and a professor of somatics and aesthetics spoke movingly about the way that the female body is regarded, or rather disregarded; about the introjected hatred and mistrust of the female.  And now we are watching that play out in excruciating detail in the grind of electoral politics.

Her public record is only part of the problem for Hillary Clinton. Her mistakes or misjudgements are far less egregious than those of many, many white male politicians. Her big problem is her gender. Untrustworthy and dishonest are gendered words too often used to dismiss or diminish women.  This rhetoric is not only on the right. When Bill Maher calls Donald a “whiny little bitch”, he is insulting the man by glibly participating in the continuing, unconscious ridicule of women. Stop it.

A recent article in the New York Times, How Wall Street Bro Talk Keeps Women Down, talks about the way corporate executives degrade women, casually tearing them apart, reducing them to body parts in their “bro moments.”

That sexism is the unspoken, foul groundwater of this particular moment in the body politic is not surprising, flowing as it does from the culture at large.  The rejection of the body, of sensorial experience, of our bodies and the body of the earth is woven into the tissue of the body politic, the cultural body, the personal body. We expect it, we accept it, we embody it.

What is surprising is that it is not named, not called out.  Hillary can’t really call it – she will be accused of playing the victim card. But we can. Stand up for the woman: your mother, your sister, your wife, your daughter, your granddaughter, your friend, your candidate.  Stand up.

 

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outside the box

DSC03763Photo:  Pam White

Spent the afternoon in Boston yesterday, performing at the Outside the Box Festival. It was very, very hot – 95 degrees.  However, I was a “roving” performer, so I could choose my moments, choose my time and place.  There was something wonderful and rigorous about being a part of this flow of people, discovering more about relationship, audience and the ephemeral, fleeting performative moment.

I found myself bowing, often to young black men and women. I have felt devastated by the happenings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Dallas, and the long list of other beings and cities. I feel helpless, disconnected, even though my son in law is black and my granddaughter a beautiful blend of Nepali and African American.  Perhaps the anonymous, concealed envelope of The Traveler allowed me to cross a bridge, even momentarily.

I want to connect, communicate. I want to say that your lives matter to me in a very personal and immediate way.  It is not abstract.  I want each and every one of us to have limitless opportunity, a deep sense of safety and nurturance, and the boundless ability to pursue happiness.

Bowing was a way of saying “Hello. I see you.”  It is not enough, but it is a beginning.

 

aftermath

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I have not recovered or slowed down from last weekend’s performances at The Dance Complex.  Like The Traveler or The Messenger pictured above, I am moving on, still dancing. Tomorrow I will be performing SPEAK at the Performance Mix Festival at Abrons Arts Center in New York.  Then off to Montreal for the Body-Mind Centering Association conference where I will be teaching and performing.

I want to thank with all my heart those who came to the performances, and all who supported us.  That includes our generous Indiegogo donors, my friends Annie and Stan who hosted some of us during our time in Cambridge, my fabulous, stellar creative team, and the superb staff at The Dance Complex.  And of course my lovely, wise wife and creative partner, Pam White.

Read Marcia Siegel’s review of Of This Body