Today was my first day of my residency through The Work Room based at the Tramway. While the ultimate aim is to facilitate the next stage of my Beeton/Dance.Time Her/Single Mum Project, it is also a return to my practice.
During the kitchen dances (85 in total) - I was able to carve out some time to myself in theory (in reality, my son often woke during my dance, and I always had my ear open to his needs, ergo was never truly time to myself). I chose to stop in November when his sleep patterns changed and I opted for 5 as opposed to 4 hours of sleep per night in lieu of dancing and posting my experience. I feel quite proud of those dances and films however. I found some lovely moments in my wee space. Last viewing the ‘Kitchen Dance Series’ had about 5000 views- which is a lot considering the obscurity of it. Views came from across the globe, Saudi Arabia to Kazakhstan, Australia to Argentina, and of course the USA and UK - among many others. I find that astounding, thinking of people in their own kitchens in divergent places watching, maybe participating in their own way.
So now I have a big space, physically and metaphysically, 28 days in total between now and June at various times to explore and return to my practice. It is a cross roads, everything about my life now is polar opposite to previous in content. My wish however remains the same - to create every(wo)man experiences, communities for connection, reminders of humanity - in myself and others should they wish it.
This practice starts with a knowledge of the body. I have striking memories of the Sunrise Sequence of my Broomielaw Dances, 72 days in total wherein I danced at Sunrise every day. I remember waking in darkness and exiting onto Albert Drive in Pollokshields, the stories of the skies mapped out above me as the Sun prepared his entrance (Mother Earth, Father Sky). Over the 72 days I felt more in alignment with the planet, with myself then before or since. It was as if my body were electric*, in complete vibrating harmony with the environment. It was blissful. I expect we are so out of keeping with nature’s natural rhythms we miss out on something… electric lights and clocks determine our lives, but there must be something in our core, which calls for different.
It is interesting to note that during that time much of my world was collapsing, my house was in perilous danger of being re-possessed, and debt collectors harped at every corner. But I had the dance, and those moments of freedom of peace, saved me. (along with extraordinary support from family and friends)
In hindsight, which is wonderful gift, I can see how important that entire story was to my present, but at the time it was harrowing.
Embodiment is a key aspect to my practice, it is very much related to authenticity. The Sunrise Dances demonstrated how out of alignment I had been with the biorhythms of the planet, and brought me to reflect how much that is the case in general. How we atrophy our bodies by the artifices of modern life. They are created realities and they are not absolute.
That said I have a greater sensitivity to the challenges therein as a “Present Parent” (ie. present for my son, and a present to my son in lieu of single mum). I long for the physical aliveness I felt when I was dancing regularly but I don’t know how I could possibly fit it in.
I have an app on my phone which tracks the amount of steps I walk everyday/week/month/year. On a slow day I walk 5 km. On an ordinary day about 8 or 9, and often 12-14 km. That’s just running after my son, doing the things you do. I consider my day and lack imagination how to bring more physical dynamism into it, when it’s already pretty physical. I am largely shattered by the end of my 14 hour day, and then need to take care of regular household things.
So I get it. I understand the television watching culture et al. I understand the lack of activity. But the repercussions of such sustained inactivity are pretty great physically, psycholigcally, spiritually. So where do we, I… go from here?
I don’t know.
Maybe I’ll get some ideas in the next 28 days….
For now I am enjoying lengthening, stretching, and breathing into my body. Seeing myself (physically and metaphorically). And sweating. All experiences that have been lost to me in the past wee while.
I am thankful to have the time but also for the challenges I am facing in the larger context. I hope I can find some insight so as to pass onto others who might have similar challenges in relation to access to physical space for self.
*Walt Whitman “I sing the body electric” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174740