Week by week, my “blogging idea” list keeps growing. I dance furiously, take notes, ruminate, and then—just as I feel ready to transfer the experience to screen—the next event rolls along, and I am immersed in another moment of rapture. I am bursting at the seams with experiences to share (bet you didn’t know I completed a first-degree Reiki class last month!), with little down time to sink back into those moments and bring them back to life through words. And as much as my career as an editor helps me through the blogging process, it’s also a hindrance: I spend so many hours each day in front of a computer that the thought of another minute squinting at a monitor is often agonizing.
This past Sunday was supposed to be THE DAY. I had danced on Friday night and Saturday afternoon with minimal computer interaction. Apart from a morning coffee date, Sunday was wide open, and I had every intention of blogging my ass off.
(At this time, you may turn your attention to the title of this post, which indicates how well that all turned out.)
Sunday was rainy, chilly, and gray, the dictionary definition of an I’m-not-taking-off-my-pajamas kind of day. I had in fact gotten dressed that morning, but only for the coffee meetup with Carrol. Carrol is my 60-something “old lady friend” (her words, not mine!); she’s also an art therapist, and being in her presence always stirs something creative in me. A live jazz quartet accompanied our latte sipping and strata nibbling, and an exhibit by local artist Monica Joy Moran had all kinds of earthy works of mixed media popping from the walls.
When I got home, I was inspired to flex my artistic muscle—but not through writing! I wanted to use my hands more than my brain; I wanted to create! Despite the urgency of all the writing that was waiting to be done, I wanted to express my love of movement through images rather than words.
My first endeavor was to create a get well card for the producer of my 5Rhythms tribe, who was scheduled to have arthroscopic knee surgery the following day. Knee surgery for a mover/shaker/dancer is a pretty huge deal; it deserves a special kind of card!
As barbaric as it sounds, I began by dismembering the ballerinas and dancers in an old Alonzo King Lines Ballet wall calendar. Whereas zombies mutter “Braaaaiiinsss,” I was thinking more along the lines of “Legggggssss.”
I envisioned using healthy dancer knees as part of the project; I was inspired by the work I created for my friend who had pulmonary surgery over the summer. For that project, I had cut out a bunch of words and images from magazines illustrative of “breath” and “inhalation” and shaped them into a pair of lungs. However, I quickly realized that a knee wasn’t exactly as visually striking.
Change of plans!
The notion of making an actual card I could send in the mail fell flat when I realized the size of these dancer legs. Instead, I made a temporary exhibit on a yoga mat and delivered the image via Facebook. Thank you, technology! (Also, I don’t know what the heck Rebekah would have done with a poster-sized image of random limbs.)
I was now in the zone. My little yoga room upstairs had transformed into a paper-littered art studio; Zoë Keating’s cello music played on my laptop, the vibration of her strings moving me to vibrate along with her. The assembly of legs before me was calling to be transformed.
I then realized something needed to be done with all the poor floating heads and torsos left behind on my leg-less dancers. It was time to get serious.
I became a madwoman, gathering scissors, glue, poster board, and tape, spreading them over the wooden floor of my yoga room. From the kitchen, I brought up a bowl of mixed nuts, with some Reese’s Pieces thrown in the mix for a colorful kick. A gallon jug of water to chug on, to keep me hydrated. Lit a chocolate mint-scented candle, changed my music to the buoyant strings of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
I was ready for both hibernation and/or creation.
Delicately, I snipped the dancers’ heads and arms from their dark background, happy to be repurposing their poses and poise. The work became a Wave: smoothing down paper and paste to the music’s tempo; gliding my finger over wet glue, feeling the stickiness with the same awareness of pressing my foot into the dance floor and feeling the gritty wood fibers; slicing paper with a razor—careful not to get too Staccato—being mindful of the Lyrical nature of the razor’s work, thin cracks forming over an icy lake.
Finally, there came Stillness:
I’m still thinking of a good name for the piece. “Tribe and True”? “Us”? “Supportive Stillness”? The intention was to depict how a 5Rhythms tribe allows room for a heart to grow while holding a sacred, contained space for such development. The dance isn’t necessarily about contact as it is connection, the feeling of being part of a greater something even when dancing by yourself.
I can be standing on the outskirts of the dance floor by myself during 5Rhythms but never feel alone. It had happened just the day before at a class led by Peter Fodera; overcome with a profound appreciation and deep gratitude for everyone dancing around me, I was compelled to stand off to the side and simply witness the unraveling around me. I felt tapped into the buzzing circuitry, lifting my hands as though placing them on one of those plasma static electricity balls. My body started to heat up, not in a “I’m dancing crazily, I’m hot” way, but rather a radiating warmth from my core outward that left a fine sheen of perspiration over the surface of my skin. A healthy 5Rhythms tribe is very much like a flourishing circulatory system; my heart beats as the surrounding veins and arteries flood it with fresh nourishment.
I hardly touched my keyboard that Sunday but didn’t feel as guilty as I normally do when putting off writing for another day. Artistic expression had emerged in different ways that night; old calendars found new life; and I found that cutting, pasting, and assembling can be just as meditative as shaking, whirling, and twirling.