"You know I feel like the ancestors brought us together. I feel like the ancestors brought us here and they expect great things. They expect us to say what we think and live how we feel and follow the hard paths that bring us near joy."
My first full-time job was at a store specializing in natural fabrics called Lesliejane - where I worked on and off for 10 years. I loved selling and creating clothing made from silk, cotton and linen - so sensuous in smell and texture. More importantly, however, was the influence Leslie, the owner, had on my life. She not only created art on paper and canvas, but there was such an artistry to her life. She had a gift of describing things from her life's experiences that were meaningful to her in such a way that it sounded like poetry. Her words allowed you to rest in the images and to feel transported by them into a world of sublime beauty.
Approximately ten years have gone by since she passed away after a lengthy battle with Hodgkin's disease. In her last weeks of life she didn't share that she was dying with anyone but her closest friends and family. Receiving the news of her passing was very hard for me as I regretted not telling her just before she died how much she had positively influenced my life and how much I loved her.
I used to think an ancestor was someone from your blood-line that has passed away, but have come to understand that an ancestor can be anyone who touched your heart deeply and who has done the ultimate letting go... Leslie often visits my dreams and encourages me on my artistic path of following my heart.
Last night while here in Vancouver she visited another dream and this dance was inspired by that heart's visitation. My heart strings were feeling pulled also because of the upcoming Olympics starting in a few days (Canadian flags were flying and posted everywhere)... feeling nostalgia for the past and for the beauty of a city that I grew up in.
For today's dance practice I was inspired to return to Lesliejane - which is still in business run by her ex-husband. Although I went late at night there was still a lot of traffic on this street so my challenge was to dance freely regardless of what the passing drivers may be thinking of a woman dancing by herself outside of a store... This dance is one of gratitude and one of letting go...
For you Leslie - thank you for all the gifts of your life you shared with me over the years and the encouragement I continue to feel - from the heart...
Thank you for reading / viewing. I hope this blog in some way inspired you. Do you feel like ancestors are guiding you on your path?
Visit my butoh mentor's beautiful blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill