Wednesday, March 31, 2010

a nestling

Although I was feeling distraught today by President Obama's decision to open vast coastal areas to offshore oil drilling, I remembered Mary Oliver's words from when I saw her at a poetry recital a couple of years ago - to paraphrase, she said, as much as we are concerned about the world, we must also show the world how much we LOVE her...

Today's dance practice was an expression of that... While at the beach I was moved by the bleached grey drift-logs at the high-tide line that looked like sculptures. The sun was nearing the horizon and the light was shining in that particular way that makes you feel glad to be alive, at this moment, on this wondrous Earth Mama...

In particular, an ancient tree stump invited and inspired the dance with a desire to explore and dance it's periphery before nesting like a nestling within it's depths. Feeling honored to be within the skeleton of a once vibrant, living being... I was also wondering what tree species created such a beautiful piece of art...

I couldn't resist the opportunity to be birthed from this womb-like ancient one, which sent me running towards the sun and the sparkling water diamonds upon it...

Sometimes I breathe and
the stars go by in their serene beatitudes,
never disturbing a weather-gray house
by the sea where I have hidden my life.
My gypsy attention continues its years-long
wandering. It will return. It will find
my mouth saying, "Oh," as the ocean
rises and falls, responding
to those deliberate events in the sky -
the sun, the moon, the stars.

William Stafford

Thank you for viewing / reading... may you feel inspired in some way...

There is a film in the black space below:
Music: Satowa
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

shadow side

This was a second dance practice today - this ancient maple tree seemed to be calling to dance with it's shadow side. Loved the opportunity to use the shadows cast from the tree as a means of dancing more spontaneously on the earth's moist soil...

Feeling grateful for sharing this earth-world with such ancient, inspiring beings that cast such magnificent shadows... it is an honor to dance with their shadow-side...

“Every being exists in intimate relation with other beings and in constant exchange of gifts with each other. But this relationship is beyond pragmatic use. It is rather a mutual sharing of existence in the grand venture of the universe itself.”

Thomas Berry

Thank you for viewing / reading... I always appreciate comments,


There is a film in the black space below:
Music: Deuter
Filmed by Brooke
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

spirits of gilead

The Other Kingdoms

Consider the other kingdoms. The
trees, for example, with their mellow-sounding
titles: oak, aspen, willow.
Or the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
different arrivals. Or the creatures, with their
thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze. Their
infallible sense of what their lives
are meant to be. Thus the world
grows rich, grows wild, and you too,
grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too
were born to be.

~ Mary Oliver ~ (The Truro Bear and Other Adventures)

Years ago when I lived in rural British Columbia in the Pemberton Valley, you knew spring had arrived when the air became thick with the aroma of poplar trees budding. Have you seen them up close? The leaf buds are about 1" long and they are very sticky and smell, to me, divine! They have a rich, deep, base, woodsy smell - I hope you have a chance to fill your olfactory organs with them this spring!

One day while mountain biking along the valley trail with a friend she exclaimed, "I love the Spirits of Gilead!!!" I had no idea what she was referring to, however, she proceeded to tell me that this was the name of the buds of the poplar trees.

Recently I googled "Spirits of Gilead" and couldn't find any reference to it, but, what I did find was "Balm of Gilead." A balm or spirits, either way, I love the idea that these buds are medicinal and have healing properties (although I like the idea of the luscious aroma as being the 'spirit' of the tree... :~). The dried, unopened buds of the poplar tree have been used in ointments and skin treatments for at least 3000 years.

"Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived."
Helen Keller

Today while hiking to the beach, I was so moved and intoxicated by the smell of the "Spirits of Gilead" I knew I had to dance the smell and celebrate the tree. My medicine woman mentor has said that if you honor one tree of a species, you honor them all - all the trees of that species feel it as they are all connected. I like that idea - hug one poplar tree and they all receive the love!

I was also drawn to the curves of the boardwalk and the pattern of the planks of wood along the edge of the pond, wanting to interact with them. It was a joy to have the company of the mallard duck pair in the pond to interact with - feeling happy and content to dance this moment with the trees and the ducks beside the pond...

I came across a spiritual hymn from the 1700's with the lyrics:

"Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul."

Celebrating the Balm and the Spirits of the poplar trees...

Thank you for viewing! It means a lot to me!

There is a film in the space below:
Music: Satowa
Filmed by Brooke
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

Monday, March 29, 2010

an ocean dousing

After many days of calm, spring-like weather, the clouds gathered overnight, the rain and hail fell furiously, and the wind blew with a vengeance today. After a busy day of teaching yoga and seeing clients I was thrilled that there was a break in the rain to zip to the beach and do my daily dance practice. I felt giddy with anticipation on my way to this rocky outcropping, to dance with the wind and the waves...

Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does it End?

... Doesn't the wind, turning in circles, invent the dance?

Mary Oliver

I love how the waves and the wind invite spontaneity of movement as there is so much unpredictability in their dance... To receive a good dousing from Grandmother Ocean on this chilly day felt cleansing, invigorating and humbling...

Grandmother Ocean, Grandfather Sun, we honor and celebrate you...

Thank you for viewing / reading this blog. With gratitude for... you.

There is a film in the black space below:
Music: Sigur Ros
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

Sunday, March 28, 2010

pukalani above

Today's weather was 'spring-ly' and unsettled, with torrential rain one minute and sunshine the next. You have to hurry to get out into the day when there is a break in the clouds, as we did this late afternoon, to walk when it isn't raining. What struck me as we walked by this large grassy field was a perfectly shaped circle about 100 feet in diameter that was 'drawn' by the fact that the grass making up the perimeter was longer and greener than all the other grass on the field. Who knows what created this mysterious circle - any ideas??

As I began my dance practice I was drawn to trace the circle, which took me on an inward journey into my own center. As I looked into the sky there was a pukalani (Hawaiian for hole in the Heavens where there is a circle of blue sky with clouds all around) directly overhead which drew me for a time outward into a feeling of expansiveness into the infinite sky with a returning feeling of inner space...

Grateful for the 'God of Space,' inward and outward, on the journey...


I like you with nothing. Are you
what I was? What I will be?...

Be my father, be my mother,
great sleep of blue, reach
far within me; open doors,
find whatever is hiding, invite it
for many clear days in the sun...

When I turn away I know
you are there... I know it
within my bowed head, where
the other sky listens...

William Stafford

Thank you for viewing / reading.
There is a film in the black space below (the sound at the end is the wind):
Music: Philip Glass
Filmed by Brooke
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

Saturday, March 27, 2010

into the green

Spring has sprung in the Pacific North West and I loved how this trail looked like a green tunnel leading into the unknown ahead. These new leaves have just opened within the last few days and are glowing with new life green...

Today I was inspired to do just a short dance of gratitude for this spring day - wheeeee!

We continued our journey down the trail and broke out from the green and into the blue sky and sea environment, where we had the opportunity to witness a grey whale spouting and surfacing within a 100 yards from lighthouse point... so much grand beauty! We and several others kept 'wow-ing!' our exuberance every time it surfaced with so much inner joy, just for the fact that we were witnessing a creature so magnificent!

This site offers recent whale sightings in our area: Orca Network Sightings.

I was struck by how amazing it is that beings will come together from completely different places and at one precise moment we will share the same breathing space, so to speak, for a few moments. If we had have been 10 minutes later or earlier we would have missed this incredible encounter. There is something so magnificent about being so close to a wild being of that largess that makes your heart feel like it's breathing...

In retrospect it really did feel like this was a dance into the unknown marvels of the future, just minutes away... gratitude for Great Mystery... and sweet blessings to the grey whale on it's journey...

Okay - so the photo below doesn't really capture the whale too well at all, but I hope even this glimmer of it will amaze you in some way as to our precious interconnectedness with these beings? :~)

Well, perhaps this poem from one of my favorite poets will?? :~)


There is, all around us,
this country
of original fire.
You know what I mean.
The sky, after all, stops at nothing so something
has to be holding
our bodies
in its rich and timeless stables or else
we would fly away.
Off Stellwagan
off the Cape,
the humbacks rise. Carrying their tonnage
of barnacles and joy
they leap through the water, they nuzzle back under it
like children
at play.
They sing, too.
And not for any reason
you can’t imagine.
Three of them
rise to the surface near the bow of the boat,
then dive
deeply, their huge scarred flukes
tipped to the air.
We wait, not knowing
just where it will happen; suddenly
they smash thorugh the surface, someone begins
shouting for joy and you realize
it is yourself as they surge
upward and you see for the first time
how huge they are, as they breach,
and dive, and breach again
through the shining blue flowers
of the split water and you see them
for some unbelievable
part of a moment against the sky —
like nothing you’ve ever imagined —
like the myth of the fifth morning galloping
out of darkness, pouring
heavenward, spinning; then
they crash back under those black silks
and we all fall back
together into that wet fire, you
know what I mean.
I know a captain who has seen them
playing with seaweed, swimming
through the green islands, tossing
the slippery branches into the air.
I know a whale that will come to the boat whenever
she can, and nudge it gently along the bow
with her long flipper.
I know several lives worth living.
Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will ever dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,
its spirit
longing to fly while the dead-weight bones
toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire
where everything,
even the great whale,
throbs with song.
~ Mary Oliver ~ (American Primitive)

Thank you for viewing... it means a lot to me,
Music: Philip Glass
Filmed by Brooke
See my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

Friday, March 26, 2010

out of the blue

"Our souls, our hearts, our spirits respond spontaneously to beauty; our response isn't merely an intellectual one. Take painstaking care of the way in which you respond to life... The soul is the prime mover in the dance." Kazuo Ohno, my butoh mentor, Momo's sensei

After a challenging week, walking to the beach and seeing the big beauty of the world was a healing balm for the soul. I love practicing dance on the sand as it allows a freedom of movement that is hard to replicate on a hard, unforgiving surface. So much joy to wiggle the feet into the sand or let the sand move you by it's resistance, or lack of, beneath you.

Another hat dance, wearing a hat from my father's collection - he was a funky hat kind of guy! I felt so much joy in dancing in the expanse of the blue day with the sky overhead, warm sand beneath, and the cool water splashes.

I was inspired by one of Momo's recent blogs where she speaks of her connection to the hat she was wearing in her dance - " the hat became the perfect daffodil cup extension of my body to gather warm and bright nourishment from the sun. Kazuo Ohno would remind us how butoh costumes & props are like adding parts of the cosmos onto our bodies, and our bodies are costumes for the soul."

At one point in the practice I envisioned my dad's hat to be like a 'solar energy receptor' where I was allowing that energy to be absorbed, and then from there, accessing that energy from the hat - wheeeee!!! It was wonderful to play with this image of receiving Grandfather Sun's energy in this way!
Thank you for viewing my blog. It means a lot to me. If you are inspired to say hello, I would love to receive a comment.

The road goes down. It stops at the sea.
The sea goes on. It stops at the sky.
the sky goes on...

And what about you?
And what about me?

William Stafford

There is a film in the black space below:
Music: Philip Glass
Filmed by Brooke
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill