Practicing this last week in-side a bag was in-sight-full in many ways. One of the purposes was to not film, edit, and blog for a week so it would give me time to do taxes and fulfill my longing to dance within a community - success!
I was able to go to Momo's butoh retreat on blossoming and exploring the idea of "who are you?" It was a profound experience for me and I loved uncovering the idea that who I am is not a 'thing' that you can label such as, "I am spirit," but, who I am is simply just "being."
The dance photos are from a request I had to not perform alone, but to include everyone. I have a tendency when I practice butoh to close my eyes, but Momo reminded me of the importance of keeping the windows of my soul open so the witnesses can see and connect with my soul. This dance was one of celebrating seeing with the eyes open and also of 'we-ing' - dancing with others.
The rest of this past week was spent practicing inside the bag and I was struck by how comfortable it was to snuggle into a cotton 'sack,' to darken the sight, to connect with the breath and reflect on my last 15 months of daily dance practice and filming.
Although I felt alone in my self-created isolation, one of our cats could not help herself from joining in my bag dance by sitting on my head :~)
The following photos capture my week within the bag. Some of the images I found quite humorous, one that looked like an elephant's back, one that looked like a ?? What do you see?
A few times I fell asleep within my cocoon, which I thought was a good thing, so as to assimilate in dream time my dance practice and where I have come from and to consider where I am going. This last year + of daily dancing has included very little time to integrate or reflect on the experience. I appreciated this time to do this.
Also, except for my daily morning meditation and pranayama time in our yurt, I rarely take time to just stop and BE... not doing, but simply being, which is an opportunity to get in touch with who I really am...
I believe in the importance of honoring our ancestors and those that have come before us that have allowed us to be the people we are today. I was also thinking about the idea of the importance of taking time to honor, celebrate and share those experiences that have come before us, that have enabled us to be where we are now.
Momo has said that one thing that makes butoh different than other dance forms such as authentic dance is that it is meant to be shared with community. My time in the bag allowed me get in touch with not only my longing to want to connect with others in the dance, but also to want to share with others more specifically the depth of this practice in regards to how it has fed my soul.
"It is important to feed the body, but it is more important to feed the soul." Jamie Sams
From the time I met Momo in November 2008 until now there have been many pivotal experiences for me that have confirmed that this path is one that has heart and meaning for me. In the next few blog posts I want to share those past experiences in film and words with you.
Many of my friends and family have said they do not understand what butoh is or why I am so dedicated to the practice - I hope to share the reasons soon!
From Momo's sensei from the book 'Kazuo Ohno's World from Within and Without:' "The question we all need to ask ourselves is: Are we genuinely free when crammed into a sack? You there, your eyes are filled with longing. What are you seeking after? And yet the freedom you enjoy while crammed into a sack is far greater than that you'd have without one."
Thank you for reading this blog. I hope it may inspire you in some way. If it does, I would love to hear how :~)
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill