Stepping back in my daily dance practice in order to step forward...
In the spring of 2008 I facilitated a yoga retreat with my beloved at Haramara Retreat Center in Mexico - a sanctuary for the soul. While there I was in awe of the beauty of Grandmother Ocean especially at sunset when the sun sank into her depths emphasizing her expansiveness.
On a hike down the coastline with friends, we came across a beach that looked so pristine from a distance, but on approaching more closely we saw that the shoreline was strewn with garbage - mostly plastic in all shapes and forms. Our friends told us when they were scuba diving in the reefs in Australia they came upon what they thought was a massive seaweed bed - but was actually a mass of plastic garbage - mainly bags. I had seen at that time an article that talked about how the coral reefs were dying and sea life were finding homes instead amongst the debris in the ocean. I had also heard how under the ocean there is a mass of plastic so large it was at that time the size of Texas (it is now much larger - see Momo's blog here: 'Chuck It').
At other times, off the coast from Haramara we had also seen the magnificence of grey whales breaching. Having lived with tinnitus (ringing in my ears) for many years I was also devastated by how the navy has been using sonic sound under the sea for military purposes and the damage the sound has on undersea life, especially the dolphins and whales. I empathize with how painful that experience must be for sea-life as I too am living with a sound irritant that will not go away. Drew Dellinger's poem "Ancestors and Angels" inspired me immensely -
... You know I feel like
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
we feel and follow the hard paths
that bring us near joy...
There is so much noise in the oceans
the whales can't hear each other.
We're making them crazy,
driving dolphins insane.
What kind of ancestors
What struck me at the time was how hard it is to understand how polluted our ocean is because from the surface she looks sooo beautiful! And I thought about how she also reflects our tendency as humans to look externally 'fine' on the surface while often hidden within our depths is a lot of suffering and pain...
The image of the ocean filled with garbage touched me deeply and after dancing with Momo on 11 11 2008 honoring the salmon, I knew that when my beloved and I returned to Mexico in a few weeks after that dance, I HAD to do a dance offering for Grandmother Ocean.
I took a small pack filled with thrift shop costume possibilities, but made most of my costume from garbage found on the beach and in the environs close to where we were staying. What I love about this dance practice is not planning the dance ahead of time but receiving inspiration from the inside environment and the outside environment moment to moment...
The dance started with me wrapped in sheer fabric at the ocean's shore where it felt like I had just been 'coughed up' and out from the depths of the sea, as some sort of sea creature entangled in garbage... In seeing the photos after I also thought it looked as though I was wearing a burial wrap, of sorts. At other times in the dance I felt like Grandmother Ocean herself, feeling the grief of loss - finding a dead puffer fish with a hook embedded in it's cheek that had been tossed into the sea by a fisherman that was unable to use the fish for food, so was killed needlessly. I was also feeling the grief of so much pollution hidden beneath 'my' depths...
This dance was an offering, a prayer dance honoring Grandmother Ocean and a prayer for her healing...
Thank you for view / reading this blog. I hope it may inspire you in some way. I would love to hear from you if you feel inspired to comment :~)
Music: Jennifer Berezan
Filmed by Brooke
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill