"Please begin each workshop by telling yourself that dance isn't something remote from your day-to-day lives - let that be your starting point."
Kazuo Ohno - my butoh mentor Momo's sensei
My dance practice blog today is about the dance of life...
After an emotionally challenging couple of days with my elderly parents, I arrived home exhausted in body, mind and spirit. Months ago a girlfriend and I had booked time at the Women's Korean Spa for today, and the timing was perfect. I tend to be a 'self-care martyr' - "I'm fine, I can just keep on going and going and going..." However, as a massage therapist and yoga teacher it is crucial to stay nourished and nurtured in order to have the energy to give to others. And, is it not crucial for everyone who is overworked and over-stressed to take time out to calm the nervous system? After-all, it is thought that more than 90% of all doctor's visits are from stress related symptoms. My butoh mentor wrote of the importance of self-care in her blog.
I also like the philosophy that our bodies are microcosms of our earth body, made of the same elements, and that if we are not caring for our own bodies, we are not caring for the body of mama earth. Is it possible to say we care deeply about the air pollution being discharged into the air by large industries while we ourselves may wear cosmetics, toiletries, perfumes or colognes that contain synthetic ingredients that are also filling our air with toxins? I must keep remembering that I must be the change I want in the world... perhaps beginning intimately with the care of my body / mind / spirit.
The Korean Spa reminds me of the Sauna Hoff in Bad Fussing, Germany (a small town where I have spent time receiving light therapy for my loss of hearing / tinnitus from Dr.Wilden). At the Hoff you pay a nominal fee for the joy and pleasure of spending hours there - going from sauna, to sauna (several different ones to choose from of varying temperatures and styles,) to mineral pool, to cold plunge, to steam room, and repeating several times. Unlike receiving a massage at a spa where you go for an hour and rush out again into your busy life, at the Hoff they even have special rooms for doing nothing but resting in. I loved hearing that if you are not well many doctors in Europe will give you a PRESCRIPTION to attend a spa for a week or more for wellness and healing - now, that makes sense, doesn't it? Wow!
Entering the soaking area of The Korean Spa I was struck by the aroma of mugwort which smelled earthy and rich, like my body wanted to absorb it in some way. There is a large marble cistern that contains warm water infused with mugwort and the spa suggests that after spending time in the sauna or soaking in the various hot pools that you ladle yourself with this healing water. This practice feels heavenly to the sensual body in smell, and touch as the warm water flows over your body / being - nourishing, nourishing...
When lying face down to receive the Korean scrub, tears began to fall with the first touch from the therapist. So grateful that this was a hydrotherapy treatment where the tears falling mixed with the water that was being ladled over me - feeling so deeply touched by the healing power of the water element. Sometimes, life is overwhelming and taking time to be nurtured can be moving to the spirit.
After several hours at the spa, I had an acupuncture treatment where I am being treated for allergy symptoms associated with trees. By the time I arrived home having been scrubbed, rubbed, soaked, sweated, and poked with needles it was approaching dark and we headed to the park for our walk. Unable to film my spa dance, my daily dance practice is a very short one today - expressing my feeling of just wanting to connect with mama earth by dropping to the ground and resting.
Although much healing can be received by spending time in nature and by the healing benefits of our precious green allies, today I am feeling grateful for the compassion, love and care of others who work to nurture and nourish us on our often challenging journeys through life.
"... the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude."
Thank you for viewing / reading this blog. I hope it may inspire you in some way - perhaps to nourish your own being / mama earth in some way.
What Was Told, That
What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.
What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was
whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is
being said to me now. I blush...
The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,
in love with the one to whom every that belongs!
Translated by Coleman Barks
There is a film in the black space below:
Music: Andrew Bird
Filmed by Brooke
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill