Friday, April 30, 2010

sister stumps and greenly spirits



"A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you... You need to change the rhythm of seeing each other and come in contact again with the ancient belonging that brought you together." John O'Donohue from "Anam Cara"

Today's dance practice was with my sister, Bev, among the trees in Lynn Canyon Park. Being a weekday morning we thought the park would be quiet and a good place to play with filming a dance together. We had to laugh when we arrived because of the numbers of people that were in the park, including this large group who walked by just as we were about to begin our dance :~) It was beautiful to see this same group later, farther on the trail, standing in a clearing in silence connecting to nature practicing, what looked like, Tai Chi...

We stopped at this particular spot on our path because the two stumps reminded Bev, of us - two sister stumps. At the time, it was a spontaneous dance improvisation, however, in retrospect as we were hiking we realized how this dance together was filled with meaningful symbolism for both of us...
Also, after we had waited for the crowd of walkers to hustle by, we thought we were alone to dance. However, after we had finished we looked into the woods to see a stump that looked like it had two eyes staring out towards us. It was a reminder of our interconnectedness with all beings, animate and inanimate, and that what we do at all times affects that which is around us. Perhaps there were no human-beings witnessing our exchange of love for one another, but the forest was filled with 'other' beings who were potentially in touch with our energy exchange?

Thank you for viewing / reading... I hope this blog may inspire you to connect with someone you care about in a meaning-filled, love-filled way,
Lee
Music by: Philip Glass
Filmed by: fallen tree branch
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

tree spirits



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 ~ (from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures)

Oh my! What a joy it was to discover all these tree stump spirits in Lynn Canyon Park while hiking with my sister! Although I often feel connected to the spirits of the trees while in nature, it was easy to personify these stumps because they looked human-like in their appearances with their eyes, noses and mouths :~) We felt drawn to acknowledge and honor these ancient tree beings that had been logged at the turn of the century.
In my last mentorship session with Momo we vocalized the sounds that we imagined the sycamore and cedar trees were creating if they had voices we could hear... I couldn't resist imitating the language I imagined the tree stump with the crazy hair to be speaking - and what came out of my mouth was 'glossolalia.' I loved the surprise of coming closer to it in the dance and being able to see it's mouth opening deep into the earth - imagining the wise stories it could tell... In my butoh workshops with Momo she has asked us to dance the way another being might like to see us dance, and here, today, I was hoping I was speaking the language the tree wanted to hear, and allowing it to feel acknowledged in some way for it's presence...

My sister Bev also shared how she had done a photography project in art school years ago focussing on upturned roots of trees - and how to her they represent such meaning - the courage to expose one's deepest hidden self, the roots of one's being... honoring the depth of this uprooted tree, exposing it's depths so magnificently...
One of the stumps had a single eye (rock) in it's eye socket, and we felt compelled to give it sight in both eyes... although challenged with that as the forest floor was covered in peat moss with few rocks available and the one we did find didn't 'fit'...

The tree below looked like it had been touched up with charcoal graffiti at some point in the past and it looked quite 'saucy' to us, so Bev couldn't resist giving it a kiss... again, hoping these tree beings were feeling appreciated... We imagined it thinking "I have had this silly little grin on my face for many years and FINALLY someone is stopping to give me a hug and a kiss!"

Thank you you for viewing / reading this blog... I hope that it may inspire you in some way - perhaps to listen to, play with and honor the spirits of the trees where you live? :~)

Lee

Music by: Deuter
See my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here, where she focused the whole month of April on dances that connected to, and celebrated trees: Maureen 'Momo Freehill

Thursday, April 29, 2010

moss green


"Isn’t it plain the sheets of moss, except that / they have no tongues, could lecture / all day if they wanted about / spiritual patience?"

Mary Oliver

Today's dance practice was with my sister in Lynn Canyon Park that is nestled into the mountains bordering a river. There is so much lushness in this park where the tree branches are literally dripping with moss and the forest floor has no visible rocks on it as it is a spongy carpet of green.

A section of the trail we were on is an interpretive trail and a small sign explains how the forest floor in this area is peat moss, which I was surprised to read. I loved finding out how peat forms when plant material, usually in marshy areas, is inhibited from decaying fully by acidic and anaerobic conditions. It is composed mainly of marshland vegetation: trees, grasses, fungi, as well as other types of organic remains, such as insects, and animal remains.

Apparently, peat has been discovered to be very beneficial in cleaning up post oil spill catastrophes... I am wondering if peat may be used in the recent environmental disaster created by the oil-spill in the Gulf of Mexico...

Green being my favorite color, it was a joy to dance with the moss covered limbs above and on the spongy peat below. It was fun to see the film later where it looked, to me, like the dead limbs of the trees were monkey tails in the way they moved? :~)

Today's dance felt like a celebration of the green world and also of the time spent shared with my sister - I loved sharing this practice with her today! Gratitude to the Great Mystery...

Thank you for viewing / reading. I hope my blog may inspire in some way, perhaps to dance in the natural world near you :~)

Lee

Music by: Lisa Gerrard
Filmed by Bev
Visit my butoh mentor's blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

bev and deborah 1977


My sister and I have been assisting my dad in his eldercare this week and are feeling quite overwhelmed with the amount of work required to maintain the appropriate care for his needs. He has decided he does not want to leave his home to live in an assisted living facility, and we are striving to fulfill his wishes as he approaches his end of life. However, his mental faculties are quickly diminishing and he cannot remember something that he did, such as take his medication, minutes after he has... this makes his care very challenging.

Today, our time was so full with the 'dance of life' and the 'dance of responsibility,' in lieu of dancing myself in body for my daily practice, I was overjoyed to dance with my sister tonight in these images we stumbled across in a cupboard filled with photos. In 1977 my sister was an art student at The University of British Columbia, and this dance with the net and her dancer friend, Deborah, was one of her school projects.

Seeing these images has inspired us to do a dance together tomorrow - in our bodies :~)

I was thrilled that her husband had just bought a slide projector that transfers images from the old-style slides directly into the computer - awesome! Sorry for the dust on the images - the photos are 33 years old and were sitting unprotected in the cupboard :~)
Thanks for viewing / reading this blog,

Lee

Monday, April 26, 2010

hat island wind




"Straw, feathers, dust -
little things

but if they all go one way,
that's the way the wind goes."

William Stafford

I was heading to my childhood home today to assist in the care of my elderly father and to spend time with my sister who is visiting there from Yukon Territories. I have just recently returned from Mexico where it was my intention to rest deeply in preparation for the upcoming challenges associated with taking care of my dad's declining health.

However restful my time was, traveling (whether car or plane) in itself can make me feel 'airy-like' or ungrounded.

When I feel over stressed it feels like I have too much of the 'air' element within me, and to counterbalance that feeling I like to do practices that connect me more deeply to the Earth element. Many of the practices I do, such as abhyanga, or massage with sesame oil, are based on Ayurvedic treatments that are thousands of years old from India. The purpose is to reduce the Vata, or air element predominance.


In the beautiful Skagit Valley (my favorite daily dance practice stopping place en-route to the north country), I was pleasantly surprised that the air temperature had climbed into the mid 70's and I looked forward to getting out of my speeding vehicle to ground myself on the Earth with my butoh dance practice. I find this practice to be another profound way of intentionally connecting to the Earth through sensory experience and exploration. However, it was ironic to me that after spending time over the last few days trying to be more grounded, that when I came to the spot I had in mind to dance, there was a gail force wind and I couldn't have felt my inner air become more exagerrated than I did with this dance in the wind!

Regardless, I was happy to dance with the wind as partner - to be buffeted and blown about in such a powerful way and to surrender myself and my stresses to the strength of the wind... Gratitude for Spirit Wind...

Thank you for viewing / reading,

Lee

If you watch the film on the You Tube channel it will not be cut off - click the photo below twice :~)
Music: Chopin and the wind
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

Sunday, April 25, 2010

pond reflecting


At Blackwater Pond

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?

Mary Oliver

One of my favorite things about daily dancing last year was visiting a particular area in nature several times over the months to experience that place in different seasons and weather. This pond in the park was a place I returned to several times and I was looking forward to this visit as spring is unfolding so beautifully in the various foliages in so many shades of green.

On our walk to the park, within a few hundred feet we saw a baby bunny, a baby squirrel poking it's head out of a woodpecker-ed hole in a stump, and a tiny white broken shell on the path. So sweet to find a mallard duck pair in this pond as well - spring has arrived and so has the call of nature to procreate and create...

Not sure where the bundle of straw grasses by the pond came from, but was happy to use them as my prop to dance with. This practice felt like a celebration of the arrival of spring and the abundance of water in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you for viewing / reading. I hope this blog may inspire you in some way, perhaps to celebrate in your own way the beauty of our Mama Earth,

Lee

Music: De Bussy
Filmed by Brooke
See my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

If you click the below photo twice you can watch on the You Tube channel where the right side will not be cut off :~)

Friday, April 23, 2010

twinkle twinkle


After a full day of teaching yoga and seeing clients it was early evening and the sun had set, so my dance today is inside the studio. I was listening to Mary Oliver's recording of poetry and was inspired to dance her poem tonight - "Daisies".

Feeling tired and low in energy, it felt nourishing to dance this dance of mellowness and introspection...


I added the music after the dance as it seemed to fit my mood and the essence of the dance.

Thank you for viewing / reading,

Lee
video
Music: Aiko Shimada and Elizabeth Falconer
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

Thursday, April 22, 2010

into the green


i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

E.E. Cummings

On this day of celebrating Mama Earth (the 40th anniversary of Earth Day) I was struck by the evening light accentuating the green beauty of the uprising grass, I was inspired to dance with the grass and dandelion seeds as partners.

In Momo's workshops we have heightened our sensory experience and our relationship to the moment by covering our eyes with a blindfold. Today, even briefly, covering the eyes with my jacket's hood enabled me to tune into more deeply the senses of touch and smell - out of the head and into the body, on this quest to dance more freely...

I was surprised at one point when the grass felt sharp and cutting against my face - remembering how some grasses can have sharp 'barbs' along their edges... ouch...

Today's dance was a celebration of the greenly spirits and everything that is natural and infinite and... yes...

Thank you for viewing / reading. I hope that this blog may inspire you in some way,

Lee

"The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things,
I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever."

from, "One or Two Things"
— Mary Oliver (Dream Work)

There is a film in the black space below:
video
Music: Aiko Shimada and Elizabeth Falconer
Visit my butoh mentor's inspiring blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill