Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sanctuary and the Inner Fire

An angel told me, "The only way to walk through fire without getting burned is to become fire." Drew Dellinger
It seems there is so much peace within our hearts and at the same time such a passionate and wild fire.

While care-taking for my elderly mother, who is recovering from a femur fracture and surgery in her nursing home, I am reminded of the necessity of  an open-heart of compassion while holding onto an inner fierceness while being her advocate. 

There is such a tendency, it seems, to over medicate seniors with morphine so they will not experience any pain. But how is the pain determined and what is too much medication? How do you determine pain when the patient is unable to speak because there is too much medication? If there is too much medication, my mom is 'snowed,' as they call it, so she can not eat or drink - which would mean a certain dwindling into dying.

This dance was inspired by the challenge I have been having of finding balance for my mom's well-being so she could move into a place of healing and so she would not pass away because of a broken leg - from the reprocutions of being overly medicated.

This dance was a prayer for her, and for all the elders who are in pain, as they move closer to their end of life, towards the realm of light, spirit and the realm of mystery... May they find inner peace on their journeys...
Here, at my childhood home, building a fire in a rusted old steel drum I found in the garage, on a frosty star-filled night in the woods behind the house -  dancing the wildness of the inner flame - the fire of the soul's inner sanctum.
Thank you for viewing my blog - it means a lot. I hope you may find some inspiration here. I enjoy your comments immensely!

New Years blessings to you!


Please view Momobutoh Dance Company Collaborative blog here: Momobutoh

Sunday, November 20, 2011

oil sands, pipelines and oil spills

Britannia, B.C.

"...if you're a poor forlorn oil industry feeling unloved and under assault, what do you do?
There's really only one answer: Flash your wad...

The other side -- that is, scientists, Nobelists, and the kind of average people who went to jail in record numbers this summer to block the plan -- doesn't have that kind of money. We've had to figure out other currencies to work in: spirit, passion, creativity... But if money's the only thing that matters, we're done for anyway. So we'll keep using science and art and courage."    Bill McKibben  

Blog catching up - dance /photos from several weeks ago... I have been so deeply moved by the peaceful protests occurring in both Canada and the United States against the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Northern Gateways Pipelines and also, more importantly, the Alberta Tar Sands themselves. I have been feeling that as much as we seem, as a species, to be evolving in very inspiring ways towards a 'unity consciousness,' a sense of being related to not only one-another around the planet, but also to other beings, we are also moving towards a directly opposing, but just as strong trend, towards destroying our mama earth and all that reside upon her, at all costs.
"But it is hard to speak of these things / how the voices of light enter the body / and begin to recite their stories / how the earth holds us painfully against / its breast made of humus and brambles / how we who will soon be gone regard / the entities that continue to return / greener than ever, spring water flowing / through a meadow and the shadows of clouds / passing over the hills and the ground / where we stand in the tremble of thought / taking the vast outside into ourselves."
Billy Collins
When I feel overwhelmed with despair for the destruction of our world, and the wild beings that reside upon her, I dance...  i wrote the following several weeks ago:

i am dancing because i have to... for the bears, the salmon, the caribou, the wolves, the migrating birds  and all the creatures whose lives are being threatened from the increased pollution and habitat destruction...  because i am canadian and it is unconscionable to me that the current government is supporting an oil extraction method that is the dirtiest energy project in the world, one that is devastating to all beings on our precious mama earth...i am dancing in solidarity with the indigenous peoples whose health and lives are being jeopardized by the alberta tar sands upriver of their communities... because human rights are being violated... i am dancing because i have to... because sometimes it feels my heart will explode with pain and anger at the lack of respect some human beings that run corporations have for all life and for future generations... i dance... i dance...
Thank you for viewing my blog. I hope it may inspire you in some way.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free from suffering, and may our thoughts and actions contribute to that happiness and freedom from suffering for all beings...
Music: Dean Evenson
Photos: Brooke
Visit Momobutoh collaborative blog here: Momobutoh Dance Company

Thursday, September 22, 2011

desert weave dance

For a Father

The longer we live,
The more of your presence
We find, laid down
Weave upon weave
Within our lives.

John O'Donohue

In the Yakima Canyon I was inspired to dance spontaneously wearing my recently passed father's hat (circa 1940's), embodying my inner feeling tones amongst the stark surroundings - barren but filled with light. I adore the desert landscapes as it is a place of wide open spaces that allows for such a feeling of connection to that which is greater than ourselves.

Wearing his woven, wool, plaid hat, I was reflecting also on the First Nations story of how Grandmother Spider wove the web of life that interconnects all beings - animate and inanimate.
"When the Universe was still so dark that not even shadows could be seen in the night, Grandmother Spider sat in her web in the Sky World, waiting and watching. No one knows how old Grandmother Spider is, or how long she sat waiting for the Universal Mind to awaken. But, every Creature Being who has ever lived knows her song and dance as the weaver of the Web of Life.
From her web, Grandmother Spider observed the first thoughts as the Universal Mind awakened from the dream... Grandmother Spider took a very deep breath and softly began to sing her weaving song while she danced across the Sky. As she spun her thread, Grandmother Spider envisioned the Web of Life.
Dancing with the colored light, shadows came into being as the darkness took form. More thoughts flowed from the Universal Mind, entered through the Doorway of the Seven Stars, and took their places in the Sky World. These became more stars, suns and planets. Then, many other thoughts entered the Universe, each one taking a specific place according to the universal dream of harmony.
Each thought was a spirit essence who dreamed an individual dream for manifesting life. Grandmother Spider spun her web around each new energy being and the Universal Web of Life shimmered in the reflection of Great Mystery's light."

Told by Susun Weed
Dancing with so much gratitude in my being for the beauty of our Mama Earth / Ocean home...

Thank you for viewing my blog - it means a lot to me. I hope it may inspire you in some way.
Music: Philip Glass
View our collaborative blog here: Momobutoh Company

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

seven seven eleven moon

"Heart is like the moon. Don't keep sorrows in it. Cast them off in waters deep." Rumi
After spending a few days alone in my childhood home one month to the day after my Dad passed (7/7/11), I could feel his presence as I left. Unexpectedly, the motion detector lights at the far end of the house turned on mysteriously as I was packing up my car. I was reminded of the ritual Dad and I had of him standing at the door, waiting and waving as I backed out of the long driveway after visiting with him.
Missing him, tears began to flow and I felt inspired to dance my grief, so I threw on a sweater and hat that belonged to him, and just as I set up the camera, a thundercloud overhead began to send rain to the earth - the hugest drops I have seen in a awhile, feeling like they were my tears, washing my spirit's grief...

Driving home, I was inspired to pull off the highway onto a deserted country road to take a photo of the moon, which suddenly appeared through a crack in the clouds. As I pulled to the side of the road, a white barn owl flew across the moon's light and onto a nearby barn roof. Once again I felt insipred to dance, feeling my Dad's presence in the infinite night sky, reminded of the connection I felt with the moon and his passing...

Right after Dad passed in the hospice a visitor in the lobby began to play Debussy's 'Clair de Lune,' a song that I remembered hearing waft through our home as a child. Hearing the song so soon after he passed, felt like Dad was being serenaded into the spirit realm with the sounds of the moonlight...

Connecting to my Dad, the moon, the owl, the cosmos and the mystery...

Music: Clair de Lune

Thank you for viewing my blog posts of grieving. I hope they may inspire in some way to embrace and embody your own grief, when the time arises, in a way that is nourishing for your being -- body, mind and spirit.


Visit our collaborative blog here: Momobutoh Company

consciousness stream

...dancing with MomoButoh Dance Company 11 /11 /10
Photo: Susan Elizabeth Cowperthwaite
'stream of consciousness' installation
Momo and I... 11/11/10

Spontaneous dance exploration of connecting to the infinite cosmos / consciousness in the finite - in urban North Vancouver with Katherine Kerr's stream / bridge / installation... feeling connection to the life cycles of the salmon... and nostalgia and excitement for Momobutoh's upcoming 11/11/11 dance dedicated to the wellness of the salmon at Oyster Creek... and throughout the Pacific Rim....
Momo and I... 11/11/10 Oyster Creek

Momobutoh Company at Oyster Creek 11/11/10

i dream of salmon coho crisis sockeye collapse bear scat food web tear i marvel again rest its time now nowhere deep...

Thank you for viewing this dance blog of exploring inner and outer environments of my soul... I hope you may feel inspired in some way to dance your own dance, to express from the soul in whatever way may resonate with your being...
Visit our collaborative blog here: Momobutoh Company

Saturday, August 20, 2011

butterfly metamorphosis

During the weeks of my Dad's passing there were so many images of metamorphosis that kept appearing, including the card that was placed on his door by the hospice staff right after he passed - two butterflies in flight.
So many times I reflected on how in life we have to surrender to the natural cycles of life, no matter how desperately we may may want things to be a certain way... life, and death, unfolds in a way that ultimately, we have no control over.
Since then, I have been wanting to honor his passing with a dance of metamorphosis... of honoring his transition from this realm into the realm of spirit... and the courage required to enter through the doorway into the greatest mystery of all...

After creating this dance, I found this poem from Mary Oliver, and once again, as she often does, felt so moved by her sentiments... providing such inspiration for my imagination and nourishment for my soul...

One or Two Things ~ Mary Oliver

Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.
The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless, and sometimes
for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.

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,
crow voice,
frog voice, now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever,
which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.
One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightening—some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.

But to lift the hoof!
For that you need
an idea.
For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“Don’t love your life
too much,” it said,
and vanished
into the world.

Mary Oliver
Feeling grateful for this practice of dance / embodiment as taught by my mentor, Momo. Thank you for viewing my blog. I hope this dance of metamorphosis may inspire you in some way...
Music: Stefano Bataglia
Photos of dance by Brooke / photos of nature and edits by me :~)
View our collaborative blog here: Momobutoh Company

Saturday, July 9, 2011

flying into the cosmos

last night's sliver moon was held in the mauve twilight sky above the silhouetted north shore mountains... has time stopped? days have become hours... hours have become minutes... just this... holding my father's hand, stroking his forehead, face to face with impermanence... the challenge of surrendering to the unknown with trust, boundless love, forgiveness, and gratitude.. breathing in, breathing out... just this.

- from notes I took during the weeks of my dad's passing.
Being with my sister, my brother and his son while my Dad passed was such a sacred gift. Because the process was one that extended for 3 weeks, it enabled us to be with him in such profound ways and to be by his side as he took his last breath.

During the weeks prior to his passing we all felt like we were in another plane of reality where time literally stopped, as we were so present with him breath by breath, moment to moment... listening, being, and speaking only that which felt important to say - expressions of forgiveness, gratitude and love.

When we felt like we had opened our hearts fully to one another, and the days continued to pass, we children just kept saying to each other, "Okay, lets go deeper, what else needs to be said to Dad? Let's peel back more layers..." Although Dad's words were very few at the end, he continued to respond with big smiles, sparkly eyes and by squeezing our hands.

In the last five days of his life he was in the hospice where we were able to camp out with him in his room day and night. The last three nights were quite sleepless as it felt like we were getting so close to his last breaths. We sang songs from our childhood camping days for him - so many old campfire songs, accompanied by my brother playing my Dad's old harmonica.
Dad from the 1940s

One of our favorite songs that we sang with our Dad playing harmonica was 'Swing Low' which we sang several times to him in his final hours and at the time of his passing.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan,
And WHAT did I see,
Comin' for to carry me home,
A band of angels comin' after me,
Comin' for to carry me home.

If you get there before I do,
Comin' for to carry me home,
Tell all my friends I'm comin' too,
Comin' for to carry me home.

My brother took this film of my dance in Vancouver close to the airport after dropping my sister off there a few days after my dad's passing. I am wearing Dad’s hat from when he was a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

When he was in the hospital suffering with pain, he told us at one point after he was given morphine that he was ‘flying’ and that he saw heaven and that it was beautiful... Years ago he had shared that he used to have dreams of flying, too... that it was a place where he felt free.

Inspired to dance this dance of grief at the loss of my Dad and to embody the experience of his passing - the acceptance of his transition into the great mystery, the realm of spirit... out of his body and his suffering and into the realm of light... to embrace the feeling that he has transcended into a higher plane that exists beyond the physical realm, but that connects us all to the great unknown and the cosmos.

This dance also embodied for me the challenge of witnessing his struggle - his relentless holding on... literally, too - to the bed rail, the catheter tube, to the blanket, when we were not present, and to our hands when we were. His grip was so strong...

Dad as a pilot with his RCAF hat.

Goodbye Dad... I love you.

Mom and Dad... 1940s
Dad pointing the way to their future... Touches me deeply to see this photo now... pointing the way into the heavens and the great mystery...

Thank you for viewing this most personal blog post. I hope it may inspire you in some way.
With gratitude,

I was thrilled to find this version of Joan Baez's 'Swing Low' as our family had met her in the late 1960's while we were hiking in Garibaldi Meadows - she was camping in the same meadow - high in the alpine beauty of wide open skies and flowers...
During the time of Dad's passing the symbology of metamorphosis was very predominant... transitioning into a new 'being'... after the above dance I loved seeing these kites flying high into the cosmos... with the image of a butterflies upon each one...