Monday, December 13, 2010

work ethic: notes to a student

Today I tried to address work ethic with a few students. It is really hard to address work ethic with students. There are so many reasons why we can't seem to get to work or stick to the work. I am not sure where I learned the discipline that I have... watching my mother paint, even when there was no gallery hunting her down or buyers, having to do chores, regular music lessons, even though I really struggled with them and had such a hard time with anything musical... or am I just obsessed?

I swear that any success that I have had is simply my ability to stay in the studio and plan my life so that I can be alone in a space... and stay there. Not that I don't struggle with committing to some kinds of things! But creating art has not been an issue for me...

what I suggest to students: investigate why you self sabotage?
or if you never had to work hard at things, maybe you have to learn that later in life, rather than blaming yourself- just accept that no one ever taught you and get to work learning a new work ethic, try to learn something really exciting and hard, make a schedule and give it to someone who cares about you, talk about it, pay for regular studio space (put some skin in the game), create a real deadline (call that person you admire and hire them to come see 15 minutes of finished material for a date in the future and pay them up front.) Apply for a festival BEFORE the piece is done... or ask yourself how you are working that isn't fun? if it is fun
you will want to do it! SO if it isn't, maybe you are doing the wrong thing... OR maybe you need a bigger purpose - WHY are you doing it? If there is no burning reason- then you won't do it. I always work on something that scares me and many of the successful creators I know do the same... it has to mean something big and real... it is too hard to create otherwise...
make it personal and make it useful

healthy animal, physical/emotional connection Dec 13/2010

A short session after a long time of no work like this

gorgeous... just stretching and committing to staying in the physiological moment. I released so much pain and tension. Often always in virtually a yawn... long ones, imperceptible ones... but lots of release in my tongue and breath when I do this with
sounds like animals. It is so simple and yet takes real discipline to keep in the real physiological moment and move through as much of the body as I can feel. The pain and pleasure as guides as to what to follow, gravity is so easy to lose. I didn't feel much of blood today- mostly trying to stay balanced in gravity and muscular skeletal and pain release- going to just the beginning of sensation where there is pain and then breathing through until my right hip (I think gluteus minimus and medius -didn't want to get the anatomy book out today- not enough time and didn't want thought) which I was able to release- I should watch how long it stays released- it is so chronic- can't believe I have 'fixed it'. IF I were to do this regularly- as I will in April - June (can't wait !!!!!!!!!) it might really stay open... but it has been that way for years... but to know that if I chose I can go to sensation and breath/stretch it out...
why do I not do this every day - even for 10 minutes - that is the real mystery to solve!

I was taken as always to scriptural - not words exactly--- no thoughts... images? The seas of loving kindness moving within me... in this place- certain images in scripture are not abstract but 'mystical hard science'...

had music on (Sigur Ros/Album Leaf stuff like that) it helped me

also... really got how so much thought is just idle fancy and vain imagination... and being in the moment and waiting for deeper... again, not sure the word is thought- and image is not right either - and neither is it sensation

something soul ish - but that is hard to name

feels REAL and something I trust...

figures I was able to go to this place today as yesterday I collapsed in tears in a very good friends arms- a woman who I deeply respect and admire... in tears feeling my sadness at being not in the 'good pleasure of Baha'u'llah'

my body and my spiritual emotional blocks are completely linked and one. If one is blocked- so is the other... seems obvious and yet, why then do I keep moving forward when I am numb? why do I not stop and wake myself up?

Numbness, deep, old numbness is the hardest place to stay in this work- because there is so little to go on- so I often just skip it and I am sure there is so much I skip that I am not aware of- as I see my students skipping whole chunks of their body and having no idea that they are doing so and places I have some vague awareness where I manage to stay long enough to find the emotion first and then some sensation
like the tears awaken the nerves, which awaken the sensation in muscle... must study this... the body/neuro science of this...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

gravity and performance

I really think the simplest things take the longest to learn. We use terms like-
get grounded, he's in his head, she's riding high, they were off the floor...

The simple act of breathing to stop adrenaline and feel gravity is so easy to do and therefore to forget to do. I asked my chiropractor what I could do to support the work she was doing... she said- if I tell you what you can do, you will think it is too simple- and you won't do it... I asked anyway


Take time to breath and drink water.

And she is right, that is hard to do, because it is so simple.

'I (God) am closer to you than your life vein' says Baha'u'llah

This great gift- gravity- is right there, every moment and I take it for granted... the gift of my heart beating and the sensations in my entire body are right here with the floor... now, anytime I need it, I can feel the floor hold me- not an abstract idea, but real sensation of gravity... my best lover, my most trustworthy and supportive friend... it holds me unconditionally and I ignore it, think I can handle things on my own... SUCH AN ILLUSION!!

York and Canadian Stage

Today there was a formal announcement at Canadian Stage about a collaborative program that we have designed for directors... it was actually a lovely event- and I was thrilled that we have succeeded at pulling this together! It is for two directors every other year starting in Sept 2011, and BMO has put money forward to hire an an artistic mentor for the program- and Kim Collier has been hired... all very exciting...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Yasi Tokunaga

Yasi Tokunaga has been running the dance department at Th Boston Conservatory for many years and she is someone I respect a great deal- here is an e mail I sent her recently:

Dear Yasi

I heard you were leaving BC- Kate sent me the announcement

I just wanted to congratulate you and tell you how much I learned from you and have been and still am- impressed by you

this is how I think of you:

-you have run an EXCELLENT program for years under very difficult circumstances
-you have been brave, fair-minded, creative, adventurous, wise and truthful
-open and yet strong in your views
-kind and full of humour
-listened deeply to those around you when needed
-a smart collaborator
-an excellent teacher while administrating (and I am learning how difficult that is these days!!)
-an example and mentor to students and faculty alike

You should be very proud of what you have done and I am sure will continue to do in new forms...

and if you were in Canada I would nominate you for what we call here- The Order of Canada
a very prestigious award in this country

and you would more than deserve it....

We do not have the right kind of traditions to honour people like you appropriately

but I do honour you and respect you and thank you

please keep me informed of what you are doing once you leave...