Small Moments/Small Breaths

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Small Moments/Small Breaths

Strangled by the separation of bodies in motion in shared spaces and the need to push forward in “uncertain” times I have finally come to a point where I no longer feel confident and secure in pushing forward. Sure, I have had to find the strength and courage to be there for the students and to be able to find the ability to keep on keeping on, but honestly, it has been a lot to carry and at times hard to breathe.

Once classes had ended I found myself a drift in these new spaces and new ways of figuring out what to do. Like so many, I struggled with not being able to be in the same space with all of these incredible bodies searching, striving and living the beauty of a body in motion artfully shaping space with incredible precision and grace. The lack of being present in the moment of transformation hurts the kinetic spirits of a community of movement. And no matter how much I am supposed to be brave, confident and courageous, alas I don’t think I am succeeding.

In  many ways this is good to be able to recalibrate and ask so many necessary questions. I believe this as well as believe that in the end this will be a moment of courageous change and a necessary shift for the field and for how dance lives in academia. Truth be told I have never seen myself as a “company” kind of artist nor one that is constantly academically justifying outcomes in an art form that, for me, is all about the process of discovery.

Within the context of this time, how do we reframe the ways in which we see ourselves within the field, within the our process and within our dreams? When being a body in artful motion has been in many ways irreversibly changed, how does one continue to find the surface of the waters of darkness to just catch a little breath to fill the lungs of hope?

Of course I am moving! I still continue to share EBAS classes with folks from all over finding new discoveries and new ways of being in communion. Sure I take long walks with Beathan and find myself in motion on so many levels. Yet, my heart is broken by the inability to be in communities of movement artists to grapple with new concepts and ideas together while watching and encouraging play and exploration.

As many know I am very much an introvert but being in a classroom either leading or collaborating is the way in which I am able to find connection, compassion and a fulfilled heart. I must say being alone isn’t lonely when the work you do on a daily basis is in community and in the love and passion for your work.

One of the things I love most about teaching is the extremely intimate hands on approach that I engage in with my students. I have healing hands and consider myself more a healer than a teacher, choreographer or artist. Certainly more so than an academic. Be that as it may, when the ability to physically connect and create a space of sensorial exploration and transformation is removed from your daily experience, it is crushing and suffocating to say the least.

So now that having to put on my big boy pants and carry on has come to a close, I must admit I am at a loss now that even the smallest amount of connection to movement and students has dried up. Now it is a matter of asking questions and spending a great deal of time accessing new ways of moving and perhaps new ways of making. Yet, I am not interested in the many forms that people are suggesting and pretending that it is just the way we have to carry on. I certainly understand that we need to move forward and figure it out, but still my heart breaks at the love lost in the ways that have meant so much to me.

Truth be told I am not a dance for camera person. It is a great field and there is so much great work happening, but it is simply just not something for me. Many of the directions we are being asked to explore are not for me nor am I particularly interested in being a part of. There are so many wonderful artists already doing this great work and exploring those avenues. I am just not one of them. No, I am one of those artists that lives and breathes the body and craves the discoveries and all the wisdom that a body in motion shares in that process. Is it so wrong to JUST want to be that? Is it a crime to not want to pretend that I am desperately afraid of losing the kind of physical corporeal wisdom that I value above all else?

So then why is it I feel I am not connecting to all of these new ways and that I am just not capable of pretending to be “going with the flow”? While I mourn the loss of contact and the physicality and exuberance of training and performing, do I still have to pretend that all of this doesn’t matter? Is pretending that the heart is broken and still carrying on a healthy thing to do or can we breathe and ask ourselves the kinds of questions we need to ask in a more calm, rational and open space?

This is the thing about calamity, we turn into very reactive individuals trying to solve problems that we have no answers for but feel we need to do it in the first place simply because we are falling prey to the corporatization of academia, the field and the prioritization of outcome or product driven models of success. Wouldn’t it be the time to breathe and ask ourselves some deep seated questions about how to move forward while truly addressing issues in the field that have continued to be overlooked? Would it be nice to stop the train and have conversations that are necessary in having to actually work in community rather than work as individuals in a community cloaked in the very models of suppression that exist?

I would most certainly welcome the space and time to share and grapple with how we are all feeling and move from a place of empathetic understanding as the beginnings of discovering the kind of field that is necessary at this time and the kind of field dance has the potential to be. If we find ourselves coupling together in the energy of survival, how are we asking ourselves clear questions through the lens of creative change instead?

In my meditations I keep on hearing the body whisper “small movements. small breaths”. It is a recurring phrase that I hear but am not quite sure how to translate. The one thing I do know is it is suggesting small and conscious steps through conscious movement with conscious breath. I also think it is a response to the broken heart missing movement, connection and the joy of that collaboration. Perhaps slowing down into the present moment of every action with the awareness of that moment is the best way for me at this time to find the courage and confidence to breathe deeply in movement again.

Perhaps this is all I have to hold on at this moment as I figure out where I wish to go next. Perhaps this is the way of asking myself the questions of my intentions within the field and the kind of artist I wish to be moving forward. Perhaps this is the moment to question whether the kind of artist I am is viable at this moment or will the way I have loved working ever have value in the same way. Perhaps small movement and small breaths will be the way in which I am able to answer these questions finding a path the brings peace back to my heart.

Wisdom and Wellness Resides Within

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I have been feeling compelled to sit down and reach out through writing once again. Looking at the date of the last post I realize I have been away for quite some time. I believe the last post was dated October first and now we are over six months beyond that. And boy has so much transpired and has changed since then. This is exactly the topic of thought that has been speaking to me recently and the need for this particular sharing.

Mind you, even despite all the recent and unprecedented shifts that the entire world has been required to take notice of, transformation has been taking place for me on many levels for quite some time now. Change that I feel has been necessary and honestly long overdue. I am just grateful I have been able to recognize the importance of that change for myself and for all of those I have ever or will ever come into contact.

The biggest most impactful impetus for deepening my spiritual and internal relationship with myself was when I began to ask questions about what there was left for me to do now that both of my boys had passed, relationship ended and being no longer in love with dance? It was an empty and bleak time of sadness, grief, and disappointment. What is left when the darkness seems to be holding your breath and your heart hostage?

Lucky for me I was doing a great deal of meditation to cope and to somehow find my breath and my heart again. In one meditation I was doing for the new year I was simply doing my best to focus on breath and to listen to my body as I have always required of my students. This particular meditation brought to  my awareness a line that said a few times “just look”. So after that meditation I felt like I understood what that meant and reached for my computer to do just that, just look.

What was I looking for, I knew I was looking for a love that needed me and a being that perhaps would shake my heart into remembering there are so many beings in need of each and everyone of us and that we are necessary and important energies to and for one another. And in this instance, I knew it was a dog. They have always been significant for me on so many levels and I knew at this point it was what the message was saying. Just look for a dog.

So there I was after my meditation opening a computer to see if there was a dog that was speaking to me; and almost as immediately as I got on the site did my little one reach out through technology releasing the strangle hold on my heart. I knew when I looked into his soulful eyes that he needed me and I most definitely needed him. But what was the likelihood this adorable puppy was still available? Well if you are a believer in synchronicity as I am, you know without a doubt things will be as they need be. And with that and a bunch of simple steps, he became mine.

This change to matter for something or someone changes us. Recognizing that we are in fact necessary for the well-being of others and that we all have tremendous gifts to give, way beyond the value of money, is transformational in and of itself. This kind of awakening is the beginning of understanding our individual ability to access a resilience that is undeniable and incredibly powerful. There is great power within when we allow ourselves to let others in despite the unmistakeable necessity of vulnerability.

Being in this state and recognizing the need for each one of us to understand we have something to offer and that we are capable of so much more than we are able to fathom in this moment is crucial. This along with accepting that we too need others in all kinds of ways to fulfill what it means to be full so we can be fully human. It is after all those that surround us who fill us up with so much that we are able to allow ourselves to have such incredible human experiences necessary for living in love.

So for the past year and a half I have been doing my best to make shifts and changes in my life that welcomes a sense of being present and aware in and of my actions. I have worked at creating more space before I speak or allowing space for others to speak. I have tried to listen to my students more by creating more space for them to feel and to recognize their bodies are speaking to them and that this space for reflection is when we can open ourselves up to this great sensorial listening. The body has so much to say and is such an incredible gift to our wellness both physically and energetically.

Slow and steady revealing of oneself is an effort filled and conscious choice we must make in order to live more energetically fulfilling lives that are well balanced, congruent and more heartfelt. It takes patience and fortitude to build a resiliency in order to give ourselves over to accepting transformation. If we are able to quiet the voice of fear we will be able to turn up the volume of our body. Once we are able to listen, we will be able to transform. It is with corporeal wisdom that we are then able to see more clearly because we are now seeing and sensing from our hearts.

Currently we are living in a frenetic and trying time. So much chaos, uncertainty and fear. And rightly so. It is a new world and one that will need a great deal of breath, compassion, empathy and love to navigate through. Yet, accepting and acknowledging that this is difficult, heartbreaking, uncomfortable and unknown is such a very great place to be in recognizing that we have a choice to welcome and embrace change and therefor be the transformation necessary for our own lives and for the lives of others. This is the time for acceptance of the self and all that we are capable of becoming and learning through being present in the midst of instability. This is resilience and thus becomes resourceful and soulful.

I must admit I am rather excited about having to shift my work into a whole new medium for myself. I accept I have a huge learning curve but also acknowledge that my students do too. We can do this together. I can be a person who might create the space for us to navigate and grapple with these shifts through the training of the body through our EBAS practice as well as creating work and making work work for us. This process is not only artistic but simultaneously is healing and heartening. We will discover what we are made of and that what we are made of is ever so beautiful and divine.

I am looking forward to creating space to allow my students to look within to find their wellspring of heart and of voice. I am looking forward to the changes I will see in myself as I do my best to welcome being present and in being forgiving of self and of others during the process. I am viewing this necessity of change as yet another part of my growth spiritually, emotionally and artistically. I recognize this is something that perhaps I have been needing and that perhaps we have all been needing. I for one am seeing my work with new eyes and with a new heart.

May we all find a way to welcome the wisdom of wellness to speak to us as we quiet ourselves through movement and the changes necessary to thrive. May we reach out if we need help. May we reach out to give hope. May we be with others in ways unknown but yet critically important. May we be the light to fill others so that we all shine for and with one another. May love light this way.

To The Side I Dream. In The Center I Become

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I am not sure that I have ever felt a sense of belonging at any time in my life. As the baby in a family of five there never seemed to be a space as the little one that made things uneven or imbalanced. That and knowing from a very young age that who I was didn’t seem to line up with the family’s religious or cultural views. And yet, off to the side I was, dreaming and building worlds in the heart of my imagination. Sitting within that space I realize even at such a young age I found my center and I started to become the very heart of who I am today.

As a child in school growing up I also felt quite different and not quite like others. To say I felt as if I was the one of those beings unlike the others would be an understatement. I think I realized very early on the importance that modeling kindness and love for everyone I encountered seemed to create relationships that mattered and therefor love allowed more space for imagining connection even if I didn’t feel I belonged. And so through kindness I found my center and started to become the very compassionate being I am today.

As a teen I played all kinds of sports and was involved in all kinds of activities. I was privileged to be able to have these experiences and yet they scared me to death. I hated being out in the outfield because there was no other place to put me. Standing out hoping a ball wouldn’t come my way. Batting time and again and hoping to get walked simply to avoid the humiliation of striking out. And yet, when it came to being seen always being recognized as the sportsperson of the season because of what I was capable of doing for others around me. Wishing to be a ghost but seen as a strength for others. And so through support I found my center and started to become the empath I am today.

And who couldn’t forget the football team? I mean really? The size of me doesn’t really work with the power and the force that my friends were capable of harnessing. And even in this instance, despite the mismatch and lack of talent, I loved it. Not only that, but I loved the friends that I spent my time with. I always felt cared for and protected despite not feeling like one of the guys. But for some reason, after games, we sang. Yes, we celebrated and we enjoyed life come the rain or the shine. And even if I was on the “field”, mostly sidelines, I found my center made of joy; joy that came from liking doing something with people I admired and respected which started the notion that I could lead others in song even if it wasn’t on the field.

And then I found myself in theater. I took a risk to embrace being different and choosing so I found a small part of my voice. I stumbled upon my actual voice. I opened the door to a world of lovely people who were kind and who I realized began to see me perhaps as me even if the revelation of my full being remained hidden from public view. And yes, I seemed to thrive in this industry but always felt an outsider as I had no formal training or experience. Would they found out I have no idea what I am doing? That on top of the fact that I am not at all what I seem? Yet even so, I found my center “hearing” myself for the first time and thinking I might have a chance to become the listener of something if I worked at it.

Following my voice and the theater I came to realize I enjoyed it and found great pleasure but like all other things in my life, I just didn’t seem to fit that world. Once again unlike the outspoken others I was finding out that where I really found great joy, as the introvert that I am was in the animation and training of my physical voice, the body. I fell in love with dance as it was the thing I could do hiding behind my dyslexia and crippling fear of being found out that I did not see the world and words as others. So being on the outside now became the inside as I listened and learned how my body worked and how it would become the tool of my life. I found my center at the center of a moving body and breathing soul.

And here I am today, after all these years in the field having had a career as a dancer, choreographer and educator, still with the same feeling of being in dance but not of dance. I have made an incredible life in this art form. I am so grateful that it has given me so many beautiful experiences, friends, travel and the manifestation of breathtaking work. So much gratitude for it all. Yet, as most people know, I am not in the “game” of dance just as I have never been in the game of anything I have done. I did it and do it out of the joy and love I get from doing it and doing it as if my life needs it as I need breath. Oddly enough I have also realized how much I don’t need it as I have also found a way to breathe with the soul that has been with me all along in the times I have been to the side living in my dreams.

I guess after all of this living in the shadow of fear, isolation and not belonging; I realize I belong to myself and to the dreams I have been able to manifest simply by giving into the center of myself in everything I did. I have been living in the center of becoming and in doing so, I have always belonged. I recognize that in accepting I belong, I have always been able to see the unseen, feel the unfelt and dream the impossible. And in the end, I accept all that I am and honor that at the center of it all, we all belong if we accept the center of ourselves.

 

Remembering Through Light

scott dance 114Even after all the darkness, a spark can reveal itself reigniting and enlightening what has been present all along. It has been a long time of not seeing, a long time of numbing and a long time of suffocating. In all honesty,  I lost my spiritual compass along with the knowing and understanding of my value, being and the alchemy of my work.

In this darkness I was unable to see. In this darkness I could not breathe and was unable to feel. In this darkness I was unable to hold the space for love. In this darkness was a well meaning meandering spirit not knowing where to go, how to get there or even which direction to first step. What remained was a shell of an exhausted wanderer beaten into the darkness by disappointment, fear and shame.

And then, out of what seemed to be the end, came a spark; carried by a fellow traveler, friend and confidant igniting the light through reminding me to be present in the work  and to open the eyes of the heart. In doing so, I recognized the memory of joy and the reason for my being. I could remember again.

I have been there all along with my work and yet it took just a little bit of light to recognize, remember and reconcile where I have been within that darkness.

The light reminds us. The light inspires us. The light is us. To be the light is the practice. The practice for me is a return to body and a return to seeing myself as worthy of the light and worthy of being the light.

I may have been here all along or rather the shell of myself has been here all along. I have so much sorrow for all I have missed, lost, hurt and have not allowed myself to experience. Yet despite this sorrow, I am reminded that in order for me to be present I must be present in the physical practice of bodily awakening.

I remembered after all this time that this kind of practice was the reason I found dance and began dancing in the first place. Dance was the vehicle for this practice and my lens at which I came to understand the labyrinth of my body. I did not fall in love with dance, I fell in love with the ability to transform my body through the excavation of a body in motion and being a geomancer of space.

I recognize my second journey has begun and I am being gifted the opportunity of acknowledging, knowing and remembering that it was never about dance but always about a spiritual journey of a body in motion as the vehicle to animate and enlighten my soul. Perhaps this second exploration will remind me not to saunter through life this time but to finally realize what it means to sonder through life.

Ironically I have always known I was not a dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, and for gods sake a dance academic. What I have been is an archeologist of body excavating the kinetic landscape while unearthing the history and prehistory of my being lost beneath the layers of my life.

Here’s to digging! Here’s to digging deeply in the light!!

Back to Body

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When I return to my body

I return home

When I sit quietly with this beautiful body

I sit in immense gratitude

When I remember my body speaks

I remember to listen in love

When I am lost and the noise of the world immense

I look within to find the grounding of spirit

When I return to spirit

I return to body

 

A Shield of Spirit

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I am not like others. I have never been nor will ever be. I have always wandered through places in untraditional or conventional ways. I have traversed these places alone while carrying with me only a shield of spirit. Despite this, this chosen shield has always been porous letting in things wished for and also things unwanted. Some might ask “then what good is a shield of spirit when it doesn’t fully protect you?”. The point was never to be protected but simply to slow down the overwhelming amount of of love being given on a regular basis.

With this remarkable offering there is sometimes some of the unwanted that gets in alongside the wanted. The real magic is then watching the way in which love swallows the sorrow while transforming it into energy. Watching this alchemical transformation then reminds me why I picked that shield up as a little boy; this spirit that is one with all things is one with love, and in the end, love prevails.

Honoring the Space of Loss

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It is amazing how much space there is in the absence of love. Deep vacuous space in which a magnanimous soul inhabited. Recognizing this immense openness I become aware of the enormity of the spirit that existed here and am strangely filled with an incredible admiration and gratitude for being present in its grace.

I am also deeply aware of the energy and light that filled this space and all that was given to me. I have been graced with an incredible gift unlike I have ever known before.

As I absorb and simultaneously absolve my grief, I do not desire to diminish or close off the space that remains due to loss of physical presence. What I realize is I must embrace the absence of body and let it remain open and filled with spirit and the essence of the very love of that spirit. Thus, the space is honored by the immense peace that continues to resonate from it.

Love and the loss of physical presence does not mean that love is lost at all. All it does mean is that we need to celebrate and honor it in just a different way so as to let it continue to grow within us. You see the space of love is not meant to be filled or diminished. As a matter of fact, just the opposite is what the gift of loss is.

What I have come to understand is that what happens next is to find the courage and the strength to expand the heart even more to create even more opportunity to let love in again. Just as the universe continues to expand so too shall our hearts. So too shall we mirror and reflect this growth and so too shall we encourage and welcome even more love than we ever felt or knew possible.

I have been graced with such big love that I shall feel graced once again if I only risk to push open my heart and allow for the bigness of a heart as wide as the expansive universe itself.

If I have the courage to do this then then I have the conviction to welcome all the love there is. And if I welcome all the love there is, I have truly honored the love of the space that is left and that I embrace and live within at this moment. I am reminded once again and it is confirmed; there is no loss and there is no loss of love.

With gratitude for the forever graciousness of every being I have ever shared a moment,

Scott

When It Rains Farewell

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It was a constant rain, just as it was with the tears. It has been raining from the sky for the past few days as much as it has been the heartbreak has been falling from my eyes. It has been a long last few months with watching my boy Baxter fight through what I have come to know as immune-mediated thrombocytopenia which is a drop of blood platelets which can cause a severe issue for dogs. Early on we were able to catch it and find ourselves on a path for well-being which was a relief at first, but now, it seems as if the boy I have known for the last 11 years has somehow faded with the falling of his platelet counts.

At first he was doing well. His numbers went up into a healthy range and we were looking good. That is if you were not looking at his loss of muscle mass, severe panting and uncontrollable thirst; side effects of the steroids in conjunction with his other meds he has been taking for all of this. Even so, on paper and with numbers he was doing well. Yet, the boy I have known was somehow unseen, at least from the naked eye.

What has been always so magnificent about this boy of mine is that he has always had the spirit of a saint and the fortitude of a warrior. They eyes are the way we spoke and with just a look, a tilt of the head or a severe paying attention; he communicated with great sweetness and with incredible wisdom. Many times I would seek solace in those eyes and in the exchange that would be our physical conversations. And boy were there many.

As a matter of fact, the moment I saw his rich deep soulful eyes in the crate he was in during the adoption event, I knew we were to be together and I suspect he knew it too. Immediately there was a tremendous connection and a realization that this boy needed me and perhaps I needed him even more. His first year of life was pretty traumatic with his being abandoned by a dumpster and having sarcoptic mange. He struggled through that just as he would struggle through many obstacles in which he seemingly navigated with great dignity.

It has been a journey with this one. He has shared some immense compassion, joy and empathy that many will never show in a lifetime. Yet this one, he somehow was able to break through to my heart and model the way of a sage. At many turns I would look to him to see a better way to be and live in this world. I would look to him to see a better way to be more fully human for those I shared my personal and professional world with. I suspect the essence of his spirit will live within me and through me for the rest of my life. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone recognized the spirit of him through me in times to come.

And so as the rain continues, so too does the tears. Witnessing the decline and struggle of a being with whom you have shared so much and have loved so big is rather hard on the heart. Even if the heart was made so sweet and soft by the very presence of his being. Difficult yes, but never hard for there is no going back to a life that isn’t full of unconditional love.

So his brother Bradford and I have been doing all we can to comfort, console and share our love with him during this time. We have snuggled, rubbed, stroked, pet, massaged, carried, hand fed and poured our love all over him this day. I will fondly remember that the last thing his sweet lips took from me was small little bites of banana. Bananas are his favorite things to eat and has been something he beamed with delight over sharing in the mornings for breakfast with his pa pop. It will tickle me that in his final moment we have shared together I knew he had a banana belly and that him taking the banana was a show of love more so than truly being able to eat.

And so it rains. And so I pour out my heart. There is pain, but only sweet pain because of a life well lived together. And yet even in the end he reminds me of importance and the need to let everything go. And in the letting go we are letting ourselves live and continue to live in the spirit of one another. We live large daily so we can live eternally in one another heart and in that beautiful park and lake of the light. Run and swim on my love. I am with you and you are with me. And when I run I run with you. And when i swim I swim with you. And when I love, the world will know it is because of you.

Lean Into the Wind

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Lean into the wind of creativity and eventually it will gale so forcibly they will pick you up and carry you.

One might think they are flying, in fact it is actually the wind lovingly carrying you as you express the soul of the world through your work.

Be mindful of making the mistake of thinking it is you who are soaring. Be humble in the act of creation and those winds will always be setting a course for your heart to sail.

Lean into those winds and not for once lose faith in your song.