Thursday, October 15, 2009

Turning - mid 50s BIrthday soon

Approaching my birthday on October 17 and realizing that mid-50 I am still on a path to defining and redefinign myself. The past year has been rocky one filled with hopes, anxieties, uncertainties, paralleling what many are experiencing with the uncertain economy, changing political scenario and up and down markets. My daughter transitioned to college, only not quite, as we were held in the dark as to her father's financial commitment to her continuing education, and I became more unwilling, and perhaps unable, to support her alone or support her to continue at the first college of her choice, with substantial debt.

Thinking this 'empty nest' time was the time to redirect self, revisit atualizing dreams, write? , I found myself still dealing with ongoing family and work issues that were unresolved. On top of it, the uncertain, or unclear commitment of my daughter to a direction heightened my own. Of course at 18/19 - this uncertainty is not unusual. At 55? Well perhaps not so unusual again as many women are seeming to take new turns in their work, family, and living situations. Some have been forced to.

But back to the intitial reason for the post- I was provoked by this question posed by Kathy Caprino of Ellia Communications in her blog post "Being Real in Times of Turmoil" What do you do each day to “keep the faith” and keep it real in your life and work?

This is a good question to ask oneself, and in doing that one comes back to basics I suppose. We can discover what is most important for ourselves. I find often I must come back to something concrete and simple to take care and renew myself.

This is what I wrote: I look for backup and perspective from friends and wise sources. A movie, a book. Regroup. For me that may involve movement, meditation, and touch - a walk to notice the sky and nature, and sleep. Bottomline a mixture of connection, conversation, and self-nurturance. Being able to help another almost always helps oneself. Remembering that work is only that- not all of oneself, is very important. Open oneself to guidance and cultivate acceptance - no real magic.

Reflecting on- there is some magic in it when it works. There are times, seeking that, that I have failed to feel renewed, where the body/mind was so depleted and the stress so persistent. Yet allowing for guidance and persisting in being open to be healed is very powerful. And opening, asking for help, can allow almost anyone, anything to give. And then at times the giving of one's gifts, whatever they might be may be essential, whether recognized or not.

It is interesting that I am reminded of this after having offered a massage/shiatsu/rehabilitative ssssion to a masssage therapist friend/mother. She needed the attention and skilled sensitive touch I have been blessed with, and feel a need to develop, explore, and offer more of. And in the exchange I too was supported and guided in trusting myself, spurred on to have and experience 'faith' in myself, in the moment and the possibilities of 'more' in the future.

And here I am writing again after quite a lull. TB cont'd....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Love: a Matter of Chemistry?

Well . Just read this header and article in AARP magazine. Now really, is this news? Of course there is chemistry involved, But what is interesting and a bit scary is the question asked within, and idea posed, of developing a drug that would cause attachment and bonding feelings to make people have the impulse and desire to move closer to each other". I think of Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream mistakenly applying the elixir to mismatched couples, forcing the romantic attachment of the fairy queen Tatiana to Bottom - the fool, the donkey.

What dangers do we invite by meddling further with nature? Already anti-perspirants maske our natural smells and pheromones which can aid in attraction. These chemicals also help us unconsicously stay away from genetic pools that are too similar to our own. Masking smell could lead us to romantic or sexual partnering with a person whose gene pool would not be best to mate with. And now we add oxytocin or other chemicals in pill form that may overide nature's long developed wisdom? Yes,to encourage bonding can be good, very good, especially for fathers and mothers to their babies and children and each other.

Yet touch has been proven to be effective in encouraging that. Check out the research that has been done, and Ashley Montague's book on Touching. We certainly can use more consensual, skilled, loving touch in this world.

We need to teach people to be mindful of the choices they make for romantic and sexual partner. Teach folks to tune into and respect their senses, but also to use their intuition and mind to interpret the appropriateness, and safety, of pairing up. We don't need to overide the power of body/mind, by use of synthetic aids.
We also do indeed need to look at what 'love' is and encourage the development of love in a broader sense than just attraction.

Boy- what a mickey it would be if some 'bad boy' slipped one into an unwitting woman's drink and then what more devastation would ensue than already does by having the heartless one leave. And in fact, what if the scene was twisted the other way and some woman tried to ensnare her potential lover into attachment? Would she indeed need to keep him bewitched with drugs, the modern embodiment of a wicked witch? Buyer beware.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tango moment captured

Well, finally it happened. Adora captured a fun neuvo-tango moment of mine. Follow this link to Facebook.

We were at a tango-pulse milonga in the Lenox area. Adora and Carey, are the young gals singing, love this. Somehow Adora captured some dancing too. Ogion (29) and I always seem to connect to the livelier atypical nuevo-tango tunes. A bit bouncy and loose, but fun. I obviously had caught a heel in my stocking which resulted in a small tear, but who cares. I love this dress. Jackie and Victor dancing quite a bit smoother and elegant. She is more steady in heels. Not bad for 55 year old ladies, eh?

a fine time

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recent tango photos - March Hair

The passing of a Legend - Frankie Manning April 27, 2009

My daughter Mari just called with the news about the death of Frankie Manning, almost 95. I was just about to call her! There was some connection wanting to happen.

While so sad and moved ( I burst out in tears), we both realized that although we will miss Frankie, we felt blessed to have danced, taught, and shared stories with him, along with being inspired and spreading the joy of this dance with him.

Mariel wondered what Frankie might have wished to say that he could not in his last moments, but then we also realized that Frankie had already said what he needed to, contributed what he needed to, and his legacy will live on. What an amazing thing, what an amazing man.

I shared more here on this blog where stories and photos are being collected describing Frankie's effect on our lives.

And here is some information, photos, videos from the assembly we hosted with Frankie at Amherst Regional High in May 2006.

We will miss you Frankie!

PS. Those interested to know more can just Google or go to the Yehoodi site that unites siwng dancers from around the world. News and memories are being gathered there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Was a Little Chicken?

From the book Letters to Fathers from Daughters

Background on the book and piece is here

Dear Dad,

I was a little chicken. Confused. That was the image you got after the doctor rushed out of the elevator, held out his fist, and said, “That's how big she is.”

You were thrilled to have either a boy or girl after a long awaited birth. Since I was premature, you were most worried about whether I was healthy.

Finally you asked the doctor, "But how is she?" And he said, “She’s fine, but very tiny.” You ran to peek through the window of the nursery where they had placed me, all 4 pounds 9 ounces, bundled in a ‘warmer’.

My first memory is of you staring down at me from behind a window that seemed quite high up on my left. Your face is contorted with concern. I cannot move, cannot reach out to comfort you, nor comfort myself. I am distressed, and the distress is amplified by the sound of other babies crying while a nurse walks by, unaware of the significance of this moment and of the distance I perceive.

You told the story many times of the stupid doctor who had no sensitivity to understand your primal need to know that your child was healthy. And many times I recalled this memory.

Throughout my life, when you were worried for my welfare, this frustration, anger—perhaps disappointment—would get mixed in with your anxiety. It was conveyed to me, and I viscerally felt your fear. And it unsettled me, as well as you.

You felt I was fighting against you, rejecting you when, as I got older, I fought back against the fear. I tried to protect myself from the negativity of your emotions and assert myself with hope and optimism. I was only pushing against the limitations you set for me. I felt—intensely—the restrictions on my movement and growth, and tried to release myself from your protective bind.

In many ways, you gave support and encouragement as I grew. You threw me balls, guided me on my bike, and joined me in 3-legged races. You watched each and every dance concert I performed in, proud and admiring my agility. You drove me to and from classes in New York, and supported my studies one summer in France, and then in Canada.

Yet you worried—and at times, when I felt I was ready to fly, I also felt you held me back. You would not allow me to take a year off after high school to pursue my dream of being a professional ballerina, but flew me off to a school in Indiana, far from the streets of NY.

What was in your mind and heart? Was it just an automatic resurgence of that first fear for my safety? More than once, I experienced what I perceived were attempts to control me, even as a young adult. In the late 70s, at age 25, when I informed you I was going to San Francisco, you reacted with rage and disbelief as if I was Columbus setting sail for the edge of the earth. I was scared I’d provoke a heart-attack. My body and voice strained against your maneuvers, as they did in that baby warmer.

I wished to reach you, reach through to you, and assure you I’d be ok—I was ok. I wanted you to encourage my separation, so I could develop and reach out to touch you with a strong sense of myself. I wanted you to see and move through your fear to allow my growth. I wanted. . . What did you want? Will I ever truly understand your motivation? Perhaps not.

And so, I reconstruct my first memory. I see you relaxed, happy, and smiling, excited for this healthy newborn, so rosy and robust, even if tiny. The chorus of cries does not overwhelm the emotion of joy that radiates between us, the warmth that penetrates and melts the glass. I imagine your hand reaching out to mine and my little fingers able to unfurl and grasp yours. I give a squeeze and after letting go, we know I am full of strength. And both reassured, we are able to move on.

Your Daughter,

“To live fully is to let go and die with each passing moment, and to be reborn in each new one.”
Jack Kornfield

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dance as union of the elements

“With the creation of the universe, the dance too came into being, which signifies the union of the elements. The round dance of the stars, the constellation of planets in relation to the fixed stars, the beautiful order and harmony in all its movements, is a mirror of the original dance at the time of creation.”

Lucian of Samosata (~125 to 180 A.D.), On Dance (De Saltatione)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Dance

While cleaning out papers, a process that seems endless as I accrue more each day, I found the poem that follows.

The morn of New Year's eve brought a storm that would leave 6-8 inches and bring high winds later in the day. I had spent a great deal of the so-called winter 'vacation', leading up to the turn of the year, sick, reflecting on my life, and facing the 'woods of my own nature'. The snow was accumulating fast. Still not feeling well, I took the day off and continued to rest, reflect, sort, clean, and reorganize my life.

Anyway,I found this poem among information and coursework on massage. (another body of knowledge I had developed and then suspended my work in)

The Dance

When the snow falls the flakes
spin upon the long axis
that concerns them most intimately
two and two to make a dance

the mind dances with itself,
taking you by the hand,
your lover follows
there are always two,

your self and the other,
the point of your show setting the pace,
if you break away and run
the dance is over

Breathlessly you will take
another partner
better or worse who will keep
at your side, at your stops

whirls and glides until he too
leaves off
on his way down as if
there were another direction

gayer, more carefree
spinning face to face but always down
with each other secure
only in each other's arms

But only the dance is sure!
make it your own.
Who can tell
what is to come of it?

in the woods of your
own nature whatever
twig interposes, and bare twigs
have an actuality of their own

this flurry of the storm
that holds us,
plays with us and discards us
dancing, dancing as may be credible.

William Carlos Williams

The images and words that stand out to me:
Dancing two and two

Mind dancing with itself

There are always two?

My mind is often dancing by itself, and then I feel there is one-me, and everyone else - out there.
Secure only in each other's arms

Only the dance is sure

Breathlessly you will take
another partner better or worse who will keep
at your side, at your stops

When dancing, especially tango, I can focus on the moment with intent. I can feel sure, immediate. Usually with any physical activity that engages the mind, and heart as well, there is more clarity, immediacy,and satisfaction. Sharing those moments with a partner is blissful, comforting and feels meaningful. Touching, breathing, moving together - there is the joy. And the awareness in the still points, 'the stops', of these shared pleasures, improvisational movement games, is exquisite.

When the mind is only dancing with itself there can be a split - confusion and loneliness seep in.

Dancing as may be credible

What does this mean?