T.R.I.B.E.

I’ve spent my whole life thus far wondering what I was supposed to be doing. As a kid it seemed so black and white. Happy or sad. Right and wrong. Loneliness or togetherness. Acceptance or rejection. Yet personally filled with a sense of mystery, majesty, beauty, imagination. Coupled with a sense of fear, questions, doubts and confusion.

I was  told that I was gifted, and the gift was music, and that I had “musical intelligence” first and foremost and above any of my other intelligences. I do agree even still to this day that my musical intelligence far outweighs any other intelligences I may possess, relatively speaking. But why? What could music really do to change the world? How could playing the cello really help anyone? It sometimes felt like it was just a form of entertainment, predominantly for the affluent and the elite. It felt like not many folks really dug classical music unless they, too, were on stage playing it, or had some other association to it. On countless occasions, truth be told, even I got really fidgety at concerts of classical music unless I was on stage, or unless it was mind-blowing. I never made peace with the fact that cello alone would not save the world. I knew that people like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell were changing the world,one song at a time,  so I took a page from their books and started “rebelliously” writing songs to my mother’s dismay. I wanted this to be my gift, along side of my cello prowess.

I wanted to say something. Something more than just an interpretation of the beautiful dots on a page, as I understood that those classical masterpieces were many times politically charged, spiritually inspired, and unmistakably life changing and poignant during the periods they were being written, just as Dylan’s words and songs were. Not that I thought of myself as anything close to those geniuses, but I still wanted to voice something relevant to the world as it stands, in my own humble musical and textual expression, as those masters had in their own way.

So as I grew up, and made many mistakes (nothing to do with the music I was making, but from my glaringly obvious more underdeveloped intelligences), and I became superficially worldly, I lost that hope I felt as a young person. I somewhere lost the vision. I thought the dream had just been a childhood fantasy, with no relevance or place in a grown up world. And I became complacent, dismayed, apathetic, despondent. I felt even less able to do anything that might help anyone, as through my trials, felt I could barely help myself, so what could I possibly offer to anyone else? I wasn’t getting answers to the problems of the world, I was getting more questions, and contributing to the problems of the world. That was a sad realisation, but it was not accurate. It was honest, as far as I could understand. I was seeing reality as it is, as where I had failed, as to my mistakes, and my lacklustre.

I would catch glimpses of my part in the story, but had no idea how this weakened sight could contribute anything to anyone. I was humbled to the point of despair. I was paralysed in fear of never being remembered, never really contributing anything of value to the world. Yet I called it hunger for fame, fortune, recognition, yet I really only wanted to be loved, and heard, and seen. But it was too scary to let anyone see me, because who I was could not be seen. If you saw me, in my vulnerability, then you might have rejected me. You may not have liked what you saw. So it was easier to show you what I thought you wanted to see, only perpetuating the isolation and separation that is born from insincerity and hiding behind veils. As long as I looked a certain way, did nice things for people, and was a relatively good person, than I must have been a success. But that was not true.

My motives were all wrong. The motivation for achievement and the value I put of my life was directly measured by how you saw me. This is the definition of Hell on Earth, and between a giant rock and a very hard place. The weight of the world I created was far to heavy to continue to hold, so I landed in a heap on a very hard and cold surface of a futile feeling existence.
That was the problem, I was only scraping the surface, and only existing, not living. I was so busy trying to convince you that I was ok, that I hadn’t looked at whether I was or not. I clearly wasn’t.
Then a shift happened. As I called them often, epiphanies…. Now I tend to call them “rememberings“, because I think I did always have a sense of what the point of it all was. I remembered I had felt alive as a child. In wonderment, in awe. Not understanding everything, but being teachable and hungry for life’s beauties and magnificence. Able to see clearly with a trusting heart. I could see that as I “grew up”, and I had experienced real pains and struggles, that I had built giant walls around my heart to survive. I chose to numb out, and forget. I closed shop on epiphanies, I had stopped remembering, until I remembered, again….. and whew…
Shift happens…. and is still happening…. and will always keep happening. I think it is for all of us. As I allowed myself to recall that bewilderment of my childhood, I started to see that you, too, while you were growing up, may have started closing shop on your “remembering” too.

So, as we felt apart from, as opposed to feeling a part of, we were all in the same boat. We all grew up, and hardened our hearts, and forgot to trust, as the risk was too great. When we openly shared about these experiences together, and saw that we are all have suffered  at different times, and that we all just wanted to reunite with our tribe, and make a difference in this world, we learned that we could trust each other. So we decided to take a leap of faith and reclaim our tribe.

My tribe is your tribe.
My tribe is humanity.

I now remember that I am a part of the bigger story, I am seeing how my gifts can reach the whole tribe, and through song, and through cello, and through words and through our children. And your gifts will too. Not EITHER/ OR, but AND.

T: Trust, Togetherness, Truth, Teaching
R: Relationship, Respect, Reuniting, Right Action
I: Inspiration, Integration, Involvement, Imagination
B: Brotherhood, Belonging, Being, Bringing
E: Empathy, Evolving, Empowering, Enjoying!

Here we are now… A part of our T.R.I.B.E.

Moving Your Body, Freeing Your Soul

Have you ever just let yourself go?

 

Have you ever just moved your body like there is nothing stopping you?

The very freedom in movement can be confronting and overwhelming if you aren’t used to allowing yourself to move. I know. I find it really strange when I do actually allow this to take place, spontaneous movement of my being, whether I am in my living room, out on a mountain top, or doing intuitive yoga movements. It’s sounds a bit cookoo, I know. It feels that way too, until I absolutely let go. The challenge is in how to do that.

I have always had what I call “dancer envy.” I love seeing the fluid movement filled with grace and angst, and the communication without words that can be so cutting and confronting.(Check out Young Soon Kim with  Emily Pope Blackman and you will see what I mean about fluidity coupled with superb technique.) Dancers have had to learn to let themselves go (and a lot of training to support the ability to communicate so brilliantly as well.) But I am sure that they, too, had many moments of complete vulnerability, and nakedness. It is confronting, moving our bodies, as our body language is more revealing than our words ever are.
What we say with our body “language”:

Have you ever gotten a “look” from someone, and then the words that follow don’t seem to match?  Which part of the communication do you trust more? The body language, or the words? This creates so much confusion and mistrust in our daily communication with loved ones down to the guy on the street, when our words don’t match what our bodies are saying. When we communicate freely with both aligned, then others can “hear” what we are saying, and they can trust us.
Most of us aren’t professional dancers, yet we all have a body to express through, to others and to ourselves.
Back when I was a rebellious pre- teen and into my teenage years, I found a love in a “scene” of folks called deadheads. I loved the music of the Grateful Dead, and I especially loved the free expression I felt from the family of followers. I wanted to be able to be free too. I was so bottled up in knots of who I was, and what I thought I should be, what other people thought, and the hippie scene seemed to have many people hanging around that might just accept me for me. I am sure they did, but I didn’t accept me for me, so there it was. I watched the whirling dervishes dance, I saw the Dead Heads spinning (Jay Blakesburg captures this so beautifully, check out his amazing photos!), and I went along with it. At moments I felt alive, really free, but on and off I still very self-conscious, and a bit silly too if I forgot to stay in the moment for a moment!

I knew I had something to release, I had a story to tell, I had blocks in my body, mind heart and soul that needed freeing…

Fast forward to graduate school at California Institute of the Arts. (Cal Arts). I was in full swing with my cello playing, and had become very skilled in performing classical music, and composing/songwriting, but I still had a longing to get in touch with my body. Even after years of yoga, standing still holding in a pose, and pranic breathing, I hadn’t ever truly let myself move. I decided to take a West African Drumming and Dance class with Alfred Ladzepko. I found it very confronting, as we thrust our feet deep into the earth, with full feminine confidence yet it had a hardness and a suppleness at the same time. It was demonstrative of true release, true grounded freedom. I was not ready for that, yet I learned a lot about myself and where in my body I felt self doubting. It was brilliant. Brilliant because I saw where I was lacking in myself. It wasn’t about technique, It was all about freeing myself up!  I’m not a dancer, but I sure did learn a lot from Alfred Ladzepko. Thanks Alfred!
So many years later, I am a mother, having pushed out 3 babies, “un”self  consciously, and have had many life experiences where I should know myself, and I still had locked up emotions,and tension in my body, and knew there was more to me that I should let out.
I stumbled across a Shiva Rae DVD when I was doing my yoga teacher training and she moved us through some yoga trance dance. Wow! It was intense. I felt so locked, and so stiff, and every free movement I tried to do, was accompanied with analysis. I embraced the challenge, and started to incorporate this into my classes with my students. We all learned so much from this, being in a room of people and fully letting go, without even needing the libations of liquor!
Years ago I read something about how we as humans respond best in curved spaces, architectures and dwellings, because the four walls and harsh edges of most architecture goes against our natural fluid body. If we look at the natural world, most things are rounded,or have soft edges even the symmetrical objects in nature have organic shapes and curves. Our body being forced into these unnatural settings dictates our physical and emotional response to these environments. Even if we can’t escape these “walls”, when we become aware of this phenomenon, we can choose to break free of them by actively moving in more flowing ways. I believe this is why moving in these “fluid” ways can feel so confronting, and can seem unnatural, because of what our man-made environment has taught us. it is so healing and I believe necessary to get back to our natural, organic, fluid state by breaking down these physical barriers society has laid upon us.

A story:
When my first son was born, and he came out of my fluid body, I knew of the absolute miracle of birth, and of life. He had been immersed in the waters for nine months in his perfectly safe environment, and then the realities of the outside world confronted him. He cried. My father who was very close to the end of his life really wanted to see our first born child, so we threw him in a baby capsule at less than 24 hours old. I had the thought “how bizarre to go from the organic world to a car seat!” He had no choice, and I could tell he would not have chosen that plastic child constraint if he had a choice in the matter! In this world we live in, we are trained in life to sit at desks, to live in boxed houses, to put our bodies in confined spaces, more like a “round peg (us) in a square hole “.
This is not our natural state. This is not our natural environment. We are meant to be free, and flowing, yet we put all these expectations and rigidity and formality on our lives to “keep up with the Kardashians”, or whoever.
It doesn’t suit us. But I understand, it is the world most of us live in most days of most weeks, which explains why it is so difficult to remember our natural state of flow and movement. This can be adjusted. We just have to learn to remember. If we start moving freely, our intuitive body will start speaking to us, it will remind us of what being natural is, it will guide us to move in ways that support us, from a muscular level all the way up to our crown chakra

The marriage of our spirit to ourselves.

We all are dancers inside, we all have something to express, we all can heal our bodies by listening to our bodies. Like a morning stretch, which is a natural instinct, so is our movement for the rest of the day, if we break out of the confines of our daily lives, and get on with “pumping and grinding” to the universal song and dance.