The following blog entry has come out of some stream of consciousness writing I did in March of 2014. I have changed people’s names to characters from The House of Mirth for privacy’s sake. Also, before delving in, it may help to have a little context...
To irimi = to "Choose Death"
Also, I reference a passage from Anne Bogart’s book A Director Prepares.
Here is the full quote:
"I learned about the Japanese word irimi while studying Aikido, a Japanese martial art. Simply translated, irimi means, ‘to enter’ but it can also be translated ‘choose death’. When attacked, you always have two options: to enter, irimi, or to go around, ura. Both, when accomplished in the right manner, are creative. To enter or ‘to choose death’ means to enter fully with the acceptance, if necessary, of death. The only way to win is to risk everything and be fully willing to die."
(Anne Bogart, A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre, pgs. 49-50)
A Proper Purgation, and fuck you!
I have so much pent up frustration and anger towards so many things. I am realizing that my "negative" feelings of anger, fear, frustrations, etc. have always been brushed aside or pushed down. This is because, well, how I have believed I might feel wasn’t really important. At least admitting how I felt negatively wasn’t really important. Stereotypical thought patterning around “choosing love over hate” aside, how I really felt deep down and to the core didn’t actually reflect the fleeting feelings of negative emotions that swam their way through my brain and body. These negative feelings could not actually be real because I knew they were fleeting or thought they were unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
I am amazed to find how very often I push away negative emotions instead of letting them out. Only recently, in the past couple months to a year, have I been really attempting to voice all my feelings...at least fully to myself and those closest to me. I have a hard time with deciding when to irimi “choose death” and when to “go around”…can’t remember the word for that. I am reading Anne Bogart’s book right now and I am in the chapter about violence. It talks of the Japanese words for "choose death" and "go around" in regards to fighting within the martial arts system of Aikido. Both choices are important, and you must make a decision on which to use for different situations. If you go in to fight, irimi, you must fully accept that you are entering a choice for death. Only then can you fight fully and completely. This is how you must behave; full acceptance of fate. I have a hard time “choosing death” these days. I don’t think I’ve always had such a hard time with it, but I feel that as the years have drifted by I have become more and more dependent on going around if possible. The funny thing is that I feel most comfortable, alive, and calm when I do “choose death” in situations. However, I feel like it is not right because in order to “choose death” you also “choose to kill.” This is where I have the problem.
The fear of my own “death” is actually something I feel very comfortable confronting, however, the fear of “killing” is something I retreat from. I think I retreat from this because I fear that when I really go in for the kill, when I do “choose death”, I am at peace. What does that say about me if I am most comfortable with the possibility life being taken? Perhaps I am too proud, too confident that I think the fates are stacked in my favor? Though really, I feel most uncomfortable choosing death in situations where I know I do have the advantage. I think this is where I have a hard time with Bertha. To choose death with Bertha makes me feel like I am choosing to strike down an ignorant, self-righteous bitch. That said, I feel like these feelings I have about her turn me into the same kind of ignorant, self-righteous bitch. It is so hard to respect her, and when I don’t have respect for someone I have a hard time respecting myself. I feel so many negative ways about Bertha and thinking them about her makes me think the same thing about myself. She is an unhealthy, unhappy person, and through knowing her I have become an increasingly unhealthy, unhappy person.
Why this is, is something that I am not sure of...I feel that her fear and insecurity lives greatly in me. I have been a very insecure person since I left my family foundation. It’s amazing how differently I handled social settings with new people after moving back from Canada. I must have been going through depression. It was hard for me to leave all the friends I had made. All the friends I really connected to in ways that I had only connected to with Gerty in the past. Gerty was my rock. She was someone I could depend on and look up to but was still my equal. She was someone with a heart of gold that seemed to know who she was. She loved writing, hearts, and teddy bears. Not because someone else loved those things but because they spoke to her. This was something I didn’t understand but respected so fully. I wanted to have the security and self-identity to know what I liked and own it. Owning what I like has not always been a strength of mine. I’ve always tried to like what others like. Often I will like what I actually like less when someone else doesn’t like it as well. The strength to live independently of people’s emotions and preferences is something I have trouble tapping into. I am so very swayed by what others are partial to. How do I find joy in something alone? Yet, I love being alone and find the most joy when I do have time to myself. I begin to remember what it is I truly enjoy. I don’t know why I can’t enjoy myself in this same way when others are around. Perhaps I feed off their energy and let it attach to my own? How does one exercise their energy field so that it gets stronger? For when I have tried to own what I like in the face of something/someone who I feel judges me for my taste(s), their response can deflate my confidence and ownership of self at the drop of a dime. I guess I feel the need to lie to myself so that I can lie to them and therefore "not cause trouble". But really this is where I think the trouble begins.
I feel trapped. I always feel trapped. I feel as if something is caging me in and pressing me down. I know that at its core all of this is something I either do to myself or allow to happen. I understand that we are the masters of our own life experience and reality, but I still have such a hard time with this. I don’t know where to turn to. I don’t know who to run to. I don’t think that there is anyone to run to but myself, and I don’t feel like I know who I am anymore. I know that who I truly am is always waiting inside of me, and that is beautiful...bladiblah, but knowing things and feeling them with belief and trust are two different realities. I don’t know how to reconcile on a daily basis. The thing is, I’m not sure if I want to know who I am - like really know who I am. I just know I feel certain ways about things that exist outside of myself. What is my aversion to self knowledge? Am I afraid to know who I am under stressful circumstances? That’s not true. I do know who I am under stressful circumstances. Am I frightened of knowing who I am in a working environment? Perhaps, because I really don’t care as much as this outside-force is making me care, or whatever/wherever this force is coming from. You see, I have this incessant drive to care and it is unrelenting. But the truth is I don’t really give a shit about work, not really, and that scares me. I don’t really want to win-at-life in the way I am desperate to win-at-life, and I know that doesn’t make any sense. I spent most of my life not really trying and having a great time. I was one of those people that things came easily to and I didn’t have to actually try in order to get by in life, in school, in art, etc. But then...I discovered what it was to try, and I found that I could really get into trying. How much more could I actually accomplish if I put hard work and dedication into the mix?! But the kicker is that the in-between place is what destroys me. The activity of getting by, of being a busy bee, this is something that is not friendly to me in my life. Being a worker bee feels like a waste of my time and energy, like I am missing out on something extraordinary...something I am meant for...
I am not good at having a ritual, which was actually my goal for this year. I want to find a sense of ritual and routine, a sense of freedom within the mundane. I believe the mundane can open metaphoric doors in my life because it provides structure to play within. Learn your jazz standard first and then play jazz. Learn ballet technique first and then forget it and release into dance. Learn what makes a cookie a cookie, and then stray from the recipe, and create your own fucking cookie! I have to develop my foundation. I have no foundation. I am swimming in an empty sea in the black of night with no shore nearby, and all I can think of is the giant yacht I understand how to build.
I hate my life and I have to feel okay with saying that. The frustrating thing is that I don’t actually hate my life so I feel like I can’t say that. I feel suppressed into feeling like I’m supposed to be thankful for what I have etc. But fuck that! Fuck you all! I am miserable and I hate my fucking life! I hate so many things about my life right now - and that is okay! I don’t want to think about all the good things because I know that they are there, I know they are important, and fuck you all for making me feel that hating my life means that I don’t appreciate or see the good things! I know the good things are there, but if I am not allowed to say “Fuck you! I don’t like you and your participation in what is MY FUCKING LIFE”, then how can I allow myself to feel anything else? You can’t desensitize yourself from one emotion, you have to desensitize yourself from all emotions. So If I’m desensitizing myself from saying “I HATE my fucking life!” then I am also desensitizing myself from saying “I LOVE my fucking life!”. I feel free to say the latter because it is more socially acceptable, especially in my circumstances, which appear to be pretty great, and are pretty great...comparatively.
Compared to much of my past, and many people’s lives, things really are pretty great - but they also suck-ass in many aspects, and that is okay for me to say! It’s okay for me to say that Judy is an idiot, and other Judy is a bitch and really both of those things could be said about both Judys. I hate them. They are dumb. I hate that people who spout off about how intelligent they are...are actually dumb. Stop telling me how smart you are and show me…oh, wait…you can’t show me? Oh it’s because you are a fucking idiot…SAY SO!!!! Because I fucking believed you when you said you knew something and that made me a fucking idiot for taking you at face value. Perhaps I should know better than to believe someone that says they know shit. It takes humility, in my opinion, to really be great at something. It takes security in oneself to not have to say or prove anything but to just go about life and fucking do it! I don’t know a lot, but I do know when other people don’t-know-shit and are not being honest with what they do or do not know - and that fucking bothers me. You don’t know what you are talking about, so don’t pretend like you do because then I put into question my own true north, and fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! I have so much fucking rage inside of me and I don’t know what to do with it because it is gigantic and I need to let it breathe. I need to let it out because it is eating at my insides and that is not fucking fair or right because I have not done anything fucking wrong, except everything fucking wrong that I have done, and guess what?! I will fucking tell you that I have done the wrong things wrong!
Fuuuuudckijfaenfeankea;nfd the faise awrfiadoaefn aawaeorfdfnekefnceadnjferewarjeawkjfj ef fjearoeaf feawre ferd,er rekde,f nvrkaeidrneakg,afd, . I am not a prize to be won! Iha eraionve...
I haven’t heard tell of anything so fucking vile in my life.
I fucking hate you, and your sword, and your dog, and your child.
I fucking hate you and your family, and I spit upon the ground where you walk.
I curse you and your family.
- I hate that I want to say and do those things - and yet fuck it!
I fucking curse the ground you walk on.
I hope you die knowing that nobody really loved or cared for you.
You were a sorceress bitch - beguiling every last one of your followers with falsities and lies.
I hope you die knowing that you were brought into life from a serpent's belly.
That serpent has driven you out of the hole in which you were born.
That serpent is your mother, and your mother is a fucking snake.
That snake has been around for eternity and impregnated itself -
because there was no other option for procreation.
You are a vomit and speck of filth on the ground under which I piss.
I loathe you and your spawn.
I loathe your family tree and the dregs of your womb.
I find you disgusting and despicable, and I don’t have to like you, and in fact I detest you.
I find you unbearable and famously full of gnats and worms.
You are nothing but a mound full of maggots feasting on their own mother’s flesh.
How dare you be alive.
I dare you to fucking live.
You have no right to be on this earth with anyone who is worth a fucking pill.
I have said my peace.
Now piss on you and fucking piss off up that hill towards purgatory.
You don’t deserve the satisfaction of knowing where you land in hell.
My story, as I choose to tell it, is about asking the hard questions...all the "why's?". What I cyclically swirl around within my self imposed questioning are philosophies on life, purpose, and relationship. It is the big stuff that plagues me, ignites my interests, and sets me a flight. I love being questioned. I love being challenged to expand my perspective.
Who am I? What do I want? What do I want create? What have I created? Why is it time for me to look inside, to truly look at myself and see what’s there? What have I created that I want to represent me as an artist? What have I created that I don’t want to represent me as an artist? Who am I and why does it matter? What matters? Really? The stripped soul, exposed and barren, this is beautiful. Give me the ugly damaged self. The self that hates, the self that is far too often suppressed and squelched down further and further inside until till we no longer let it breathe. It sits inside us and bakes. It festers there until we let it out. And it is coming out. One way or another it piles up and eventually it has to come out. Joy, hate, longing, resentment, love, sadness these are all beautiful emotions we get to witness in ourselves and in others. They are true and should not be feared themselves, to step into them and surrender is to find freedom. Only in surrender do they lose their power to inspire judgement of self and others. I believe that there are no "bad" feelings; that fear, hate, self-loathing, frustration, and anxiety are as important as love, joy, excitement, and hope. All emotions serve as guiding posts. They are there to let us know when we are in or out of alignment with our truest self.
I want to change the world. I know how silly that sounds but really if you don’t believe your craft can make an impact and spur some sort of paradigm shift (no matter how big or small), why do it? Why waste others’ time? Why waste your own time? It is up to each one of us to answer these questions, or not, as we feel compelled and my guttural response is that I don’t want to fit into a box. I need to push boundaries, question everything, and find the knowingness where there are no questions left, just breath. Transfixed in stillness, ever-moving through the weight of time…I stand, I stare, I quarrel till there is peace. Peace within, peace without. Peace within the grotesque, the mutant, the hatred, the sounds. And through the cacophony simple truth arises like a phoenix spreading its wings to tow the gates between heaven and hell, the yin and the yang. For while within the light does hides the dark; within the dark there spills a clear transcendent light.
I am perfect in my imperfection.
And so are you.
And so it is.
My creative processes center on the theory, analysis, and unclogging of the human condition. I explore this through self-reflection of my own humanity and past experiences as well as alongside others who are on a parallel path of personal exploration creatively or otherwise. I enjoy sharing through process always with an understanding of mutual respect and support. I work to embrace myself and accept others by not judging who I am or what I believe in. I value truth, vulnerability, and accessibility. There is so much beauty and life in the unexpected. Rhythms are meant to be broken, paradigms are established and then shift, life is ever evolving and so are we; both communally and individually. While my artistic philosophy extends into my life philosophy the frame of reference I will use will be from my artistic medium. My medium of choice is the performing arts: acting and dancing.
Owning your artist-self takes a level of vulnerability that can be very uncomfortable at times and therefore takes practice, and self compassion. As my wise boyfriend and fellow artist, Jim Sent, says: "Art is not the reflection of what it means to be an artist, but the reflection of what it means to be human." To exist within ones humanity with honesty and surrender is not only sought after as a state of "dropping into a scene" or giving an "honest performance", but also something we practice and explore as a human race in many different facets of the fabric of life. We do this through religious and spiritual practices, yoga and meditation, and all the modalities of the healing arts such as: massage, energy healing, acupuncture, chiropractics, and psychotherapy.
For me, the practice of artistry and the exploration of spirituality are synonymous. There is a great ebb and flow that exists all around us. This life force has gone by many different names in cultures throughout the world and across time. Barbara Ann Brennan refers to this phenomenon as the Universal Energy Field (UEF) in Her book Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field. Existing somewhere between the realms of matter and energy, some scientists refer to this same UEF as bio-plasma. An artist can gain more tools to work from an honest place by the study of not only the UEF but also through the study and practiced perception of and interaction with the Human Energy Field (HEF) also referred to as the human aura. This well of information and spirit can be consciously tapped into and perceived on different levels. Perception of this ebb and flow allows the previously unseen to become visible to the beholder. It allows us as humans to feel and see energetic shifts and openings in the environment and people around us. One could also call this awareness of energy, connection. I believe the power of stillness, and being "dropped in" is most potent in the performing arts when this skill of awareness-through-connection is practiced purposefully. (Brennan, 1987)
Within stillness we allow a type of surrender into nothingness which I will now refer to as Nothing. This surrender into Nothing is the practice that I believe to be the keystone to the performing arts as a means of catharsis, and transcendence. The pathway into Nothing can be felt when we forget a line, a step, a note and trust that it will be there for us. It is a surrender to fear by giving in, and can feel internally as if you are jumping off a cliff or riding a roller coaster. When this lurching of the stomach arises there is an option to either grip and crash, or to let go and fly into the experience. Practicing letting go with grace and without reservation takes courage, trust, and vulnerability. It is here that we move from practice into becoming; shifting from the doing into the being. This is when a performance becomes "honest".
To further describe the space that I am referencing I will explore the HEF or Human Aura in more detail. The HEF has 7 layers as described by Brennan. These layers are related to the 7 chakras and radiate beyond the physical body in succession. The first 3 layers (Etheric Body, Emotional Body, Mental Body) exist on the physical plane, the last 3 (Etheric Template Body, Celestial Body, Ketheric Template or Causal Body) exist on the spiritual plane. In order for the energy from these two planes to "communicate" they must travel through the heart, which is the 4th and middle layer (Astral Level) of the HEF. In my experience, the space of surrendering into nothingness is linked to the relationship between the Etheric body (from "ether", the state between energy and matter) - first layer of the HEF (physical plane), and the Etheric Template Body - fifth layer of the HEF (spiritual plane) and their pathway to connection through the heart or Astral Level of the HEF.
"...in etheric space, to form a sphere...An infinite number of planes comes from all directions and fill in all space, except for a spherical area of space left empty. This defines the sphere. It is the area not filled in by all the planes that meet each other that then defines an empty spherical space. Thus, the etheric template level of the aura creates an empty or negative space in which the first or etheric level of the aura can exist. The etheric template is the template for the etheric body, which then forms the grid structure (structured energy field) upon which the physical body grows. Thus, the etheric template level of the universal energy field contains all the shapes and forms that exist on the physical plane, except on the template level. These forms exist in negative space, creating an empty space in which the etheric grid structure grows and upon which all physical manifestation exists." (Brennan, 1987, p. 52)
In the absence of doing, when we allow ourselves to exist within Nothing and play in the empty space defining the etheric layers, this is when anything and everything can happen. It is a true access point to all emotions, intellect, physicality, from an honest un-forced space. I will call this access point Everything, and it allows us to function within the truth and dynamic nature of Self with a capital "S". Only in true surrender do we find freedom and endless possibility. I believe in self-discovery through reflection and a willingness to let go and allow that Nothing to happen, because within that Nothing, exists Everything. I believe in the power of surrender; that there is an endless expanse of truth and experience that can only be found in absence - for when we let the burden of ego and learned knowledge fall way, what is left is the truth of who we are. I believe in letting go; letting go of pre-conceptions and judgement in exchange for wanting to truly be seen and to truly see others in return. I believe we all create our own story. I choose to cultivate my story through connection, reflection, collaboration, and action...then repeat.
We are all given the gift of sight and when that is used, explored, and expanded upon there is an emptiness, a void that opens up to reveal that everything exists within us all. We are all artists and our great masterpiece is life itself.
I am an artist. You are an artist.
We are all artists...truly.
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