Video sample of Summer workshop in Jalisco, Mexico 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMWocAq4qJY
The minute we enter the body, we enter nature. There is no separation between us. The body is made up of 60-90% water, the lungs breathe air into our movements, the bones contain calcium, iron and other minerals of the earth, and the energy that keeps our heart beating life into every cell, is a form of electricity or…fire. The sacred elements live in the body and their qualities can be felt to inform movement and dance in solo or group explorations.
I live on a 3-lane street 2 blocks away from the 580 Fwy in Oakland, Ca., which takes its toll on my organs, senses and psyche, but when I enter the wild landscape of my body through movement/dance, with the same open and porous curiosity as I do when I “escape” to nature, I am cultivating a type of eco-somatic integration to support my resilience to industrialism and its effects on urban society. Moving consciously with elemental forces and other nature archetypes deepens my intimacy with the earth itself and it meets my need for a “larger than self” approach to hold the content of my life and my art.
Water, Earth, Air and Fire are considered “sacred” among indigenous peoples because they stand apart from the things that we create and they cannot (or ‘should not’) be bought or sold. According to natural law: What we are made of, belongs to us. This shines a light on the subject of ownership and forces us to look at the multi-dimensionality of how we are situated in our lives. As a response to the world we live in, and the body I was given, I am claiming that it is a birth right to have access to our body and its wisdom, just as it is a birth right to have access to the earth’s natural resources. Many of us have devoted our lives to reclaim or fight for these rights through the arts, therapeutic or spiritual practices, education, environmental or political activism and law. Dance as an artform, for the human animal is a practice of exercising these rights to know the body and nature with varying degrees of consciousness around it.
The earth knows how to heal and sustain herself, yet humans are habitually interfering with this healing process by stripping it from its resources. Only a society that sees itself as separate from the earth or as having ownership of it, could cause this crisis we are in. So lets not escape “To” nature, let us realize our true nature and discover the resources from every point of view as homosapiens. My exploration in dance over the last 25 years, has always been in relation to being born a woman of mixed race and having inherited an environmental crisis which is related to the issues of race, gender, class and colonization and even religion. This tells me that the wounds of human beings and the wounds of the earth is directly related one another.
In the Tamalpa Life-Art Process and other body-centered therapies, we work to identify and confront what habits are interfering with our natural ability to move, play, relate, breathe freely, sense, express, or use our creativity. Taking an eco-somatic approach to our healing can offer alchemical support and perspective to our lives if we are able to understand how we are organized as individuals. The truth is, that we are all in crisis within the context of the environment at this time, and the symptoms are touching us all in many ways consciously and unconsciously on cultural, physical, psychological, social and economic levels…
Within a group process or individual counseling, we have an opportunity to engage in a process of understanding how we are situated in our relationship to body, nature, and eachother. We adopt a new group of people and the facilitator as our comrads, our allies and community and we create a sacred space to explore who we are now and who we want to become mentally, physically, or emotionally. Allow the wild terrain with its beauty, strangeness and emenseness to hold the content of your life. Consider this a vision quest as you drop into the truth of who you are un-encumbered by the burdens of work and every day life. The concept of temenos arose in classical Mediteranean cultures as an area reserved for worship of the gods. Some authors have used the term to apply to a sacred grove of trees, isolated from everyday living spaces, while other usage points to areas within ancient urban development that are parts of sanctuaries. Carl Gustav Jung applied this concept of Temenos to his work with expressive arts. Here, in this workshop, we can make a sacred place to create and play.