I get really overwhelmed by how much I need to keep open, or keep on. I haven’t figured out how to keep things on while I’m not paying attention to them, and as a result I’m either constantly trying to monitor everything or neglecting parts of myself. Keeping the thread of the arms connecting the palms to the heart and softening the chest, these are only the doings, the outcomes, visible results, but it’s only a small percentage of what is needed, what the body speaking gaga needs. So much traveling stuff! Inside, blood obviously, but also small tingles very lightly and finely forming channels down your limbs. Glittery traveling stuff. And then there is the traveling stuff that is much thicker, deep red-brown, raw meat. There are probably others but these two are the ones I find most consistently. It’s difficult to experience even just two kinds at once. Immersive. Submersive. Submarine tour of your own body, sink down into it and float along.
2/6/16 this is right after class with Lee.
“You can think of flowers, yes, but also steak.”
Gaga class: listen to the traveling stuff, be available, ball movement, in water, floating, thick, feel more flesh, soft in the chest. It’s overwhelming, this awareness. So much to feel. We aren’t trained to feel very much in our culture, so this is doubly difficult because we are so under-prepared. We don’t listen to our bodies, we don’t listen to our emotions. The two are wound up in each other. I am bad at feeling, at least. I think that’s going to be how I start my writing entries: body check in, emotions check in.
Traveling stuff. On first check I’m fine, which means I’m not digging into the wet leaves to feel what is beneath the fine-ness. Why not. I’m afraid. I’m not sure. Maybe I’m daunted by the volume, which I don’t really know since it’s all buried, so why I think things are so huge underneath I’m not sure. Maybe because of the thickness of being fine. It is a very thick layer. Don’t be afraid of the effort, connect it to pleasure. I think I’m afraid of feeling uncomfortable. Discomfort. Like having eaten “too much”, fullness, I am afraid of fullness. Can I connect fullness and discomfort to effort so that I can find pleasure in them? Yes, there is effort in accepting discomfort, sitting with discomfort. Not distracting myself so that I can move past it. Sitting with it. Moving around in it. Like moving around in your clothes and feeling the cloth against your skin.
So that’s my project for this spring, then. The translating of bodily effort into emotional effort so that I’m not afraid of the digging or the feeling. This is my first try, I don’t really know where to start. I think I’ll write about the movement to see if I can get to a starting place.
Movement: I feel blocked in my hips and pelvis. I find the outer limits very quickly and haven’t figured out how to break the pattern my pelvis normally moves in. It’s frustrating. Engaging from the inside of the pelvis helps radically, actually. I can’t do it for very long right now, those muscles are not used to being engines. But engaging from underneath, the pika and the yoyo relaxes my femurs in the hip sockets and lets my pelvis float. Sometimes I knock my own breath out of myself when I source my movement underneath my pelvis. It’s like, oof, something warming and unsettling how forceful it feels. One heck of an engine.
I have found a lot more availability in my arms, shoulders, and back. I have to constantly check to feel my chest soften and my shoulders relax (I just realized they were hunched right now) since they just float upwards naturally. Using the shoulder blade as an engine and using the rope of the arms has made me feel like I’ve added six inches to my wingspan. I see myself as a bird actually, or some sort of stretchy reptile where you can see its ribcage when it reaches all the way. I feel the flesh of my arms wrapping around the bones. I imagine it and feel it, both. Same with images of doors opening in the joints and balls spinning, being in water, magma and lava pouring in and out of butter-like flesh. I imagine them as I move, in a way I haven’t done since I was a child; earnestly, wishing to see. It helps me feel. Which helps me move.
I sweat so much but it is pleasurable, I’m not sure how. It’s not like running on a treadmill, or even like the effort of ballet which I prefer to running or yoga – it’s everything on, all at once, you have to fight for that awareness, you feel each muscle moving, you aren’t worried about form in the traditional sense, just feeling the information move through your body. It’s a different kind of thinking. It’s not monitoring, like a checklist, am I turned out, is my chest lifted, are my hips square, like in ballet. It’s like sinking into a bean bag chair and trying to have your whole body touching it at once – constantly shifting and relaxing and exhaling and trying and trying all at once. Or running through a whole field of horizontal pinwheels trying to keep them all spinning at once. You just run around spinning the, and if you see any slowing down, you reboost them but there are always more to spin. I’m not very quick running through the field yet but I imagine with practice I’ll be able to keep the awareness, and therefore the engines, on.
I’m not really functioning properly right now but I feel like that kid who tries to “clean” their room by shoving everything under the bed or in the closet and the mom opens the door to the closet and everything spills out onto the floor. I’m running out of places to stuff things. Reaching capacity, I gotta put some of this stuff away otherwise I’ll lose sight of my own floor. Also I think I’m angry but not sure because I don’t get mad that often and this is unfamiliar. I have so much to do before tomorrow and can’t quite justify taking the time to sit in this uncomfortable place. It’s going to be worse later and I am not looking forward to that.
This is where I am.
Gaga is the first movement vocabulary that has felt good in my body. It feels so good! Pleasure and effort. Ballet is very obviously a poor fit for my body, at least as my hamstrings are currently reminding me. Modern too often has shape-making at its core and is rigid in terms of those shapes. Postmodern I love dearly but don’t always feel my body engaged. Gaga feels like I was born doing it.
I wonder if everyone feels that too.
Also there is so much pleasure in constantly moving, continuing to move, no stops. No stops! You don’t ever drop the groove or go dead or cold or even need to relax because you are relaxed and just easy. Dropped into water. But it has to be the thick kind of water, that you wade through, not light splashing water. You know what it’s like? It’s that strange moment in high school when all of a sudden the image popped into my head of being suspended deep in the ocean, dark blue and quiet and thick, and talking to God, who was a whale in the distance so He looked small. Peace is underwater, which means it is no stretch for God to be a whale. In that suspended place it was quiet and yet still moving, and there was some deep sound, low or unhearable or imagined, and I had never felt so close to God. And never felt so safe. I used that image for a long time in high school and into college when I needed security or comfort or a break or forgiveness or whatever. God is pretty chill as a whale, and beautiful. I can’t believe I forgot about that. That’s my healing image. How poetic that gaga is also in water, and used for bodily healing.