Fitz and I just returned from a 36-hour trip to New York. He’s playing Nintendo right now and I’m venturing to take a peek at the “to do” folder on my blog.
All unusual activities for us.
And all so important. As we continue on in this project, the singular importance of “taking time off” becomes more and more relevant, more necessary, and more welcomed. It’s amazing what 36 hours can do to recharge, refocus, and revitalize two little worker bees. On a smaller level, Nintendo games – yoga – writing – a cappuccino – a walk… these provide similar relief. Maybe, to you, this seems obvious. It does to me as I write it. But, when you live and work in the same space – and immerse yourself in a project that consumes an enormous amount of your wherewithal – with only one other person (and Miles, our red bear!) – it can be challenging (impossible?) to push pause.
A friend stopped by the other day and, with a circuitous clarity all his own, asked “So, when I think of you guys – like when I stop and think ‘Em and Fitz, those guys, what are they doing?’ – are you just, like, always working?”
Last night I saw Bobbi Jean Smith and my dearest David Harvey at a performance space in Brooklyn, in Harrowing. The hour-long piece centered on “efforts,” a word Bobbi (the choreographer) used to reference a previous study she’d done on self-directed activities that contained a varying amount of physical challenge, emotional depth, larger importance, and personal intimacy. (I think.) I mean, that’s just the back story. Last night’s narrative sewed together a patchwork of these referenced “efforts” – out of that studied context and within another, more personal and more relational, setting.. It was a messy, overlapping context that layered sticks, sand, dirt and fireworks onto the emotionally frayed edges of two immensely talented artists. Needless to say, there was some personal take away.
We each struggle with “efforts” in our own way, alternating between enjoyment and disgust at every turn. The purity of these forms – of a simple directive or observation – (“I can get to the floor and back up again without using my hands”) – can not come from someone else. Understanding doesn’t come from another person’s prescription for experience, dosed out in heavy handed or misguided ways. Effort does not read force-fed on A Body. It must first be filtered through That Body’s singular form. We must ingest. Digest. Intone. Embody. Make it our own. Nurture it. To find its inherent nature.
So, how about the “effort” of taking a break? Of pushing pause? The personal struggle inherent in finding quiet, of letting growth happen from stillness, from the sandwiched reverberation of efforts both before and after. This has its own nurtured nature. We don’t all “take a break” in the same way, and so we must seek the purity of this form with the same rigor as we seek other efforts.
Growth is an evolution and taller we go.
I’m reminded of the softer side of our recent time in San Francisco. Some of the growth in our own – relative – stillness.