Practice Being Human
Last weekend, I participated in a focusing workshop, which really had us do the opposite of focusing, by following our awareness of our felt sense wherever it takes us, and responding to that as writers. Since then, I've been trying to bring up that listening place every time I begin writing. To notice how I'm doing -- really -- and tap into exactly what's going on inside and outside my frame, and to uncover what my body's trying to tell me before I begin. There's something soothing in dropping down into where I am physically as a checkpoint during a writing session. I take more pauses. I find myself getting less pent up by words.
This process feels like a more internal, quiet, still version of finding a body/mind agreement through SITI Company's Viewpoints and Suzuki Method, and a more verbal version of practicing being and noticing through Alexander Technique. Different but same. They share a lot of the same tactics and vocabulary. This reminded me that during my first SITI Company workshop, I marveled over how Suzuki and Viewpoints seemed identical to the Natalie Goldberg style writing practice I'd been going at hard that year (and ever since), except physicalized further to use the whole body (working with several other bodies) in space and time as an actors' training toolset. Since then, the three practices have been integral for me as a writer for performance.
Similarly, my friends who practice yoga and martial arts regularly mention that there's a strong correlation between their trainings, Viewpoints, Suzuki and Alexander practices. It's a relief for me to remember that despite the variances in our methodologies, most of us are going after the same thing. Especially in arts processes, I feel there are way more crossovers than barriers. I used to think I needed to leap a boundary to connect the gap between genres, whether between music and writing, visual arts and words, movement and story. The older I get in my own trainings, the fewer walls I see between disciplines. Between people, too.
These thoughts help me a lot when I observe divisiveness, whether caused by political howlings, faulty communication, a stubborn attitude to always do something the same way because that's how it's been done, or all our other human failings. We're all trying different techniques to get through our days, that aren't all so different. And many of them inform the others with new perspectives -- as long as these ways come from a place of kindness, love and care. There are some that don't, that try only to market or destroy or disempower. I think there are true differences between these ways of being, but perhaps there too, empathy is the way to see inside and connect.
Regardless, I'm grateful for my daily practices, and that they teach me how to be human. When I'm despairing over global news, confused/petrified by national politic, find myself paralyzed by a traumatic memory or spinning through emotional tumult and wondering what did I do wrong NOW?, my writing/stillness/movement/music practices are the things I can go back to that remind me how to breathe and see and speak and be.
What is your dailyness as an artist or creative person?
How does it work?
What does that give you?
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Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: