Nearly eight years ago, I was introduced to Authentic Movement, a practice of shifting one’s awareness from the mind into the full body as one performs free associative movement. Since then, it has been a regular element of my creative practice. As Janet Adler noted in her book Offerings from the Conscious Body, energetic phenomena can be part of an authentic mover’s experience. As such is the case for me, I often feel waves of energy, light and color moving through my physical body and sometimes the space around my body. These sensations and experiences are accompanied with a joyful, bright and happy emotion. As I’ve grown accustomed to this phenomena in my movement (and at times in my everyday life), I realize that in these moments I feel most connected to the Divine* and sense that a non-linear message or chunk of knowledge is being delivered to me.
For example, during the past year of my authentic movement practice, I have repeatedly found myself lying flat on the floor with my arms extended near my sides with my palms up. My mind is in a meditative state, quiet except for conscious awareness of movement impulses with in my body. Mind and body are relaxed yet attentive. My heart and chest feel warm and open as if my rib cage and skin do not contain the swelling bubble of energy within. The energy eventually reaches out of my body and to the heavens. I feel white light return, beaming down and creating a loop cycle. My awareness shifts to the palms of my hands. My fingers are spread as if holding something round. I experience a tingle like a light draft is passing across them. The tingle begins to flow and fold in upon itself, recycling, growing. In my minds eye, I see white glowing orbs of energy in my palms. They vary in size. The more I connect with the experience, the more the orbs grow in size, brightness and intensity, and initiate the flow of the light and energy through the rest of my body. In these moments I feel ecstatic, alive, vibrant, uninhibited and available to the Divine. These experiences can last for a mere moment or they can be prolonged for several minutes. Regardless of the amount of time, each experience fills me with joy as if I have connected with my Creator and have moved one step closer to fulfilling my Divine purpose in this life. I luxuriate in these moments and slowly bring my awareness and consciousness back to the the physical space I am inhabiting. I do so slowly as to honor the experience and retain the memory within my mind and body.
About five years ago, I felt compelled to cover a football in rhinestones. (Stick with me. I promise this relates to the accounts detailed above.) After 24 non-consecutive hours of gluing thousands of rhinestones, the football seemed an adequate metaphor for the mashup of masculinity and femininity that is often central to my work. Shortly thereafter, I began having visions of football pads covered in rhinestones. Knowing the amount of work and expense that would be involved, I moved on to other projects. After two years’ passing, I finally listened to the recurring impulse and began collecting materials and working on the project. (Read my recent post Football, Fear & Fringe for an initial insight into the project.) The underlying notions of the project have continued to address and digest fear. However, as art making is a ritual of transforming my life, it should have come as no surprise to me when the project led me to murkier places, deep crevices ripe for the Alchemist’s touch. On the flip side of fear, I’m learning how to love more – myself and others.
And now, as I hold rhinestones in the palm of my hand before tweezing them into place, consciously feeling that familiar orb of energy, I find myself reaching out in faith to the Divine. I find peace in the placement of each rhinestone, a confirmation that I am right where I am supposed to be, and a knowing that this sparkly ritual is a prayer to the heavens for transformation such that I may better fulfill my spirit’s purpose.
*I use the term Divine, Universe, Divine Creator, Spirit as proxy for God as they carry less dogma and negative associations for me. However, I view them all as the same.