It’s December, the days are ever shorter, the impulse to hibernate is with me and with it the recognition that tiredness comes at me in so many different ways.
Working these rhythms maps in the field of emotion there is a growing clarity that the shadows of the rhythms are as useful to my (in)sanity as any other aspects of them. We call the shadow of flow “inertia” in our 5Rs practice and today, in the circle of remarkably courageous dancers that are sharing this module here in the Basque Country, we talked about the forms we might know of this inertia, and the many forms that might exist.
I think it is important to stay alert to the desire we have to judge rather than explore things, its why this practice pays more attention to the physical knowing of energy that movement investigation yields, than to the intellectualisation of things which “knows’ in a rather more virtual, assessing kind of way. Good, better best.
And many of us have been led in the direction of believing that doing more is better than doing less, that being demonstrably active is better than being less active and that more movement is better than less movement.
Even if the big gesture has less awareness than the more considered if less visible one. As someone living in the UK I believe that this kind of thinking leads the government of the day to decide to drop bombs on Syria, without truly finding the still centre of this decision….
Dance doesn’t decide, it considers. And it does this by being with, feeling into all sides of something. Sometimes this can look like nothing is happening, even if what is being met is the still point, what we might call ” the heart of the matter”.
To find the still centre is part of what we do in this practice, and it seems to echo what happens at this time of year. The days get shorter and shorter, the rest gets longer and longer. Is this ‘inertia” or rest ? What seems to be happening in the darkness is a kind of ritual taking stock, an introspection that neither lacks movement nor refuses Life. It is a time of necessary reflection happening at the heart of the Earth. A kind of sacred response to a kind of tiredness, the concept of “holy(i)days” comes from this territory.
As we come to our own rituals in this season of holidays my hope is that we all move towards the types of knowing that come from feeling, sensing and attuning to the wisdom offered by this season.
Listening and attending is not inertia. Stillness is not the opposite of movement. Doing can be as inert as not doing, quietness can be active ritual, running around can be habitual inertia. Acceptable behaviour can be ritualised habitual doing, devoid of vitality, heart or integrity.
Conscious attentive heart full ritual serves us.. It is certainly necessary for Sarah and I, and it may be for you too. Whether it be with your friends, family, community, city or simply in the company of your own heart let it nourish and inform you. As the exposure to world news get ever greater the need to acknowledge and gently let dance and rest in your own fatigue becomes ever more necessary.
We didn’t hold the New Year ritual in Brighton at the end of last year and we missed it. So we’re doing it again this year. We will all be there, Leti, Nelson, Sarah and me.
Wherever you will be I hope it allows you also to rest a while.