Today's blog is from Trixie Paprika. She reminds us to "participate in the flow of spirit energy all around... Living doesn’t require achieving perfection, or having total control over our situations or even bodies. It requires release, allowance, breath."
Come check out Trixie Paprika performing at the Summer Series Maiden Show, September 4th at the Vera Project!
SAVE THE DATE (or just get your tickets now!) for Sinner Saint Burlesque's full-length production at Theatre Off Jackson October 9-19th - Inheritance: Maiden, Mother, Crone.
At some point in the last couple years, I began to realize that I was stuck in a spiral of wishing things were different, acting as if I had completely healed (when I hadn’t), and reinjuring myself. I would feel better, go to a dance class, and be on crutches for the next six weeks. This would happen over and over again, until I felt like I was hitting my head against a wall, hoping and expecting the wall to just miraculously disappear. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. No amount of wishing took away this injury I didn’t think I was supposed to have. And denying it was physically hurting me.
Eventually I got to a tipping point, and decided that I needed to break the cycle, and that I couldn’t do it alone. So I reached out and started going to therapy. I began to see that I had been hitting my head against this wall of my situation, when really what was keeping me stuck was my mindset about the situation. And the only way out of that was to change my base assumptions about everything. In terms of my life as a dancer, that meant leaning into new ways of expressing myself physically, and letting go of my assumptions about what dance could look like. By this point I had found aerial arts, which gave me a physical outlet to move and create without hurting my ankles. But I still felt, and feel, most at home when I’m in a dance studio.
Could I find a way to dance that didn’t hurt? Does dance need to be a certain type of movement? Can I be a dancer even if I can’t move my body the way most people dancers can? My challenge is to find new ways of interacting with the space around me that simply take my limitations as a given and work within that framework to create movement and meaning as a dancer.
I like to pretend like there was a moment where I grew up, shed my childish whining that it’s not fair, and switched my thinking to this new enlightened way of seeing the world. But in reality it wasn’t a moment. I make a choice to embrace this new reality every second of every day. I don’t quite believe it; some part of me still thinks I will one day make a miraculous recovery and everything will go back to how it was “supposed to be”. But more of me wants to exist in a healthy relationship with my body right now, so I keep re-choosing to believe this new story – that finding a new way through can be a beautiful and life-giving challenge, rather than a burden to be shouldered.
So this dance that I’m creating is an experiment in letting go.
When I was first starting to create this piece, I reached out for wisdom about how to understand myself as a creator in the world, and Mary Oliver’s poetry reached back. Her easeful understanding of the world and our place in it spoke to my constant re-choosing to turn away from the wall I was beating my head against. Why are we here if not to participate in the flow of spirit energy all around? Living doesn’t require achieving perfection, or having total control over our situations or even bodies. It requires release, allowance, breath.
I invite you into Mary Oliver’s wisdom with me:
The Messenger, Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly rejoicing standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleep dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.