Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I had a beautiful opening to my day. I finished listening to an episode of the podcast "On Being" that interviewed Dave Isay, the founder of another podcast titled "StoryCorp." I then moved into another I had thought about deleting, as it had been in my que for quite awhile. I am REALLY glad I ended up listening. It was another "On Being," interviewing Craig Minowa, the head of locally grown, internationally known band Cloud Cult. I had heard a bit of the music but not a ton, and after hearing this podcast, all I wanted to do was come home and listen to Cloud Cult in the rain (suggested soundtrack for reading this podcast: "The Seeker" - album released February 2016 by Cloud Cult).

It is a wonderful feeling to be continually re-inspired, especially from unexpected sources. I had started this episode several times and never quite locked in. This morning must have been the right time. I was determined to get along on a walk around the lake, and gave this episode another try. The promise of the early time of day, the energy of the folks along the way offering 'good morning' and the possibility in the damp air around Como Lake made for the perfect setting to listen.

What a beautiful and rooted person and band of artists. This interview connected me to many of my own reoccurring questions and left me with several excellent ideas to ponder and appreciate, including the following:

'BLANK' as Medicine': In this case 'Music,' but insert your own choice at will. For me, the choice would of course be 'movement + music + people,' or just one of those three at a time. I find myself questioning which would come first! The obvious answer seems like 'movement,' but for me, without music and people, it really doesn't drive me the same way. I almost think 'people' comes first, as it connects to so many of the other things I truly feel driven by in life - love, progress, etc.

'Highly-Intentioned': This term came forward as during a discussion on critiquing pop music. Minnow said he most appreciates 'highly-intentioned' things, particularly where music is concerned. This really got me thinking about how my own art isn't, is or could and can be 'highly-intentioned.' What is it about the combination of people, movement and music that isn't/ is/ could/ can be highly-intentioned? Part of me thinks it's easy to critique improvisation as no-so-highly-intentioned, as it has not been carefully planned out in advance. I know this to be untrue. There are many ways to be highly-intentioned. I think the high-intention of improvisation tends first and foremost to intentioning the moment. Bringing optimal focus and energy to what is happening in the now. Perhaps this is part of what makes it so hard to 'train' in. I am so curious about and motivated by the idea of training for optimal improvisation. I suppose this is like anything else in which the tools must be gathered to make the most of the moment when their use is needed to bring forth the best result. Tapping most clearly into the moment, just like anything else, becomes better with tools and training. For some, this is meditation. For me, it's improvising movement. I will continue to explore fitting myself and others with the tools needed to best approach this gift. Bringing people together to experience the moment through movement and music heightening their senses is indeed a highly-intentioned gift, if the mind is made available to see it as such.

Being intent on 'timelessness' and believing that every moment is forever: This interview discussed how seeing time as a made up idea and that all moments are forever as freeing perceptions. Many fields of study suggest that we make up our own realities, so it really is up to us how we choose to see and believe things. Every moment is worth our full investment. I sometimes think a potential counterargument to practicing this is 'If you are always in the moment, how do you plan for the future?' I am more and more believing the idea to answer to that question is 'Not every moment is spent planning for the future.' Even in the moments you are planning for the future, if you are fully investing yourself in that activity, you are living in the moment. On a related note, Minowa said something about being able to journey as far as you'd like but discovering that you always end up back here, in the now. This idea could be seen as disappointing or truly inspiring: we choose our own mainframes on how we interpret anything. In this case, I choose to interpret this as utterly inspiring. I

This relates back to my several years in the making (and I believe continually re-inventing itself within it's relevance) idea that everywhere you go and everything you do are microcosms of everything else. Again, this could be seen as disappointing, or highly comforting and enlightening. This idea has been re-inventing itself for me for many years, often phrased within my New Years Resolutions:

  • 2007/ 2008/ 2009 - "The choices you make are defining, not limiting" and "Choices are just pockets out of a world where similar things are happening everywhere"
  • 2008 - "Everything is a fluid stream of happenings that need not be separated or judged ahead of time" (this very much harks to this years, which addresses the idea that everything is a spectrum, directed by our understandings of simple and complex)
  • 2010 - (the above morphed into) "See life as a fluid stream of happenings yo are both informed by and inform"
  • 2012 - "Trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be" (we can journey as far as we desire, but find that we always end up back here in the now, again an idea that can provide so much wonder and inspiration when looked at that way)
  • 2013 - (so many of this year's resolutions speak to this idea) "Pay attention to process" / "Understand you are exactly where you are meant to be" / "Practice your ability to be present" / "Every moment spent not content is a moment wasted - be content" (perhaps content wasn't quite the right word - we are need a little pilot light fire under our asses at all times to keep seeking, I believe)

This idea kept showing up over time, but less obviously. I believe this is because, as I go back and assess each year before writing new ones, I do make progress on these resolutions. That said, it was inspiring to be reminded of this on a morning when so many inputs were reminding me to experience gratitude for all the elements that compose my life (which are all increasingly intentional).

There is a necessity to grow spiritually as fast as we are growing technologically: That kind of says it all for itself. Without spiritual grounding, what good can we do with all of our technological advancements? This is why I feel my work in dance contributes to the world - dance enables people to connect with themselves and others while experiencing the moment through heightened senses. What a beautiful idea to consider that our innovations are only as good as our abilities to ground ourselves. Without a grounded sense of self and relationship (to others, to the earth, etc), how would we know how to best use our innovations, and to what end? Further justification for placing an amount of priority on designing all aspects of my life. Yes, I do need the process of what I call 'justification,' but perhaps I could find a more honest and transparent word. What about 'evidence'? If it really all is just one great big experiment in which we are all looking for the right formula for our own selves to experience most fully, 'evidence' would be it.

Indeed, further evidence in support of placing energy and an amount of priority on carefully designing all aspects of ones life.

As Minowa stated toward the end of the interview, he read somewhere that every human body has enough energy to power 30 hydrogen bombs (which I certainly won't fact check because I just want to believe it because of what comes next), following that statement with the question "What are you doing to do with that power?" My hear just arrests even thinking about this statement and his resulting question. Further EVIDENCE that simple acts to better ones day to day approaches are in turn bettering the whole world through positive energy - it is indeed all connected.

Another deeply impactful idea I was left with after listening to this podcast was how Craig Minowa lets his other interests become fuel for his art. In his case, one interest is in quantum physics, and how understanding these principles can translate into better understanding our connections to ourselves, one another and the universe. My 'other interests,' off the top of my head, are in organizing, life design, conversation. My favorite times are when I organize people into scenarios that allow for conversation or exchange. It speaks back to my interest in improvisation and connecting to the moment through interaction with ourselves, others, movement and music. I know this, from my grad studies, to connect back to cognitive psychology, sociology and philosophy. It feels exciting to name these fields and my hopes to remember them as sources of inspiration as I keep creating with my most important building blocks - people, movement and music.

This morning, I exercised my ability to feel my heart expand, thanks to a generous outpouring of wisdom from an excellent artist.

I move forward today with gratitude for the moist grey outside. I think it's Mother Nature's way of letting us appreciate yesterdays sunlight rapture, gently nudging us back to our work and contributions. And now, forward toward more concrete versions of my own.