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Sunday 27th August 2017 Today was an excellent day at the garden where questions which had been previously asked began to find solutions through the qualitative approach to my movement practice in the garden. Whilst travelling to the garden, I read this quote by a ninth century Zen master. Medicine and sickness heal each other The whole world is medicine Where do you find yourself? The above question is written in the style of a Zen-like-riddle, and is taken from the introduction of an essay written by modern day Zen teacher, Susan Murphy in the book titled Spiritual Ecology. Murphy cites this Zen Master’s saying to describe how our current ecological crisis is like a Koan set by the Earth speaking plainly to us in words which we cannot fully understand. My first encounter of Koans was not in the context of Zen Buddhism, but through the body based practice of American choreographer Deborah Hay. She poses similar questions for her dancers as a choreographic tool to help throw the dancer’s mind into a void-like state in order for them to refresh their thinking, and to reconfigure their bodies in the context of how to practice performing in the present moment. It is difficult to articulate through words the sensorial effect a Koan has on one’s bodymind state. When reading this Koan, ‘Where do you find yourself?’ I understood it not to mean literally where I am here and now – “on the bus travelling to Granton Garden.” Reading this Koan, seemed to penetrate my stratified self and leave me in a space of nothingness in which my field of vision momentarily expands beyond thinking time and sensing space. I must confess that I still do not fully comprehend the question. I am still contemplating as to how our current state of sickness, both individually and collectively, can heal medicine as understood by the aforementioned quote to be the entire world. Perhaps it is asking me to reconsider all that I have been taught about what is medicine and sickness. Is the Koan-like question a paradox of an answer lying in the question, while the answer is not limited by the question? The medicine for our sickness may be to first recognise our individual contribution to the ‘collective madness’ as Murphy describes it, and to extend ourselves beyond the self-imposed barriers we have placed between us and the world in order to re-perceive our ‘original undividedness.’ In her essay, Murphy speaks about protecting the reef ecosystem which is under threat, while those in authority would try to solve the problem by offering a convenient temporary fix, and would ignore the fact that the ecosystem functions as a part of a whole ocean system of currents which is affected by the increasing temperatures of sea water as a result of our global economic system. So where do I find myself in and amongst the global ecological crisis we live in today? I am here at Granton, asking the same question as before, ‘Where and what is the distinction between performing and doing?’ The energy of the garden pulsates with a new-found liveliness as more gardeners attend, busy bodies amongst busier bees, and as I return to the garden each week my sensory perception has been saturated as if there is some sort of psycho-active drug in the fibres of the garden’s mineral and vegetative composition. What has been revealed to me this week was observing with the lightest touch how I occupy space within proximity of the gardener’s dynamic and rigorous activity set against the stillness of Helga’s movement exploration. This meant periods of simply observing with a rising level of alertness to all that I can see in each moment, and thus my body following accordingly to this new way of seeing the garden. The space opened up as a playground for limitless possibilities about how I situate myself amongst the biodynamic activity of the garden. It may have been the turning of all the gardener’s backs as they start to walk away from


me, not because of me, but because the nature of their conversation had come to a natural close and this dispersion gave way for me to walk further ahead at a slightly quicker pace. It was in this moment that I was able to shift my way of being into a performer mode of becoming part of the rhythms of the gardener’s collective movement from a place of functioning as a dancer who has the ability to alter these rhythms as a way of expanding and attending to the space. The fact that I was supposedly interrupted by one of the gardeners who asked me ‘how I am today’ was a sort of koan in itself. It made me step outside of becoming too deeply immersed in an idea of how I should be performing/moving in this moment to actually 1) respond to her question and 2) invite dialogue with the dancers as part of this growing sphere of what is performance – as something that is constantly evolving and reshaping like the nature of the garden transfiguring each week. A challenge for me this week was also to be at ease with performing/moving in front of the camera. Where is my front in relation to where the camera is located in the garden? I can see the camera is over there, but I do not need to delineate my sense of space according to the camera’s limited field of vision. My field of vision is greater, and so how can I shift my perception to move uninhibitedly around the camera? Sophia often placed the camera on a tripod at junctions which meant that I could move around and beyond the camera. I liked how Sophia moved the camera out of view so that I did not know its exact location. At other times, I was confronted with the camera as a visible obstacle in the space; it was here that I had to include the camera as part of my field of vision, and accept being seen as opposed to just seeing all the time. There is a shift in one’s consciousness when being watched by another human or a camera as opposed to being in the presence of a garden/tree. I wonder how might other objects like a tree see me? For example, what if I imagine the natural landscape of the garden to be made up of a trillion ‘eyes’ or ocular receptors in each individual organism as part of an interlaced landscape of multi-organisms operating as a whole. How do I tune into other organisms’ ways of ‘seeing’ in which the acts of perceiving one another co-exist within the harmonious complexities of the space as a whole? In the same way, how do I cultivate this mutuality of perception between the dancers and the gardeners in such a way that does not create a dividing tension between the two?

Sunday 27th august  

Reflective writing written by IMP member, Adam Hussain based on his somatic experiences, ideas and thoughts generated during his time as dan...

Sunday 27th august  

Reflective writing written by IMP member, Adam Hussain based on his somatic experiences, ideas and thoughts generated during his time as dan...

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