I am open, in a grounded fragility, still softened by my time at 2 Penrhiw.
Honesty is something I do consider when I am working: to be honest about the bodies, individuals, experiences, environments or ideas within the work or space. In so doing, it creates a stronger presence in what is being done that can encourage relatability, understanding, connection and resonance.
I had started to feel reliant on parts of my practice. Particularly bodywork, which has always been something I love to do and build on. It expands my physical capabilities, motivates me, leading to greater creativity and ability to take risks in my outdoor work. More recently I had been relying on the habitual ‘performance’ of specific daily exercises to give me a sense of achievement and purpose. Fueled by thoughts and feelings around what gives me worth or value as a movement artist. These daily practices had become somewhat automatic and I was often disconnected when doing so. I realised that I was not being honest, forcing myself to do what I thought I should be doing, rather than listening to what I needed.
The residency in Abercych offered a space which not only held me in doing so, but also encouraged me to abandon the structures or approaches I tend to work with. Time slowed, and I slowed with it. In the run up to my residency, I had been embarking on a walk and wild swim most days. I also realised that this was the most honest part of my day, in terms of what my mind/body/soul needed. A chance for reflection, to invigorate my senses and untangle myself from anxieties, judgments and expectations. It’s when I am most present. I would often drift into bodywork or movement exploration of some sort, tangling myself into the outdoor environments instead. This, I continued throughout my residency. It felt like the truest form of my practice to carry with me, generating new and challenging ways of working.
The walks early on in my residency brought up thoughts of ‘being here’, referring I suppose to a sense of presence. I’ve felt for some time ‘here’ was mostly at the edges of my being. Living outside myself, putting my energy into external structures, expectations and commitments I hold in high importance.
Then, I was in the river, moving into the strong current. I felt how centered I needed to be so that I was not swept away. It was an embodied metaphor of my current situation for me in a few ways. One, that how I had been ‘moving’ in life, would be like trying to move into the current by desperately reaching out through tense limbs with all my energy. Water pelting into my deserted core, the eventuality being I am washed away. Instead, allowing the energy from my limbs to come back to my centre, to be strong in my core, would make me more resilient against the current, perhaps to just be still for a while. It is when I have this energy, presence, belief in my centre that I am then able to try and navigate my way up the river, into currents. I am able to extend energy into my full body, edges and external concerns without disconnect from my centre or losing presence. A confidence in my resilience that gives me the courage to do something where I may get swept away, because I am still here in myself, wherever I am.
I took this time as an opportunity to shed those external concerns, shedding what lies at the edges, or just letting go for now and dissolving into myself. Observing that dissolving is a form of expansion gave me the courage to let go. It felt like I was re-aligning with myself, finding my core and my presence. I was re-claiming my energy to fuel my centre. I need the energy at my centre, to feel strong and present, to have the power to navigate what I involve myself in and interact with. Allowing what then occurs when I work, move or decide what to do from within.
I was joined by Lucy May Constantini for two days. In our time together, I was able to explore shedding, dissolving and centering through practice. Accompanied by supportive and reflective conversation. Lucy offered a dissolving meditation, a practice supporting my intent to find ways of shedding the external pressures and concerns I surround myself with. As well as becoming another way of dedicated time for being with myself. Lucy also shared some of the practice and exercises of Kalaripayattu, the Indian martial art. My brief experience of this form was the need to work from a centered, considered and respectful place. Giving strength, connectivity and liveness throughout my body. I felt a resilience from a supportive tautness in my muscles. I identified these elements of this experience to resonate with how I was needing to work myself.
Centred, considered, respectful, strength, connectivity, liveness, resilience, support…. Physicalising and further realising significant concerns within my work, through another practice, gave me a deeper understanding of my research for the remaining time I had at 2 Penrhiw. Grounding my thoughts, practice and purpose. Guiding the directions I took and structures I used. Refining my attention, application and intentions within my practice. My performance at the Twmpath was a sharing of how these concerns had accumulated within my body and an expression of my experience in holding, responding and moving with them. To be surrounded by support, gratitude, openness and intrigue gave me the confidence to share from a place of honesty and vulnerability, and new formed strength and considerations.
What follows is a bit of creative reflective writing on my time and experience at 2 Penrhiw. I find playfulness in writing offers me a way of more vividly communicating the energy, essence and physicality my experience and state is charged with.
Abandoning, allowing, air, accepting, aligning, to align and anchor: my being, breathing, breath and becoming, presence is here I am, who I am and matters.
The base, centre, core, is considered, considering centering and claiming. I claim, there is calm, a caving in like dissolving, I’m dissolved, but now I’m expanding.
Dissolve so I can expand, expansion and evolving, I evolve into edges and extremities, then I believe in the dark, beyond distance I embark, taut limbs from within, holding me.
Connecting through centre, core and base, to ground, gravitate, my energy re-aims..inwards, to support me when I navigate this place, things I face and challenges I make because I like to create fire.
Embarking on encouraged, elected forgivings, fruitful fights, forming fires, life-force should not expire, so forget unhealthy desire, and root.
I can share, be aware, look out and extend what I hold, reach beyond, observe and involve, outside forms, cuddled in to explore, we’re craving more of how it sounds through vibrations with no doubts, I’m aloud.
Rooted, grounded, gravity, existing, respecting, collecting, a neverending gravitational energy recycling, I’m biting, like water and lightning, I’m here.
I’m alive, could continue, carry on and flow over, on a different page, in a new space, feeling another sense of place, it follows…