I knew on setting out on this journey that there may be challenging times ahead. I have been curious about these potential bumps in the road and how I might respond to them away from the familiarity of my studio and dance community, as necessary places of release, ‘coming to terms with challenge’, and creative expression.
The biggest challenge for me at the moment with living in community is the lack of time, space and peace for my own art practice. I have spent most of the last eight years working on my own and delving into my creativity, following threads of curiosity, gut feelings and intuitions, finding dead ends and frustration, utterly unexpected vistas and insights and generally learning what a creative practice is: to show up day after day dedicating to exploring the territory that arises. It has been the most profound and wonderful gift: exploring the colours and shapes of what it is that I am feeling or trying to understand about (my) life through painting, photography, dancing, dance/drawing… expressing through my body, fingers, wrists, full length of my arms and stretch of my back and length of my legs… I have some to the conclusion that we need ever muscle and bone and sinew to express who we are, what we are. It has taught me to learn by experience, to trust by taking responsibility for it, delving in, feeling my way and expressing rather than always having to work it out. And this is what I am ‘practicing’ now on this journey: stepping into an expanded territory that reaches far beyond my studio and familiar dance floors. It is new, and exciting and right now, not easy.
Due to the lack of my standard creative tools I have been exploring the elements around me as materials for my creative practice. I have been finding myself drawn to the beauty that is around me in nature here in the north east of Scotland, letting the forest and the smells of changing season, the frosty mornings and changing moons and the beaches lure me to explore. I have been exploring the local beaches and have been creating stone circles, but also I have just been sitting, watching, appreciating the incredible beauty that exists around here. This is my current practice; one of observation and appreciation, just like the season that we are moving into, winter: a time for things to quieten down and let ideas gestate. Joanna Macy talks about World as Lover: about how we are at a stage in our evolution when we are being called to move away from World as mother: a mother we think we can keep taking from, and move into our adulthood as species and treat our earth as we would our most precious loved one; appreciating and remaining open to their sounds, textures, colours and movements.
So it feels right that as I get used to a new place and new circumstances that I would get to know it first before launching into a relationship. And as challenging as it is right now, there is much that I have to be grateful for, and in creating new ways of living an important step is to seek out beauty in nature and spend a little quiet time alone with it.
I watched a sunset on Monday evening and I was moved to tears. I could feel how stunning and precious life is. I have gathered a few photos together of one of my favourite places in the world: Findhorn Beach; it is my studio, dance space, gallery, playground, prayer space and source of inspiration, beauty and hope: nature therapy.