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Dancer Vulnerability

What fascinates me about dancers is not so much the process of perfection but the day by day vulnerability. Every class is applying the insights from yesterday to a personal set of changing bodily and emotional needs. The demands are a heightened sense of attention, focus, and awareness. And every day is different.

I have put my self in the middle of that vulnerability. First by beginning ballet as an adult with many physical limitation. Lately I decided to enter the ultimate unsettling experience of taking an advanced ballet class with dance teachers and students I admire.

My intent is kind of like riding as a passenger with a professional race car driver. I will not be able to grasp the level of skill of the driver, but I will be in the middle of their experience. After a few times, I calm myself to be able to sort through the blur of directions and movements.

Whenever I can, I sit and watch dance classes. Having tried the professional’s class, I have been in the ultimate vulnerability so I can begin to understand the courage each dancer has in going into a class pushing their limits physically and emotionally.

What is valuable is my experience of the professional’s uplifted focus and willingness to commit to the slowest and the fastest movement sequences. With my experience of the musicality of melody and rhythm, I am able to observe how each individual approaches movement just a little differently.

Mainly I am surrounded with so much inner delight. Each dancer in the class is at a different skill level and they are fully committed to enter that much vulnerability for new insights on their experience. I am in awe of each person there.
Tim Hurst 09/26/17

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Riding the Dancer’s Cusp

Looking for a Manual!
We humans are put here to go deeper than we can comprehend.

We say repeatedly, “There is no manual for this.” We know that life is beyond our meager understanding.

Yet what is our first goal of every day? Write the manual. We have to write the manual. Then we have to be bold enough to claim the manual as truth. Then we have to lead everyone we know into a battle to achieve the consequences of our truth.

We know our manual is not a final version. Uncertainty and vulnerability are our greatest gifts that keep us curious and creative. Both these qualities also bring to us the insistence that we summarize the day’s lessons as quickly as possible.

So we ride on a cusp balancing everything we can summarize and everything beyond our desire for certainty. We declare victory with every insight and then we look at the circumstances in our lives and have to admit that our insight only vaguely applies to this fresh moment.

Life is built on transformation. Even more confounding is that life is built on the rising and falling of transformation. The wave rises and falls. Everything becomes an inhale and an exhale, a gathering and an integration, an intensity that glows as a huge fire and as an ember, as light and dark.

Every human study and endeavor is attempting to ride this cusp of expanding and contracting. The shape that we identify with the journey of this ride is the spiral. The spiral is the curve that continues, that ventures and at the same time records its journey.

Where I Look.
I look for a journey riding the cusp of what I think I know and what the next moment reveals. Because of my particular experience I must not leave behind any aspect of myself as a human. If I can not grasp how to master all myself, I can at least experience what I can of my workings.

To experience as much as I can about myself, I look to a most primitive study, dance and music. Both engage every part of the human, the brain body connections, the emotions, the hopes, the thoughts, the nurture of ourselves and other life.

With dance and music what I find is a paradigm, a process for responding to the freshness of the next moment while summarizing and recording my entire experience. The clearest test of this paradigm is the reality that every time I try to repeat my recorded experience, I discover a completely new experience. This test is true of groups as well as individuals. Every performance of music or dance becomes a unique experience for the performer and the audience. This is also true of the teacher and the student who have a new experience with each repetition of a dance or a song.

Of course the stated goal is the same for artists, scientists, and engineers. They look for a manual that they can follow, that they can perfect. But everyone of them has to admit that the circumstances change faster than the brain body can grasp. So we all are in continuous motion along a cusp. We get to choose the cusps we will focus on.
Tim Hurst 09/09/17

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Reversing Trauma

My study is of the point of venturing beyond known territory and receiving the courage to surrender previous connections. Prayer, meditation, and religious ritual have long been the entry points for this balance point. The tools for these practices since the earliest humans have been dance, rhythm, and singing. My study of these practices is my life’s work.

So many discoveries are being made about our neurological connections to our experience. Anat Baniel works with children and adults to retrain neurological connections. Her books, Kids Beyond Limits and Move Into Life are breakthroughs as are her therapeutic work with all ages.

Last night I saw two movies. One called Resurfacing was about the discoveries of combat veterans who stored their experiences as PTSD. This group used surfing to bring the veterans to confront the way they stored their experiences and get ways to begin there lives again. They used phrases like, “Learn to tell yourself a new story.” Meet that place of complete uncertainty. “I was totally engaged with the wave. Nothing else could get into my mind.”

They also dealt with the larger question of vulnerability that has been erased from their minds as soldiers. The ocean became a power greater than themselves. Their only hope was to respond to the power of the waves under them. Crashing and bailing off the surf board were a part of the learning. So was surrender to personal intuition and to the power beneath their feet and beneath the board they were standing on.

A second movie used martial arts and sword fighting in Korea as a metaphor for dealing with past traumas, ancestral and personal. The television series was Lucid Dreams. The process was the meditative experience of being able to go backwards in time to change an experience. Their use of music, artistic imagery, and martial arts gave me a visceral experience of this process.

With lifetimes of practice individuals supported by groups have achieved the ability to go inside a trauma or a guilt and reverse a downward spiral of self destruction and addiction. Today this critical balance point is being explored by the necessities of modern culture.

Experience of this balance point have been codified for example by meditation and martial art practices. What happens in building a code for a process like tottering on the unknown is identification of a specific goal like Nirvana or domination. Then we have to force ourselves to be true to the process. The examples are obvious, to meditate we have to remain still or maintain positions beyond our endurance level. With martial arts we have to hold the goal of meeting an adversary.

These systems have value in themselves yet they do not deal with the original search for access and entry into both an open macro view with no specified goal and a specific micro view to create and interchange connections.

My study is of the point of venturing beyond known territory and receiving the courage to surrender previous connections. Prayer, meditation, and religious ritual have long been the entry points for this balance point. The tools for these practices since the earliest humans have been dance, rhythm, and singing. My study of these practices is my life’s work.
Tim Hurst 09/06/17