03 May 2007

Shower Chapel

I lost The One on Tuesday. The piano had been acting funny so I called the store and they sent someone out. He attempted a fix that we hope will hold but in the process I lost both recorded tracks stored in the piano's memory bank. I consciously controlled my face and breath when the technician told me. The only tiny scrap of my composition efforts in something like ten years! Gone. I was momentarily devastated.

It's been this way nearly always with me: next to nothing of the "art" I have produced in my life has been preserved. In graduate school, it was something I contemplated with uncommon seriousness and regularity. What did it mean, that I had so little interest and made so little effort to "save" what I made?

It was intellectually and psychologically entertaining then to speculate, to form a postulation and follow it out and experience my emotional response...and then elaborate on the hypothesis. I think I even had conversations about it. With other students in my program.

Improvisation is an amazing medium. My pulse quickens just typing the word. Improvisational performance is thrilling and endlessly surprising and provides a fabulous workout that enhances my capacities in every media I play in. But since I discovered improv, I very seldom think about documentation. Mostly because it has felt too heavy-handed a notion for the ephemeral nature of improvisation. Or so I told myself.

I have not performed or practiced for a very long time. I miss it. The performance part, especially. I dabble in improv performance a lot in my "real" life. It's like blood actually: it courses through everything. I'm awake to it in everything.

Earlier, I took a shower and as I dried myself afterward I began to think about what I want to put on. What did I want to feel against my clean, dry skin? And I laughed at myself a little, thinking just enjoy This...this multiplicity of sensations on my skin as water evaporates in places and trickles down in others...and the thirsty towel drinking from my arms...and seconds of intense coolness that raise gooseflesh on my neck....just enjoy this...


And then I thought of Henry. He is still young enough that The Future does not exist. When he is fresh from his bath, his complete attention is there where he is. One day, he will be distracted from Now by Later. But not yet.

And I wanted very much to be with him. A surge of longing to be near him flooded me.

It's more of that thing I was talking about awhile back; about being with someone in such realness that it awakens the Soul to the presence of God.

The way the after-shower story and thoughts of Henry came to me is an expression of improv in my blood. As Zaporah taught me, improv is about noticing. Noticing and not resisting where attention leads. I learned through my own practice that the improvisational impulse is nothing less than Divine heartbeat. For me, doing improv is being with myself in such realness that it awakens my Soul to the presence of God.


  1. kentuckystreetfarms@gmail.comSat May 05, 02:02:00 PM

    What a striking post..... three strong resonances with me:

    *The first time I heard of you- way before we met- was after QR had seen you perform at, I think, Cafe International. He said your presence was powerful, commanding, mesmerizing. That you held the whole room in your gaze, and the people held you back, and were NOT disappointed..... applause! Ovation! ENCORE! I also remember Patrick moved to weeping by his response to your improv one year at Christmas in Auburn.

    *For at least 20 years of my life making art,I didn't take photos, save prgrams, reviews, etc..... I was enjoined- sometimes harrangued!- to properly document my work... I'd reply "the finished piece is a dead body.... the art is in the making, not the artifact...." Then, during several relatively fallow years, I found I treasure the little pieces and pictures of my work others had saved for me.... I treasure the fluid stories of my past, and the opportunities to tell them... it's celebration of my life, my path, my Work....it includes the embarrasing failures, mishaps, stumblings,successes, the still living pieces AND the dessicated corpses. Looking back and sticking my gaze in that mirror, trying to "correct" or shame myself, would be heart-killing; celebrating my path is life-growing. The past, composted in our hearts, is an essential part of the present. Now I take photos of everything!

    *Shambala Buddhism- Pema's style- teaches exactly the practice of the awareness of the Moment you're talking about. After the few thousand years they've been practicing, they pretty much have it down- and after Chogyam Trungpa, Pema's Teacher, started his practice in the USA, there's a MUCH more USA culture-friendly approach. In fact, I took my first class at Kaiser Permanente!

  2. I've been happy this week because my brother is here. I might say that my passion to live deeply present and with an awakened soul grew out of my relationship with him - my desire to make a difference in his life through the embodiment of the greater life in me.

    I couldn't wait to show him the movie "Rivers and Tides". I love that movie and I was struck this time with Andy's words about "permanent" vs. ephemeral works. He said that every time he considers making a permanent work, he remembers that the first such works he made are already gone.

    One of the first days my brother was here a giant palm frond fell from a neighbor's tree and I immediately wanted to collect it. It became a wizard right away and I've been considering how to proceed with it - perhaps as a puppet. But it is drying quickly and my brother wants me to put sealer on it and I'm not sure. There's a way in which I want to watch what happens from a place of wanting a deeper knowing than the one I currently have which says, well it will just shrivel and dry up. xoxoxpallas


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