This week I discovered a valuable lesson about being in an Ensemble: it is family. And just like family you either communicate and negotiate, or you blame and fracture. The honeymoon period is over for my class and we had to face some of the growing concerns and challenges of being in a new ensemble, in a new environment, and a new program. In the foreign experience how do we find commonality? We find it in our shared experiences of the process. And we also find our own space. I am thankful for my "cozy" studio apartment. Attached is a picture of the view outside of my kitchen window to the cute courtyard behind my place. It makes me smile to see that view-rather than the cars and noise of Potrero Ave. in San Francisco.
The weather is starting to turn here. Nothing major, yet, but the temperature is getting a little cooler, from mid-80s to high-70s or low-80s. And rain in the on the way. Chill out all you Californians who keep mentioning snow to me. It is still too early for that. But, I have my winter boots ready!
This week a classmate of mine also introduced me to a bike path that I have been enjoying after classes. It is a nice back way off of the main street that provides some great vegetation and gorgeous views of the mountains. Pictures are attached of the bike path.
On Friday we had a Salon at the home of some of our classmates. I presented a reading of my academic paper on the life of Naropa and Yeshe Tsogyal-both Buddhist saints. It was an interesting experience sharing insight about the namesake of our school to a crowd more focused on performance. But maybe some of what I had to share sunk in among the frivolity.
And today, Sunday, I took a great class in Afro Modern dance with Onye Ozuzu. Onye teaches at CU and I hear crosses over to our MFA program at times. I have never taken an African dance class, but I was surprised on how I was able to keep up and enjoy the movement. I think taking classes with Robert Moses and also getting some Cuban Salsa lessons from Oscar and Kat helped my hips to know how to move outside of a strict ballet or modern technique. My toes got ripped up from the dancing, but it was absolutely worth it!
Below is a short reflection paper I wrote for my Meditation class. I thought it was appropriate to share here to reflect my experience in Boulder:
But it is possible to go beyond personal interpretation, to let vastness into our hearts through the medium of perception. We always have a choice: we can limit our perception so that we close off vastness, or we can allow vastness to touch us. (Shambhala, Chogyam Trungpa, 108)
The past month of my life has been an experience of opening up to vastness through perception. I moved to Boulder from San Francisco with not only my luggage of clothes but with my baggage of perception. I have a California perspective, more specifically, I have a San Francisco Bay Area perspective. Within this Bay Area perception of the world vastness does exist as it relates to race, culture, gender, sexuality, and politics. Coming to Boulder I have struggled to maintain my perceptions of the world as a person of the Bay Area. But what good is it to come to another location and hold onto an enclosed perception, despite its vast appearance, and not gain a new perception of the world?
Nature has challenged my preconceived perception. I now have magnificent mountains to expand my vision. On my third day in Boulder, my new classmate and acquired friend, Kelly, took me to the top of the Continental Divide. At 13,000 feet how could my perception of the world stay static? I came in contact with the vastness of the land and sky from an eagle’s perception of the world. My life on the physical plane was reaching new heights.
The people on the journey have been expanding my perception as well. Kelly’s welcoming of a stranger into her new home without any hesitation challenged my perception of friendship based on trials, schedules, and convenience. Throughout my first weekend I only experienced graciousness, caring, and understanding from a person who days before I didn’t know. Clinging to my old perceptions of friendship would have found me lying in my barren studio apartment depressed in my new home with no personal interaction. Vastness of perception was gladly welcomed.
Now the reason for coming here, the performance training, is shattering my body’s ingrained patterns of perception. Lying on the floor and learning to crawl again, hearing my voice outside of it’s normal range of sound, challenging my body to access emotion while doing acrobatic skills familiar to me since childhood, expand my vision of perception of who I am in the world as an established and developing artist and human being. Holding onto the past perceptions of my familiar patterns and comfort zone of knowledge will only hamper my growth. Vastness will expand my understanding and commitment to the growth I am seeking in this new land. I may not see the end point, and thankfully so. If my perception was clear on the goal then why go on the journey or why dream? Vastness of perception expands the field of vision to broaden the possibilities ever unfolding in life.