Friday, February 27, 2009

Marissa Perel's Response to doing foi 2008

hi there everyone.
it's been a while since i updated the blog. marissa perel sent me this at the beginning of february. it's the text for a talk she gave about doing foi 2008. i love it, and this it is so powerful. i'm happy to share it here. 


by Marissa Perel


The place where my deepest relationship to fellow artists and my career really began is a top floor loft on 249 Varet St. in Brooklyn, NY that is known as Aqui the Bushwick. The choreographer John Jasperse moved there in the early nineties and rented it out from a construction company that had offices in the bottom floors. Soon it became of hub of activity for dancers, musicians and experimental theater performers as well as an important underground venue for eclectic shows, benefits, recording sessions and film production. Miguel Gutierrez, the who organized Freedom of Information, moved into that loft in the mid-nineties and his formative career as an emerging choreographer began there. Musical composer, improviser, and hacker Jaime Fennelly moved into the loft in 2000 as he was working with Gutierrez in a duo called “sabotage.” I moved into that loft with Jaime shortly after the first time Miguel performed Freedom of Information in 2001.

I had recently survived a major accident from inner-tubing down a mountain slope and was looking for more approaches to healing. Amidst the constant activity in Aqui the Bushwick were a myriad of processes and practices with the body that I learned in order to heal myself. I consumed anything I could: Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, Body-Mind Centering, Skinner Technique and Authentic Movement as well as Qi-Gong and a variety of Eastern healing practices.

Because I was learning these methods among dancers, they were never kept at a purely therapeutic level, but were always utilized in order to build dance material. So, my evolution from recovering to dancing really worked out of a perception that what my body had to offer was interesting source material. The sensitivity of a dancer's able body to witness my disabled body, and through these practices show me what was possible in movement, persuaded or very tangibly forced me into a performative relationship with my body. I would say that this is how I developed an artistic relationship to my own pain and the pain of others. Though I became stronger, I could "pass" as abled, though I could dance at Judson Church and successfully choreograph, my pain was never absent, nor is it now.

I turned to language, researching psychological and theoretical texts as well as essays, autobiographies, poetry, performance texts that related to pain in any way. Two of the most powerful books for me were The Body In Pain by Elaine Scarry and Out of Actions, a book about an archival exhibition of performance art that took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. Between these books, I learned how multiplicitous one's relationship to the body and the larger social body can be, and that there was room in the world for me to make work out of my experience and use my body as a tool within it.

It was at this point that I started to be an artist-in-the-world. I collaborated as a poet with Miguel Gutierrez for his second piece at Dance Theater Workshop in 2003, and from then on regularly collaborated with other choreographers, composers, dancers, and experimental musicians with text or dance or my own scores for music and basically made my career up as it went along. I didn't limit myself to one discipline believing that I could learn what I needed to in order to perform for a given piece. The lack of boundary I had due to the organic way in which my recovery informed my artistic practice made it possible for me to approach other disciplines without fear. It also allowed me to experiment with my body in ways that most others perceive as taboo.

Informed equally by predecessors in performance art such as Marina Abramovic and Gina Pane as choreographers like Simone Forti or Anna Halperin, and composers such as John Cage and Terry Reilly, my performances combine ritual, movement, improvisation, and a variety of relationships to time and space based on Eastern healing practices and indeterminacy. The body is always central to my work, meaning that my performances are not embellished with larger sets or costumes, and they are always staged in an intimate manner so that the audience can be close to the actions being performed. I have used animal blood, milk and urine, copious amounts of baby powder, glitter and vaseline all within a choreographic framework. Often text and music are used in my pieces as improvisational structures.

Even though there is a great deal of mystery in the lifecycle, my perspective on the body is that of no mystery. I want to lay bare the pain and strife of the body's limitations in relationship to one's desires, dreams, memories and to those of other's as well. Imperfection, failure, defeat and helplessness are powerful resources for making art and learning why you make it. For me, these are starting points, places that are open and real and necessary in order to bring oneself to a place of deeper recognition and awareness.

This is a good place to begin a description of Freedom of Information 2008. As you have there in the press release, it was a performance-protest-ritual-dance lasting for 24 hours, from midnight on the 31st of December 2008 to midnight on the 1st of January 2009 in which artists from 32 states moved continually, blindfolded and ear plugged while fasting.

Gutierrez first performed this in 2001 as an impulsive reaction to the war in Afghanistan reflecting his own feeling of a complete lack of accessibility of knowledge about what was happening, so needing to go deeper, to undergo this endurance experiment and come up with his own answers through a somatic practice. This year he decided to open the experiment up to a national level and printed is a list of the participants (which you can look at during the break). So, at this point, 7 years later so much more has taken place and is taking place in the world for us to respond to, and in this regard all of the participants had their own reasons for and investments in doing it.

If you go to the blog:, you can read responses from all of the participants except for me, as this lecture is my first formal response to my performance. However, I have started my own blog: where I write about my disability on many levels that developed as a response to my experience of Freedom of Information.

My own motivation for performing this piece is of course linked to my history with Miguel and my participation as support for him in 2001, and also as test of my own strength 7 years after my own accident. It is also an act of solidarity for those who can't use their bodies according to their own will and for those who have used their wills to fight injustice (which I know is a broad term). I performed in my apartment, opening it to the public and I believe that under 10 people actually visited me. Local dancer, Steve May accompanied me as an auxiliary dancer because I was afraid my body might not hold up for the duration of the piece, however something for profound occurred between us. I think that recounting my experience along with Steve’s as part of a group exploratory practice will best reveal the depth of my experience.

Please take the black cloth from under your chair (or take a piece of black cloth) and tie it around your head to make a blindfold. I am going to read you part of my experience of the performance. Take your time to get used to your lack of sight. Utilize your other senses to take in my voice.

After Freedom of Information 2008:

I want to keep my experience even though it seems that part of it has to be an articulation of the dance. To emerge from darkness, where time and space collapse, or rather where they become everything. I dance because it is what has been asked of me by Miguel. I dance because my body is not bound. I dance because I can feel my breath, skin, heat and take it all with me. Because I am not about to collapse.

Every moment was another task, another limit, maze, another beast. The beast and I start a dialogue, we negotiate, we start playing tricks on one another (as I continually mistake one wall for another). At this time of year, many desire time, seek leisure, but here I began to feel something beyond time. Patterns of thoughts, cycles of memories, the bank of somatic triggers send me into wild limb-shaking, pounding, groaning and writhing.

New York, 2001: Miguel moans, his leg is bleeding, the skin of his lips flakes away and I am holding a camera, waiting. My body is freshly recovered, enough to be walking up the four flights of stairs to our loft, though I need to stop and rest each climb. Streaks of red from the dye of his sweat-pants stain the walls, but more stains develop- anger, shame, revelation of a flawed character, the disorientation and helplessness of being American, an artist, not knowing where to go.

I am stuck to the wall for the first two hours of foi 2008. The sensory deprivation of the blindfold and ear-plugs combined with being alone in the apartment are immediately overwhelming. I try to break the ice with the space by talking out loud. I talk about who has already been dancing on the East Coast, who will soon begin on the West Coast, try to feel them. It's cold, I feel my way to a couple of shirts on the floor. I finally feel comfortable moving onto the floor, and then I begin to breathe.

I remember the history of my body in relationship to Miguel, the ways in which we witnessed one another, were there for one another when one or the other was on the verge of collapse physically or other wise.

I remember Jaime Fennelly, I remember his hands on my body and imagine them there, somehow indelibly enclosed within the scar on my pelvis.

These memories give me power, they enable me to see the pain that lies ahead without fear. I fall into a meditative trance where I am letting go of layers and layers of self-hood, reduced to a respiring mass of flesh feeling itself, snake-like.

I can sense dawn approaching as a smell. I can't describe it, but a sharp unnameable scent perks me up. The atmosphere is changing. My whole body opens as if answering to something. I sit prostrate and do some yogic stretching. Everything is possible, I am unified with the emptiness of my apartment. We are symbiotic structures bound to the task of the piece, and I have no sense or aspiration toward anything else.

Joy stirs in me from a depth I could only feel by such extreme silence. It rises and forces me out to the edges of the room. I am cold, but happy. Silence grows in me to a degree that I feel awakened, at ease with blindness. I know the day has begun and the city is getting on with its business, and I am part of its larger body.

Mike comes to the door, I'm terrified.
I've been alone for at least nine hours, enough time to forget about contact. He approaches the room, and I can feel the heat from his body from all of those feet away. This is witnessing in its simplest sense. I stand blocked from sight and sound, however my body is reading his. He sees me, but he can't know what I am feeling. We are equal in this encounter.


I realize I've been trembling, so I start jumping around, making big movements, adjusting to the shift in the space. I get warmer, strip off layers, start letting myself go. Flying into the walls, the heater, window, I attempt to push the boundaries. I get hungry and horny at the same time. My body is a channel for something now, and I want to feel everything. I drink some water and slowly move toward the heat in the room, reptilian.

Mike touches my hand, and suddenly I feel like I am going to crumble.

My ecstasy gives way to my own awareness of my vulnerability, that extreme softness, and my sense of safety vanishes. I don't know how long I've been going, I know I have a long way to go, I've been talking to the walls, hitting the walls, rubbing against them for comfort, and this touch reminds me of that emptiness.

I retreat against a wall. Panic sets in, I talk to myself. I pace, I breathe into my pelvis. I pee. This is one of many moments throughout the 24 hours that I realize what I got myself into and have to talk myself down from losing my strength out of fear. I start swearing at Miguel, I say I'll never do any performance he asks me to do again, I get frustrated because even though this is supposedly a protest piece, I can't access anything to make me think about the world. I'm getting into my memories and my desires, staying in that personal world, letting my life catch up with me, so to speak. I start wondering what this is really about, who or what I am confronting, whether or not I can handle being witnessed.

I lay down on the floor, fingering the wood, my shirt, my ribs, making small circles with my knees. I allow my whole body to sink into the floor, I breathe, I sense that people are around, but I try to forget them for a while. I have a serious confrontation with something - my own intentions going into this, what art means to me, why this is artistic, why this is political, why I am alive.

A projection of images begins to slowly revolve before me:

-the brutality of police officers at the WTO/IMF protest in Washington, D.C. in 2000
-protesters getting mauled by horses during the Republican National Convention a few months later -women in fur coats and cowboy hats during Bush's first inauguration
-the black spiral of my body going off a mountain's course and hitting a tree
-x-rays of the fractures,
-looking down at my body bandaged and swollen, bleeding
-sitting at the kitchen table in the loft I shared with Miguel and Jaime unable to sleep due to the pain -writing at 3AM or 5 AM
-one morning sitting down and seeing the paper filled with images from Abu Graihb.

My whole life stopping.

Realizing I could no longer be a poet, but had to use my body urgently from now in order to make the art I felt I needed to.

More images:
Guantanomo, and testimony from detainees. Being beaten to a pulp in the chest and genitals, electrocuted, bound, made to perform sexual acts on others, being forced as a man to wear ladies underwear, being given pants with the crotch cut out, bathing in your own urine so no one will come near you, telling someone the food is drugged and then blacking out for an indeterminate amount of days, and then being told you have to go on medication, the number of people who tried to commit suicide in these circumstances, and who were dragged, drugged and humiliated because of it, being separated from your family, losing your home, breathing in the toxic fumes from missiles exploding, giving birth to a child that will never live, getting cancer, not being able to find a safer place, fighting in a war and then coming home with a tumor in your leg, losing a leg, both legs, arms.

The cycle of this violence, what we are doing when we create an image of a human being as an "other."

Who benefits from that subjectivity?

"faith," "vigilance," "detainee," "homeland security," "national threat," "orange alert," "suspicious package," "remote targeting," rape, murder, jihad, and on and on until I cried, taking in that terror - the imagery, language, sense of imminent death and destruction we've been threatened with but of which we are the real assailants.

I had arrived somewhere that wasn't a place- it was an interzone - an imaginary scape that encompassed chains of broken bodies. Mine was part of that continuum. I felt incredulous that as my body was beginning to rise others were being extinguished brutally and without remorse, without identity. How do we mourn this world of others -without-identities?

How is it possible, doing this dance, to name that pain?

It's as if I was dancing around a loss, an excavation site where the remains had been stolen.

This question, this gap forced me into a recognition of my own ability. My body began moving with a force that was not of it, it seemed to lengthen, rising into another form.

I can remember the feeling of a light vibration going from feet into arms as lines of light released from my chest and hips. It was deceptive, I sought to jump, climb, to actually physically lift-off. This made me aware of the stiffness in my hip. I stopped, breathed, braced the wall and began to laugh.

I moved away from the wall, facing the heat in the room I perceived as people, and said, "this doesn't matter," "this pain in here, it just doesn't matter," and I felt resolved that I would finish.

It was a greater task than duration - the endurance was no longer about the physical constraints, but more the fire of truth.

This is the place from which I have risen - the decay and deceit of Bush have ruled over the majority of my adulthood - from the moment of my accident in 2001 through to December 31st, 2008. I have been recovering in the age of terror, and perhaps in a sense like survivor's guilt, not knowing what for. So this was the moment of me facing myself, acknowledging all of the culpability and resistance that had been negating the agency of my body.

That is all I can describe for now. It is the progression of events up to about 8 PM. It is still raw and emotionally difficult to talk about me experience after that time because the suffering I experienced was total. Hallucination, overwhelming nausea and dizziness and complete illusory sensory perception took over as I just stuck it out until midnight. However, I have a statement from my dance partner, Steve May, who was there from the afternoon through to the New Year, and who fasted and maintained a vow of silence in solidarity with me for the day.


“As you kept going I found it more and more difficult to watch without responding. I remember laying down in the space with you and doing some recuperative work on myself…From there it was pretty inevitable to want to work with your body. I don’t remember whether you asked me, or I just started doing it, but my sense of responsibility to take care of you was overwhelming, and once I was actually able to start doing something physically with you, I decided that I wanted to dance too.

After that, I went in and out of moving with you in the space, sometimes on my own, sometimes interacting with you. But after a while I started to become increasingly self-aware and began to question my motivation around 8PM. I started moving with you because I wanted to help you, but then it became about enjoyment. Around 9:00 PM I blindfolded myself with a t-shirt, and then I was able to experience a little bit more of what your world was like. I navigated the space thinking about how you had been like this all day. It was only after I did this that I felt totally connected to the project.

Then, for the last 2 hours, I went through a cycle of being really hungry, aware of being blind, being there with you and doing whatever we had to do to get to the New Year. I think that after being with you for several hours and then participating with you for several more was equivalent to several months of foundation laying for our friendship, which I find to be awesome.”




Saturday, January 24, 2009

about to begin

hi everyone
we're about to get started. katherine and i will be streaming it live. i hope it works but if it doesn't just hold us in your thoughts.

katherine's stream:
(note there are three dashes between 2009 and kansas in that url)

miguel's stream:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Artist Statement from Katherine Ferrier

Artist Statement:
I have never been an overtly political person, and certainly wouldn't consider myself to be a "political artist" whatever that means. I've always lived in the territory of "the personal IS political". This piece pushes me, and I have questioned my motives throughout this process. I finally came to an understanding, and while still pre-verbal, the beginnings of a way to articulate that understanding about why I am doing this. For me, doing this piece is a deep practice of compassion...maybe my own version of tonglen, though I can't claim that word, never having formally practiced in that tradition. An intentional going into the darkness, breathing in whatever I find there...breathing out peace. Over and over again. Sending that out to each of you, to all of us...the big us.

We move through this world, alternating between feeling utterly alone and intimately connected with all that is around us. We never know what will happen. If we're lucky and can remember to show up, we sometimes get to know what is happening now. I have always believed in this work we do. This crazy dancing/art making/creating business. Even when it seems like the most irrational or irrelevant thing in the context of our chaotic world, I believe in it. And I believe in the power of intention, the power of transformation, the potential and possibility for healing, connecting. I believe that what we do matters.

May we all know happiness and the source of happiness. May we all be free from suffering and the root of suffering. May we all know peace, here and now.

KF, Kansas City, 2009.

foi response from Rhea Speights (AL)

i've tried to write down what the experience was for me though i guess i'm still experiencing it in some ways. the following is a fairly dry report of things that happened. i don't feel especially gifted in assigning words to feelings so maybe when i reread this entry, i'll be able to refeel some of what happened.

near the end of the 24 hours, maybe sometime around 7 or 8 or 9pm, i was crawling around on the floor telling myself that if i got on my feet and moved my arms around more, i might be a little warmer than i am now and the time might pass a little quicker. i felt someone nearby leaning over and i heard an older man's voice say "thank you so much for doing this. this is very similar to what it's really like. and nobody pays attention." maybe i was hallucinating, but still, it made me feel better about my self-induced suffering.

the beginning was difficult, the middle was easy, and the last 5 (?) hours were miserable. i guess i feel like those last 5 hours are the reason i was there. i thought about other people in the world suffering because of greed and power and fear and stupidity and while i didn't know how much longer of my 24 hours i had to go, they have no idea if any end will ever come. it was a humbling experience and i am grateful to have participated.

the first bit of information i received when i arrived at the bookstore was that there were 140kids milling about and a ska band playing upstairs. also, the internet bill hadn't been paid on time so i wasn't going to be setting up any webstreaming. the director of the bookstore had actually enlisted volunteers to help me set up and "babysit" me during hours the store isn't normally open. most of the ska kids left just before midnight and a handful of bookstore staff were around when I started. my earplugs hurt and only muffled sound. the store seemed to empty out except for two folks who talked for a long time about nothing i could understand and ended their conversation with "Well, it's not like she cares!" i assumed they were referring to me and i feared they had just concluded that it would be ok to make out on the couch while i was still in the room. maybe all they did was trade who was going to stay the night.

the beginning was difficult. i was alone. i hit my head on a table and a couple of bookshelves (or maybe the same bookshelf a couple of times). the heat had been turned off for the night. the two pairs of pants and three shirts i was wearing weren't enough to keep me warm. i was a little uncomfortable and a little tired. i thought i had planned out the previous day well enough to accomplish last minute tasks and get enough sleep, but the coffee shop where I work needed me to change my shift at the last minute and then i was too nervous to take a final nap before heading to the bookstore. before the sun had come up, i knew and had practiced the 5 activities that would break up my day:
1. warming-up exercises. i did 20 or so sun salutations in a row very early in the morning. i went through bartenieff exercises on the floor. i did my 3rd grade modern students' favorite warm up exercise, several times throughout the day.
2. exploring the bookstore's landscape with my fingers. the first time i did this it scared me. then it got easier. then it got difficult again.
3. dancing. in the sense that folks might have expected when they read the word "performance." the event felt like an anti-performance. i didn't always know if anyone was around or if they were there looking for a book and i was in the way or if they were there for me. i had a good time playing with movement and sometimes just checking how difficult it was for me to balance without being able to see or hear.
4. drinking water or coffee which included the complications involved in finding those items
5. going to the bathroom.
These were my options. If I was done with one, I could move to another.

i'd go so far to say that the middle of the day was easy. there were people in the store hanging out. some hobos had spent the night upstairs (i had no idea) and were playing guitar and singing for a nice chunk of time. the internet was turned back on and i realized that two of the staff were trying to set up the webstreaming for me. i hadn't yet let anyone know that i could hear at all, but since they were trying so hard and had gotten so close, i thought i should share my username and password (i don't even know what they look like and i use the same password for everything. did i become incredibly trusting in those first 10-13 hours?). they still couldn't get the webstreaming to work, and i now i had revealed that i could hear. i was disappointed in myself. i thought part of the project was to feel isolated and perhaps i had just injured my purpose. mike, the guy who runs the bookstore, was relieved i could talk and said i was much less creepy now. mostly they let me continue as i had before they knew i could hear, but mike would periodically ask if i was still ok. i usually responded with a thumbs up. the director of the school where I teach posted a video from this part of the day on youtube:

i thought it must have been 9 or 10pm, but it was probably more like 6 or 7pm. my thoughts were getting dark. when i heard about miguel's project and the opportunity to represent alabama, i thought, "AWESOME!" that was my reflex reaction. and thinking about the project the weeks before had mostly been practical- where will i do it? what will i need? who do i tell? But on the monday before new year's eve, I started getting nervous and occasionally scared. i worried that i would obsess over petty things like not getting invited to some party or i'd spend too much time thinking about the ways i've failed as a friend. i expected a transformation, but what if i transformed into a monster? And this is about the time that those sorts of thoughts started swimming through my head. my movement consisted mostly of walking back and forth on a path where i felt the heater blowing and occasionally i'd roll up and down through my spine. a group of people came in and asked if they could talk to me. i asked one of them to identify himself and laughed like a crazy person when he told me his name. i don't know why that was my response but i had enough sense to immediately regret it. they asked me a series of questions like What have i been doing today? What have i been thinking about? Do I consider myself a disciplined person? Why are we doing this? I felt like i was taking a test i had overprepared for. I knew what my answers were because i'd been repeating them in my head all day. I was honest about having petty thoughts and How do i feel now? I'm over it. I'm finished and just waiting for someone to tell me it's midnight and i can see again. that's what i needed most, my sight. they thanked me for answering their questions and i guess they left. i crawled around on the floor. i heard a man say, "thank you so much for doing this. this is very similar to what it's really like. and nobody pays attention." i wished i had had the sense to say "thank you for your comment. i will process it later." but i'm sure i smiled too brightly and said "ok" and "thank you" too many times. i went to the bathroom and gagged for a while. i thought i might puke. but i didn't have anything in my stomach to puke up. this thought made me laugh. i crawled around again until i couldn't. then i sat and rocked. i heard my friend sarah's voice but i didn't feel any better. some time later i heard my friend kim's voice. she had promised to be there at the end to let me know that i was done. she had said she was bringing me a salad! i must be done! kim sat in front of me and placed her hands on my knees. we talked about how i felt and she asked if i wanted to know what time it was. i thought i might have a half hour left so it would be ok to know, but she told me it was 10:30pm. this news seemed awful to me. The only way i made it through the last hour and a half was because kim spent that time rubbing my shoulders and back and describing people who were in the bookstore. my friends counted down the last 10 seconds and when i removed my blindfold, my eyes couldn't hold onto the edges of objects. everything seemed to slip together into a wash of colors i couldn't distinguish. i had seen the bookstore 24 hours before, but over the course of the day, i had completely reimagined it into something else, a much bigger and brighter and much more organized-looking space. it must have taken a good twenty minutes for my sight to feel normal again. i ate a delicious salad. kim drove me home and i slept for ten hours.

the birmingham news put something in the paper about the project on new year's eve so regulars at the coffee shop and parents at the dance studio where i teach have been asking me about the freedom of information project. now i don't know how to answer their questions. did i do this for me? i do feel like i did something difficult. and maybe other difficult things will be easier to do now. but really the project feels like something i just contributed to and it had nothing to do with me, like i donated my time and my body but i don't feel any personal pride in an accomplishment. i love that this thing happened with or without me.

foi response from Tonya Lockyer (WA)

Hello from Seattle.

I am really moved reading everyone's experiences.
I'm inspired by you, to share what happened here.

I think perhaps I had pretty humble expectations.
I want to write that it was hard.
I want to say I struggled. But I didn't. Mostly I felt gratitude,
happiness, like I finally had time. I love moving with my eyes closed.
I love exploring the world with touch. I love improvising. I felt
people come and go. Later I learned there were strangers too. I sensed
a few of them, but I like knowing that people came, witnessed, wrote
beautiful things, shared something intimate and I had no idea.

In many ways, it felt easier than my day to day life. In my daily
life, I tend to be moody: I get easily overstimulated, anxious,
over-extend myself to exhaustion, I feel nervous around people and
disguise it with humor, and I have an embarrassing tendency to cry
really easily when things move me...I'm called "overly sensitive."
Somehow, eyes closed, ear-plugged, finally having time to be in what I
love for all the time in the world, not expecting anything
miraculous...I felt good. I felt really good. I felt consistently
grateful, relaxed, happy.
Yeah, the blindfold was scratchy. Yeah, midnight seemed farther away
then I expected...but
It felt amazing, beautiful, decadent, totally beyond my expectations.

Yes, Decadent. I am so fucking lucky that I can spend 24 hours
blindfolded, moving, creating a space for reflection. That I can
respond this way to war, censorship, the desire for peace, the desire
for freedom...

I had incredibly generous, lovely witnesses from 8am to midnight.
I didn't feel alone or lonely.
People wrote and drew in the book I left out.
Sometimes I heard people reading what they wrote out-loud.

I discovered their tracks...the warmth of a light candle, pillows, scarves...
One woman moved with me, moving me.
I went with it.
Honestly, normally, that might have bothered me. I surrendered to her kindness.
Five people hugged me.
Beautiful, long silent hugs.
Was it breaking a rule?
Who gives a shit. It was beautiful.

A child rushed into the space.
If I still had an ounce of being sanctimonious in me, that incredible
little kinetic ball of curly hair and polar fleece shattered it.

I noticed new things. I didn't notice things I normally would.
I keep thinking how we are all missing senses like sight all the time.
I don't just mean distraction.
I mean, compared to an Eagle, I'm practically blind.
Compared to a dog or a salmon, I have no sense of smell.
I cannot hear from miles around through my feet like an elephant.

I paced myself.
And my body was so grateful.
Interestingly, after 24 hours of present movement I was refreshed and
much less tired
than after a 8 hours of the MFA program I'm currently in.
It's like my body finally feels awake again.
I only slept for 8 hours afterwards. I woke-up and stayed in bed naked all day.
It was awesome.

I think the most touching thing, is a lady who works across the street
saw it through the windows and found her way into the building. Pretty
brave really.
I read her writing after the fact. I love that she took a risk and
followed her curiosity. That working "6 floors down in the brick
building across the street" she was drawn by "the intimacy" she saw
through the window.

And of course, the solidarity was awesome.
And reading all of this writing is awesome.

How great that dance can live in such an expansive state of time,
space, energy and intent.

lots of love to you all

And here are some excerpts from the witnesses journals in Seattle. I
hope it reveals how what foi/yo/we did, effected folks here in

...I'm fed up with our economy dictating everything we do and
controlling every inch of our attention and our lives. The ruling
elite defend the holy sanctity of the free market. I'm fed up with the
lie that unregulated capitol maximizes happiness. I'm fed up with so
many people suffering from poverty in a country suffocating with
wealth and prosperity. I'm fed up with people born with privilege
explaining to the suffering that they earned every penny and they can
...I'm fed up with everyone wanting to be an insider, a player--People
who shove their human morals aside for a little bit of access...We are
a nation of spiritually charged people. Let that spirit help the world
and not obliterate it. Most of all, our nation is also an idea. An
idea of freedom. So let us not continue as hypocrites and actually
live up to the idea of America. Let us not be afraid."

...Everything about her is beautiful and magical, but not in that way
that peformers try so hard to be. Here in this way, in this setting,
for these reasons she is beautiful. Wow. I am so privileged (in every
sense of the word) to be here. I think of lying in bed this morning.
Sleeping sort of Aaron turns on Democracy Now! and in a sort of sleep
I listen to the reports of Israel bombing the Gaza Strip. Why?!! More
civilians dying, dying, dying, dying, dying.....

...we push to extremes in search of our simplicity. As usual, I have
finally arrived and it is time to take my leave taking. The seagulls
swirl at her back. The gestures make double meaning at the very least,
and thees is a spaciousness that I have been craving...her body a
facile, succinct reminder to continue, alone in the dead of night, to
feel the threads that spill beyond us and beckon action. Dancing,
believing in it, pushing forward against the tide, until perhaps the
tide turns...

...after so much time of letting eyes and ears go- what gets unlocked
in the body? To know the knowing of your body so intimately and
deeply, does it deepen empathy?

...I thought of you last night. There was a doc on TV about a young
Iraqi trying to stay out of Iraq: hustling in Prague and London,
trying to do anything to not have to go back to the refugee camp and
only digging a deeper hole for himself. Then there was a doc about
conscious objectors. THen there was a show about elephants showing how
deeply they love and care and will stay with each other even after

Your energy, nervous system, perceptual field is like a soft gossamer
blanket. Here's to the heart loving what it loves.

Singing, Other beautiful sounds, The lights moving against the
windowsill. A ball rolling. It is an effort not to dance with you. I
must go to work. Thank you.

A body is so much information. Even with senses diminished I see so
much freedom with so much information. Freedom we have to share.
Luxury, beyond luxury to those in Gaza looking for a fortified corner.
You rise like a phoenix from their ruble, a swanky angel, a righteous

Joy to the world. Rumbling, cyclical. Nothing is scraping. Everything
is soft, with smells of cooking. No lock on the door. This is beyond!

...Opening into the vast darkness and staying with it, you transform
immeasurable human loss and suffering to hope and healing.

...This city, singing to other cities--31 of them- sending and
receiving good energy for the important and necessary change that 2009
must offer to the world.

Thank you for taking your freedom to move and sing to acknowledge
those who aren't.

Recently moving to this city and struggling, struggling, struggling
with finding/creating the intimacy of home, I feel intimacy in this
space with you and others. Thinking of movement reflection across the
country happening NOW, with this exact mission in mind--and so many
other missions in mind. Perhaps it's less about trying to create
intimacy and more about remaining open for intimacy because all of a
sudden, without planning for it, here I am. I DO NOT KNOW YOU BUT I
KNOW YOU. And you have intimacy with the window, and your toe, the
red pillow, the radiator, the lights, your elbow...I am thinking how I
spent most of the day today, 6 floors below, in the building next
door, across the street working, typing, conversing, eating, standing,
peeing, moving and we were both in the midst of hours, minutes,
movements. But how many of those movements and minutes can I recall?
Reflect on? Remember? Reclaim? Celebrate? Joy to the world and much
gratitude for courage of all sorts.

does a teapot become tired?
Boiling water day after night
after day into night into
the kettle hot not bothered
by the boiling water bubbling inside
hot and unruly in the bubbling heat
she steams for water to be over and
out of her
out of kettle
out of tea pot black only to fill
once more with fire
after night into day
into fire might the kettle
want to rest as the water
wants to still but both are heated
til they rise black over black
over bubbles into day into night
on the stop top cooling.

Fascinating. Watching this makes me think there are a million
definitions to the word "meditation."

A field. A world. A world created here. It is great strength.

These are just excerpts from about half of the entries.

a huge hug to each of you.


foi response from Tahni Holt (OR)

As a participating performer in Freedom of Information 2008 from Oregon I entered into FOI08 thinking of it as a response, a response to many things. A response to the wars, the displacement, a response to the impossibility of knowing how to respond to these things. What I found in FOI08 was a deep personal, collective practice of compassion. I think we all know the difference between suffering at the hands of things one cannot control (at least we can understand the difference on a logical level) and suffering by choice.
I think Miguel explains a lot when he said: "I am, for better or worse, a dancer, and so my reactions to things often stem from a value system that is about what happens to bodies and what they feel." We all have different ways of making sense of the world and how to try and make sense of the things that have no sense. Freedom of Information 2008 was an individual and collective (31 people in all) response, as a dancer, to those things that 1. make no sense and 2. are much larger than ourselves. There are many different ways to respond to things. Some will feel more direct while others will feel indirect.
As a performer it is my job to create things that words cannot express. Words cannot express the hallucinations that happen from lack of sleep for 30 + hours or how shapes of rooms become non-shapes in solitary blackness. Words cannot express the space where there is no room for a literal translation. Words cannot express how dancing a love dance feels or how feeling a friends hand on your shoulder feels after 18 hours of darkness.
For me this was not a this or the other. I respond this way and therefore I have no room to respond in a different way. No, it is more about how do I create more room, more capacity in myself to feel things and engage in things that are way beyond my comfort zone, my value system of right and wrongs. This is the power that I as an individual have. And I have the power, as we all do, to share that as best I can with others. What they do with that information is up to them.
During the last four hours of this event I started to turn on myself and those that were caring for me. I started to think things like everyone had left the room (thinking I was going to collapse). Everyone and everything went against me. I hung on the wall, the only real support I could find. I believed in this myth, this unreality with all my heart. It was only afterward, only after I awoke from this dark place, when everyone around me proved how unreal those last four hours were when I was able to suddenly and irrevocably forgive someone in my life for committing suicide three weeks before. I did not know I needed to forgive them. But what I learned was people go into dark places and in that place what feels completely, utterly true at one moment isn't always the truth.
Sometimes Freedom of Information 2008 held many things, but mostly it reassured me how complex suffering can be. There is no easy right and wrong. We all know there is no easy answer to the wars that continue on all around us. Through Freedom of Information 2008 I woke up, remembered, held space for, and ignited the thing that makes me like everyone else. Compassion is my weapon. This is what unites me to you and you to me. Sometimes this feels like enough and at other moments it can never possibly be.

foi response from Janice Lancaster (NC)

I’m so inspired reading everyone’s emails, and hearing about the powerful art we created together, and how we collectively invited this project into our bodies to let it change us.
I've been journaling about my foi 2008, and thinking about how to share those words. For me it was an empowering experience, the best combination of body cracking open thought and heart. To pen it is an elusive task. I don’t know how to express such expansiveness onto a page. Finding the words is definitely more demanding than the “doing” in which they were inspired. I’ll start off a bit by documenting my left-brain, seemingly mundane preparations, and then I’ll taper into a stream of consciousness about the rest.
I was presented at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, NC. A gallery dedicated to exploring the history and legacy of one of the world's most experimental educational communities. The current exhibition was titled Shape of Imagination: Women of Black Mountain College, and it was important that I not disturb the history on the walls.
So I set up a perimeter of corrugated cardboard on the floor that was 4 feet from any art, providing me with a safe moving zone that I came to know intimately as about 9 generous steps in length, 7 in width, and 13 along the diagonal. I had worried for weeks that I would not have walls to sloth along or guide me. Apparently, that was a naïve concern, as other foi reps have informed me of the hazard that their walls became. Did I cheat? I could feel the strips of corrugated cardboard through my socks and was grateful for its orientation, but more than that, my guide was near the earth and was a source for grounding.
I placed a cardboard box in one corner that contained water, kneepads, an extra pair of earplugs, and a paper bag stashing away two date bars and a banana. I had been worried that I could not complete twenty-four hours without any food. And, in a way, having the food there was the only way to ensure my mom’s blessings.
Yet, I never needed food, and this was empowering for me. My little body had enough junk in its intestines to sustain itself. In more esoteric thoughts, the ancient Agni fire furnace of my belly and mind energized me. Eight hours in, and I completely stopped caring for food. Except, nearing noon, the ominous half way marker, I craved stir-fry vegetables like a mad woman. I had rolled along, smudging my face into a spot in the floor that smelled as if someone had once dropped stir-fry right there.
I felt that, while I would be questioning US foreign policy, or even our collective impact in the world, I should also make a point of using reusable water bottles. I drank enough, but only so much to need the restroom four times within the twenty-four hours. In the same corner as my box I continued a strip of corrugated cardboard as a path to the restroom.
During preparations the day before, I found myself obsessively sweeping and mopping the gallery’s wooden floor. It’s beautiful chipped blue paint was surprisingly covered with a black dust. I knew that what I did not clean up would eventually be absorbed by my clothing, hair, and skin. In my obsessive cleaning, I became appreciative for the opportunity. It helped me come to know the give of the floor’s planks, the cracks between, and places that needed to be covered with tape so I would not end up with splinters in my bottom.
My husband, Adam, set up two cameras with an aerial view, one for streaming and one for a time lapse that would record one frame every five seconds (two minutes of movement to equal one second). We have 21 of the 24 hours in time lapse on
Sometimes I struggle yielding control, so I remember my own surprise turning down Adam’s offer for me to check the frame through the cameras. I felt knowing would induce expectation, and expectation I did not need. We decided to forego sound because the bandwidth for streaming would have more room for the image. I wouldn’t know this shit on my own, and Adam’s collaboration was essential. Later, I thought of how powerfully appropriate the silence was.
After the performance, I let a day pass before looking at a few of the clips that Adam recorded onto my ustream channel. His documentation is a dancer’s dream! As much as I’ve learned to protect my thoughts from my own laptop, I felt so grateful for the clarity of image that was circulated out and beyond via technology. Adam reported that the streaming received over 1000 hits!
All the day before, I was raising my eyebrows and shaking my head over my cluelessness on how to prepare. Fortunately, I’d been getting plenty of sleep for the past year, resisting skimping on dreams. And, in truth, it had been quite a year in the soul-searching department. Had I known on some level that I would be topping off the year with foi 2008?
Also, I had been thinking about drinking less coffee for over a month. My gynecologist had even suggested that it could be causing calcium deposits in my breasts. Mortality. I was conscious to be hydrated and avoid excessive sugar. I read and reread the participants’ loving emails. I read a crash course of Pema Chodron, “Start Where You Are.”
Out of nervousness, I almost avoided the 718 number of Miguel’s phone call. I made myself answer, and of course, I was relieved that I did. Soon we were laughing over a dream I had a few weeks earlier in which I fought evil forces in my childhood closet by belting the song, “I could have danced all night.”
Come 6pm, I asked Adam to smother me with physical affection. Then I napped. When I couldn’t sleep, I made myself continue lying there in stillness. Adam would wake me at 9pm. Until then, I would learn what it felt like waiting in the dark. I showered, dressed, and made sure I smelled good. I called my best friends. On my way to the gallery, I took in as much night sky and outside air as I could receive. I did not take it for granted.
All that was left to do before starting was to pee, poop, and decide what to write in the sketchbook that I would leave out for viewers. This brainstorming got my mind on the task of the next twenty-four hours. I wrote, “Share,” intending its dual meanings referencing wealth, resources, empathy, and expression. And “Thank you for your presence,” underlining presence. Then one last hug from Adam, insert earplugs, tie blindfold, midnight, and off to pacing my space, and my body.
I had a clear task – continue moving for twenty-four hours and observe my thoughts. Honestly, I was looking forward to the time with myself. I did not feel I needed to instigate more. I went in trusting that the commitment to the time and moving while blindfolded and ear plugged was a powerful image in and of itself, metaphor enough. Nothing could be too mundane in this context. My vulnerabilities would be evident. People would think what they think. Those who could hear the call for empathy would recognize it as bigger than me.
Over the previous weeks, and the more I engaged with foi 2008, I saw that my temperament would frame my participation as more of a humanitarian action than a political one. Yet, at the forefront of my mind was the week’s warring between Israel and Hamas. I was disgusted by my own revelation that my heart was hardening over their predictable fighting. Also, challenging my best intentions, were the words emailed to Black Mountain College Museum to say,
“The reason that you as an artist have the freedom to perform is due in a large part to the strength and diversity of the United States and the military that defends us. Try performing a contemplative piece about the cruelty and violence of the Taliban or Al-Qaida in a cave in western Pakistan.“
These are points discussed on the foi 2008 blog. I had already juggled his perspective, and agreed. I agreed, AND, I felt how his point came up short.
Only my doing could help address the incongruencies I’ve discerned over the past eight years. I can’t accept pre-emptive war, abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, and the divisive language used by our media and leaders. Even if all I could accomplish was to confront violence as it manifests in my own mind, I would be closer to rewiring ancient patterns, habituated reacting. Spanning 31 states and six time zones, could we improvise a world in which awareness could inform revolutionary peaceful solutions?
Time is relative, moving continuously twenty-four hours with its cycles and surges of exhaustion, energy, boredom, intrigue… desperation and strength, loneliness and profound connection… checking out and back in… coordination and nausea, disorientation and center. I gravitated to physicalized thought so I would not have to think about what to do next, or standards. I thought about time marching on, and how twenty-four hours would soon be behind me. I watched discomfort arise and dissolve more easily than it does in my day to day living, and it will continue to be a valuable life lesson.
Most of what folks have asked about has been my sense of time over the twenty-four hours. It seems to be the viewers’ point of piqued interest. Time/space - something that we all manage linearly, but experience subjectively - can understanding it one day ever dismantle violence as means?
Do we not all need a little more time to ourselves, less distractions, more play, time to reflect on relationships and our personal impact in the world? I’m drawn to Marlee Cook-Perret’s words about this after her foi 2008 in Michigan:
i want to spend more time alone. i want to spend time reflecting on how i treat people. and how i let people treat me. it's been a year of mistreatment, to myself, to my body, how i let others treat me, and how i treat them. being that alone made my mind swing to every relationship i have and have had, and how i want and need them to be in 2009.

Collaboration. I had a few markers for knowing what time it was based on who I had arranged to guard the space and voice recognition. When my father-in-law arrived I knew it was 2am. 4:30am when my mother-in-law arrived. 7am Connie, and 10am Alice. The hours between 10am-4pm were hazy because that was the longest shift with many visitors. With my tiny ears pushing on my earplugs, I could hear Alice explaining the history of when Josef and Anni Albers were offered teaching posts at Black Mountain College after the closing of the Bauhaus by the Nazis.
My brother-in-law finally arrived at 4pm. Claire at 6pm. But 8pm and onwards was long and impossible to guess. Probably any point after 10pm I was expecting the end at any moment.
It is not easy for me to wrap my mind around the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I like how Kylin Kleven, foi 2008 rep in Alaska, articulates the challenge:
War is complex. It is intertwined in capitalism, racism, sexism (and on with isms). Its complexity means that instead of stopping lots of things in isolation from one another, something must be created as an alternative baseline for living all at once. It matters that I've made an emphasis in my life leaning towards self-consciousness -- even when I'm alone in a room far, far away. It matters that others have made that same baseline shift.

I let go of intellectual pressures, and began with a form of tonglen. I contemplated the violence I’ve known, and extended this compassion to the people I know. If someone passed into my mind, I tried to keep my thoughts on them for longer, to feel their talents and creative energy, to feel how they struggle and how violence surfaces in their life: fear, right and wrong, malicious words, malicious tones, addiction, exploitation, poverty, objectification, mindless consumption, polarization…
I couldn’t escape how all violence seemed misdirected creative energy. I was happy to be moving and expressing. I felt grateful and abundant in light and love to be making art, and exercising that freedom. How healing. I focused in on a feeling I called “One Love.” My fingers began painting the words “one love” all over the floor. Anything else was “misapprehension” - “mortal mind.” Self-destructive and divisive, the source of violence is a branching from recognizing its ultimate creative source, “one love.” Miguel pretty much summed this up for me when he emailed the Alan Ginsberg poem that begins,
The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

my body observed that the corners’ double layers of corrugated cardboard were puffiest
stretching a reach into the vertical gave me orientation
handstands, headstands gave me comforting vertical orientation, plus a sense of center (more than I’ve ever felt with my eyes open)
my core felt strong
I liked feeling empty from fasting
my left hip, obstructed somehow, not rotating as smoothly as I’d like
calming figure eights
calming repetition
rolling about as passively as I could figure
arms with joints between joints
imagining wind, wind tunnels, diving planes, gusts, weather, and from that place exaggerating breath, vocalizing
breath derived movement lacked expectation, or standard, and sustained itself
I liked this best
tasks of balancing on one leg.
tasks of spiral turns into the floor
Sun salutation
my family energizes me
Streaming online inspiring me to keep going
I’m not sure what my energy would be without it
movement from my bones
From my breath
From my skin
From my distal points
From my center
From my emotions
From my tasks
From my thoughts
From my flesh
chasing foot steps
leading with the weight of my head
one hand on my heart, and one on my belly
I’m not sure what I’m saying, but I’m channeling mothers
a song on the corrugated cardboard like sandpaper
beeping when backing up.
pieces of crawling.
turn signal for corners
frivolous chit-chat between my hands
I’m not easily bored
body mechanics especially interesting in this state
anything to adjust my left hip
seeing black
seeing red maple leaves flicker
seeing a stone wall for beating laundry
a past life in England
a past life as a sufi
I like my mind
it does not feel destructive
Hamstrings, hips, quadriceps, IT band tight
left ankle pops
kinda a circus freak
cup my palms for holding
pieces of choreography
torso mimicking gossipers
be the beast
a transformer
a totality of body prayer

In the last two hours, I observed myself trying to instigate resolve and an end. Many people came into the space around 10pm. I thought, “they must be here to spend the last hour.” But then these folks left, and more came, and I was thrown about the time.
I decided to try to hear the sounds from the street. Folks were rather loud outside on New Year’s Eve. I expected they would be at their quietest nearing the countdown. I also suspected that the group in the gallery would surround me at the end, so every shuffling of feet, or shift in the wood floor, had my interest piqued, but there were many, and it wasn’t reliable.
Eventually I dared myself to walk the path of the corrugated cardboard as fast as I could. I moved the box away and dragged my feet along the strips trying to pick up pace. I was dizzy and not so good following the path. I began to run in a circle. I could not keep a safe axis. I began to run in place. Like an instance, running, my eyes filled with tears. I felt my most visceral empathy with people whose lives have been wrought with war. My own adrenaline cycle helped me to know someone else’s fight or flight.
I ran for nearly fifteen minutes. I thought, ”Of course! I’d run! I’d run until I couldn’t run anymore… EXCEPT, would my family slow me down? How could we all keep up? What if we lose someone? How long can I stay like this?”
The duality was that my own running felt sustainable, and I could quit whenever I’d like. I could quit the whole piece of art whenever I liked. I could take my blindfold off, walk out the door, and go to sleep in my safe bed.
I wasn’t breathless. My heart felt good. I liked the openness I felt through my veins. My body was more than willing to cooperate. I was intent to run until the end. I had no way to know when that would come, but I was free. I knew that there was a definite end in sight for me. Not knowing would be a primal desperation.
Just then, a man burst through the front door of the gallery demanding $9.25 in his own drunkenly primal desperation. It took a group effort to redirect him. And Alice learned that someone had been beat up out on the street and called for assistance. These surreal events were loud, ironic, piercing. I heard them through my earplugs, through my running. Privileged, fearless - I could trust that others were holding the space and that my job was to stay at task.
To stop running would be a bold choice, just as it was a bold choice to start. I worried “what next?” briefly, but almost simultaneously I stopped and found myself balancing on one leg. “Of course,” I thought, taking a lesson from my body, “It is all about balance!”
And I was pleased, because balancing upped-the-ante in a different way, and it was an invitation direct to my community, for all of us to find equilibrium, balance, and share. Finally when I fell to the ground from balancing and felt a strip of cardboard, there was nothing left to do but to pull it up. Ahhhhh, and tearing up the perimeter was fun and cathartic. I felt the chaos that the corrugated cardboard bundled up to be was creativity at loose, alternative ideas to preemptive wars. I began to partner with the cardboard. Interactivity became process for coming back into the world.
At 12am the group gathered in a circle around me. I felt the proximity of their steps near and the timing for them to kneel by me. Yet, no one said anything. I wondered if I could take my blindfold off. So I asked, “Is it 2009?” No answer. Then I asked, “Am I done?” Giggles. So I took the blindfold off and saw the most beautiful eyes, some familiar and some new, taking me in. Visibility.
I felt clear. Colors and contours were very distinct, and I wondered how much of life could stay this way? My face felt like it had symmetry, and this struck me with an overall sense of harmony through my body. Upon questions, I liked how my words were arranging themselves. I moved slowly. Exaggerated intention imbued everything. Claire pointed out that my veins were elevated and thick.
A woman named Caprice, very tall, had learned about foi 2008 the day before. After visiting earlier in the day, she felt inspired to bring me food for the end. She prepared brown rice, tomato based vegetable soup, an orange, a banana, a granola bar, an oatmeal cookie, a chocolate, applesauce, juice box, and spritzer. An offering. I was moved. My eyes ate it all, but my belly could only hold the soup and half the rice… slow spoon to mouth – chew – swallow – smile knowingly at my family.
When I left the Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center it was as if I had just arrived. The last twenty-four hours were a dream, a blip in time that may or may not have really happened. I looked at the sky and saw so many stars. Actually, I saw way too many stars! My mind was turning the lining of the clouds into Milky Ways of numberless stars. So amazing!
Adam and I showered. He was tired, having been nearly as invested as me, but without the performance high. Washing my face, I closed my eyes and began to hallucinate a scary, swirling face. I opened my eyes and made it go away. Not real. At some point pre-foi 2008 I had learned that the sleep deprivation, fatigue, and/or sensory deprivation could induce hallucinations and I was not alarmed. I thought about how beautifully I could progressively access my visual cortex during the pass twenty-four hours.
1:30am. I was more interested in elevating my feet up the wall than sleeping. Adam turned out the light, and when I closed my eyes I could see the bookcase in my parents bedroom. It appeared to me so vividly that I opened my eyes in surprise. Yet, with my eyes open, I could still see the bookcase as plain as day, as if I could reach and grab a book. I tapped Adam’s chest, “Ok, I’m hallucinating. I’m seeing my parents bookcase as if I’m in the wrong room.” He turned on the lights and the hallucination went away.
I had enjoyed this sense of being in two places at once. And, later speaking with my dad I learned that around that same time, he laid in his bed with the light on, bookcase at the foot of the bed. He had had a difficult time watching me that day.
My mind was tired of not seeing. Lights out, and it would fabricate something to see. Even with the light on I watched a crack in the wall swell as if to burst, but I knew it could not, and then I’d watch as the swell subsided as if defeated. I did not have to react.
Finally, I fell asleep with the light on, and woke up four hours later. I had the instinct that my eyes wanted to be open and blinking. Blinking would help them cleanse themselves. I washed my eyes with saline solution, turned out the light, and went back to sleep.
In the morning I was up around 8:30am. My appetite took priority. Yum, a breakfast of toast and eggs. Then I napped again until lunch. Called my sister. Lunched again. Called my mom. Wrote by the wood stove. Protected my own thoughts. Avoided internet because I associate it with multi-tasking and I just wasn’t there. Dinner of black eye peas, collard greens, beets, a little wine. My body was only sore in my calves, from the running.
By chance, that night I watched “Charlie Wilson’s War.” It’s about the covert war in which the US supplied Afghanistan with weaponry to defeat the Soviets during the Cold War. Then the US missed its humanitarian calling and failed to fund for Afghanistan’s rebuilding, leaving a population in which most were younger than 14 with no infrastructure. These youth grew up in a land ripe for Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.
This being human is interesting, all of our blind spots. No human endeavor is immune from criticism, or unworthy of compassion. I think about Tahni Holt’s words, foi 2008 rep in Oregon:
”Compassion is my weapon. This is what unites me to you and you to me. Sometimes this feels like enough and at other moments it can never possibly be.”

Sometimes, in the saturation of our busy small worlds, our preparations, and getting things “done,” the body’s empathy taps an expansive hologram of light that knows a humbling interconnectivity. One love. Lets continue to materialize it.