Tag Archives: stillness

movement, stillness

Photo:  Pam White

The theme of the dance workshop I taught in Boston yesterday was movement and stillness. Asking dancers to be still is somehow counter-intuitive.  After all, we are movers.  And yet I find that a stillness practice – consciously alternating between movement and stillness – brings out the color and texture of the moment.  It takes us deeper into what is unfolding right here, right now. It teaches us to listen and to see the wildness in the small, the quiet, the humble as well as in the dramatic and the riotous.  There is a boldness in stillness, and for the performer, a kind of audacity.  We have to trust that our audience will stay tethered to us in the still and the quiet.  Like a conversation in which the rushing river of ideas quiets to a lake of receptivity and depth.

I love translating my practices as a dancer into a language for the poet, the painter, the parent, the worker.  That is the idea behind my ebook, Breaking into Blossom:  Moving into an Improvisational Life.  It is about finding a deeper, more embodied creative engagement regardless of your work, your passion.  You can order it here.

lost & found


Stand still.
The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is a place called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

David Wagoner
Traveling Light: COLLECTED AND NEW POEMS (Illinois Poetry)

rogue wave

Red Sail Photography

I am experiencing one of these at the moment.  Children will bring these to shore at various times.  Unconscious patterns of addiction and obsession seem to create these big boys in like nothing else. By the time you hear it, it is probably to late to run.

Can you dive under a rogue wave?  Can they be surfed safely to land?  I have my doubts.  I love riding, but not one of these.

A few years ago I did some study of a releasing technique called the Sedona Method.  One of the questions our teacher asked is if we could become the ocean and not the wave.  That was after it was apparent that the wave, meaning the situation, was to big for a quick duck dive.  I remember the feeling of imagining myself sinking deep into the water, becoming part of the vastness, rather than part of all the craziness on the surface.


Go deeper

past thought
into silence
past silence
into stillness

deeper still
past stillness
into the heart

let the love
whatever is left of you

                                                          Chris McCombs  


the wait

Guinevere and Jules are waiting for us to finish tea and make their breakfast.  They are moderately patient.  They are confident that breakfast will arrive.

I am waiting for inspiration.  I am impatient.  I am not confident that inspiration will come. For the past couple days I have been feeling a lull, like a surfer out on a flat sea, no wave in sight.

But I am keeping in mind something that Stephen Nachmanovitch said:  Attempts to conquer inertia are by definition, futile.  Start instead from the inertia as a focal point, develop it into a meditation, an exaggerated stillness.  Let heat and momentum arise as a natural reverberation from the stillness.

I know that in dance, stillness is the canvas on which the movement appears.  With my writing have lost some sense of stillness being the place to begin.  I am filling the moment with too much effort, too many gestures, too little breath.  There is also this:

To the mind that is still
the whole universe surrenders.