Psychology + Zen = Philosophy and methods to relieve suffering and reveal happiness.

Psychology:  We project onto others what we reject in ourselves.  Some call it a Shadow.  Healing comes from making the unconscious conscious, taking responsibility for our projections, integrating what is split off as our own thing. 

Zen:  There is no separate self.  When we can be at one with every aspect, then we belong everywhere and we reject no one.  

We heal the world by becoming intimate with our whole selves.   


Entries in Dance (19)

Monday
Sep042017

On Feldenkrais

Sure there are the miracles.  Walking along one day you realize the knee twinge is no longer part of your experience.  Or the neck doesn't lock, or the electric toe is at peace. 

But the most profound effect of Feldenkrais method is pleasure. The practice of trying things, sensing what connects with what, what makes what move, and finding ease in All That is really so much fun.  I remember noticing my young daughter's attitude when she was playing: what happens when I do this?  

It is still possible to play, to engage in discovery, like figuring out how to roll like a baby or lift your neck as if it is the first time. It isn't always easy, especially if you are old, or grew up with disabillity, or both. Feldenkrais technique aims to disrupt compulsive action, or habit. In most Awareness Through Movement lessons, the teacher introduces a wierd counterintuitive thing like moving your eyes in the opposite direction of your head. Oddly, after doing such a thing, all of this spaciousness sprouts, and then there is freedom of movement where there wasn't before.  

Of course doing this again and again provides direction and practice for the mind. When I encounter something really hard, I try switching things up, like the antidote to the oft-quoted notion that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Just do something different.  See how it goes. If you don't like it, try something else.  

I think this is all tied in to listening, to improvisation, to letting go.  What comes next?

 

September 2017

 

Tuesday
Jun022015

Yes, Doctor. May I see your computer?

It started out well enough.  The pain specialist in the spine department--let's call him Dim--was friendly and respectful, and did a quick and gentle exam of my neck.  Then he brought me into his office, offered a seat while he communicated with his computer as he complained that electronic medical records were ruining his practice.  I sympathized; he continued on about how this keeps him up at night, then asked me many questions that had nothing to do with my neck, presumably required by the machine he was facing.

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Friday
Mar152013

Helpers

When something troubles me, I work with it, sit with it, and play with it.  This video is a play on the question of help--taking help and giving it.  Beautiful dancers, Justina and CJ, improvised on questions and phrases, and this is what emerged:

 

 

2013 

Tuesday
Nov062012

Hurricane Hits: The Movie

Struck by the juxtapostion of gigantic problems and tiny but important personal problems, I made this offering.   For New York City, October 2012.  

 

Thursday
Jun142012

I am I: A Tribute to Margaret Cho


Inspired by Cho's gestures, energy, and mission, a group of dancers celebrate human diversity in all its splendid manifestations.  

Conceived and Choreographed by Irene Ruiz-Riveros
Video Directed and Edited by Elena TaJo
Music by Steve Elson

I am I: A Tribute to Margaret Cho screened in June of 2010 at Anthology Film Archives as part of an excellent series curated by New York Women in Film and Television.  Running time 5:37 minutes
 

Wednesday
Jun062012

How to Change the World, Justina

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:40PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

One morning on the way to Ballet class, I hear the news that Black Americans are moving away from northern urban areas toward the South and into the suburbs.  This interests me for what it will mean for diversity, so I remember it.  

As we chitchat before class, Justina, a young Black woman just returned from a family visit to Tennessee, comments:  "The South never changes."   I argue briefly and then ponder her comment for the remainder of class.  (You can blame all my mistakes on that!)   When class is over I ask her what she meant.  A graduate student in Social Psychology, she is frustrated by entrenched patterns:  expectations shape behavior, behavior reinforces expectations, and the cycle perpetuates itself.   Indeed, I agree.   Except here she is, an exception.

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Tuesday
Jun052012

Yes, but can you wipe your ass?

The first time I heard the question was shortly after I told my rheumatologist about the pain in my knees after tap-dancing for some length of time.  I recall that I was rehearsing for a little showcase.  I recall that I was proud.  I recall that he said: These are not normal knees…of course you are going to have inflammation if you tap-dance.  And a little while later he asked if I have trouble wiping myself.   It's important, obviously.   Tap dancing?   Not so much.

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Monday
Jun042012

Crutch Master

Gales of laughter in the bus as he gets the first reaction--people on the street in some kind of shock and awe at a man using crutches to skateboard through the streets of New York.   He is known as the Crutch Master, and the mastery is evident and spectacular.   We are in the bus as the audience to his performance.  Hooked up to cameras, a DJ, and a major sound system, it feels like a combination of a hip dance party and a sting operation. "Wall Stall" Shannon Technique 2010 

So we are in the bus to watch the watchers.   We desperately want to see people on the street react to our Crutch Master.  We want their "Huh?"  We want to see them dislodged from their complacency.   We are hungry for it.    Many of us standing, craning necks from window to monitor display, aching to see a bystander get shook up.  Crutch Master is doing his best to deliver.  Here he is bumming a cigarette from a Wall Street Trader.  There he goes doing a jig for a tourist bus.  We see the people try to resist, turn their backs, shake their heads.  In the bus, we are cracking up, laughing forcefully at how people try to just keep going, how they can't recognize a true phenomenon, how they miss what is right before their eyes.  

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Sunday
Jun032012

What is Dis?

What is Dis?*   Dis-ability.  A lack of adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability.  Incapacity.   A physical or mental handicap.    So how does a cripple dance?   And do you want to see her try?   Don't stare.   No, wait.   Please do.     

Have you heard?  Disability is the new Black.   Disabled dancing bodies are everywhere, and people are talking about it.   Facebook-acclaimed New Mobility  features "Physically Integrated Dance," and the brand new International Journal of Screendance investigates the "Spectacle of Difference."   Dance Film and Dis Dance are coming of age together.   David Toole of DV8, photographed by Anthony Crickmay and John Cole 

What is Dis?  One of Dante's circles of hell, a walled city surrounded by a field of limbs of non-believers.   Do you dare visit?

Don't dis me.  "DisTHIS!"  proclaims Lawrence Carter Long, as he introduces his so-named film series featuring disability:  "No handkerchief necessary, no heroism required.  This is disability through a whole new lens."     

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Saturday
Jun022012

It Doesn't Show

Updated on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 11:50AM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:50PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

It doesn't show, they started to say after the surgeries.   This should have been a cure for shame, and maybe it was, but it also produced a new problem.   A deep and integral aspect of my personhood became invisible and unknowable. Don't look. Juvenile arthritis is a peculiar and defining experience.  As a toddler, you get braces and casts instead of the exhilaration of walking.  As a kid, you get the special  role in the ballet recital.  Then, as your wrists are progressively deforming, Phys Ed with its impossible pushups and volleyball falls by the wayside.  You are left with the other rejected kids in Choir and then in Drama Club, where, to vanquish your depression, you pledge yourself a career and vengeance.  The twist (pardon the pun) in the story is that, along the way, you fall in love with dance--the one thing that everyone agrees is totally out of the question. 

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