I am 53 today and I have 300K in the bank and it is the End of Time. I am 53 and freshly separated from my husband of almost 20 years. Married to each other's traumas on November 6, 1993, we are one year short of the Big Two O. The life I had is over. Actually, this is true for all of us, every day, but especially on this particular day. Today, a new great friend Quique sends me a birthday gift of a phrase (he is a word artist): ELEGANCE IS FREEDOM.
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 Inclusion (10)
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
Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:40PM by Elena TaJo
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.
Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:30PM by Elena TaJo
So named for the challenge of running blind in a straight line, this film (at the Reel Abilities fest) features a young, rich, male runner, recently blinded, who encounters a not rich woman recently out of jail. They are both hard and angry. In a totally unbelievable moment, he recognizes her as kin. He--actually his mother--hires the ex-con to guide him as he learns to run again. Both are guarded, misunderstood, angry. They fight, become vulnerable to each other, begin to trust. The interfering mother interferes. (Don't forget, when you make a movie about heroes, to include either a dead mother or an interfering mother.) Love blossoms. Against all odds, he wins the race.
I braced against the emotional manipulation, my cynicism reinforced by the titles for the hearing impaired: [soft inspirational music plays]. But gradually, my resistance weakened.
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.
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."
Updated on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 11:50AM by Elena TaJo
Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:50PM by Elena TaJo
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. 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.
If you've read What's the Rush?, you already know how my mind complicates the effort to walk a simple line from here to there. What I learned is that I need to surrender to my mind's need to wander, and book myself some play time, some empty time to do and think whatever I want. Oh yes, it solves everything, except that I have to rush like crazy to get to my scheduled play time.
Guest Column by Molly White.
I’m lying in the MRI machine, focusing on the slight changes in pitch of each loud pang trying to distract myself from the weight of the situation. I send myself all the messages that this machine is not. I tell myself that I am safe, happy and free from pain and I imagine I am surrounded in white light which is protecting me from any harmful magnetic effects of this 20 minute affront, and pretty soon I am relaxed and yes, relatively pain free.
Pain free. What a concept! I have a love affair with pain that is both debilitating and self-fulfilling. It has gone on so long now that when it comes back after a long two or three month absence I almost welcome it like an old and familiar lover. Perhaps he knocks on my door and I don’t have the heart to turn him away, so reluctantly I let him stay taking up the space and eating my groceries. With the pain there, I am forced to lie down to experience any relief, so I resign myself, I drop my projects and deadlines, hoping that in a week or so I will be back on my feet and pain will be gone. But every time I worry that this time he might stay for good.
Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:47PM by Elena TaJo
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks might be the saddest book I've ever read. If you don't know this story, here's the bottom line: A Black woman's cancer cells were taken and cultured without her permission and, because of their superhuman ability to thrive, spawned all variety of discovery and cure. She died, her disease almost neglected; her family remains dirt poor and deeply uneducated. In the absence of information from the scientists who benefited from Henrietta's cells, the family creates stories of heroism or victimization, depending on what's going on that day. What is usually going on is a fight for survival against overwhelming odds.
In the moments before ballet class was to begin, I was hanging over my legs, trying to find the inner awareness of my spine. Suddenly, improbably, I felt another body in my space--an intruder! I quickly rolled up to encounter a grotesque face, and it was actually asking me to take a step back to make room for her. I concealed my horror and annoyance (I think), and tried to explain that she was not in a good position, having encroached also on the person in front of her, who had nowhere to go. She didn't understand and I gave up, insuring that I would encounter her at close quarters for the remainder of the class.
Soon it became very clear that she didn't have the least idea of what to do. If she was lucky, she'd get a fraction of each exercise, but mostly she would stand and shuffle in that panicked way that beginners do. Please understand that I am normally very very sympathetic to this state of being, because that is almost always my condition.