I’ve been working on “Leaving the Tribe” for a couple of weeks. First I ran out of purple thread then I couldn’t figure out how to finish it off. I knew the different shades of purple velvet was right, but it needed something else and everything I tried with it just didn’t work. It wasn’t until yesterday, when I was meditating, that the color “maroon” came to mind. Today it finally came together, and pretty easily too. Maybe it just had to percolate, or maybe it’s that while in meditation, I was able to listen to myself. Maybe it was inside of me all along and I just wasn’t listening.
Last week Paula Josa-Jones came to the farm to interview Jon and me about us and our donkeys, Lulu, Fanny and Simon. To explore the idea of how they relate to our creative work.
Paula is a choreographer who creates Equestrian Dance Performances. She works with the relationship between the dancers body and the horses body. She believes that the most important thing for her dancers to do is listen to how their bodies are telling them how to move. Also that the dance between human and equine is about listening.
When Paula first asked me if and how the donkeys have influenced my work I really wasn’t sure. But since seeing one of her dance performances “Ride” and hearing her talk about it, I have come to realize that my relationship with the donkeys have made me understand my work as it relates to my body and the idea of listening. (I wrote about my body and my work last week. Paula’s visit sparking the idea and the Bobby McFerrin video ” ” taking it to the next step.)
This week I realized that it was my experience with the donkey’s that taught me to listen with my heart instead of my head. When I sit with the donkeys, I am still and quiet. I open my heart and they place their bodies next to mine and the space between us becomes charged. I didn’t know what was happening, but this week I found myself having a conversation with someone where my intention was to listen with my heart not my head. The idea came to me when I was meditating, but it was only after doing it with a person, that I realized that it was what I had been doing with the donkeys all along.
Listening with the heart means listening without the ego. Listening without interrupting or getting defensive and when I feel myself becoming argumentative simply saying to myself, “That’s my head, I’m listening with my heart” This way I can really hear what is being said without the ego jumping in to “protect” me.
When I listen with my heart, instead of my head, while doing my work, all the doubt and self recrimination, the judgement, the neurosis and fears lose their voice and I can be true to myself, I can hear my inner-self. When I listen with my heart my work is honest and uninhibited and successful.