Disconnecting & finding my bones with JGPG

What my fingers look at everyday!
It is no surprise that in this day and age many of us rely on technology for work, entertainment, and sometimes a combination of both (shout out to writers and bloggers everywhere). I don't know about you, but technology also tends to trap me in a twisted time warp. For example, one day I went online to search for banana bread recipes - and my online session turned into two hours of something completely unrelated to baking.

Our phones are now micro-computers that we can fit in our back pocket, our laptops are lighter, our storage can live in clouds, and social media - well now - how many of us have split up into a million little particles trying to express ourselves on those types of forums? I am personally guilty of spending a little too much time on "the Facebook" and "the Twitter," as my mother calls them. As a video editor, creative writer, and all social media contributor - a lot of my time is spent sitting down beside a computer. I think that in the last year and a half, I may spend more time with my computer than with some of the people in my life. Sorry, mom.

But I am not here to hound and beat on an already talked about problem.  I am here to express myself about the effects I had during a workshop in late May. It was led by Joe Goode and two members of his company: Damara Vita Ganley and Alexander Zendzian, as part of the yearly "Finding the Bones" summer workshop (Joe Goode Performance Group). This workshop was a reminder of why community, human contact, expression, and movement is absolutely invaluable in a creative life.

I started this entry with a discussion about my relationship with technology because well, that's the realization that bloomed out for me during the workshop. The work brings out different meaning making experiences for other participants, but I am just here to talk about mine because I can only speak for myself. For me, the workshop was an escape from my home office, and an escape from hunching over my computer. My reliance on technology has gotten a little out of control. Sometimes, I forget that my body is a means for creative expression. I honestly completely forget! Therefore, I decided that during the 10am-5pm sessions in the last three days of May, I would not go near my computer. That I would disconnect during the workshop and rely solely on my handwriting journal to express myself. Needless to say, it was a little hard not to stress about work waiting on the other side of that screen.

One thing I realized rather quickly in the process was that technology has changed the way I relate to people. I noticed mostly in my ability to look someone in the eyes for a long period of time. Technology has also changed the way I distribute information about my life to people I love (the irony of this blog entry!); therefore, I began to analyze how I relate to people in REAL TIME.

Here's a little back story as to why this type of exploration. Although I love ALL of my pals (whether in the flesh or online) -- I have to say that last year (2014) was the worst in terms of physical social interactions for me. If it wasn't at home or at work, I pretty much kept up with human interactions on the web. I went to a lot of shows, and I did a lot of online/video editing work. Yet, if it wasn't a work related project, I pretty much stayed indoors. Inactively, to add on top of that. In the mornings, my body sluggishly pulled itself up from the covers for work. At night and usually after dinner, I dragged myself onto my computer for some editing, my head dangling and bobbing side to side catching glimpses of whatever was on the screen.

This past May, as we stretched our bodies on the ample ground at The Annex I sighed at the sight of a large ceiling above our heads. I enjoyed the space: its long and wide walls, with high ceilings and heavy doors. My body could explore different parts of the room, and our voices bounced around the walls creating a harmony that was chaotic and unorganized. We often sang during our stretches, and this built up the community.

Thanks to the morning warm ups, my spine felt fluid and flexible. My core enjoyed aiding the spine in Vertical stretches. My body thanked me for lettings the spine breathe. Since I am always on it when sitting at the computer, my spine had felt contracted and enclosed from the hours of hunching over. That position puts a lot of pressure on the organs, and it exhausts the body's transportation of blood and oxygen to our brain and muscles.

Participants became collaborators as we explored our stories together creating meaning behind each others words. Joe would push is further into a place where simplicity and genius met. Once a score was found, you were asked to repeat it, practice it, combine it, mesh it, destroy it, and then start all over. Then at the end of a confusion session of back and forth, you realize you have in front of you a piece! It was magical.

Our last day there, we all created together in the space. We looked at each other in the eye and shared secret formulas of success to inspire each other. We were kind, were honest, and we were patient. There was movement, contact, and a sense of community. Our interaction almost seemed magical. I know it sounds nutty to say that, but frankly - coming from the ONLINE WORLD into a room of people who look at you, touch you, move with you in space,  and create with you -- it's like watching the birth of endless possibilities come to life in a continuum.

One thing is clear for people who work in the field of Movement/Dance. Technology (though I still think is awesome) encourages less movement between the self to self, and self to other.  And what about CONTACT? The fundamental thing that makes us human beings? Last year, contact for me was limited to my partner, and on the off chance I bumped into someone at an event that was usually work related. It was so nice to embrace them in those moments.

On FB the other day, I saw a meme about what it meant to be an 80's kid. Images of children climbing trees, riding bikes, walking to school, and getting into trouble were at the centerfold of this message. Do kids experience this now? Are we allowing these activities to become obsolete by handing our nieces and nephews the latest gadgets out there? Is the human interaction slowly transforming into this strange game of updates and media mediation? Will language eventually disappear? My desperate desire to know can make this into a bigger problem then it actually is, but this makes me scratch my head at night.

The workshop began with a "Movement for Humans" warm up. The first day showed us the structure, the second and third day details were added to the movement to enhance the experience and explore yet smaller parts of our bodies and bones. We pressed against the floor, felt our spine twist and turn into three-dimensional forms that informed a ripple of effect starting from our core and extending to our cranium and toes. Each movement was informing the bones to move and shift. Focusing on every detail helped us appreciate the intricacy of movement. Stretching and closing gave our muscles buoyancy, and the ability to make shapes with our bodies and tell stories.

We were also encouraged to find the bones in our writing processes. I created work from scratch with stories that live inside different parts of my bones: my knees, my ankles, my spine - etc. Much like the 80's kids playing, falling, loving and so forth. Writing prompts were also given, and we were then put into groups of two, three, four, or five in order to experience human touch and/or interaction. We shared our stories and applied them to our movements. It was a rich experience, to say the least.

I now have a home office, and I am making it a point to get up and move every 30 minutes of work. I stretch, roll around on the ground, or just take a stroll around the house. Slowly but surely, I plan on being more engaged with my community. I refuse to make this year 2 of inactivity and hermit life. Already I've done some traveling to help jump start me at the beginning of this year. My grandmother has also been a huge inspiration.

I encourage you to get up and go. You never know what you may find out about yourself as you stroll. Even better, you never know what you may create!

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