Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tasha, Naked Moderator

I seem to finally be rising out of a deep dip into sickness since the event over two weeks ago. I haven't thought much about the event. Just kind of surviving at being a mom and being thankful that my husband picks up a lot of the slack and doesn't mind frozen shit for dinner.

I wanted to write more about the last event but it's kind of not fresh in my mind now. Two words that people either spoke or wrote interest me. Purity. Spontaneity. Both of these concepts matter a lot to me. During the event I was happy to hear from Megan that she felt she had experienced purity. I realize that I need and want these higher, deeper feelings and that it's difficult to experience them in the dumbed-down consumerism water that we swim in. Here's an analogy. Lethbridge. Got a lot going for it but not a pretty place (besides the natural beauty of the coulees and river valley--thank God for something!). The architecture is ugly, the mostly new housing developments are ugly, the downtown is ugly, big box store-land is ugly. It's western North America. Built for cars, commercialization, function, economies of scale and lack of imagination. Regulated ugliness. And with the world's ugliest university! But, hey, some people think Arthur Erickson is a genius.

Everybody is used to ugly and most people don't even notice that they're missing something: beauty.

Or good food. I am always amazed that my students will reveal that they have never tasted eggplant or black olives or cilantro or frickin real cheddar cheese. Yet they will tell you that Moxie's is the best restaurant in town (sadly, it is up there). I know I probably sound like a snob, but it's depressing to me that people aren't aware of good food. I need beauty. I need delicious food. I need purity and spontaneity. But the world isn't set up for that. By purity, I mean something like real connection, real emotion. And by spontaneity, I mean just letting things happen.

I teach public speaking at the college. I love it. One thing I often say to my husband is that during my class I get to create the world the way I want it. It's not that hard. We make some agreements. We agree that we're allowed to disagree. We agree to listen to each other. We agree to support each other. We agree not to trash talk. We agree to use constructive criticism.

Everybody gets a lot of standing ovations including me. Even though I basically make them do it, I love my standing ovations. We have a lot of fun and everyone improves. The group gets really tight. I teach it like a workshop so I hardly lecture; we discuss speeches in the moment. Spontaneity and connection--it's a joy for me and for the students.

I realized that the last Human Body Project event felt like a space and time where I got to create another environment that allowed me and the people who were there to more fully and deeply experience our humanity. Not everyone necessarily is missing that or requiring that; but many of us are and we have nowhere to go. Some people are able to choose religion but, for me and many others, the dogma (and trash talk) of religion is off-putting.

During the last event I recall myself talking more than I probably needed to. But I enjoyed much of the discussion that went on. It felt thoughtful and sincere. I was really moved by the women joining me--they made their decisions in the moment. I was moved by the humanity of the men present. There was a lot of connection, spontaneity, openness, authenticity. It makes me see how much I yearn for this in my life.

One woman wrote that she wonders how something like this can continue to be spontaneous. I do wonder that myself. When I worked at Kripalu Center in Massachusetts, I was amazed at how easy it was for me to teach experiential workshops. I have a real ability to let things happen. I get in my way sometimes too (like talking too much at the last event). But as I used to tell my creativity classes to chant: I'm allowed to fuck up. I think if I can dream up a way to make HBP into some kind of ongoing thing, I'll just have to trust my facilitator skills.

I'm running out of steam here. Not sure how coherent this is.

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