I can almost not write at all….because I’ve been reading and sending emails from as early as 5.45 am and my mind is tired and wrist (injured two weeks ago) still hurts. While the past few days have needed so much brain work, coffee, some chocolate and tender loving care from my family and close ones have been great to make clear decisions. I still have emails to send and messages to follow up on. Now that I think of it, more comes to mind. And I need to return a prop(the chair that went to Chennai and back). This task I had almost forgotten. But it’s great, all this is to good purpose. Very soon I will be in la belle France, Paris and Lyon for festivals and artist meets. It’s a great great delight. No one knows just how excited I am for this one, it goes deep, deeper than the distance of the ocean bed from the sky. I will leave you with that image. Goodnight world. Love from Calcutta.
Feeling…. I think as life hits you sometimes, it can get so easy to be numb and feel nothing, just to stay in ‘accomplishing things’ mode. And I am quite guilty of this at times. I say this as a negative thing because ultimately even though on the surface of it you seem to be successful and on top of things, you actually do yourself more harm than good. I am thankful for a spirit that always alerts me when something somewhere needs processing…and I find the moments to pause and reflect…
Somehow this seems really an important part of being true to yourself and to being an artistic personality and an artist by profession. I don’t mean it just for a higher quality. depth and maturity of your art, but just as a person, to be well with your soul.
So this is how I feel…
I would like to cry tears of joy and sorrow at the same time, but I can’t cry at all just now. This is mostly because very soon I get to present a dance piece that is very special to me,While being art, like a painting, the dance speaks of a personal story that is very real for me. There is this strange juxtaposition though of translating from experience into works of art and dance, and in that transforming of the material, source of inspiration, incidents, how something changes so much in the crafting of it and yet at the essence, it stays so much the same. I don’t like to talk about the piece, because it is so personal, but I hope in my attempted portrayal and in the performance by my dancer, it is honest in sharing what is actually a universal human experience.
I feel physically and mentally tired. So much has happened this week that was more than I had planned. So much went wrong and had to be figured out. So much got solved and then more problems appeared. It was more than a little overwhelming, but I’m alright, breathing though the long days. And tomorrow will be a packed day, but I am ready for more problems appearing and cheerfully facing them head on! Power, power, power, and energy. Smiles.
My wrist is injured. This is painful and just complicates everything alot. Sometimes I just ignore the pain and carry on as normal, but this doesn’t help it heal. So, slow, awkward, clumsy, dependent, I have for the last 24 hours tried to let go my usual busy self mode and tried to be kind to my strained wrist. But continuing this is going to be tricky as the next week or so is a very demanding schedule, so I need grace and strength and angels please.
It feels like I need to make 500 phone calls tomorrow, even though it’s probably just 5 important ones. But my mind in many directions, is concerned I will forget, so lists follow soon.
I had a few different artistic puzzles this week. But there is one particular one I feel so helpless about. I have been wracking my brains as an artistic being to think different and find a better answer, but I feel with instead of option A, which is a 9 out of 10, I am stuck with option E which is a 2 or 3 on 10. And this feels awful, and it’s just so frustrating that I can’t directly tackle this in a better way. But. Here is when maturity and creativity must combine. There are a few other variables that come into play for the final result and though it’s a high pressure high stress circumstance, I have to ensure I use my creativity to the maximum there. I suppose it’s almost like a positive thinking strategy, while you minimise on a weakness, you need must then also maximise on your strengths.
I feel better now. Both for thinking things through but also taking some time to check on my emotions. Somedays, I still question it, but I know my sensitivity, high level of emotions, and perception is a gift.
God bless us all.
The picture is me and my piece ‘Vulnerability’, sold now to a buyer in Denmark.
There’s alot happening this month and in the next few to come…waiting is easier when things are quite this busy…and it’s also nice when things do fall in place. A little under the weather this weekend, but not really stopping, still on the go as many things need to be done. In all this I’m not worried, just excited. There is so much in an experience even if it’s not the best. And yet while I try to prepare myself for disappointment from the many times disillusioned self, just sometimes things are perfect too. So there is a happy hint of hope under the cloud. I know I speak abit in riddles, it’s just for a time.
It’s definitely an interesting year, and I do like the tone it’s taken so far. While I look ahead, I also just keep living day by day.
The last month is a blur…so many things that happened so fast.
Stillness is a luxury, but I do carve out time for this.
And in my stillness then I crave activity that is relaxing. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes not.
If I just listed this week so far…it has been overfull. Writing a dance syllabus for 10 class groups, working on an application, teaching dances classes and rehearsals every day, sometimes for most of the day, squeezing in meetings at consulates and coffee shops for work and with friends, online meetings and chats, artist communications, artist negotiations, social media posts, team communications, design work, elocution classes, taking care of the fish(these ones are an adorable handful! ), taking care of the garden, celebrating birthdays, cooking, cleaning, open studio dance showcase and trying to taking care of myself.
It seems far too busy.
I would like lazy days of staying at home and reading a book.
But there sometimes doesn’t even feel like you have permission to rest. This is definitely an easy danger for me. But something in my spirit makes me stop. Stay still. Breathe. Cry. Laugh. Reflect. Write. And remember I have time. Time to dream. Time to do things the way I’d like to see them done, not just to rush. Time to swim and time to giggle and do nothing. I make some deadlines set by others. My own ones I sometimes stretch.
Change and transition carry an inevitable sense of loss. And while many of these changes are good in the long term even if not immediately…the adjustment is usually not as easy. I feel I’m in the phase of being bolder, stronger, wiser…or at least I know I need to grow into being able to do this. Stay courageous, was my theme and resolute hope for 2018…it sounds silly, like something out of a school day assembly…but having courage can be a great gift.
So while I’m in a perplexing time of wanting many different things and feeling helpless because there isn’t much I can do to speed up the awkward adjustment process…I just keep going. Little by little, step by step, and I celebrate the moments that are enchanting.
Music feeds the soul…
I probably shouldn’t write just now…but rest instead…I can’t though…
My soul needs some recharging…because pouring out creatively sometimes drains me.
It’s strange because sometimes a creative process can be very energising…usually in dance it is…but painting or design or writing, oh my how it drains me…it’s weird, because it’s not always the most extraordinary result…but the process demands some depth of my being that takes a lot out of me. I think if I was dancing a solo myself it would be the same, and yes when I’m choreographing by myself even if for some one else…actually I think it’s the early phase when the search is on, it’s hard. Very hard. You need to get to a place where you have to strip bare everything superfluous. And when I paint, it’s reaching the point where the layers end and form begins. I keep questioning, now…? now? now? And my instinct usually carries me through a few more hours (or days) of searching.
I know I am just verbally processing here…but every artist should try to know themselves better…or at least I think so… analysing my creative process is useful for me at least…trying to figure out pain from a process of creation…it’s a total ‘aaaahhhhhhh’ feeling for me. I hate the sensation of pain but the product of my creative attempts is usually good…though I still don’t know if they are worth this emotional struggle. I know I sound like a spoilt child. This is the same feeling when thinking of a title for a piece of choreography. Naming my paintings are so much easier for no reason that I know. Giving a title to a piece of dance I create so much harder.
Crafting. It’s a process. One has to keep at it. Learn from what you observe around you, from other creative inspirations. But there is no escape or shortcut to honing of one’s own skills. Do and repeat repeat repeat.
I feel old and young at the same time. Grow in wisdom but stay hungry and keep learning. You might read this and say as others have, ‘You think too much!’. It’s true, I probably do, sometimes.
I try to keep my reflections constructive though. I miss the river today in Taipei. And heavy waves by midnight. Of all the rivers in the world I love, that’s a special one. Kisses. I hope I see you soon.
(This is from last night, though for some reason it wasn’t getting published…anyway, here it is.)
Calcutta is so hot today, I’m wishing I could rewind abit to when I was traipsing about Sofia in the snow. Well, not traipsing exactly…though at some moments it was like that. But I slipped and slid a plenty too. Ran some as well. Yes in the snow. It was minus six degrees and late at night, with strong chilly winds, there was no way this Calcutta girl could stroll leisurely between theatres. Ummm no, we ran (we being my dear friend and colleague a.k.a. Peter Pan), for twenty-five minutes straight. Yes, the theatres were some distance apart. Walking would have taken forty-five.
I’m not sure why I thought of that story today, except for sweet memories of the snow. Singing at midnight walking through the snow covered park was one of my favourites. And listening to music from my phone speaker, usually inaudible with traffic in Calcutta, but there through a quiet neighbourhood of Sofia, it was crystal clear.
It wasn’t supposed to snow in late March, but it did.
I remember a long long walk interspersed with coffee stops to find my first official pair of snow boots. I’d seen snow in Redding first, and later in London, but nothing as thick and heavy and layered as in Sofia.
I did slip quite a few times, but usually was lucky enough to have a friendly arm close by to hold one too. There was one hilarious moment when I hugged onto an almost stranger, because I suddenly lost my balance on an icy bit and I was so used to holding on I did it anyway. It was such a sight. I apologized profusely, and skirted around to find my known elbow again. A little support is a good thing when snow and ice are new to your feet. I was unashamed to ask for it. Smiles.
I don’t know why I think of this, but somehow the memory of snowy days cools and comforts me. I forget the things I want to forget and remember what is good. I’m thankful the cucumber I cut wasn’t bitter. And that my sister knows how to fix a pressure cooker, because I really don’t. And when my body craves rest, I’m thankful I can cancel class and stay in and rest.
I’m thankful for a creative mind, even if I need to deal with an explosion of ideas sometimes. It’s even more than an explosion now than ever before, and I’m still learning how to channel this productively, but I’m glad for ideas and creativity. I’m thankful for the demand for my time even if it’s hard to keep up with sometimes. In between there is restlessness, uncertainty, discomfort, anxiety, stress, doubt, desire and a sense of ‘no hope’ to overcome. But to all this I speak peace, and the memory of snow. Happiness in the little things. Patience to take things slow. And again and again and again, being alright with not pleasing everybody.
‘Sometimes the snow comes down in June….’ I used to play that song before. I don’t play the piano now. But it’s one of my favourite instruments to listen to. Everything in life shapes us, so I will take the good days and the rough ones, as part of what must be.
Wishing it would snow, I’m prepared to accept it will be quite some time before I see snow again. In the meantime, I will keep dreaming…
I just got back home. Somehow I’ve missed my city in the many things that are perfect and imperfect about life here. I just missed my own room, being surrounded by my paintings and postcards of favourite cities in the world, my many little gardens and so much energy, creativity and strength that is wrapped up in a surrounding and memories.
I was on a study programme that was amazing. It was so much more than I could have imagined or hoped for. I met such special and inspiring people and had some of the best conversations, and heard some of the most wonderful and fascinating stories. Sweet delight. And there was toblerone too. Chocolat.
We learnt alot and I almost feel like cradling the bold brave me of the past four years, who managed to do so much (particularly for festival work) in complete ignorance of so many things and still accomplish quite something. In many ways I am blessed, in some I am blessed in exceptional measure. For this I stay thankful. God’s on my side. With all of the things we’ve learnt, I am excited and overwhelmed in a wonderful way. I need some time to figure things out, but I know doing things slowly but surely, focussing on a few things if not all is a good way to start. But more than that I had so many many many questions before, and I have answers now. That’s so sweet to my mind and spirit. Knowledge is power and I feel so empowered, and so strengthened. I know I will still have challenges, but I am so much better equipped to face them.
I wish I had lazy days ahead, but not quite so, till I’m in Mumbai…lazy days with my sister await for the next weekend. I might have a couple of meetings, but otherwise it’s going to be my quiet escape.
And for the ones who trust me to keep doing what I am so deeply passionate about, thank you for your love. You are my heroes.