"Time moves in one direction, memory in another."
~ William Gibson
What symbolizes summer for you? How do you mark the turn of the seasons? Do you take holidays literally or figuratively?
With today being Memorial Day here in the USA it feels like a shift into summer is in the air. On one hand, this is the three-day weekend that signifies the start of the season, on the other, it’s a day dedicated to the men and women who have served and sacrificed in defense of our Constitution.
As a child growing up I never thought much about the symbology or meaning behind the day, it was simply one of the two bookends on either side of summer vacation. Back in those days, the ancient history of the 60s and 70s, the school year conveniently ended by Memorial Day and didn’t get started again until after Labor Day.
Kids nowadays have it somewhat different, I know at least in my daughter’s case she has two more weeks of school ahead of her and will start up again in late August. Summers now are full and scheduled with camps and activities. My parents would simply carry on with their activities as usual, and the summer would stretch before me as an endless series of lazy days and freedom to do whatever I pleased.
Memorial Day is one of those holidays that has far more meaning for some folks than others. In my family, both my dad and my brother served in the military. In my dad’s case, he was a signals operator on an aircraft carrier that was headed for Okinawa when World War II came to a sudden close. So he was discharged after only two years, having never seen combat duty, after which he headed to Alaska to open his first business, a small grocery store.
My brother chose the Coast Guard, seeking a sudden shift in direction. He spent two years on an ice breaker in the North Sea, and then two years as a river traffic controller in New Orleans. They both learned discipline and a strong work ethic and were both fortunate to never experience the horrors of war.
In my case, serving my country in that way was never in the cards. I learned the value of work and discipline through a different path, as an apprentice and then key team member with Mark Pauline andSurvival Research Laboratories . I spent five years living, breathing, and sleeping machinery and robotics traveling the world with this performance art group putting on spectacular fire-infused events unlike any the world has ever known. (That’s me in the photo above with Mark Pauline and the Pinchworm in Amsterdam, 1988.)
When I started with them, I was an unemployed punk rock singer living in a squat in San Francisco, with bad habits and a bad attitude to match. By the time I left, I was clean and sober with a baby on the way and keys to my first business, a retail clothing and music store on San Francisco’s Haight Street called Ameba. Looking back, I’d have to say that transformation is a nonlinear proposition. There’s really no telling what might show up when your life demands a U-turn.
Whether or not you have family members who sacrificed in the name of your country, it’s a good day to be thankful for the freedoms we have and to ponder the memories of how we got to where we are today. After all, the word memorial comes from memory. And as you look back, you might find it valuable to play with the idea of future memory.
How will you remember May 2019 in 2029 or 2039? If you could imagine your future as a memory, what would it look like? Your present moment experience is always in the balance between your past and future, so how much intention can you put into your path?
Whether your weekend is a picnic with noodle salad or a parade down Main Street, make the most of your summer to come! Great memories are built from an endless series of nows so make the most of your moments and stay in the flow.
Much love until next week and Happy Summer to you!
Dance First Member Spotlight :: Daria Halprin and her Empowering Creativity Workshop at Esalen with Anna Halprin, Jahan Khalighi, & Miles Lassi!!!
This week’s Dance First Members Spotlight shines on Daria Halprinand her upcoming workshop at Esalen called “Empowering Creativity Through Movement/Dance and Life/Art Metaphors ” Daria is one of the most renowned leaders in the realm of somatic and conscious movement, since the establishment of The Tamalpa Institute back in 1978 where she is the Founding Director.
Building from the foundation of work began by Anna Halprin that continues to this day, Tamalpa is about “developing the bridge between movement, art, and psychology. ” Here is an inspiring video from Daria about the Life/Art Process.
Daria is leading a special group to the spectacular Esalen Institutethis summer from August 4th to 9th. You’ll want to reserve your spot as soon as possible for this unique retreat! With Anna Halprin appearing as a special guest facilitator celebrating her 99th year, and guest musicians Jahan Khalighi & Miles Lassi, this is a journey to Big Sur not to be missed.
Daria credits three special influences in her early years for setting her on her path. “With my mother, Anna Halprin, I danced and performed, with my father, the environmental designer Lawrence Halprin, I was immersed in the landscape of nature and urban environmental design, with Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy, psychology and acting became personally and professionally fused.”
Returning once again to Esalen is very much a coming full circle for Daria. “In the 1960’s I was part of an artists’ group working in a gestalt therapy laboratory with Perls in San Francisco and at Esalen. His approach was very much like an artistic process. He worked with complex psychological material in the most creative way, having us embody our own emotional, psychological lives as if a creative endeavor and enactment.”
As a pioneer and innovator working at the intersection of movement, psychology, and creativity, Daria brings a wealth of experience to her offerings. “ For me creativity has always been grounded in art making, but also became interwoven into the very fabric of my life, a way to work through things, to generate change, to communicate, to commune and to build community. I’m interested in sharing that kind of creative process where the experience of art-making is not only to make art, but in the making find ways to self-reflect, to heal, to improvise, take risks, to collaborate, to work with challenges, to feel alive and embodied, to perceive the world in new and sensitized ways, so that we have opportunities to creatively express the fullness of our human experience with all its pain, joy, magic, and mystery.”
Daria says “ Creativity is a teacher, a training in life-long learning. There are times when you have to just wait for it and times when you have to fight for it – and, as Jack Kerouac said, there are times you just gotta pick up your club and go hunt it down!”
If you are looking for an deep dive into your creative juice and want to be guided by one of the foremost leaders in the field, start planning your trip to Esalen today. Ask yourself if these words resonate within you: “ There are times when creativity has seemed completely out of reach, stuck, impossible, gone forever, someone else has more of it, is better at it. If we stay with it, the process invites us to meet our blocks, act things out, try new things, grapple with, suspend judgement, play, be surprised, express the inexpressible and break through into new territory. In staying with it until there is a breakthrough, creativity has served me as a metaphor for how to stay with other things in life.”
Learn more about Daria Halprin at www.DariaHalprin.org
For more info about The Tamalpa Institute visit www.Tamalpa.org
Empowering Creativity Through Movement/Dance and Life/Art Metaphors with Daria and Anna Halprin
Aug 4-9, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA