Sitting in an apartment, Gold Coast of Australia...working.
I never meant to be here - but circumstance are what they are - a workshop got cancelled.
So here I am.
Straight off the back of one of the best workshops I have ever been part of.
Art Murmur > Unmasking < with Lori Saltzman and Jenny Mackie.
I was an assistant, which was an absolute privilege that I will hold close to my heart.
I wanna talk about a process that happened when I was on the Dfloor.
Usually, when I have my assisting hat on, I can drop in, but not to my 'stuff' I stay in the collective field, this time, there was no escaping me diving deep.
....this mask says...i am safe and supported...
For this Art murmur we were unmasking, we had small reveals and were skilfully brought to a point where it was time to make our mask, we were given the option of casting any part of our body.
I can't remember the exact words but it felt like to me, 'if I was holding a story in this area, then make a cast of this.'
The ritual that was set up and the space that was created for us to do this was carefully tended to, and attention to detail was the chief! I had come with a dancer from my floor who is also a dear and close friend, the invitation was to find the partner you came with. So we paired up.
The ritual of creating this cast on my friend was such a gift, to tend to someone, to really tend to them, to share this space of vulnerability with care and grace for them...gosh!!!!...
it was precious and brings tears to my eyes, then and now...
now picking a part of your body that has a mask, is not an easy thing,
it's fucken real and revealing!! and powerful and potent...
tread carefully with kindness and full attention.
If I was with anyone else in that room I would have chosen a different part of my body, but I was with J, and the body of trust we have is greatly developed, so I dived.
I asked her to cast my puku, my tummy, my belly, my whare tangata, the place where my emotions are being stored right now, that place that my babies grew, the place that holds shame, has torn all the way up - birthmarks she calls them - the place that holds fear and grief....
Of course, I didn't really know all of this when I asked her to cast me,
I just knew I had a story there...
so many tears.
When I asked her, there was tears, all thru the process, tears...and for those who know me, I am usually a bringer of earth..not of water...so this was a release...and they kept flowing.
J kept me grounded, helped me to remember my anchor, tended to me, whispered into my ear
> you are beautiful < more tears...and with loving hands made a cast on my tummy.
.....you are beautiful....you are beautiful...you are beautiful...
It starts to get tight, to dry and we pause.
And here I am thinking well fuck, that was intense! I had a steady movie playing behind my eyes
of birth > you are beautiful <
of love lost...of all the belly. stuff.
....and then this thing happened, and I am a believer of the thing that happens is the thing that's meant to happen cause it fucken happened...
So I'm lying there, a puddle of tears and white plaster, and the instructions are given to just tidy around them, stay connected but tidy.
At the same time, all my other senses are heightened, I can hear the word TaeKwonDo being said outside the room > trippy - TKD being a huge part of my life - people start walking around the room, I start feeling unsettled, I stick my fingers in my ears to shut out the noise, I open my eyes briefly someone is walking by looking down on me, I'm starting to want to get the fuck off the floor, I am like wtf, I am in a vulnerable position unable to move and I am agitated as fuck!!
It's taking all my skills to not rip the thing of my tummy and leave, trigger trigger trigger...
The facilitators notice the tending of the space had caused discomfort and bring the pairs back together, by this stage I am peaking. J recognises this and helps me settle my system.
I am raw.
I am triggered.
I am not dead, no one died.
I am ok.
I am okay enough.
The session ends how it does and at the team meeting and I am a bit pissed...I voice this, that the space got busy and I felt unsafe. It is heard, and there is heartfelt exchange, and then there is a flash...
me about to birth the first twin, a super busy room, my legs wide open, facing the door and people in and out of that fucken door, a team of 15 people waiting and at least 6 inside, I am scared, in a vulnerable position, unable to move, totally exposed, sore, and powerless...
The physical sensation of my body, of my belly, were right there again...
except for this time...I was safe...I was supported.
....shame is the most difficult what i don't say.....cause that's what i don't say.....
This meant I was in, I needed the whole gestalt now, no half in the exercises, I was full assistant, full participant, full KAIA.
I needed the embellishment process with my mask, I needed to speak the poetry for my mask, I needed the writing, the inquiry, I needed the dance, I NEEDED ALL THE DANCES,
I needed the sacred theatre and I needed all the humans on the floor,
cause we had all been unmasked.
What i actually received from that moment forward was deep tender raw wild juicy and delicious.
I had locked that memory away, I had got on with it, for so long...but not anymore.
Today my puku feels soft and tender. It feels like a place I want to listen to, to care for...not to ignore and numb out. It held a story of deep shame, and pain > and the magic of this was released on that floor. This was a six-day process, held by some of the most powerfully gentle humans I have ever been blessed to work with.
I wrote this poem,
It is enough now to open my heart.
to open my heart.
Shame is my hardest what i don't say
but that's what i don't say, cause
opening my heart has been the most difficult!
To fall in love with the feminine.
The trees know what we are doing - thanks R.tekawa for this line -
so I let the dream settle.
My mask is made of white plaster strips, on the inside are green kawakawa leaves and blue hydrangeas, both slowly turning brown, both sides of my lineage. On the front is black vivid, my poem and a triangle/ a tapatoru for my wharetangata/womb made from the hydrangeas, representing the death of the old, and the journey of my awa atua. From the bottom are the fluro orange threads, representing the blood, the kura and the sacred threads back to me, they reach past the floor, they reach around the broken foot, they reach around me. Connecting me to it all, over and over again.
This last week this workshop has still been working away with me, my sacred threads, my healing, the dream spaces, the life force, the Mauri.
Out of this workshop comes > the weaving, my Autumn Equinox workshop.
Everything is connected, my story, your story, the men outside the hall saying Taekwondo, reminding me that I am safe and supported, on all levels.
I hope to create a space for you to weave the threads of summer, of your dance, of your story into creation to keep us present this winter.
This workshop is for womxn only, for now, this is what I wish to weave at this moment, I understand gender is a social construct but I don't know how to phrase this better, If this calls to you and you identify with the feminine, reach out. I'm here ready to hold space this Autumn Equinox. I wish this workshop to be a place of nourishment.
...this mask says I am safe and supported...
To continue with to process, to trust in the process, knowing that the teachers of Open Floor are trained, they don't just decide to put on a conscious dance and think everything will be okay, they look for the best way to resource you all the way through, and for me, this process is Gold. To dance, write, draw, create, be present, supported...tended to...gave me a release, expanded my window of presence, gifted me a new friend, and I made the connection with my belly again.
....I let the dream settle...
Thanks for reading to the end. Remembering that this is a six-day workshop and we are guided, classes are not this deep fyi x
Maybe I will see you on a floor or at a class of mine someday soon.
With kindness Kaia.