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The dance of the mask

Hello, Loves.

How are you doing in week 47 of Shelter in Place? Yes, I know we haven’t been in lock down that long, but there are days when it feels like it.

What are the sensations that arise in your body when you consider “opening” up? It’s tricky, right? There are so many unknowns. We’re having to get used to a lot of uncertainty lately. Blessedly, we all know how to attune to another type of intelligence, another way of knowing. . . . .the intelligence that resides below the neckline. As Gabrielle Roth used to say, “instinct, intuition, and authenticity” reside in the body. And we’ve been cultivating this awareness on the dance floor for years. I know there are some complicated feelings, for instance, when it comes to wearing the mask. Yeah, I get it. Not fun, but yet we totally understand the reasoning and so we do it. I can also understand the viewpoint that it’s awkward because we cannot see whether or not people are smiling. And so we can end up feeling a greater sense of disconnect from one another, but what if that weren’t necessary? What if we could lean into sensing the energy of the person we’re walking by on the street, or the grocery store clerk we’re engaging? You know how you used to sidle up to someone on the dance floor (oh, how I miss dancing with you IRL!, but I digress) and you could tell by the way they held their body, by the way they moved their body, by the simple gesture of just one hand. . . .you knew if they were feeling playful or tender, sad or unwelcoming. Let’s not forget, we know how to read body language. And so we might miss the facial expression due to the mask IRL these days, but we can learn to pay an exquisite type of attention to the energetic field of the people we meet. I don’t know. Somehow, this just gives me comfort, the recognition that we have other ways of connecting with people than just a smile. I’m also trying to learn how to smile with my eyes, how to convey warmth with my eyes. I read an article where it was referred to as “smizing”. I’m not expecting that word to be fully adopted, but it’s a moment of humor. All this to say, we can do this. We can figure out a way to genuinely connect even with masks hiding much of the face.

It gives me a jolt of joy to report that our beloved Claire Alexander will be at the helm tomorrow; holding space for us and providing a fabulous soundscape. I look forward to seeing you in the zoom room.

I’ve been asked to mention how grateful the Open Floor team is for your weekly contributions. They send deep gratitude to all the dancers who so faithfully contribute to Open Floor each week. Please don’t forget to pay if you can afford to do so. That said, I forgot to pay last week, so I’ll be doubling up this week!

Seeing in Three Pieces by Kate Knapp

Somehow we must see through the shimmering cloth of daily life, its painted, evasive facings of what to eat, to wear? Which work matters? Is a bird more or less than a man? * There have been people who helped the world. Named or not named. They weren't interested in what might matter, doubled over as they were with compassion. Laden branches, bright rivers. * When a bulb burns out we just change it— it's not the bulb we love; it's the light.

Sending love & dancing delight,

KB

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