the ritual of dance

Week 1 | September 25 to October 1 | Odissi Dance with Guru Surrendra

As I venture into the possibility of re-living one of the most physically demanding weeks of my life, this thirty-something life, I feel excitement and desire to return. This is bewildering considering all that happened that first week in Raghurajpur.[1] If this were a story portrayed on television you might first see this…

Shannon thin and trim, strong carrying the weight of the world with ease and satisfaction. She is feeling balance, walking a middle path she has attempted to stay on in this life. There is a new sense of understanding about our bodies, our lives and mostly our adaptability as human beings to just about any situation handed to us. It is easy for her to let the sweat[2] run down her face, fill her armpits and the cradle above her ass while a drip of sweat sweetly softly runs down the center of her cheeks. At this point, wrapping herself in the cotton scarf is a blessed thing as it helps absorb and is a shield for unwanted distractions or attention. This isn’t a new human being walking in Shannon’s shoes – it is simply a process of letting go of past live distractions, fears and habits. All creature comforts have been stripped away but it is still the sweating girl she has always been – she would like to thank her mother for the extra sweat glands keeping the sweat raining down.

Then, we flash back to 6 weeks before…but before we do let’s first address today, the now flash-forward. In being months removed from the sweltering heat and cacophony of India, I realize the reality of memory, the false truths that arrive in the mind from distance and time separation from the moment. The impermanence and vulnerability of our memories gives a freedom to re-discover a past moment, to exaggerate or miss the truth of the moment. And in times of great challenge the true memory is sent into a safe place in the mind to minimize the continued suffering. Like child birth or a death of a loved one – Joan Didion coins this as the title of one of my favorite books – The Year of Magical Thinking. You may be wondering, is she comparing her first week in India to suffering of child birth or lose of a loved one, sorta – yes. I write this because moments ago I checked my daily horoscope and this is what it states:

Even if you want to impress others with your inspirational attitude and the power of your positive thoughts, remember that you don’t have to sugarcoat reality. Do what you do best; just tell the truth and let everyone respond accordingly.

 


[1] Will I tell you the all or is it as many say to me more often than not, too much information! Also, a note to the true writers out there – my use of footnotes is not correct, I know this but I have many footnotes in my mind constantly so this is my solution – thank you for your patience.

[2] For the many who had to bear witness to this time in Shannon’s life, including herself, you will note the word sweat will be used too an extraneous degree…one flip through her journal will reveal this superfluous need to write or say sweat, sweating, sweated, sweatier, sweatiest, sweats, sweaty…

Out of 100’s of photos from that first week – this 100 made the cut!

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Some days off…we ventured to the nearest big city, Puri, to do some necessary shopping! After a day of shopping plus our weekly evening festival with the village came our first group outing…my first Buddhist site in India.

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