03.08.2019, Les Joncailles,
When I arrived at „Centre de Creation“ on Saturday Night and fell straight into a birthday party with lots of gin and champagne – I thought I would have a good long sleep and then have an easy holiday Sunday exploring the countryside, before pleasantly entering some playful creative exploration of table and typewriter on Monday. Easy.
Sometime around 1pm on Sunday, during my petit dejeuner (breakfast) overlooking the fields of Dordogne, Cassie the stage manager started asking me all these questions about checking the table and about my tech rehearsal, that I didn’t know the answer to – and I got a little scared. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had, in fact, arrived at a JOB. A lot more „professional“ than I had expected…
So, I felt like I had no other choice but to warm up my tired bones and muscles and start training. On my holiday Sunday.
In fact, I didn’t even leave the studios until Tuesday, when I went for a coffee in the next town 5 kilometres from Paul and Abi’s. Inbetween rehearsals, of course!
We haven’t stopped since – so basically I am spending my holidays training, rehearsing and performing seven days in a row. So this is „getting back into it softly“ after not properly training or performing AT ALL for almost a year!
On Monday I actually did six solid hours of physical work (NOT counting my 1 1/2 hours of yoga, of course).
And while my body and the rest of me is overwhelmed and a bit in disbelief about what’s happening to it, I am at the same time digesting the situation. Before I’d had all these images of totally re-inventing my act, of finding a completely new approach, artistically. With three days to actually work on a new table, I was busy just making SOMETHING work. Starting with getting my body back into shape and remembering what I did seven years ago (which is when I last did the act before my back „went out“). I had a few sessions with Abigail, working and re-thinking some of the details.
Before I had a moment to get a little sad about not being more creative, but rather having to „deliver“ a „product“ and WORK (for free!) – I realised that creative work takes a little more than just showing up on time. You need to already bring something, even if it’s „just“ an idea. You cannot just be the material. You have to have something to give. The best director or choreographer in the world can make nothing with a dead body!
So, while I was warming up and re-producing my old crap, I was made painfully aware of where I was at: just about arriving at point zero! Out of shape, a bit overweight and not exactly overly motivated. I got embarrassed – especially seeing the other performers working on complex show concepts on a high skill level.
And the lesson once again was:
NOTHING COMES FROM NOTHING.
No one can do it FOR YOU.
YOU make your life. And in particular, YOU make your art.
No one can even help you unless you define your project.
So I understood that for me being here was a chance to do the pre-set for a new start.
I may „only“ be reviving an old act, but there is so much more involved with that:
- overcoming my injury and trauma of the past 7 years
- going from recreational (yoga) training into performance training after quitting circus
- not only improving my handstands, but actually performing them again on stage
- having something to work with. Having a project again!
I can see and feel where I am at. What works and what needs improvement.
I realise: I WANT TO DO THIS (again)!
It’s the first time in years I have witnessed my body and myself really improving again. Overcoming a limitation. Claiming back a means of communication. Feeling like I have something to say. Feeling like I have accomplished something.
If I had known how “hard” this would be, I may not have agreed to do this in my holidays. But I guess I needed this “shock therapy” to force me out of my comfort zone of believing I can’t do it anymore, I am too old and all that.
Well – if that isn’t a good thing to take home and work with!
Let’s do one more show tonight!
27.07.2019, Les Joncailles,
WHAT THERE IS
Leaving and arriving
I have arrived at my final destination in Dordogne already, and I have to admit: I LOVE being on the road. I am going to miss travelling once I get back to Berlin – which I really don’t want to be thinking about at this point.
I have arrived at being AWAY.
Finally, my road trip without a plan – of spontaneously going where my fancy takes me – turned into a journey TO „Centre de Creation“ in Dordogne, France – where I first (and last) visited 7 years ago.
But I guess life is what you make up while your plans go „wrong“.
So I will spend the final week of my „holiday“ returning to my old job. But hopefully this return will rather be a new take on something I have known before!
Leaving is something I have come across a lot on this trip. Mainly in the form of people in the process of leaving their current life situation, or people who are where they are because they left something behind.
Endings and beginnings.
There is something romantic and a little tragic – but ultimately fascinating and attractive about this!
I feel a little bit like arriving in a parallel universe, where time and perception are slightly off from the „normal“ – things are a little bit brighter, a little more interesting, and a little bit more possible.
I AM LOVING IT!
So I am arriving at Centre de Creation, and I am amazed why i am not more panicked about having to perform an act in a few days that basically doesn’t exist. I will be doing an acrobatic act on a table within the „Redfest“.
Technically I quit circus last November after many stops and re-starts and finally the realisation that I need to fix my body and find a job that gives me a longer term (material) perspective. I have not trained and I am as out of shape as I last was BEFORE I started circus 21 years ago.
I am also very un-prepared, without any concept – and I’m worryingly relaxed about it… Will this end in disaster and humiliation on stage?
Then I remember that this is WHY I am here!
I want to be a beginner again!
I want to look at something that I love with fresh eyes.
I want to discover movement and experience it without anticipating pain before anything else (as I had done for the past years).
I WANT to be un-prepared and nervous!
So – 7 years ago my back „went out“. A few weeks later Luke got his cancer diagnosis and died within 3 1/2 months. Within those months I „lost“ every aspect of my life, starting with my career, my health, my family plans and private life – and not to forget my confidence, identity and self-worth.
Within those 3 1/2 months I was here in Dordogne for one week teaching circus. My body was already in such permanent shock that one time a student had to help me up onto the trapeze when I wanted to demo something.
During this week Paul said to me at one point: „This experience will change your life, and nothing will ever be the same.“
I did not want to hear it. I simply did not want this!
…and it is exactly what happened.
For a long time there were only endings. Never ending loss. I got so used to it – I forgot how it / I could be otherwise.
So I tried to be something else. Something new.
I tried to be a yoga teacher. I put my circus performer identity behind and embraced being a total beginner at this.
I failed and continued „failing“. Until today!
Why do we so often TRY to be something, when we already ARE everything?
When I started to acknowledge my past, things started to work again.
I realised that I AM a circus performer and always will be.
Remembering my roots gave me more and more stability. I felt that I am not „Nothing“.
Even if I’ll never perform again.
Then Abigail invited me to the Redfest.
I know I am not ready.
And I hope that exactly THIS will force me out of old habits.
I am a perfectionist and over-worker. I have never been un-prepared!
I am scared about the fact that on top of this I have no content, no idea or concept for my act!
Haven’t I just written 2 whole pages about where I am now and how I got here?
What about the moment of not knowing?
What about the fear?
What would failure look like? Is it really so uninteresting or just so different from what we have known?
What does „not knowing“ look like?
What if we allow that clumsiness of a first step – even if it’s just for the sake of making it?
THERE IS NEVER NOTHING – ONLY ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS.
Remembering a conversation with an „old“ circus friend…
We can only work with the people that there are.
We can only work with the conditions of the places that exist.
And we can only give what we have.
We can not draw things out of nowhere – like a magician pulls the rabbit out of the hat from „nowhere“. But we can generate, we can translate and we can be a channel for whatever there is „out there“ or „in here“.
Basically: if we are honest and in the moment: WE CAN NOT DO WRONG.
So when I arrived here last night, I was instantly taken back to how I felt 20 years ago. Meeting people with who I trained and did my first show with, 20 years ago. Abi, my first rope teacher!
It was a little bit like a snap back into my old self from all those years ago, back in London!
Being in this creative space made me want to jump into that playground and just train and explore.
Sometimes plans turn out right!
7 years and a circle is closing. Finally.
7 years is apparently how long it takes to fall down and rise again from the ashes.
To arrive at zero.
To throw away all your plan and concept and realise that while knowing nothing, you can do / be everything!
22.07.2019, Saint-Aygulf (France)
„UNEXPECTED TRAVEL SUGGESTIONS ARE DANCING LESSONS FROM GOD“
Planning a journey…
You spend all this time planning and organising dates and times and conditions. In the end SOME things may turn out as intended. For all the unexpected last minute changes – while you wonder why you bothered making a plan in the first place – you have two choices:
2) Go ahead and improvise. DANCE
And you never know what „steps“ you’ll come up with.
Originally this was supposed to be a two week trip only – but then a couple of projects came up that seemed to fit smoothly around my road trip around France.
Upfront was added a handstand and yoga workshop in St. Moritz, which Ursina Badilatti from Alpine Yoga asked me to do quite last minute. I had been a bit burnt out from teaching a lot lately, and I didn’t fancy the whole „dance“ of advertising and selling the thing, but it seemed to be so perfectly „on the way“ down south, allowing me also to squeeze in a flying visit to Milan, where I would take classes with my teacher of choice, Mark Kan.
I am not sure if it was just too last minute or what else – but the workshop sold really slowly. I was ready to cancel, but Ursina really wanted to go ahead with it.
So, reluctantly – I got in my little car and drove toward the mountains.
For two days I got up at 4:30 a.m. to be ready to rock’n’roll at 8:30 for the next 6 hours.
When things DON’T go according to plan is when we learn. We have to leave our comfort zone and try harder. We cannot act on autopilot, but we have to come out of the corner and show our face. It may be embarrassing and we want to hide. But since we decided to go ahead with this – the only way is forward with painful honesty.
I often find that whatever I teach (or rather facilitate to learn) to my students, is exactly what I learn from them or from the subject.
The theme of the workshop was „Conquering Your Fears“.
Allowing imperfection. While trying something new: falling in all directions while slowly arriving in the center. Being a beginner. Experiencing something for the first time. Allowing uncertainty while still giving your very best. Falling. (By the way: as an aerialist, you don’t fall. YOU JUST DON’T…)
Acknowledging what there is – even if it is little. For now.
Trying again. Without expectation…
For me, handstands are the ultimate practice. You can’t fake it. You have to want it. Whatever you put into – you get the answer immediately. It’s like looking in a mirror.
The REAL challenge is: What can you do UNTIL you can actually WORK on your handstand?
What is the VALUE of where you are right now?
In any case – practicing yoga and catching some moments on photo at the magical setting of Lej da Staz was well worth any journey!
Two days before heading to Milan, I found out that Mark wasn’t teaching any of the classes because of which I had planned this trip to Milan, and waited a few extra days in Switzerland! I was a little shocked. Sometimes being well organised is NOT an advantage, I guess…
The hotel was already booked a long time ago, and I was ready to „just be a tourist“ in Milan. I was ready to drift around the city, get a bit lost in a nostalgic way, be swallowed up the the summer city heat and anonymously washed through the streets of Milan, probably feeling a bit sad and strangely free at the same time.
But then Mark offered to give me a private class!
I was super un-prepared, but happily showed up for my 90 minutes of getting my butt kicked.
It’s amazing how much harder everything is when all focus is on you alone. When you don’t know what’s next and you can’t hide inside a group while the eagle eye is watching all your little weaknesses. Again – it’s like looking in a mirror. I saw all my flaws and little lazinesses of the past weeks, months and years. I KNOW them but manage to comfortably ignore them in my regular practice. Doing things properly is SO hard. But SO EFFECTIVE. And I wonder why I don’t always give 100%? When did I become so lame?
So, on this trip this was my second moment of embarrassment: dying in class. When really this should be easy for me! Nothing I don’t know or haven’t done before. It was also a chance to improve myself, that I allowed to pass by – by being lazy and not-so-committed.
On the other hand: what an experience to have someone be your motivator! It was intense and eye-opening both as a student AND as a teacher!
Lesson 1: Always be and give your best!
Lesson 2: We can MAKE opportunities. We can give. We can make presents.
BECAUSE WE CAN.
We can generate.
Thank you for the „alignment“!
Thank you for giving more than I expected!
…and a little snapshot from the South of France
It’s been a while since travelling was part of my daily routine. I am starting to miss the open sky – so I am taking a month OFF to go on a ROAD TRIP! Because there is nothing better than packing your life into the back of a car and sleekly gliding toward the next adventure at the end of the horizon. I never feel more IN THE MOMENT than in that instant of pure potential – while taking off, spreading those wings and feeling the wind – already sensing all possible experiences ahead in that moment of gathering all energies and getting in motion. Anything is possible! It’s the ultimate freedom!
I am looking forward to visiting Alpine Yoga in Switzerland and Centre de Creation in France.
I’ll be sharing some of my „adventures“ here, so stay tuned! I am leaving next month!
Es ist schon eine Weile her, als das Reisen Teil meines Alltags war. So langsam vermisse ich den freien Himmel – deswegen nehme ich einen Monat frei und mache einen ROAD TRIP! Denn es gibt einfach nichts Besseres, als sein Leben in ein Auto zu packen, und geschmeidig auf das nächste Abenteuer am Ende des Horizonts zu zu gleiten. Ich fühle mich selten mehr IM MOMENT als in diesem Augenblick voller Potenzial – während des Absprungs, während man die Flügel ausbreitet und schon den Wind darunter spürt – alle möglichen kommenden Erfahrungen schon ahnend / wissend – in diesem Moment des Fokussierens und In-Bewegung-Kommens. Alles ist möglich! Es ist die ultimative Freiheit!
Einige meiner Stationen sind Alpine Yoga, Schweiz und Centre de Creation, Frankreich.
Von einigen meiner „Abenteuer“ werde ich hier schreiben – also schau immer mal vorbei! Nächsten Monat gehts los!
warming up in Vienna
Playing on and with ropes and handstands with fun and inspiring students!
HIGH ALTITUDE YOGA WEEKEND IN ENGADIN / SWITZERLAND
WITH ALPINE YOGA – AUGUST 2018
In August 2018 I had the pleasure to teach a weekend of workshops in a fantastic location
in the Swiss Alps at 2696 meters near St. Moritz, Engadin.
Thank you Ursina Badilatti for the invitation to this beautiful event!
We started with a breathtaking morning practice by lake Staz followed by delicious Swiss breakfast.
Impressions from yoga and handstand workshops:
Until next time, thank you Alpine Yoga!