Tuesday, July 14, 2009

the moment between perception and intuition

It occurs to me as I sit here tonight - a bit tipsy with a martini in me - that I have reached a pretty good place. Physically I am in as good a shape as seems reasonable at 46-and-eleven-months. I am lean and strong, toned by hours of dance and related physical activity. Perhaps I could lose another 5, or maybe even 10, pounds of belly pudge (caused no doubt, by late night martinis and popcorn) but it would not significantly change my state. Career wise I am still in a bit of limbo, and yet things are definitely on the move. I have found a space for rent that seems suitable for use as a photography studio (though not perfect), and a partner who wants to share that space and the work flow of making it viable. Reena and I are coming up on 22 years of marriage with barely a hiccup. Financially, we're in a really good place though it now seems likely we will never be any American's definition of wealthy. Damn, it is all good.

Dance partner Megan and I were talking as we returned home from our 5-day contact improv dance jam that we really, really, wanted to offer conditioning training to our fellow dancers. It takes work to have the core strength, flexibility, and intuition to do some of the moves that both of us take for granted. How to foster the desire to move that way? This has uncorked a serious desire on her part to teach, and rekindled a similar desire in me. Years ago as I was moving past my black belt in TKD and wondering what came next, I outlined a core of training that I thought would make a good fighter. Later, as my training morphed into highly interactive dance, I realized the concepts transfered pretty well. The gist of my thinking is summed up as "Guiding chaos". One can never truly control a chaotic situation, be it a fight or a contact improv dance. At best, one can ride the chaos in a way that guides it. At Earthdance a few weeks ago, Megan and I taught a workshop at sort of a general level. We explored a concept that was born out of the 36 or so hours of focus we had as we drove cross-country and settled in to an extended dance retreat. The concept was to explore the moment between perception and intuition. That moment is the Now. Prior to that moment is perception, an understanding of where you just were, and immediately after that moment is intuition, the hunch of where you are going. I liken the thought process needed to understand the concept as hitting PAUSE on a tape, being able to rewind for a bit to review what just happened, and then after returning to the moment of pausing, intuiting the likely next sequence of events. While not necessarily using that metaphor, the concept is something I do almost constantly.

While that concept of perception-->now-->intuition is particularly relevant to martial artists and improvisational dancers, I suspect it is also applicable to other life situations. In my unfolding path as a professional photographer, I constantly see that triptych of time. I see the recent steps that brought me to the current moment, and I see the possibilities my path has aimed me at. There are options for the future of course, because my momentum (in life or dance) is somewhat controllable if I am aware and prepared.

And there it is, the point of this post: In life as well as in dance or martial arts, I have to train in a focused and deliberate way if I want to achieve certain goals. There is no guarantee of success, of course. But being aware, awake, and prepared is certainly the bulk of the successful recipe. My progress through fighting arts and dance has honed my ability to guide the chaos of life.

My sincere thanks to all my teachers. Namasté.


  1. You may train to interpet Chaos but you will be less suprised by it if you remember it is Chaos.

  2. As always, our ability to be present in the now is critical to success. Too many of us get stuck in the "what just happened" moment and never make that leap to where intuition is trying to guide us.
    Thanks for some great food for thought.
    Love ya,
    (who has no blogger acct)


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