This application for the Parallel Perception Scholarship Program was submitted by Soo Young Lee. If you would like to vote for Soo Young please leave a comment at the end of this blog post.
The black stage was broken by blue light. Drumbeats rained down as iridescent silk shadowed my swaying hips.
So much is said through the body. A shoulder turning away speaks of rejection. A quick look upward sings of quiet adoration. For me, dance is communicating wordlessly. Through the meditative practice of Authentic Movement, I learned to accept silence as music, to see images arise from nothing, and to direct the body instinctively.
While writing this essay, I noticed my intellect trying to direct my thoughts. Even though I am scared to do so, I will share movements to center my heart throughout this process. My hands cup the center of my chest and open with fingers splaying outwards.
From my earliest memory, I felt like a wild, curious duckling born into Korean culture that valued education, obedience and stoicism. Knowledge was the gatekeeper to success. Because my mother did not know how to raise or control me, she reformed me through criticism and judgment. In response, I excelled in academics and appeared highly independent. Inwardly, I felt terrorized by self-talk and cultural pressures. My inner desires and expressions were met with mental lashings and severe critics. A reoccurring image burned into me; to be accepted, I had to cut off my arms and smile as if there was no pain.
I am forever grateful to Lujan. His teachings continue to guide me to clarity. My mother cloaked my inner child and coerced my vibrant nature into doubting itself. I adapted and adopted defensive paradigms to avoid feeling weak and exposed. This culminated in a power struggle that I tried to engage Lujan in without understanding what I was doing. He called it for what it was and immediately disengaged with me. After the initial shock, I saw the cloaked habits that Lujan directed my attention to. This woke me from my slumber. I had to acknowledge the depth of layers that harbored my control and power issues. As I shifted my understanding, Lujan welcomed me back as his student. Crouched low, my left arm covers me like a shell, trails past my eyes and upward over my head
Lujan spoke about Being, Knowing, and Doing and always coming back to Being. My default was to stay in knowing and doing and revert back to more knowing to fuel validation. He said that my inner cortex should not be filled with words but with images that are insights received through the body. Working with the body has always been a salve to my monkey mind. My body reveals truths that I have often ignored. From a young age, I became familiar with this emptiness that spread from my belly and swallowed me whole each time I felt betrayed. As I used my false sense of self-determination to cover up my hurt, my body produced the same vacuous feeling because I was betraying myself by not being transparent and vulnerable. Wrapping my arms around my center, I rock my body back and forth, child-like.
Lujan’s words, “See what you can’t view, hear what you can’t listen to and feel what you can’t touch” resonated deeply with me. They were of a similar vibration to my meditative dance, so my spirit embraced them immediately. Gazing from a place of heart returned me to a feeling of innocent compassion. Directing my ears outwardly quieted the mindless rants. Dragon’s breath tempered my surging energy. The more I practiced, I saw the trappings of my mind and how it steered me into dark recesses and kept my emotions in constant flux. On left pointed toes, I lift my right foot high with my right hand open and tumble forward.
Having a teacher is like being able to see the interlacing threads that make one color. What may look like a saturation of green is really a weaving of blue and yellow threads. Lujan directed my eyes toward the threads that were from the imprints of my culture and family. I could then trace them to the source rather than blindly accepting these behaviors as from my true nature. I could witness when I was acting from the cloaked aspects of myself. The awareness of this shadow behavior somehow eased the grip it had on my perception. Along the same lines, I believe that learning Spiral Energetics with Lujan would help me further unwind the threads of intention that block my awareness. Leaping in air, leading with left leg first with sheer fabric trailing behind me.
I am not an ugly duckling anymore. I am the fanning of blue white wings that raise clouds of water. Sometimes I falter and sometimes I fly, but my teacher guides me from the shores. I am extending my blue silver sleeves and reaching into the silence of the night.