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Art and Authentic Movement by Aileen Crow

GOOD NEWS!

Knowing as we do that Authentic Movement and art often stimulate each other, we’re starting a new project,

A U T H E N T I C   M O V E M E N T   A N D   M Y   A R T.

 Y O U  A R E  I N V I T E D 
to send us photos, drawings, art writings or videos of your art, along with your writing about your art experience.

More than one example is welcome.

*******************************************

Today, Aileen Crow shares with us an example of one of her AM / art experiences.

Over years as an AM mover, I’ve found that certain movement motifs have repeated themselves spontaneously, and with no apparent meaning - at first.


 One of these that seemed significant and mysterious, was one that had two different dynamics in my two hands, at exactly the same time!  My right hand fluttered up above my head in delight, while my left hand thrust itself aggressively forward in an “effyou’" gesture.

 I drew them: 


and I named them Rebel and Delight. (It reminded me of Laban’s category: fighting or indulgent.)

I made a sculpture of her and painted her; her right side is pink and glowing, her left is a sickish green.




Words started to come with the repeated fighting movements.”Don’t tell me what to do!”  “….what to think!”  “…..what to eat!”  “….NOT to eat!”   I ask, "Who gives you uninvited advice?   Left side answers: “Dogmatic New Age Fatheads.” I ask, “Whose advice would you welcome? “  Right side answers: “Shirley Turcotte, Aboriginal Trauma therapist, who elicits a humorous mix of strength and joy."

My drawing talent is spontaneous. When people talk, I ‘see” their relationships or their body attitudes, or their emotional issues. I often “see” them as cartoons. I’m fortunate that this visual sensory channel comes to me so easily.  I think we need access to all our sensory modes, {visual, auditory, proprioceptive, kinesthetic, olfactory, gustatory), especially the ones that seem to be “missing”! 

Each one may hold a treasure!                                

Creating a dialog to me is a way of being my own mover and witness. And my art enriches that process.  I’ll do more of that and I’d like to hear your story!

Send your ideas in a comment to this blog post or in an email to ereid1@yahoo.com

Marilyn Horowitz responds to Aileen Crow's Authentic Movement and Art Project




Transcribed audio between Marilyn Horowitz and Aileen Crow

Marilyn: Painted on my birthday ...

Marilyn: It is called "The Dancing Electric Jello" or "Happy Birthday To Me." I woke up at 6:00AM and just started to paint. I just went for it. It just took on this shape. I just suddenly saw that it was a dancing form. After I worked on it for a while, I realized that the leg, an arm and a hand protruding were absolutely structurally the expression of the energy of the yellow thing in the middle which, after I painted it, I realized this is a recurring theme in my spiritual work.

My belief is that the pineal gland, which is in the middle of your head, is where the soul resides. The unconscious is the body. In my imagination the pineal gland looks like another symbol that I created in working with Aileen, which was of a yellow zygote. We were doing pre-birth work. Aileen asked me, "Was there a time when you actually felt happy?" I said, "Yes, probably at that moment before I actually became an anything, when I was still a zygote."


All the meditation work I began to do had to do with keeping my eyes open or turning the muscles inward and connecting to the pineal gland, because when I do that, my soul can come right through my eyes. Just the simple act of doing this opens a huge channel.


In terms of the proportions of life, typically the zygote is tiny, and the personality is soft. The ego and the life are larger but what happened in this painting was suddenly my personality self was clearly an extension. I consider this yellow symbol, this triangular symbol, the expression of my larger self or my soul, it seems that the painting is about how my personality self is happily by my larger self. That's the only way that there is a possibility for happiness.

In my movement with Aileen for many years, she and I have both been very interested in post-traumatic stress and the idea that stress is held literally in the body. We've both been working on this concept in Authentic Movement.

I'll just double check though. Holly Sweeney introduced us because I came into my Alexander session carrying a book called "Dreaming While Awake" by Arnold Mindell. She's like, "You have to meet Aileen," because I was involved unwittingly in the idea of trauma because my idea was that if you learned to dream while you were awake, then you could clean up your unconscious. I thought cleaning up your unconscious was the work that had to be done in order to be in post traumatic living and learning.

The unresolved trauma in your body causes you to unconsciously do damage to yourself. If the only way to overcome the very deep problems were to really go in there, clean out, release or express whatever that was ...

Aileen: That word is important.

Marilyn: The point is I didn't know what the traditional word was. Now I know that the word is express but at the time because I'd had a therapy background, I assumed that it was working through, dream work or some sort of process but by the time that I had met Aileen, I had become quite convinced all of these were blunt instruments. It's even worse that they might mire the body in the trauma by constantly reinforcing it verbally.

I was very stuck. At that point if you'd said to me, "Your soul is in the center of your brain, and that's what it feels like," and that you could access it any second, that it wasn't in a mysterious place and that if you'd said to me, "The unconscious is in the body, where else is it?" I would have been more unsure, but then I began to work with Aileen and took a couple of her workshops, and started to work with her privately.

It became eminently clear to both of us that we were on parallel tracks in terms of the discovery process, of how best to live one's life. My intention was that I did not want to be wise and old. I wanted to be wise and as young as possible so that I could enjoy my wisdom.

Aileen: Lovely.

Marilyn: What this painting represents is the triumph of the zygote.

Aileen: Wonderful.

Marilyn: The picture is arms and a leg. Theoretically, the human body has been replaced by the zygote. Clearly, from the painting there are these three holes, which are called the common wisdom. Clearly, the personality self and the zygote, the soul self, are merged. There's no conflict because they're dancing together.

Aileen: That's wonderful.

Marilyn: Even though I wasn't aware of it when I was doing it, it clearly demonstrates that I have achieved this goal that I was seeking. It was a nice birthday present for myself because I did the painting, went back to sleep. When I woke up, that's when I unpacked it. I began to understand what it represented in terms of an emotional movement.

Aileen: Now, you know my longing is for you to dance that.

Marilyn: I can certainly do that. 

Note from Elizabeth.. Blogger only allows one minute videos...so to see the whole movement session watch these videos in order.  To see the conclusion watch the last video.

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Introduction

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1

video
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4 Conclusion

This full video may be available using mail drop.  4.30 minute video of Marilyn's movement in response to her painting.

Click to Download
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All right. With respect to the movement that I just did about the painting, we ended with the twist.

Now Aileen's theory when I first started was that the most basic movement was a release, was to find the natural spiral or twist; the undulation of the body and, very much like the old traditions, the idea that the trauma is held in the body.

What the subtlety is that you could only release the trauma when you were doing a certain type of movement, which was some kind of a spiral or a twist. This subtlety I had never seen discussed anywhere else as a thing. I've studied with Bonnie Cohen and with lots of people who do this kind of movement, but no one before Aileen has ever identified the twist as the mechanism of release for trauma.

Aileen: Peggy Hackney.

Marilyn: Peggy has. I'm not that familiar with her work. I've read a bit of it. I didn't see it in there but, obviously, it's in there. Aileen uses it as well because that tells me when the body has completed one movement of whatever it was doing and now is ready for something new. Then I wait.

The idea is that whenever I go into the twist with my elbows crossed and my palms crossed, it means there's a doorway. I've completed whatever that sphere of movement was in the authentic movements. It now has a recognizable, if not a narrative, shape. It's not narrative. It's not a story, per se, but it is a rhythmic story in the sense that when the twist happens and the release occurs ...

Aileen: The shape is meaningful.
When you work with authentic movement in this particular way it becomes, if not narrative, rhythmic and rhythmic in an expansive, conclusion sense of the word. Today when I stopped I then worked on some of my own personal discomfort that was coming up about personal situations but that in itself was a release. Then here I am now back discussing twisting, authentic movement and painting.
The recap is that through this process of doing authentic movement, expression such as painting occurs. That would be the best way to describe it.

Marilyn: The painting occurred as a result of movement and that because I have an interest in understanding the true nature of spirituality, in the authentic movement and workshops that I do. This concept of the yellow zygote being the part of me that is endlessly happy that supersedes all of the other modules became the concept that allowed me to resolve my trauma.

I found peace once the body understood that "I" understood that it was the unconscious and that my soul was actually stored in my pineal glands. The brain was not actually the thing that controlled my actions', so I stopped beating up my monkey mind. I started to understand that my mind was the electrical conveyance by which my soul could express itself because the mind was needed in order to move the body and to exist in the world.

Once those relationships shifted into a much more fluid understanding and that the zygote became the central guiding force, then the twisting and the authentic movement became a connection with, again, the pineal gland and the larger self. It all became a very holistic thing. When I did the painting in which the representation of the zygote, the pineal gland, the triangular-shaped yellow form that appears in many of my paintings had the entire personality body. What was left were limbs that were necessary to dance with. I thought that it was a very nice way to enter my birthday. The painting is called "Dancing Electric Jello" or "Happy Birthday To Me."


Twisting by Aileen Crow

Here’s a piece about twisting and spirals:

This is another of those intriguing (to me) movement phenomena that sometimes appear in Authentic Movement.  They often repeat themselves, sometimes for years, before their meanings become clear.

This one started in a NYC AM peer group.  Moving as usual, suddenly my arms twisted in front of my face.  It was odd, but I took it as a positive event.  I drew it, two pictures.  One as it looked in the mirror, the other as it felt, with many more twists than possible.  Soon afterwards, my legs twisted, then my torso. The twisting came with a warning: “Don’t try to make this happen!  It has to be spontaneous!  To take you by surprise!"



The twists seemed to have a life of their own.  I imagined them as messengers from another realm, which I called my “creative unconscious.”   I’m not spooky, but I often ask myself, “Who do you think you are?”  or “Who has my identity?”  "Is it by choice, or am I reenacting a trauma pattern?"  Authentic Movement gives me information from my body’s inner wisdom.

Lately I am delighted when a twist appears because it has come to mean, “Some part of you (I intend to save the word “you” to mean "your whole self”) thinks that what you’re doing is weird, but you’re on the right track, Aileen."



Everything that flows spirals.


P.S. on Spiraling -
The subject of spiral movement seems to be endlessly interesting to me, and I haven’t even touched on Authentic Movement’s relationship to Laban Movement Analysis, or on cross cultural studies.

Folk Song Style and Culture was an exhaustive study by Alan Lomax, Irmgard Bartenieff and Forestine Paulay of movement elements and specific cultures. For example, they found that cultures that were inclined to favor fertility over control of sensuality used their torsos as one unit - with little undulation. The Lomax book is available on Amazon, and much of this information can be found on Wikipedia.

An interview with Peggy by Aileen can be found on A Moving Journal.   Volume 12.1 Spring 2005: Authentic Movement and Laban Movement Analysis, an interview with Peggy Hackney  http://amjpastissues.blogspot.com

MAKING CONNECTIONS, Total Body Integration Through Bartenieff Fundamentals, by Peggy Hackney, is an elegant and pleasurable book by a fine teacher, writer and long time Authentic Mover.  You can read  this book online: 


Higher Self Sits by Jane Blount

Dear Elizabeth,

I'd like to share this poem that I wrote for my friend, DeviKirn in honor of her 49th birthday gathering which celebrated her entering into the 7th, seven year cycle of life.  DeviKirn has been one of the space holders, and organizers of a weekly dance jam gathering in Encinitas, CA called Dance Church Encinitas.  
Two years ago she invited me to facilitate a monthly Authentic Movement class on the first Sunday of each month prior to the dance jam.  This poem was sourced from the many times I had the honor of witnessing her, both as she moved, and as she joined me witnessing the field of movers, within the circles of that loving community.  Jane

Higher Self Sits
Higher Self lovingly sits and holds space
Higher Self lovingly sits and sees,
Lovingly sits and feels and breathes.

Higher Self sees the breath as eyes meet eyes
Mouths drink essence opening wide as if to speak…yet no words suffice the depth.

Higher Self lovingly sits over flowing with empty expectation holding all forms.
Light and dark, dark and light, and light and dark, dark and light,
And Mama lion tumbles and wrestles with her son as movers move and sounders sound,
Limbs entwined in familial bonds strengthened by blood and conscious guiding.
And Guardian woman listens for truth, her ahhhhs, uuuummms, and yeesssess gravitate her where she is needed.

The Compassionate one witnesses, holding space for authenticity to find safety and unfold her wings.
She welcomes Laughter’s tears adorning cheeks like liquid jewels.
Reflecting the light DeviKirn sits witnessing all with quiet strength and understanding.

We sit bathed in her light.
Bathed in the light, our light, her light, all light and dark and light

We lovingly sit, hold space, and feel and breathe.

Poems from Laura Hays

Deep Listening”

This deep listening to body impulse is radical
like what babies do
explore without agenda
seeing cooing touching toes
it ’s unlike anything we do in daily life
most of our waking hours we direct our bodies from point A to point B
purposefully attempting to get somewhere or accomplish something
proprioception is in the joints, to join, one English word for different things
today my toes head spine hands all want to contact wall
gently press both sides of head with palms
back body settling into quiet restful stillness
amazed that i am still amazed after all these years of listening in this way
i soak up the fullness
and witness the infinite possibilities…10/19/15, Laura Hays

"Sanity and Madness"

Spine on earth
feet on earth
blue sky
green pine needles
brown leaves clinging to November branches
seven women and granite boulders deposited by glacier
large enough to hold the pain of the world and speak of the unspeakable
130 slaughtered in cold blood in Paris
hundred of thousands fleeing Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa on leaky boats and worn feet
the Middle East catching wild fire like the parched trees in California
When do we humans lay down our weapons and choose love?
who will protect us from ourselves?  11/2/15, Laura Hays

Authentic Movement virtual meeting in the UK with Emma Meehan (Leamington Spa) and Amy Voris (Manchester) in honour of Mary Starks Whitehouse


We took part in the Global Virtual Event Long Distance Authentic Movement Circle to Share Your Dreams for Authentic Movement
October


We followed the score for Movement:
Connect to yourself, open your awareness to include the space that you’re in, and eventually your peers you are moving with.
Begin to open your awareness to all the other movers around the world. Follow your inner impulses in relationship to this awareness of the larger collective. Be curious and notice if you have a wish or a dream for our community.


Following a transition period of writing and drawing, we shared witnessing via Skype.


Emma’s writing
Lying on my back, stretching right leg then left leg out to side, a gentle opening, restful. I feel a breathing space between joints, muscles, bone, a gentle spreading and opening of hips, groin, knee, ribs, and a releasing into the floor. I wish for more time to move and movement to become part of my desk work.


Feeling of warmth and opening and sensitivity in my chest, imagining Amy move in Manchester– I can visualise and feel her closeness, proximity, warmth, sounds, feeling connected. Coming back to this room, how can I get a sense of connecting without imagining? Thoughts crowd in and I feel confused between here and there, trying to find a ground for sensing my own body and connecting with the virtual world. Constantly moving arms and legs, soreness in neck, trying to reach arms over head. Gentle moving –connective tissue being opened out, breathing life into it, opening spaces and gaps between fibres and tissue and muscle and bone.


Kneeling on floor, hands upturned. Stillness and a sense of solid core, imagining threads connecting me to the rest of the world. Imagining other movers everywhere, like me, doing Authentic Movement, breathing, reaching an arm in the air, like me. I feel a sense of confusion and frustration and unsettling in nerves, wondering how can I connect here and now? Leaning forward into a child’s pose, messaging shoulders, aching in muscle.
















Amy’s writing
I am pushing into the wall with right hand
and left foot.
Playing between pushing
and yielding.
Feedback from the wall into my
bones is satisfying.
A slotting into a place.  
Leaving that place.  
And returning.  
There is warmth that turns
into heat and then back to warmth
again.





Dialogue
We discuss connections in our moving and witnessing with previous conversations about finding a place or a home.  We also note our explorations in Authentic Movement in performance, where Authentic Movement ‘materials’ are revisited through repetition with a difference.


We move on to the sense of confusion about the word ‘community’ – what is a community? What is the Authentic Movement community?  Is there a space to express and contain tensions? What is the relationship between elders and the next generations?


We explore these questions in relation to our moving.  In Amy’s there is a wish for resilience in the field to handle the tension between points in the community.

In mine, there is a wish to find space as a way of connecting – like connective tissue or a web of connection, with substance and space to allow contact, relationship, movement.

Sharing our dreams by Carol Zahner and Annie Blair

Celebration of Mary Whitehouse Day - Portland Oregon to Bogotá, Colombia


Annie Blair in Portland and I in Bogotá had a good time moving across long distancAnnie and I have known each other for many years, first in Maine and then in Portland Oreon.  And now on Skype!!

It was very satisfying to feel our connection across thousands of miles on the two American continents.  Below are some of the images that I caught on video camera.
Carol – Bogota, Colombia

Relating with Carol through Authentic Movement reminds me again how the form brings a special kind of intimacy to our friendship. 
Annie Blair - Portland, OR









Sharing our dreams from Alison Buck



Greetings on this world wide honoring of Mary Starks Whitehouse’s birthday!  In honor of the day, I am sharing several things. 
Here are links to the article on the website of my homeopathic colleague, Anneke Hogeland, who with another colleague, Judy Shriebman, has written a remarkable article on the making of a homeopathic remedy that began as a healing intention.  I participated in that process, along with a number of homeopaths, some of whom are international.  You will need to go to each of the following three links to get the full story:


You will see in the third link above, if you scroll to the section of my account of some experiences I had in making the remedy, that we began the whole process with me facilitating an Authentic Movement session with the homeopaths.  This is probably the first time that has happened, and it is one of the ways I envision realizing my wish for Authentic Movement.

In the second link above, you will see among many, an excerpt of a case I shared, in which I reported what happened in giving this remedy made from the healing intention of cancer.

Overall, I think you will also see in the creative work that was done in conjunction with the making (aka “proving”) of the remedy,  that there was a creative forming process occurring quite spontaneously, and it has a lot in common with what happens in Authentic Movement.  And you may see other things about this remarkable work that you can relate to, from your experiences in Authentic Movement.

MARIA ELENA GARCIA - OCEANO GROUP Sharing our dreams


Arriving to my seventies I want to thank my peer group: Oceano (Marcia Plevin, Antonella Monteleone, Anna Weatherhogg, Maria Luis Merlo, Piera Pieracini, Antonella Adorisio, Leonella Parteli) we have been moving together for 25 years, since the time of the retreats guided by Janet Adler in Tuscany. We have been witnessing each other along the different phases of our life.
In these days, feeling the distant but strong connection with all the A.M. community, and particularly with my peer group, I could see my fear loosen the grip, less fear about the unknown, about the future, about the crisis in the world
On October 4th, the International authentic movement day, at the end of a short practice with Simonetta Cianca
“I find a stable vertical axis and a clear direction for my eyes. I am turning and turning slowly while my arms open and close, caressing the world and turning after to my center. Finally my movement stops, I am listening to my heart, I notice some emotional intensity yet. I wait for peace” So I find my dream for the A. M. Community: all of us trying to develop our consciousness us a humble contribution for stability, clear direction, compassion and peace in the world.



Oct 5 Authentic Movenment virtual communication from Aileen Crow

My colleague Annette Geiger, from Zurich, and I skype frequently, taking turns moving /sounding and witnessing AM. We met on October 5 and after we did our usual trade, we continued moving and sounding together, now with the intention of  connecting with our whole AM community on the planned “virtual reality” gathering.


First off, I had a strong feeling that I wanted my “best” to connect with all of your “best”.
In my own personal process, it is becoming clear to me that in the absence of trauma, INTRINSIC HEALTH IS THE NORM.  I associate intrinsic health with being at home in spontaneity (AM), and being at home in love rhythms. To me, that’s the “best”.
Words came to me and out of me:  “Make room for all your parts!”
These were words I took in from Luly Santangelo, the leader of a dance therapy group I was in many years ago.


Make room for ALL my Parts? ALL my projections? ALL my emotions?


I remember that we live in a patriarchy which is engaged in a war against women; men like Chaffetz, who are out to Defund Planned Parenthood and deny women the right to their own bodies, making abortion and contraception illegal.


Is the nasty, rude Chaffetz a Part of me? Can I make room for that Part of me?

My training with Shirley Turcotte on transforming trauma helps here. It reminds me that I have vicariously identified with the traditional belief that women are victims. We have been brainwashed to believe that, shamed and blamed, and trained to trash ourselves.  I “see” the movie vision of gorgeous Rita Hayworth singing, “Put the blame on Mame, boys, put the blame on Mame!”



But it ain't necessarily so! Intrinsic health is the norm, with its spontaneity and being at home in the love rhythm: the “best!”.

And we have excellent models, like Maya Angelou, Amy Goodman, Shirley Turcotte, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Gwen Verdon, Elizabeth Warren, Patti Smith, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cecile Richards, Mary Whitehouse, Your Name Here!

Sharing from Ann McNeal


Sharing Gratitude

Our peer group of women met on Tuesday night Oct 6th in Amherst Massachusetts. This group has been going for nearly 20 years, although many of the members have changed. As the early dusk closed around us and the trees were held in deep blue sky, we did our usual practice of moving and witnessing (two moving, two witnessing. and then changing roles, one member being out sick). 

At the end we shared a few words of gratitude to Mary Starks Whitehouse for her generosity and deep insight in giving us this simple form that does so much to sustain us.

Thank you, Mary. And thank you, Elizabeth, for helping to keep the dream alive.

Ann McNeal

Thanks, Ann!  Beautiful said,
    Nina  Weyl

Sharing our dreams from Nina Kungurova many locations in Russia with responses!

many circles
many meetings
to hold the thread of connection
to celebrate International Authentic Movement Day
with gratitude
from Russia





Greetings from our Authentic Movement group in Groningen, The Netherlands. Wishing you all the best! 
Jaques van Eijden

What a great idea so share locations! Fa Winsborough here from an Antonio TX, USA. Greetings!!!!



Nina Kungurova Elizabeth Reid Thank you!.. One group hold the lists of writings about Authentic Movement dreams. Another group hold the letters to oneself in future.
Elizabeth Reid Wow. I would love to read these.
Nina Kungurova Elizabeth ReidFa Winsborough It's possible! I received some writings from participants! "I dream elderly people could practice AM in order to regenerate trust, contact with their bodies and eagerness to perceive" (Olga, Perm). "I dream of a community likeminded people, where we could express all planes of our souls in AM" (Lena, Kazan). "I dream of a group of people in Kazan investigating an AM process as an art form, as a performance" (Alfiya, Kazan). 
LikeReply2 hrsEdited
Fa Winsborough Marvelous!
LikeReply2 hrs

Elizabeth Reid Yes. Thank you!