My favorite line in Aileen's response to her birthday honors is:
"I read a quote from Marilyn Monroe, “Everyone’s a star and deserves the right to twinkle.”
Aileen shows us such a great richness of ways to twinkle. She uses authentic movement in combination with her many other studies of movement disciplines and her "insatiable curiosity and questioning." (description of Aileen in conversation with Paula Sager). She has travelled all over the somatic inquiry map. She reminds me of the diverse range of processes there are in authentic movement practices such as direct experiences, spiritual connections, creative enhancements, psychological explorations, artistic resources and her fun parts parties, Aileen often asks, "Who is here today?" to see which of her parts want attention. Alton Wasson in Contemplative Dance training might ask, "Which drawer wants to open in the many choices of drawers that might be explored in the body? The drawer of sensation might need to be explored or maybe just being aware of our joints or synovial fluid is the impulse today in a moment of movement." Same practice, but with so many different wonderful questions. And that might have been why I wanted to honor Aileen on the AM Community Blog. But it was not.
On the website I work to support Aileen's vision of a community without insiders/outsider factions. Aileen says, "I have “belonged” to many groups in my life, many of which gradually became Insider/Outsider pyramid clubs with increasing degrees of certification and fights over who’s in and who’s out. I am proud to belong to this loose group of uncertified, high quality Authentic Movers and Somatic Inquirers. I will do my best to help keep us inclusive, in the tradition set by A Moving Journal." My Contemplative Dance training suggests that the wisdom of the body extends to each person's own development and exploration of the way to use and teach an authentic movement practice. I might have wanted to honor Aileen for this idea, but I did not choose her for that reason either.
Aileen's clear sense of projection, as in her last sentence, "How is that about you?" could also be a reason to honor her because to honor her turns the honor back on to each one of us to find our own self appreciation and self love. And then we can also project into the richness of all Aileen's list so far of wonderful and awful parts and ask the question,"How is that about me as well?" Parts of me are also disgruntled, tired and pissed off, fiendish, oddball, decrepit, obstreperous, and Harpo? But this is also not why I wanted to honor her.
I wanted to honor her because her work as a volunteer for the AMC web site since 2006 has inspired me. She has done what I have been aiming to do by maintaining this website for the Authentic Movement Community. She has enthusiastically connected people to each other and encouraged them to write, or express their sense of how they use the authentic movement process. So many of the people who are movers in our directory, teachers in our teacher list, writers on our blog and for the Journal of Authentic Movement and Somatic Inquiry (JAMSI) are a part of what we do because Aileen suggested they might like to visit the site, draw a picture, write an article, think about a question, provide a service for us.
Of course I suggested her because she is 88 years young... and I wanted her thanked long before she is gone. But for me it is the inspiration behind my involvement in the website that she represents. Because she is so generous, it is easy to be generous. Because she writes so frequently, I feel free to write more often. Because she nudges me and others to write, I feel free to nudge others to write. Because she sees the artist in each of us, I feel freer to see my own creative forms as artistic expression and encourage these be put up on our blog. Because she does all this in her own unique way, I feel clarity about each of us using this website in our own way at our own pace. I see the AMC website as a very imperfect digital presence, enthusiastically waiting for our participation at the moment we feel moved to join or share or create an event or to write a blog post or a serious article to add to our community effort.
I have seen Aileen's enthusiasm catch and spread. We are over 700 on our email list. Help for the site comes from all over the world. Besides our main website there is a Facebook page with many young authentic movement enthusiasts. Aileen was happy to write a lengthy article for the newly established and well edited JAMSI. You can put her name in a search on the Authentic Movement Community Blog and see her many informal shorter written contributions. And her ideas, articles, and artwork just keep coming. Paula Sager and I recently watched her work on her calligraphy idea, drawing and redrawing until it felt just right to her.
Paula Sager watches Aileen work
One of my other volunteers was cautious about starting a process of honoring one person because so many people deserve to be honored. "How can we start a process to honor everyone who deserves? And not everyone knows or even likes Aileen."
Aileen tells us how to honor all who deserve and how to be kind to those inner parts and people we may not like. She says,"There are parts of me that might be considered “negative” which I want to include. These parts interest me mightily, and I‘m keeping them until I get all the good out of them."
In a recent conversation I will paraphrase something Aileen said, "Don't wait until you're 88 to find your own ecstatic inner witness, and to follow weird gestures in your body and recognize them as allies. They speak; they have their own agency, and their own spontaneous triumph."
Aileen's post traumatic 'Spontaneous Triumph'
So I hope to suggest honor for all by honoring Aileen, by owning our own positive and negative projections, by finding the deep wisdom in each of our own bodies, and by exploring our own questions in our own way. Aileen reminds us to notice all the stars that twinkle in the Authentic Movement Community all over the world.