The performance video piece that I am showing as part of my thesis is about the importance of grounding oneself, being with the earth and reminding ourselves that there are other co-existing organisms on this planet that share some of our sensibilities. The cows are curious, sensitive and giving. After staying with them for a while, you feel your heart rate go down and the restless energy diminish. Just hearing the sounds of them sniffing and feeling their rough tongues licking your body makes you feel loved and cared for. There is an ensemble that takes form. We are part of the animal kingdom yet we are so far from understanding these cousins of ours.
This performance was also a ritual and ceremony for a love I had who passed away recently. Dealing with loss is being able to let something go and letting go of the grip that we thought we had on life. Life is not in our command and it can disappear in the flash of a night. We must accept death as part of life. Letting the cows come to me was a way for me to accept my vulnerability. I feel helpless in front of death. All I have the power to do is survive. The word survive has the ‘sur’ which in French means ‘on top’ like going over something but perhaps we could make up a new term ‘sousvivre’ to ‘sublive’ or live under life, surrender to its power and let it be more powerful than us.
There are moments of weakness and we must honor these moments for they teach us that there is something even greater out there, something coming towards us, pulling us naturally despite our lack of strength. When I am with the cows, I let them come to me. If I come towards them as a normal person would in a field of cows, the cows would just move away in fear. When I lie down and wait, they feel the safety and begin to come to me as I would like to let life come to me. We do not know what will happen tomorrow or the next day. We must live in the moment as animals do.
Burning sage signifies purifying and clearing old thoughts and old spirits hanging off of us. People carry a lot of weight from the past and it makes them restless and anxious. Taking time to listen to nature and to sit in quietness has cured me. When you let go you realize there is something else holding you. The modern human is so hard on himself that he/she doesn’t let himself lose grip or control. Our logo is “ Just do it” and not “ Just Let it do.”