Home » Archives for April 2016

From April 2016

CHARGE: Needles, California

CHARGE: Needles, California

February 1, 2016

Kristine Adams & Philippa Moirai

I would have never guessed I would meet up with Kristine Adams and Philippa Moirai in the very small town of Needles, California, on this historic Route 66.

I saw on Facebook that Philippa and Kristine were in the states and on a road trip. Turns out we were both driving through Arizona. We decided to meet right on the border of California and Nevada.  We found a cute little trailer park right on the Colorado River to park our rig.  They found a motel only a couple miles away.

I invited them over for dinner at the trailer.  We caught up on travels of past and future plans.  Then we checked the weather for the next day.  Snow both ways and super crazy winds!  We all decided to just spend the day together in Needles and wait the weather out for one more day.

I shared the CHARGE project with the girls and…YES!  Kristine proposed a deserted old motel she saw as location. Yes. Philippa proposed a Hotel California flamenco remix. Yes. We started some laundry at the park and head to the motel.

It just happened. One idea after the other. We just did it.  It was a loosely developed idea with a lot of improvisation. It was so enjoyable. Kristine and Philippa are a joy. Creative, light, loving and up for it. This was the most time I have ever spent with either one of the girls. I have respected both of their works for many years but this was my first opportunity to experience truly why these two humans are so uniquely amazing.

I’m reaching to find much more to say because it was easy.  Enjoyable. Relaxing and exhilarating at the same time.

Just yes :-)

CHARGE: Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

December 12th 2015

Nicole

I went through Asheville, North Carolina specifically to visit my dear friend SamiTe. We stayed three days in a beautiful spot on the river. I got in some great runs and great dinners! The last night we were there, SamiTe took us to her friend Nicole’s house for some music and a hot tub soak.

Nicole is awesome and she just recently found Psytrance. Psytrance is electronic dance music geared toward long sessions of a type of trance dance. She told me how she found this music and how it changed her life. CHARGE! Raven actually sent me a text while she was sitting there that said, “Charge?” We made plans for the next evening and we stayed one more day so I could specifically work with Nicole.

We started with some flocking just to get to know each other’s movement a little bit. She had done a lot of Tai Chi in her past and it came into play right away. I could tell that Nicole had not collaborated a lot in movement. She was mostly comfortable completely shut off from her surroundings, disappearing into an alternate space. Movement is an escape for her, a transformation.  I tried to take her cues and disappear into my own world when she needed it.  WE had trouble finding each other at first.  She moves with her eyes closed so I found it difficult to collaborate and easier to follow her… wherever she was going.

It was a very cool experience to be where Nicole lives in movement.  I find myself rarely moving without analyzing and remembering.  She let in and let it go.  I can compare it to moving Shavasana.  I mentally struggled with what we would tape and document.  I could tell it would be difficult to solidify something from this session, it would not be exact or re-creatable.  So we taped a few things and then Nicole started singing.  I was with her and she took us somewhere extremely special.  She let me ride along with her and I have a feeling she doesn’t always make room for other people in her movement process.

What I loved about moving with Nicole was the ability to separate and come back together, numerous times.  Waiting for her cues when she was ready for me.  Finding my own space when she wasn’t.  Dancing with her to Psytrance and feeling the passion that she carries for this sound.  Listening to her sing, listening to her breathe, watching her control the space around her.  She is free in her movements.  She is an individual and strong when she moves.  This is how Nicole rebels against her normal world, how she finds spirituality.

Thank you Nicole for finding ways to include me in your movement.  Thank you for making this experience profound.

CHARGE: Lyles, Tennessee

Lyles, Tennessee

November 28-29th 2015

Cheryl Spears

This is a great story. While we were in Sedona, Arizona at a campground, we ran into a couple coming back from the toilets. Cory and Cheryl. Cory said good morning immediately. We exchanged small talk from a distance at first. “Where ya headed?” “Where y’all from?” They came closer to the trailer as we were hitching up, and we chit-chatted about travels. I knew these two were my sort of people right away. I asked them if they wanted to smoke together, and yes, they were my sort of people. They were so kind that they told us if we passed through Tennessee, we could park outside their house. We really had no idea if we were going to make it but we took their info and went on our way.

The rest of the trip until Tennessee, Raven and I spoke about these two. Raven had a really strong feeling that we should visit, she felt we were destined to be friends. I was very excited because Cheryl is a double amputee…I thought of the CHARGE project right away. It did’t feel like the appropriate time to ask at the campground where we met…I wondered…if I asked, would she say yes? What would I make with her? I was nervous and hopeful she would be interested. When I first met Cheryl she came off as independent, strong, and absolutely capable of anything. So let’s go to Tennessee!

We called Cory and Cheryl when we left Memphis and they welcomed us with huge hugs. They live in Lyles, Tennessee right outside of Nashville. We had a beautiful place to park and three wonderful dogs to keep us company. (It seems we’ve run into a lot of awesome dogs this sabbatical.)

We rolled in Thanksgiving Day, and Cory brought us to his mom and dad’s house. Turns out Cory comes from Grand Ole Opry royalty! If you know something about country western music then you probably know that many of the first breakthrough artists got their start on the Grand Ole Opry. The first woman of the Grand Ole Opry, Jean Shepard, is Cory’s mom. So we spent the day with Jean Shepard, country superstar, 82 years old! We also got a private guitar pickin’ session from her husband Benny Birchfield! It was an honor. Truly.

Friday, I asked Cheryl to dance with me. She was confused at the question. “We can make anything we want, Cheryl. You can tell me yes, you can tell me no.” We agreed, and Saturday we tried something. As Cheryl left the room, her man, Cory, told me about her prosthetics. “She has two legs in the closet she needs to work with.” Instinctively I knew that we needed to use her new legs.

She allowed me to be a part of the whole process. (Cheryl, you are so generous.) I watched her attach her legs. There is a screw at the end of these neoprene knee sleeves that locks into the legs. We started in the living room with her wheelchair and a walker in front of her. I had no idea what to do.

Honestly, I was nervous as hell! I have no training in amputee physical therapy. Period. I was worried the whole night before. I reminded myself to stay open. To learn, not teach; to say yes, with no critique or expectations.

So there we were, ready to begin…Where to begin? Cheryl says it’s been a couple months since she has attempted to stand on her legs. Let’s try! Using the walker, and a lot of upper body strength, she pulled herself up. Her legs cramped immediately, and she sat right back in her chair. A short break later she tried again. Cramping immediately. When she went to sit back in her chair, her chair slid back and she fell to the floor. Slowly, fortunately. We both got scared. Cheryl looked at me and said, “I’m done.” Damn! I joined her on the floor and we leaned into each other. I felt her frustration and her fear. Her disappointment. We took a smoke break on the floor together. We sat and talked and smoked. I was so curious as to how her body has responded to losing her legs. She only lost them one year ago. I felt as though her back would be so tight from sitting in the chair day after day. What about a forward bend? “Hey Cheryl, can you stretch toward your feet?” Holy shit!  She folds in half.  Just lays completely flat on her prosthetics.  No hamstrings!  She is incredibly flexible!  I asked her where her forward bend was before, she never checked.

The energy changed just like that.  Our work was on the floor.  Exhale…yes!  Can we roll over? Can we cobra?  Down-dog? (No)  The windows opened and I could tell that Cheryl felt safe.  We spent the next 3 hours rolling around on the floor.  Eventually we came up with a little flow that included some rolls from front to back and a cobra pose.  It was beautiful and a lot of rest and work.

As we were in cobra pose I noticed Cheryl’s prosthetic knees hit the ground.  I saw it finally.  I think she can push herself to her hands and knees.  Yep!  A couple tries and she has it.  She’s crawling.  First time in years.  We were so exited we started screaming!  Cheryl’s man Cory was outside talking with is mom, he thought Cheryl fell and came running into the house.  We crawled around the floor laughing and screaming.  It was truly a joyous experience.  We ended the day right there and agreed we could work the next day too.

I went back to the trailer by myself to contemplate.  As I walked in the door I began crying.  It was everything.  It was the truth in human hardship, the beauty of friendship, the sadness of loss and the sunshine of determination.  It was the simple success of crawling and the overwhelming feelings of how hard this will be for Cheryl in the future.

How lucky I am that this beautiful stranger would share this journey with me.  The truth is I know nothing about rehabilitation of an amputee.  I wish I knew more.  But Cheryl and I found something that day.  WE found the strength in the Earth below us.  It was truly from the ground up.  WE walked the next day, further and further every time.

At the end of the 2nd work session we sat together her in her wheelchair and me on the sofa. I was telling her how brave and inspirational she was to me.  If I ever lost my legs she would be the first person I would call.  She stopped me and said something that I will think about for the rest of my life.  “Everyone says how brave I am, how inspirational, but Amy, this is not ok.  It will never be ok.” As she places her hands on the top of her thighs.

I love you Cheryl.  Thank you.  I know this is not ok, and you are brave because you have to be.  You are an inspiration to me whether you like it or not.  Peace, love and growth to you my friend.  I hope to see you soon.