Two Years, Two Lights, One Plate

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I was there when the second plane hit, I saw it with my own eyes. It was such a sunny September day in New York City.

This week, walking into Union Square in New York City, I looked skyward and saw them, two shining beams piercing the sky, a memorial that blazes the skyline every year the week before September 11.  And it all came back.

The day, and my journey.

While there were many ways I processed the grief and senseless hatred of this act, where I found my truest voice was in dance and writing.

These are my creative HOMES.

What’s yours?

Three years ago, on September 11, 2013, I danced in the Table of Silence Project, choreographed by Jacqulyn Buglisi at Lincoln Center in New York City.  It was so powerful, I agreed to perform two years in a row, returning again in 2014.

This is the gift we have as Creatives.  It’s what we express and the change we inspire.  The Table of Silence has been performed every year since 2011, and is broadcast across the world.  The audience has reached the millions, offering a message of peace.

What I didn’t expect was how dancing in the Table of Silence would actually heal me on a much deeper level.  I began with one intention, and was gifted something far more powerful.

The belief that I could do more. The realization that I had something to give, and I wasn’t alone.

It was after dancing in the Table of Silence that I decided to launch my own business.

Here is my original entry from September of 2014. At that time, this was just a blog with no inkling of a business. My audience has grown 26x since then……I have grown in ways I never thought possible.

What waits for you?

 

My White Plate

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“Repeat after me, I am a miracle.”

I am a miracle.

“Hand over your heart, I am a miracle!”

I AM A MIRACLE.
 
We stand in rows of ten, twelve deep, dressed in white, and all eyes and ears on the woman up front, our director and guru, Jacqulyn Buglisi.  She is leading us in rehearsal for The Table of Silence Project.  Her company members from Buglisi Dance Theatre walk throughout to help with the movements, give correction, and answer questions.

We beat our sternums, singing out, and let the vibration ring through the cavernous studio space.  We clap our hands in front of our mouths, only fingers touching, and then bring our hands out, palms offering the sound, forearms perpendicular with our bodies.  Our bare feet stand firmly on the floor where we add our intention to share our message through dance with our audience.

We offer our expression, we offer our silence.

 

I was on the N train in Astoria heading towards Queens Plaza to transfer to the express train.  I had only lived in NYC for three years and had my second day of jury duty.  As I was a Queens resident, I had to report to the courthouse pretty far out.

I had spent my first day trying to look as dour and pissed as possible so I wouldn’t be picked.  So far, the strategy was working.

The N line is an elevated train out in Queens, and I stared out the window at the smoke billowing from the one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  It was churning out in large black puffs and I got out of my seat to try to understand.  I heard a woman on her cell phone say something about an airplane, but all my brain could process was there had to be an explosion.

Suddenly the second tower was engulfed in fire and smoke. From my vantage point, I only saw the impact, and couldn’t comprehend what was happening.

When I arrived at the courthouse, every TV was on and people were standing, staring blindly at the images.  My eyes widened as I took in the reality of the attack.

We were excused pretty quickly and the subways had already shut down, so everyone was bee-lining for buses.  They were all packed, and I lined up with others to get on whatever came next.  This was my only way home.  As I walked out of the courthouse, I got the word,

The First Tower is Down

I felt my stomach drop into my heels, and my legs stopped working.  I stood on the concrete outside the courthouse, and for a moment everyone rushed by me, running for the buses.  There was a horrible smell in the air, and black was streaming across the blue sky.

One question arose,

“What is going to happen?”

I got on the first bus I could, and everyone had the same frantic look in their eyes.  People were trying to call friends and family and the lines were getting jammed.  I was trying to call one of my closest friends to make sure she hadn’t gone into Manhattan, and I was just getting a busy signal.

I turned to the stranger next to me and saw myself in her.  I asked her where the bus was going and she asked me where I needed to go.

We were all lost in the confusion of this attack, a community formed out of survival.

Through their help, I got off and followed the subway tracks home.  I sat on my couch, watching the one station still broadcasting, and wept for the lives lost, for the fear, and for the destruction.  Ash filled the New York sky, and I curled into a ball, mourning the loss.

These two towers held some beautiful memories, and now they were a massive graveyard of twisted steel and burning death.
 
The following day, my neighbors held a candlelight vigil on the sidewalk outside our apartment.  We came together to comfort, as the city did the same.  People streamed into the island to help, and to search.

As I witnessed this community, I felt for the first time this was my home.  We were leaning on each other for strength, and holding each other in grief.

 

This is my second year dancing in the Table of Silence Project.  Last year I placed white powder on my face to signify ash, and walked on Lincoln Plaza with over a hundred dancers. In the face of divorce , robbery, and the sudden death of a dear friend, I felt I had burned over and again in my loss.

In the first year I performed, I cried deeply, feeling my heart so broken.

Jacqulyn’s words were a beacon to me, reminding me of my inner peace, and the power of our collective hands raising.

Now, after removing white plates from each other’s mantels, we all sat in the sunshine, crossed legged, in silence, eyes lowered, listening to the flutes echoing across the plaza. We formed three concentric circles around the main fountain, a sacred geometry.

As I sat, I realized there was a change.

I was not sad, and suddenly the tears flowed. 

This was the Miracle.

My tears caught the white powder on my cheeks, and fell into the plate in my lap, held carefully between my hands.  At the sound of the bell, I raised my plate heavenward, offering in silence my story and journey.

A plane flew overhead and instead of smoke, I saw blue sky.

I had worried my bare feet would bleed and tear dancing outside at Lincoln Plaza, but the granite was smooth and cool beneath my feet.  My soles had calloused and strengthened over the three weeks of practice, and they carried me out of the plaza, in a line, following this community in white, all of us holding our plates at our heart centers, as the drums beat on and on.

Today I walk, and I offer peace.  I dance in peace.

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Waiting for the Train

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How do we navigate impatience?

How do we navigate disappointment when our efforts seem to be squashed again and again, even with the best intentions?

Weren’t we supposed to BE there by now?

You look up at the clock and all you see and feel is that tick tock….tick tock. And you can feel so hopeless, and that you literally have no control over your dreams.

You can feel like you are in the midst of so many moving pieces, not getting the results you want. And you are frustrated.

So, what’s the answer?

I was walking through a crowded and busy subway station today. Under the belly of New York City, all shapes, sizes, demographics, and ages come together for that speeding train to take us to our destination.

And everyone seems to have a different pace.

Me?  I was moving fast.  I wanted to get to the end of the platform to catch my train and was very focused on this task.  Along the way, I side-stepped those moving slowly, those distracted by their phones, and those walking two by two with a friend.

Those at a different pace than me.

The train came into the station quicker than I expected, before I had reached the end of the platform, so I turned quickly and waited at the door for those to exit, and sat down in the cool air conditioned car. I wasn’t where I wanted to be on the train, but I was on it.

I was going to make it home, just from a different place.

And the question arose,
“Where am I in all of this?”

I began to think of all my years of professionally dancing, and having to constantly be aware of the other performers on stage.  While we had rehearsed and spent a lot of time to perfect the show, spacing was everything. I needed to be aware of my spacing in regards to the other dancers.

I needed to learn how to be a PART of the ensemble, and still accountable for my role.

I had to hone my periphery vision, much like the subway platform.  This is how I got on the train. So, how are you boarding?

When the impatience arises, what is YOUR role in it?

Are you pushing it out of your way, and cursing under your breath?
If you were on the crowded subway platform, would you shove those aside that are moving at a slower pace?

We can’t control others, but we can learn how to be in a world of constant shifts and changes. We can move with the flow, instead of fighting it tooth and nail.

Because what we resist, persists. And change is a constant.

And in truth, the fight is within.  We aren’t battling with the “others” on the subway platform.  We are battling with our perception of our ROLE in it.

You can make a choice in the moment to get caught up in all that is holding you back from putting your work out to the world, and start blaming all the external circumstances.  OR, you can make another choice, one that isn’t grounded in beating yourself and others around you up.

One that is grounded in freedom.

Freedom for your Creativity
Freedom for your Artistry
Freedom for your Dreams

And what if, with all of this, we took a moment and recognized we actually ARE on the train….

We can allow each other, and most importantly ourselves to move at our own pace, and take comparison out of the equation.

We can be accountable for OUR role, and be aware of the space between us and our fellow passengers on the train.

We are all making our way there.  It just may be from a different subway car than you originally expected.

But our Creative Life is happening, every day and the train is moving. Time continues. Your point of power is the present moment. That’s all we really do have.

So choose the role that actually feeds that.