get up, off the ground

Soon after Trump was elected, I dreamt that I was Dog Dancing, outside, on the street. 


Slow and low, eyes closed, barely moving, but feeling so much.


I was surrounded by protesters holding signs, circling and chanting, “Get up, off the ground!”


I kept at it, my slow moving dance, noticing my breath, aware of my skin against the pavement, and also the sky.


“Stop moving so slow!” Someone shouted.


“Stand up!” Somebody said.


I closed my eyes tight and kept going, my jeans catching along the sidewalk I was dancing on, my feet sensing the earth from inside my sneakers.


And then last night, I dreamt I was hired to Dog Dance at a child’s birthday party.


I was embarrassed to do it, but I needed the money, so I took the job. Because I knew the floor would be sticky and gross from all the spilled juice boxes and crushed cheez-its, I thought to myself, "I better wear my sneakers and jeans from that first dream."


20 or so cub scouts -- still in their little blue uniforms from their morning scout meeting -- ran around with water guns as I lay in the center of the living room floor of the birthday party, doing my best to stay in my experience: inhale, gap, exhale, gap…following what was unfolding. 


At some point, a magician showed up to the birthday party and all the kids sat down on the living room floor, right where I was dancing, and kept backing up into me, until I was squished against the wall. 


A friend emailed me, after taking the weekend workshop I taught a few weeks ago. 


“Thanks Jo. I found myself fundamentally upended inside and recalled you sharing with me at the time how devastating, intense and wonderful your work was with your teacher who introduced you to this way of dancing. That has started for me too and I wish I could continue to explore it on a regular basis. For now, I find myself HAVING to drop down onto the floor and be there in THAT way for at least 15 min a day so I can feel normal. I have a relationship to my body that is different now. Like a secret I've been let in on that years of theater, yoga and other movement practices have not yielded previously.”


“That's exactly what I felt when I started working in this way,” I wrote back, “and why it is so devastating. Intense and wonderful, yes, but also devastating, because there is a loss and an upheaval. For me it was so disorienting I wouldn't/couldn't let myself touch it -- for a long time.”


I’m touching it now, almost always.


Even in my dreams.

With Warmth,
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending