April 21st, 2013 by Emma
How does the art of pulling coffee relate to the body and physical practice?
At Di Bartoli Home Barista Centre in Bondi Junction, Renzo Castillo, our Peruvian coffee maestro, taught us some basics, and so, being ever the physical “analogist”, this is how I consider the principles of making a good cup of coffee can apply to movement and embodiment (abbreviation = dance).
In coffee making and in dance, you need to know your instrument and how to play it, how to read it and to adapt it to changing situations. According to Renzo, there are four variables in coffee making.
• The beans. Where they were cultivated. When they were roasted. How they were roasted. How long they have been left to mature
• The machine – and its delivery of water – the perfect heat and the perfect pressure.
• The grinder and the grind. How coarse? How fine?
• You. You (the maker) take the majority of the responsibility. All things being equal, it is up to you to balance the elements and make them work harmoniously together.
Lesson 1: Building consistency.
Practice! Practice makes perfect. If you are consistent with how you pull your coffee from how you fill the filter basket – the number of times you “tap down” the coffee, the number of times and how much you draw from the grinder, and finally, how you “tamp” it down, then you will be able to understand what other elements, other variables, are altering its quality and flavour.
In dance you also build a consistent approach – a consistent practice – and through that consistency learn to recognise the variables effecting our performance.
This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to adhere rigidly to such obsessive practices as Ashtanga Yoga or classical ballet or run 12km everyday (although this form of consistency works for many committed people). But we can be physical everyday; and this helps get to know our bodies, our instruments. Through consistent physical work and attention to ourselves within that work, we can read ourselves better – get to know our own physical ebb and flow and how to adapt to it.
Lesson 2: Quality over quantity.
Renzo watched and timed us pulling our own coffee a couple of times, aiming for the “ultimate” 30 second flow for a double shot pour (under 30 seconds – too quick therefore too watery; or over 30 seconds – too slow and therefore burnt). That essential 20-30 ml espresso shot is where the flavour and quality resides – any more and you are beginning to mix in diluted and burnt residues. Pulling coffee you must be absolutely on your game, as it truly is about not too little, not too much – timing and quality.
Here, I would draw a parallel to the quality and time management of your practice – your attention to it and investment in it. My experience in the majority of dance company rehearsal rooms was TIME WASTING! Rather than working with quality – focused and attentive, we would work in an overly ‘diluted’ fashion. Admittedly it is hard to focus attention within the studio with so many egos and bodies bouncing about – but that is the role of the rehearsal director – the trainer – the coffee puller – to be in charge of the task at hand and know how to manage it to get the perfect 20ml dose, the most useful quality filled rehearsal or period of exercise. My all-time favourite rehearsal director was Pat Neary, who came to Scottish Ballet to set Balanchine’s “Four Temperaments”. Pat managed the room with a quality and overall professionalism that meant she could get the most out of us – her coffee beans!
Equally counter productive is too short or dense a rehearsal or practice from which the mind and body are left frustrated and overwhelmed by too much information with no processing time.(This does not apply/extend to the current trend of HIT – a blast of energy to wake up the body – which I would liken to consuming a hit of coffee!) I am referring to the learning and application of physical information in too short a time period with too great an expectation of outcome.
Lesson 3: Check. And check again.
A good coffee maker will test the coffee throughout the day – at least four times according to Renzo. This is because changes in atmosphere will affect the way the beans behave – so you may need to change the grinder setting to a coarser or finer grind. You may need to change the beans themselves.
A little like dancers (moving embodied people) warming up and cooling down their bodies throughout the day. We often do not listen closely nor regularly enough – check our instrument. The body and mind tire throughout the day – not just due to physical exertion, but to the number of decisions the brain has to make from morning to evening, our general mental fatigue. The occasional subtle adjustment helps keep it “aligned” and focused (little stretches, openings and shifts, re-engagements with the core and re-awakening the senses).
Perhaps, and this is just a suggestion, we could be more attentive to our instruments, spend a few moments a few times a day re-embodying ourselves with small actions to get the “pull” just right.
April 16th, 2013 by Emma
This took a couple of attempts as I experimented with getting the crust just so. I started out ambitiously hoping that using cooked quinoa and adding some egg to bind would do the trick… Well, it makes a nice and quite tasty sort of gluten-free bread base, but it is not the crust a flan should have. Normally I am one to break such rules and boundaries of the “should have terrain” but this time
I envisioned a crusty flan base using quinoa and I didn’t want to let go of that end goal.
So finally darling-est, dearest Pip (mother) gave me a book… yes, I resorted to a book. The book is Rebecca Wood’s Quinoa, the Supergrain (published way back in 1988!) and it is devoted to the art of cooking with quinoa. It was probably the first ever book on cooking with quinoa. And yes, there were several successful flan bases to choose from. I used a 15ml tablespoon making this recipe.
So, I went for one combining flours and here it is:
½ cup quinoa flour
½ cup plain wholemeal flour
roughly 2 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
roughly 2 tsp lemon zest
roughly 3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
roughly 2 tbsp water
2½ cups ricotta
1 tbsp quinoa flour
2 tbsp honey
8 juicy semi-dried figs
a handful of walnuts
Throw the flours, sugar, cocoa and lemon zest into a bowl. Rub though the butter to make a lovely crumbly mixture like breadcrumbs that feel gritty between the fingers. Add enough water to bind the mixture together into a ball, then wrap in cling wrap and put in the fridge for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF) and lightly grease a flan tin (I use one with a removable base) with some oil or butter.
Roll out the pastry dough between two sheets of grease-proof paper. I then turned the flan tin upside down onto the rolled out dough and flipped it back upright to not break the dough apart. I filled in the sides and any holes with the pieces that came away in the process.
Whip together the ricotta, egg, flour and honey. Slice up the pear in whatever fashion you would like to arrange it. Slice up the figs, again to your personal taste. I kept my walnuts whole but you could crush them. Again, as you like!
Arrange the pieces of pear and fig on the base and then cover with the lovely white ricotta mixture. Once it is all flopped in, arrange the remaining pieces of pear and fig on top and sprinkle with the walnuts. Then into the oven it goes. For about 35 minutes. Do check from time to time. Ovens do vary in temperature, and so cooking times will too.
Note: I did not blind bake my pastry. You could for an even crunchier result. If you want to, blind bake in the oven while you prepare the filling for about 10 minutes. However, I was very content with this base and the combination of textures and flavours are heavenly.
April 6th, 2013 by Emma
Baking makes a mess. And the muffins will take 20 minutes to cook. So, with 20 minutes and a pile of washing up, I check my new Nike+ FuelBand:
Fuel miles = 1028
Calories burned since start of day = 267
Right. Cleaning commences.
Washing and cleaning dishes isn’t the most taxing of duties, so I find it more interesting and challenging to activate different body parts, muscles, joints etc… wriggling (wrigglers burn more fuel), internal grooving, occasional balancing – yes, all the while, scrubbing the dishes.
Knowing that these simple household chores are good ways to get the body moving and even warm it up on a cold day helps motivate. Consider how active bodies used to be without washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners etc … There were a great many fit women (predominantly) about then.
Dishes done. And 80 fuel miles and nearly 35 calories burned from some causal wiggling action while doing the dishes.
The Nike+ FuelBand is not yet available in Australia, so I ordered one online. A month later and this exciting little technological toy arrived. So what does it do? It tells you how active you are being – and when you are being active – by keeping score of your day (steps, “Fuel Points”, calories and time of day) and syncing to an app on your iOS device: where you are, what you are doing and the intensity of what you are doing.
Often we think we are being active and burning fuel when actually we are not. And vice versa. A good brisk walk might not feel that active, nor doing some casual household chores, but you are in fact using all of your body and earning many “Fuel points”. I have only just started to use my FuelBand and so will keep you updated on more of its uses as I discover them.
One drawback is for yogis and cyclists: the FuelBand monitors movement through arm motion and does not monitor heart rate, so it cannot give you an accurate account of these activities – ie: ones which are intense without arm swinging action. Also, sadly, it is not waterproof (water resistant only) so swimming is out too. Still, for me, with winter on its way and a lot of time spent dancing, moving and training in studios, it will provide me with a lot of useful and quite simply interesting information.
April 4th, 2013 by Emma
Continuing my quinoa adventures (and always being muffin-mad), I decided on seeing where combining the two led me …
Pip (mother) not being of the baking disposition left this foray in my hands offering some insights from her favourite and most relied upon cooks –and Foodwatch website’s Catherine Saxelby. Indeed Catherine and I did confer on the phone about one or two points. (Always good to have a mentor – of the right sort — a little quip for OzCo!)
So here we have my latest Quinoa choreography – “Most Marvellous Muffins” starring ricotta, dates, oranges, apples, pears, walnuts, figs and candied ginger.
1 cup rolled quinoa
1½ cups wholemeal self raising flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sunflower oil
Fresh ricotta and pieces of apple, pear, candied ginger, walnut, fresh fig, dried fig, orange
Firstly, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and make sure that the oven shelf is in the middle of the oven. Line a 6-hole muffin pan with baking paper cases (this way your muffins come out as lovely ‘packages’ of goodness.)
As always, I first line up my ingredient ensemble, measured out and waiting.
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Throw in the rolled quinoa and sugar and combine into a nice dry textured mix of whites and beiges.
In a large jug, combine the egg, milk and oil. You needn’t beat furiously. Just mixing them together with a wooden spoon should suffice. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until just combined. The ingredients will really get acquainted baking together in the oven so you don’t need to mix too much.
And now the fun begins … First dollop a decent spoonful of the mixture into each paper case – this helpfully weighs down the baking paper! Now place 2 or 3 nice chunky teaspoons of ricotta on top of each dollop. Time to get creative. Look at your ingredients. If you need to taste a few flavour combinations, go ahead and be adventurous. I used pear and ginger, apple and walnut, fig and orange, date and orange, ginger and walnut, fresh fig and apple. It is nice to use different sized morsels and shapes of the ingredients. Again be as creative as you like. They can stand or lie flat or lounge about. You only need a couple of pieces in each paper case.
Now dollop another good spoonful of muffin mixture on top, making sure it tucks the ingredients in well. And finally, if there’s remaining ricotta, pop another chunk here or there and finish with some more fruit and nuts to garnish.
You’re set. Place the tray in the middle of the oven for 20–30 minutes. I set the timer for 20 and then rotated the tray so that the all the muffins got the same heat. When they are nice and golden brown – and look like a good crunchy crust has formed on top – they should be done. Place them somewhere to cool for 5 minutes.
Then enjoy with a cup of tea or wee espresso!
Richie, (my brother who’s tried many a food foray by sister Em) comments: “Really excellent.”
March 29th, 2013 by Emma
I met Peta in 1996… We both were founding members of the NSW Ballet Company, a courageous effort by Fleur Letitia to take ballet to regional NSW with a small troupe performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We felt rather like old- fashioned troubadours arriving in country towns, unloading the trucks and putting on a show. At this time Peta and I also bonded working for Harry and Cherie of Gusto Deli in Bondi. There were worse places in the world to pull coffee and serve exclusive highly-priced sandwiches!
A tiny bit of biography… who is Peta Green?
I’m originally a Brisbane girl and moved to Sydney in 1996. I was a dancer –professionally dancing with Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Opera plus a few other smaller independent companies.
How did you discover Pilates and what method and where did you train?
I first started Pilates as a dance student but it wasn’t until I came to Sydney and studied under Cynthia Lochard that I really became interested in it. I decided to finish my Pilates study in New York at a studio where one of Joseph Pilates’ disciples taught – her name being Romana Kryzanowska. I completed my final exams in New York and continued to teach there for about 12 months at a studio in Soho called Re:Ab. I’ve been teaching in Sydney ever since and now have my own studio at White City Tennis Courts in Paddington.
Did your training and does your teaching change the way you think about the body and other peoples’ bodies and fitness?
Yes, absolutely! From a dancing background Pilates movements were so easy and natural, whereas other people (non-dancers) have all sorts of physical difficulties and restrictions, for example lifting the leg and holding it – many people have tight hamstrings, or tight hips. Most people I see have tension and strain in the lower back. My teaching has brought me a new understanding of other people’s abilities. I see teaching as a partnership between the trainer and client, helping each other to come to more understanding of movement and how to progress with their bodies.
How long have you been teaching and what has changed over this period in your teaching methodology? What sorts of lessons do you learn from your clients?
I’ve been teaching since 2001, so 12 years now. Gradually my teaching method has evolved – instead of sticking to the traditional method I like to add a variety of movement drawn from yoga and certain dance ideas, always going with the flow of the person on the day – listening to their energy levels and what they need, rather than rigidly sticking to rules and set methodologies. I am constantly learning and adding to my “repertoire” of movements. Now, my teaching is an amalgamation of the Pilates method with my own movement experience, plus what clients bring me and what new trends have to offer.
The primary lesson I learn from my clients is empathy. People’s situations are different everyday – which affects their mood and so their physicality. With experience, you gradually learn to read people better. Coming from dance it really didn’t matter how you felt on the day, you had to pull it out and just bash through. But as a trainer, I believe you get more out of people if you go with them rather than force them. And there’s the skill of learning to read when to push through and when not. There’s a great deal of psychology involved.
Another thing I have developed/learned through teaching is the skill of leadership. I found it scary at first – the responsibility of it, and taking initiative. My training, and predominantly my years of teaching, have helped me become creative with my practice, using my intuition and really listening to people.
Do you think that peoples’ approach to movement and the body is changing?
I do think people are becoming more self aware. I am noticing more of an interest in fitness in general – and in diverse forms of fitness. I heard today about someone teaching yoga on paddle boards!
In general, people come to me with injuries. Back problems predominantly. That is what I have found – most people have something wrong with their backs, and their lower backs in particular! A lot of women have scoliosis which makes them become more one sided and twists the spine.
People these days seem more open to different ways of dealing with injuries – acupuncture, Pilates and yoga. There are so many different kinds of body work available so people no longer necessarily go to see a physio.
The sad truth about exercise and fitness is that mostly people train to improve their body image – they want to stay skinny, or lose weight or get buff. So they over-exert, over-train and stress their minds and bodies – and then they injure themselves and it comes full circle!
It is more important for people to learn to appreciate their bodies and know their limitations – so that they can extend themselves within their personal limits…
What do you think about current trends in exercise and fitness?
Bikram Yoga is very popular and is all about weight loss – people are not there to follow the yogic path! There are currently so many trends! You can try just about anything. In the end it seems people are really looking for exercise to lose weight whereas I think a better approach is to exercise for your overall health, strength and flexibility. I think it is essential to find a balance in your routine. This aids both mind and body. You feel more satisfied, like having a balanced meal, with a healthy balance of activities. It’s like the Yin and Yang of energy mirrored in exercise.
What is one valuable lesson about body practice and movement you would pass on from your experience?
My most valuable lesson would be appreciate your body and look after it – it’s the only one you’ve got. I had a serious skiing accident. It sometimes takes such horrible events to make you realize these things. You really start to appreciate your health and how fragile the body can be. So don’t abuse it and learn and work to treasure, nurture and nourish it!
What one of the most enjoyable things about your life at the moment?
At the moment I am relishing experiencing different forms of exercise and doing different things with my time and energy. I am constantly challenging myself in new ways and am thoroughly enjoying outdoor activities. Everything in life right now is opening my eyes to different ways of moving my body through a range of experiences.
March 24th, 2013 by Emma
Pip and Em Sandall, mother and daughter, in the kitchen “play” with ideas and “choreograph” with ingredients culminating in original culinary combinations…
• ½ cup Puy lentils • 1 bay leaf • 1 cup quinoa • 3 tbsp hazelnuts • Bunch parsley • 4 or 5 juicy spring onions • 1 small green pepper (capsicum) • 1 small red pepper (capsicum) • 3 fresh dates • 1 medium orange • 1 small fennel bulb
• Small bunch radishes (about 6 radishes) • Small witlof • 1 tbsp ground cumin • Olive Oil • Lemon juice
Bring out all your ingredients and lay them happily on the bench. Then you’ll see what you’re dealing with – their various personalities, their needs and wants. Neediest of all are the lentils. I leave the lentiling task to Pip. They’re wanting a good 20 to 25 minutes in boiling water with a bay leaf bouncing about with them for good measure.
The Quinoa is less needy only wanting about 8 or 9 minutes simmering in a saucepan of water.
At the stove, the third item is the pan of hazelnuts. As they are heating they become more generous in flavour, releasing more and more of their beautiful aroma into the air and everything that touches them! Toss them about the pan for a few minutes before smashing them up in a mortar and pestle – destroying their forms into an exciting and enticing mess of hazelnuttery.
At the chopping board, with the marvelous mezzaluna device, slice up the parsley into the smallest greenest bits, and along with it, the spring onions and the green and red pepper. Let them lie together in a pile to get acquainted.
I discovered a delicious way to prepare the dates was to slice them finely and macerate them in lemon juice and cumin. The mingling of the flavours in the bowl was sensational – a spread in its own right.
Finally, back at the chopping board, finely slice some pieces of orange, fennel and radish. These guys will be layered onto and amongst the salad –guarding their forms a little more protectively and providing solid pieces of crunch and juicy surprise against the grains.
Once the puy lentils and quinoa have done their water time they need good drainage and cooling off over a sieve. I like to fan them with a chopping board as well – to help remove more vapour and cool them a little quicker. They can then be combined with the hazelnuts and the juicy date mix and the flavours massaged through with fingertips. Through this deliciousness, mix the parsley ensemble with a fork. At this point I generously smattered olive oil through the mx until happy with the flavour an quality of texture.
To assemble the team, rip off some pieces of witlof and throw haphazardly into a bowl. With a generous serving spoon, scoop and place piles of the grainy mix on top and among the leaves. Finally, play with the pieces of orange, radish and fennel – wherever you please, aesthetically, sensitively, sensing where they are wanting!
March 21st, 2013 by Emma
Lift up your hands. Rub the surfaces of the fingers together sensitively. Allow the thumb, in its opposition, to explore the surfaces of the other fingers and notice the sensation. Then let the fingers run further, into the palms of the hands more forcefully, pressing the fingertips into the flesh. Squeezing the palms and clenching the fists. Making tight, juicy and rich sensations in contrast to the delicate touches before. Start to circle the wrists with the clenched fists, and feel how tight and intense the gesture is. And now open the palms as wide as you can. With that same intensity built up spread the fingers apart keep exploring the movement in the wrists so that that hands are softly waving through the space with air brushing past and over all the surfaces. Notice the extreme stretch sensation and opening and awareness. Now stretch and soften the palms a few times each time building awareness of the heat and release as you tense and relax your hands.
This one movement exploration can be echoed all through the body and practiced wherever you are, whenever you feel dull or tired or uninspired. Our hands are agile, strong and sensitive and they sometimes long to be noticed and attended to!
March 19th, 2013 by Emma
In or Out – a meditation on meditation.
A week ago I attended the March meeting of The Conscious Club – a bi-monthly gathering for “like minded” people created by Tim Brown, Gary Gorrow and Lee Te Hara. There is music and meditation, there are talks, and a vegetarian feast to top it all off. I was very impressed by speaker Sarah Wilson, but came away wondering if this is where the overly-conscious, self-conscious and fashion-conscious alternative Sydney Set have found their church
The rising sun was throwing its rays through puffy pink clouds over a golden, reflective sea as I was running around the cliff from Bronte to Bondi the morning after the night before at the Conscious Club.
My breath was moving in rhythmic puffs with my pace. The wind was cool, touching my skin, airing and evaporating the perspiration. My body was warm and energized.
My mind floated in and out of the world around me. Sometimes my attention was engaged by sights and sounds – glimpses of beauty, crashing waves, a bird, blowing branches; at other times it would just focus on my body in its space and my jogging technique.
From time to time my thoughts drifted to aspects of my life – the people I know, what they have said, what I will do later in the day, and what I all that I left in the week behind. But generally being out there on the cliff path and jogging overrode too much introspection. I have a busy mind. I tend to over-think and worry. I can implode, explode, boil and rage with the best of us. I find calm and peace through exercise. It helps to bring my body and mind together. When I jog, there is a happy flow between my form and the space that it occupies and through that engagement I find wonderment and pleasure in the mysteries and marvels of the wide world around me.
I choose to look out not in for peace and purpose. And in so doing, let “it” out. I choose to move and to engage, to listen to others, to read and to watch, to learn. Through this outward-spection, new thoughts and ideas enter and enlighten – these thoughts and ideas are brought about by “inspiration” from stimulus – not introspection from shutting the world out.
Of course closing one’s eyes is not a bad thing. Closing our eyes allows us to concentrate on other sensations with keener focus – like sounds and tastes and touches. It also allows us to arrange our thoughts, as we try to “think” actively and clearly without interruption. And it can give extremely busy people a moment of tranquility to let the dust settle. But closing one’s eyes to dig deeper inside and discover personal truths or to deal with pain, loss or confusion … This I am less inclined towards.
At this point in my life, with the wisdom I have gained over my modest 35 years existing, striving, loving, losing, succeeding and failing, etc … I believe that those “truths” are not hidden inside me but found through interacting with the world and observing those interactions and behaviours. We learn about ourselves through others and importantly, we learn that we are not alone, or of central importance but merely a tiny, tiny part of an enormous complex whole and it is how we add to that whole – what we contribute – that gives our lives meaning.
My point? Only that perhaps the answers and “heightened consciousness” do not lie deep within, but through a dialogue and connection with the world around. Perhaps for so-called enlightenment we should look out and interact. We should engage and react. We should observe, listen and learn. And when sad, feeling down or just dull, try a walk with our eyes wide open to find new inspiration.
March 14th, 2013 by Emma
The back of the body – a seldom acknowledged space, though ever present and visible for all the world behind. We don’t often think about it as we look forward at the objects of our attention.
“His back arched.”
“The hair on the back of her neck stood on end.”
“I got shivers down my spine.”
“She had eyes on the back of her head.”
Such expressions draw attention to the responsiveness of the back of our bodies – alive and reacting. A vast, rich terrain for dance and expression as it arches and curves, feels and extends, ripples and pokes. The back of the body articulates sensation with clarity and honesty.
But we seldom give it due respect – from how we carry and sit on it, to how we cover/clothe it. We pay much more attention to the hair that frames our faces than to that which sculpts the nape of our necks.
But that line which is drawn from the crown of our head down our back is of enormous importance, describing to people our health, happiness, openness and sensuality. How our hair tumbles down the back of our head and shapes that line matters. So too the clothing horizontals, cutting across the neck and the back and moulding, scooping, and enhancing our derrières.
In movement and dance, our backs speak volumes through contortion, muscularity and striving for the impossible. As viewers we experience a potent empathetic reaction to seeing backs arch, stretch, ripple and squeeze into extraordinary forms as silhouettes explore terrains and possibilities which we “sense” in our sedentary, forwardly broken postures, must feel liberating. And they do. Like the Bridge and other back arch posture in Yoga practice – energizing and powerful. Those who practice know that awakening and strengthening the back through such poses is a wonderful sensation.
And so to ballet’s arabesque – that ever so difficult line that we make as we stand on one leg and extend the other away into a space we cannot see. From a young age, we practice putting one limb behind us and through repetition beginning to grasp its correct placement – when precisely behind the shoulder, or over-crossed, or too wide. And so we build an awareness of what is taking place in that back space we cannot see. Gradually lifting the leg higher and higher – tilting the pelvis ever so slightly, and finally arriving at its fullest expression, curving luxuriously and deeply from the tip of the toe to the crown of the head, balanced proudly over the supporting leg, the pivot.
We tend to move forward through space and time, towards people and events, and likewise, our actions and movements. But even while we do, remember that world of space and possibility that lies behind us. By being aware of it, sensing it, exploring it, you never know what you might find there – who you might encounter or what ideas could open up.
March 7th, 2013 by Emma
The blank slate or more literally the scraped plate – an idea encompassing both emptiness and potential within form. A template that exists with structure and purpose to be filled.
Like a day. A template of time. We embark on it more or less full of expectations and plans. Places to be, people to meet, jobs to fulfill and desires to be met. But all that intent is up in the air – floating potential – until it hits the slate and is thereby inscribed. It happens and becomes history.
Waking up, leaving the night-time’s confusion of dreams behind in crumpled bed sheets (the messy assortment of past information and future trepidation), showering, cleaning, or just breathing that first, cool morning air – there is a sense of tabula rasa – of embarking again on an unknown full of potential and possibility. Rather than optimism, where one imagines everything will be bright and well. Just a structure, clean, present and waiting.
Everyday I enter a studio, my tabula rasa – a place and a mindset – without precise knowledge of what will occur. Only the understanding that I will begin, I will move, and I will stop. That I will warm myself up, work my limbs, invent and play and conclude. Sometimes I start with a feeling of dread. Already assuming I know what will happen – already bored by what I will do in there – wishing that I could leapfrog that moment of my day. But I have also built up knowledge over the years; the knowledge of not knowing, of my ignorance; that through the persistence of entering and beginning, new beginnings and new pleasures can be found; that each day’s ingredients are ever so slightly different, and through the accumulation of those slight differences new recipes and formulas can be created.
Tabula rasa – the scraped plate is a ready template. It is cleaned. Then filled. And then cleaned and filled again. And through the cyclic cleaning and filling up of days and nights, experience and interest shape the structure of your personal tabula so you can indulge in its breadth and depth, and play with and push its somewhat pliable form.
Freshness, a clean plate, a new day by no means eradicates past experience, learning, practice or knowledge. If it did, intuition would not exist. Rather, it resets or refreshes data, putting things in their place, less muddled, less bedraggled; newly folded, sorted, arranged and available.