Its almost a year since I visited Arteles, a wonderful artists retreat in Finland, a place to dream...it was the beginning of a long re-write of my draft PhD, a focused time of exploration, deep reflection and dreaming on six plus years of research. It was also the time when I began to meditate on a regular basis, not just when it 'suited' me. We meditated morning and night, either in the privacy of our own room or in the meditation room. I decided after the first week to engage with my practice in my room, so that I could easily transfer it to my life back in Brisbane. It worked. And now I am encouraging my 4change artists and acting students to embrace this way of being. A daily practice...we don't have to do it sitting cross legged. We can approach meditation from many directions. Sometimes it is walking meditation that I love, especially before I step onto the stage.
Here is a link to the practice that I embrace, first introduced to me by John Bolton in Melbourne. Go to youtube and you will find many links to meditation. Here is one to get you started: https://youtu.be/YSOKte6TeMI
My PhD outcome also guided me towards yoga practice. In Arteles, one of our visual artists, Stu, guided us through a yoga class several times a week. It was a communal sharing, a joyous activity. Over the last year I have been moved to practice more yoga, finally enrolling in a Teacher Training course with Byron Bay Yoga Centre and Judy Krupp from The Yoga Room in Sydney. This course will enable me to safely introduce yoga principles to the artists and students I work with on a weekly basis.
This evolving practice has been life changing for me, providing the opportunity to embrace breathing meditation, sitting meditation and various asanas or yoga poses so that the spirit, the body and the mind come together in harmony, something that is so important to artists as they continue to break new boundaries, embrace risk and constantly perform at their edge.
And now its March already. It's a strange year, so fine on many levels, as I witness Brisbane theatre productions finally being exported on a semi regular basis (no small thanks to Wesley Enoch, Artistic Director Sydney Festival...new works from Queensland have ended up at Belvoir St and Sydney Opera House, for example The Wider Earth, 2018, Prize Fighter, 2017. Then there is Single Asian Female, 2018 and My Name is Jimi, 2018). I have also witnessed a beautiful bunch of emerging artists as they begin their acting training at QUT: vibrant, alive, with an ability to risk within safe boundaries. These your actors give me enormous hope for the future of our industry.
Yet the year is also extremely challenging as we sort out our relationship to gender balance, diverse practice, impeccable behaviour (the antidote to harrassment #metoo) within the industry and domestic peace. On average 88 Aussie women die each year in the home as a result of domestic violence. In his talk at Brisbane Powerhouse last evening, Australian author Tim Winton alluded that there needs to be a war on this sort of terror that is closer to home.
But as my mother always said, and as I kept repeating throughout the performance of my performance HOME (2012 La Boite and 2015 Queensland Theatre): "One day at a time, sweet J. One day at a time". And I guess that is what I am trying to practice, one day at a time.
Enjoy this one day.