"I’ve never loved myself the way I do now."
-- Joana Saahirah, The Alchemist's Stone: Gratitude for the Wisdom of a Changing Body.
She said to me (& I paraphrase), 'We need to be in our bodies as they are, right now. Not the way they once were, or the way we imagine them to be in some uncertain future, because that is not what we have to work with as dancers/humans. Our envisioned "ideal" does not exist. We only have our bodies as they are right now -- they will not be the same in a day, a week or even an hour. Work with what you have in this very moment, not a projection of something that does not exist. Know your creative tool as it is -- its strengths & limitations & use them.'
There was an enormous turning point the first time I actually saw myself dancing. One might say, 'Moma, this is not rocket science...' but the truth of the matter is that it took over two years of study before I was able to see this. Prior to that, I always pictured my teachers or someone else executing my choreography assignments (even as I did them); floating the veil, traveling the steps, rotating the hips, using the propulsive power of the arms...
Unawares, I always followed the image of another, so when I saw myself for the very first time, it was an overwhelming epiphany.
But the trick is, we have to keep looking, because we change constantly. Every time I watch the critter that is me, I experience a strange & overwhelming sense of horror & wonder -- in part because I never see the same person.
As I examine & reexamine myself in this manner (as I now must), I realize how vitally important it is to the entire human spiritual ecosystem. It is not just about dancing & assessing the damage or progress. It is about Everything.
"That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing."
-- Hermes Trismegistus (Dennis W. Hauck, trans.), The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus