The Japanese movie Hokusai’s Daughter conveys how passion and commitment go beyond all social customs and interpersonal needs. Katsushika Oi, the main character in the movie is like many artists- often on the edge of societal norms. This is not just a rebellious or revolutionary reaction but instead arises as an investigative state of being at the boundaries of what is known.
I have been sitting in an ice-cold stream pounding kuzu fiber on a rock with a wooden mallet for hours in a small paper-making village outside of Nagoya, Japan. Why exactly am I doing this I wonder. It feels like a traditional apprentice initiation, but it is more than that. It is about conjunctive knowing, instructions directed through the eye movements of my taciturn teacher. It is part of an apprentice systems across time and place to embody knowledge by watching, listening, smelling and tasting, learning through the body.
Last week the In-Bodying Marking Circles we ventured through a refrigerator door for what we started calling a field-trip. It was an experience in the Imaginal Field contained in the body into Marking. Each of our trips was unique from a glass lemon-aide pitcher in grandmother’s fridge, to a trapeze artist in a circus, to the inside of a car. This week each circle had two guided field-trips initiated four guide’s patterned on their own journey.
Mark-marking this week continued to cultivate somatic intelligence as we access the Imaginal Field. By becoming-like other things, we expanded the felt-body response by cultivating vision into the unknown through imagination. It is an ancient portal that the age of reason has upstaged, and yet is alive in science and all the arts, music, performance, literature and every aspect of life that is carried to artistry, like architecture, landscaping, cooking, parenting or even politics.
Shape-shifting may sound like an ethnographic study where a shaman transforms into animal, while in truth it is fundamental to our everyday experience. Shape-shifting allows for the ability to change form or identity at will. It is a part of spiritual practice, parenting, the arts and just about any aspect of life that is carried to artistry. Compassion and empathy are ways of shapeshifting.