One of the markers of true integrity as a creator is understanding, honoring and giving gratitude to the roots of what has shaped you as you elevate in your expressions of self in this world. What I mean by this is, that more and more I have realized how important it is to pay homage and that it is important that you turn to those you have received and taken from in learning and experience of the world in creating yourself into existence and give thanks as well as be certain what they have shared with you is actually yours to share as well.
This is honoring traditions, assuring that when an elder, a leader in a community, a teacher of skill, trade and thought turns to you with the desire and trust to share with you their practice and values you know how much of a gift that is- to you. I emphasize to YOU because I have experienced in my own life the replicating or the misrepresentation of teachings and how it becomes a dishonoring and trivializing of what has been taught to you. This is something I have learned myself in my own trial and error and mistake, especially as an artist and expressive being. When we learn something and connect to it with deep movement, our initial want is to take on that practice as our own, take on that value as our own and begin sharing it to the world as soon as it comes to our consciousness. But true living out of anything should include deep investment in practice and ritual. My Guro Njoli in Kali training shared the thought that it is not about the years you practice, but the hours you put in to something that allow for true embodiment and mastery of a teaching.
My thoughts as I have moved forward in my life sharing my own formed practices and values deeply, is that there needs to be so much care taken before we claim anything that has been taught, shared, gifted to us as our own. We need to gain the deepest of understanding what the intention is in what it means when an individual who is carrying a rooted practice chooses to share with you and create tradition by passing on their knowledge, their words, their actions, their movements to you. We need to understand what it means to honor this exchange properly, and it really begins with humbling ourselves to knowing that as we begin owning these sharings as a piece of our existence, that we look to those who have shared with us and acknowledge that they have shared those teachings with YOU. Communicate what the intention is in this exchange, is this something that can and should be passed on in your own teaching and practice? What is the nature in which it is appropriate and honorable to do so? How, when and to what degree can we actually own these thoughts and practices as our own without offending or misrepresenting them?
All of these understandings are important for us to take care of in the way they have taken care of it in sharing with us. I share all of this as my own understanding of how I hope to continue building on my own practice as an individual who is committed to my practice of For the Movement Theatre as I call my own practice of Physical Theatre work integrated with Spiritual Practice and Human Be-ing. All of this has been uplifted by the teachings of Teachers, Warriors, Sages and Healers like Cindy Little, Melissa Herr, Evelyn Case, Ernest Tamayo, my Leadership Family at Kababayan, Kuttin Kandi, Bambu, Kat Carrido, Ron Buenaventura, Eli Simon, Michele Bottini, Delia Meyers, Cristina Marin, Leny Strobel, Baylan Megino, Perla Daly, Letecia Leyson, JLove Calderon, Frances Lucerna, Gloria Zalaya, Clara Waloff, Afaliah Tribune, Maria Marisigan, Ana Liza Caballes, Riya Ortiz, Enmanuel Candelario, Frank Lopez, The Peace Poets and most recently Njoli Brown, Francis Estrada, Arvee Garde, and Jeanette Ladores- just to name a few of my greatest teachers to my soul workings of physical, community and individual transformative and spiritual arts. These are individuals who have gifted me with their thoughts, ideas, values, practices, rituals and created tradition in our exchange. And most importantly, they have all taught me the proper ways to share these gifts in my own existence beyond our exchange. What is appropriate and not appropriation in owning what we absorb, learn, practice and share of what has been taught to us?
It is easy in this day of social networking, relaying communications with the click of a button or touch or a screen that we more than ever see how we represent all the pieces of ourselves that have been shaped by the teachers, leaders and nurturers that have grown us. I’ve learned to take care more and more how I share what has been gifted to me. I have learned honoring and giving gratitude to what has been taught to me begins by conversations with my teachers of how best to do this. And as I teach and share of my practices and my rituals I look for the same in tradition and continuation of the legacies that create the whole of my being.
I am a reflection of the many who have lifted my spirit, who saw a piece of themselves in me and chose to invest in growing that part with their support, guidance and teachings. And I follow suit to do the same with all those I build and encounter in exchange of thought, practice and spirit with. I honor them all as I honor myself and who I have become because they existed in my own existence. I am because they are. And I give gratitude everyday for that truth.