by Beth Lorio

“How to feel the kinesthetic sensation of taut, then too taut, and then loose and too loose? How to coordinate and balance these sensations: attention to the water in the spoon and, at the same time, walking with the spoon of water across the room and placing it in a bowl on the floor?”
~ Barbara Dilley, This Very Moment

For the second year I get to explore these questions during the process of creating for the Salon. This year I’m chewing on them in the context of collaborative creative process. COLLABORATION is very much what we all called for when we began the conversation of how, what to do for the Salon. Is it just me or is there a broadband hunger in the air for “us” to do “it” together? 

What makes the Teaspoon of Water practice so compelling is that it is a wonderfully elegant structure in which to play. To carry a spoonful of water across a room is to play within oneself, to play with the element of water, to play with those who are practicing alongside you, to play with the images evoked by the tools of the practice, there is so much there! It really is endless.

In the collaborations I have been involved with this year it feels like a big part of the challenge is to dream up a structure in which to play. We need our container in order to be able to slosh around and surprise/delight ourselves and our witnesses. Too much structure can lead to rote; habit, slipping out of the moment. Feeling like the moment is not in your hands, agreed upon in advance. Not enough structure is nerve wracking, and can dilute the energy, sloppy things up. Where is the moment? Who knows? Yuck.

The great thing is that the agreed upon structure can include so many things: a spoonful of water, a song, a crayon and a piece of paper, a text, a red feather…We play like kids making up games in the backyard. We jump off of the solid knowns into the discovery of this moment and this moment and this…

Collaboration is relationship. The potency of feeling oneself in a collaboration that feels truly alive, where everyone is 100% empowered, where everything is welcome because we know our container is strong, is literally the best feeling I know. Dancing, spilling, cleaning up. Dancing again.

Join Beth Lorio and her merry band of collaborators (Elizabeth Russell, Kristin Gordon George, Megan Phillips, Zorwyn Madrone, Dana Ten Broeck, and Reeva Wortel) for the 2nd annual contemplative arts salon, A Teaspoon of Water, as part of Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival–January 18th, 20th, and 21st. Tickets on sale now.
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