“I want to know 
If you can sit with pain
Mine or your own without moving to hide it
Or fade it 
Or fix it.”

“The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
A way to balance my online world was to be immersed in the natural world. I practiced Qi Gong with my dad, and continued my movement practice of waves by the ocean.  The more I moved and trained outside, the more my heart would ask: what is our interconnection to other? 

When in nature, I’d have these moments of deep surrender to how vast and powerful the lands were. In a moment, we could encounter a bear in the forest or my foot could slip off the rock and I’d be plunging into the rushing waves of the waterfall.  It wasn’t until I took my body to the land that I could really embody the power of the natural world—that I could feel how I, a pebble in the dirt, was infinitely apart of it.  To further explore my curiosity, Tina Robinson, a dear friend, Indigenous Chilkat artist, and my Indigenous studies advisor of OEWA, took me to harvest yellow cedar.  We went to Lax’Kwalaams by boat with Cal (a brilliant fisherman) where Russell (an incredible totem/carving artist) met with us.  He took us to the forest and pointed us in the right direction and Tina, Pearl (Tina’s mentor), Christina (Tina’s cousin) and I were on our way.  This invitation was the beginning of a plethora of beautiful conversations, sharings, teachings and soul encounters.  We created a short experimental documentary called ‘Smgan’ as a way to capture the process of harvesting cedar and to help Tina document her cultural practice.   Thanks to Cineworks and VUVAC for short-listing our video and selecting it as critic’s pick, we were able to share it on a larger platform.  
We went on several other adventures on the land to harvest, to learn and to engage in traditional practices.  Pearl Innes taught us how to weave cedar baskets and Russell Mather, let us help with the 360 pole he’s carving.  I was fortunate to be invited into the creative process and photograph some of Pearl and Tina’s Chilkat weaving and Russell’s carving.  Also, I met Granny Sterritt while she and Tina were drying their seaweed harvest. 
Granny is an oracle of wisdom whose simple teachings led me to a deeper understanding that we are truly “all one”.
I know you might be thinking: how on earth is this related to dance, movement, or embodied practice?  In every way.  Classical training isn’t the only way to development movement vocabulary: it is all but one way.  The more we engage our body in different practices and patterns, the more we develop our universal language. In expanding our vocabulary we’ll be able to share in more diverse conversations with understanding, acceptance and compassion. In addition to the physical practice, is understanding movement as way to engage with spirit.  A dance without spirit is just physical patterns in space: although aesthetically pleasing, it does very little for the the heart.   The more languages that we can use to open for the spirit to move through our body, the more interconnected we are with the Universal Self.  Dance is the portal to the felt presence of the soul.  Maya Angelou famously says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Upon Reflection:
“Attempting to understand consciousness with your mind, is like trying to illuminate the sun with a candle…” 
There are some things in life--invisible and visibly hidden--that can’t be perceived with the eyes or understood by the mind. But they are deeply felt.  When you lose a loved one, grief is but a meager label. To feel the depths of the heartbreak and the sorrow is in its essence…gosh, I still struggle to find the words.  No one person ever understands exactly what another is going through, the story is always different because our experiences and perspectives are all different. But you can feel the volume of energy and share the weight of the burden in felt presence of the company you keep.  It is the same with the emotion of wonder. To touch wonder that is inextricably indescribable but infinitely glorious also leaves you speechlessly in awe.  It’s like that moment when light breaks through the cloud casting its beams so prominently visible across the landscape.  And in a few short breaths, covered by another mass of drifting nimbus’, it’s as if the universe is reminding us that beyond the clouds there is a bright light swimming in the ocean sky, and though visibly hidden, our breakthrough is coming. I know the same story may not take our breath in the same way, but you get the essence of what I mean, right?  
Side Note Story: 
I only intended to be back in Prince Rupert for one month, I had one piece of luggage, and a backpack. With our airport shutdown, I ended up staying for almost a year during which I got to spend time with my family, eat the most amazing food (IG: @theliuskitchen), connect with phenomenal souls, learn about the land I grew up on and expand my ways of seeing and experiencing.   Wild cards.  

**Coming Up Next: The humbling practice of not knowing
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