WaveDance Cumbria

5Rhythms® in Cumbria - evenings and workshops through the year

About 'stillness':

Robin Duckett

(I wrote this after a Dance group in Bologna with Olivia Palmer)
I was touched by Olivia's reference to ‘the challenge of stillness’, and also have noticed the ‘lying on the floor’ trait in some dance groups. I’ve puzzled before about it, and after Olivia's comment, this is what I thought:
One of the complexities lies in the word ‘stillness’ in English; others lie in the idea of ‘still mediation’ and stilling the body to complete passivity, for other meditative/connective reasons. 


The word 'stillness' invites non-movement, silence, full-stop, whereas ‘quietitude’ (the Italian equivalent for 'stillness' is 'quiete') doesn’t so much. Lots of people come to and first experience ‘5 Rhythms’ stuff in informal (wrong word probably) occasions
such as sweats where there’s no teaching really, so they of course bring their own other languages of understanding to the experience. So then the habits of interpretation are laid ..
In this rhythm I’ve not ever felt an urgency to ‘stop’ (there’s plenty of time in the future when I’ll have stopped!) and I find I don’t stay vitally sentient in a ‘stopped’ state, but there is another stillness in quietitude, which I can kind of conjure through painting a description ...

  ~~ A gentle early evening, nearly dusk, the moon and a bright star showing already; a soft breeze, prompted and warm from the earth which is giving back to the sky the gift of the day’s sun, brushes the tops of the sycamores and ashes bordering the meadows and fields. In shimmers and rustles, a few early autumn ash leaves sashay downwards, plying as they drift, and mark out a presage of the leafy cosseting coat to follow in a while. A chancy spider casts a last skyward thread to the late warmth of the air and hitches a lift to unexplored spots.

Riding high in the same warmth, the tail-feathers of a still-circling buzzard shift easily, as she feels the mood of the air change. Her attentive gaze turns from the earth to the now inviting trees; she feels the signals of the end of the day, a rest –time coming. A young barn owl silently glistens in his first silent glide away from the family oak, over the new cut meadow. Ox-eye daisies curl close. Owl shifts suddenly, silently, surprised by the watching human in his direct path.

I take flight with the spider, shift with the buzzard, stroke the trees, winnow with the leaf as it sashays on its way to greet the earth; I am the moonlight caresses of all the nows and tomorrows, I’m the ear of a hare, quivering, listening out as the owl passes ...
All settled, all moving ... the ash leaf curls into the soil ... ~~


[from Olivia: we all find one or two rhythms more easy and less easy to fall into and continue moving in...Stillness, or quiete is not the rhythms of our times in the western hemisphere. It is more known in other cultures where meditation is more in everyday life.
I find it sad that when we do arrive and finally relax into bliss(if we get there) that so many people isolate themselves in that state.
It can be so beautiful to stay in contact with the group, or another person.]

Antonio Fontanesi. La Quiete, 1860