April 21, 2022 at 11:56 pm #74881Stephen GerringerKeymaster
Author and speaker Kristina Dryža joins us this week in Conversations of a Higher Order for a discussion of her MythBlast essay, “The Rhythmic Cadence of Life” (click on title to read). This thread is your opportunity to directly engage Ms. Dryža and share your questions, comments, and observations about the essay with her (and with each other), which is what makes this a conversation and not just another interview.
Kristina, your elegantly-expressed meditation on rhythm certainly strikes a chord. The inhalation and exhalation of the breath, systole and diastole of the heart, the changing of the seasons, the rise and fall of the tides, the pulsing of the stars – hard to imagine on closer examination what isn’t rhythm in this universe – and those rhythms are ongoing, whether or not we are aware of them.
No surprise that dancers and musicians, poets, and artists are attuned to rhythm. As Joseph Campbell noted, “Rhythm is the instrument of art.” I appreciate the advice to place ourselves in harmony with the rhythm of nature, which, as we are born from nature, is the rhythm of our own lives. And I can certainly relate to your description of how it sometimes takes the experience of a “disharmonious passage” to become aware of how out of sync we are.
What, though, can you suggest to help us adapt to the rhythms of nature when it seems the world around us is is out of rhythm? I’m thinking particularly of the people in war torn Ukraine, under incessant bombardment, all the rhythms of their world upended through no fault of their own. What can an individual in such dire straits do to place themselves in harmony with nature and the universe when all seems out of harmony?April 24, 2022 at 8:51 am #74889
Always a pleasure to be here with the COHO community Stephen.
I’ll answer through the lens of Persephone, who brings the seeds of prosperity with her when she returns to the earth as spring. Because out of the aphotic dormancy comes the rebirth.
Working with the myth we understand why she’s obliged to go back to Hades to honour the pomegranate pact, but what the hell – pun intended – is so attractive about returning to this domain? I mean, why once we’ve gotten out of hell, would we even consider going back? It sounds absurd that after we’ve passed a tour of duty in Hades – that practically costs us our very life – that we’d voluntarily venture down again.
And to your question, when we find the upper world now turned into the underworld with the war and disharmony all around us, why would we turn our attention to Hades, to go even deeper into the darkness? But we do. And we must for the regeneration.
It’s a cyclical pilgrimage. Nothing is permanent. We have both the life giving and death making capacities within us. The bountiful harvests of Demeter’s earth, and Hades’s barren underworld, balance the bittersweet qualities of life. [Actually, I prefer the correct word ordering of sweetbitter – the sweetbitter qualities of life!]
The known and unknown, springtime and winter, war and peace, and all the many transitions in between, can coexist in the cosmos. Which brings us back to the universal laws of nature. Growth, regeneration, and abundance are born out of the cold, arid, and desolate land. Without yin, there can be no yang. And similar to feng shui too with the equilibrium of shade and sunlight, damp and dryness, solids and fluids. Diametrically different, but mutually interdependent. Each gives existence to the other.
Balance and harmony imply the tenuous presence of both energies in amounts relative to each other. The wholeness of the universe is represented when we integrate and harmonise the upper and underworlds within ourselves. We often can’t even begin to behold how time spent in the inner, wintry realm is recalibrating the one-sidedness of our surface life. Or how this time of war awakens Eros.
We’re being called to heal our relationship with both lands. It’s the rightful restitution. Persephone, like us, will always be bound to the underworld. But we must make the relationship conscious. We’re so often bound to what we don’t want to be bound to. It’s not about being unconsciously identified with our rhythmless state, but finding a thread back to the human and cosmic heart.
Looking forward to the conversation this week – Kristina.April 26, 2022 at 12:05 pm #74888April 27, 2022 at 2:27 pm #74887
Lovely essay, Kristina.
This passage is very true:
“Rhythm in art and in the art of life is essential. Rhythm imprints its patterns into our body, mind, and very souls. This incorporation builds strength and resilience in ways that our everyday cortex awareness is never able to fully grasp. And if it does detect these imprinted patterns, it rarely appreciates them. Rather, our left brain’s general default tendency is to judge, compare, and doubt their worth.”
I can attest to this as a dancer *chuckle.*
The left brain becomes both judge, trickster and interloper and yes “doubter.”
I have rehearsed a dance and sometimes had my mind wander…did I do this or that? Or wonder about something not related to the dance and then the Left Brain says: “Where are we?”
Or it even jumps in the middle of the dance with its doubt and “what is the step?”
The left brain learns steps, or memorizes the choreography that is created, BUT then the Right Brain and the Body Mind take over and say: “I’ve got it from here! And they do!
Unless that pesky left brain jumps in and says “where are we exactly?”
Then the feet can stumble over the steps in that moment of doubt.
Rehearsal is one thing but in performance Oh Dear!
But improv can help with that heh heh.
However I’ve been continually amazed by the “Other Side.”
It does not always let the Left Brain have its way.
I have had other moments where my left brain went into panic where are we mode…and literally FELT my body BOTH the feet and the arms execute the Exact move to the music without my Thinking about it! It just HAPPENS!
One can almost hear the Right brain and Body Mind say “Don’t you dare! Or just Chill! I’ve got this!” (To the left brain.)
You need both sides for the dance but one side eventually takes over.
The body-mind is also capable of retrieving movement memory from numbers performed years before.
(when one might wish to bring a dance “back.”)
It is wild!
And You are so right about the Rhythms Kristina! It is truly imprinted upon us! And inside of us!
That’s what makes memory of words better as well.
The rhythm! There is a kind of rhythm in poetry, but once you have a song, a beat the memory of those words flow!
Does not matter if you are the one who wrote it or are just singing along.
Or even helps all memory in general!
The power of music! The power of rhythm!
Imagine it might go back to the bards and the story tellers of ALL cultures world over.
I still think about Allison’s presentation last year on dance and how she emphasized that dance started on the earth, the ground…that’s where the rhythms began.
So much of professional dancing of all styles is conceived as movement to be performed upon various stages, that it is easy to forget where it began…
Until you look back at the traditional cultures of dance, where dance was also story and ceremony.
Or look at Hamadryad….
Or imagine Isadora Duncan standing by those columns.
Though Isadora might take exception to me from the tap dance perspective where the feet have to move heh heh…
Though I was also trained in ballet and modern.
But it’s interesting reading that passage as well, because I once imagined an Isadora Duncan style move in a tap dance (I sometimes add ballet and modern style to tap.)
The move I chose felt like the arms were lifting and pulling the torso and feet along rather than the other way
Or at least that was the impression I had from watching old videos of Duncan.
So her experience before the columns makes sense on many levels…though it seems there, she feels the energy/dance rising up from the center and torso, up into the arms reaching in “reverence,” from the way she describes it.
When you talk of the underworld Kristina, rhythm as integration makes sense…
I was thinking again of Robert Mirabal’s “The Dance” (which I have yet to post again)
but the last line of the verse is “where there is suffering, there is the dance.”
And I think in the last of your essay that’s what you highlight, how the rhythms can help one or many deal with the dark and light…to find balance. Maybe it’s a way to healing or some wholeness…
Through the rhythms of music and dance or even the rhythms of a paint brush, one finds expression…and release…
Maybe it helps with pain too. And sadness. Frustration. But the rhythm turns it all into Something Else, something, which transcends its original form or perception.
So when people like to have a routine to their day and in their life…maybe what they seek or long for is a Rhythm. Funny how routine looks like a double or triple entendre now! Well I can’t escape that as a dancer any more than Gregory Hines “can’t escape the rhythm” in TAP. Heehee.
But the Rhythm has been with us since the beginning of time and story.
That’s why the Creation tales that begin with song or the song of the universe fascinate me so much…
(song lines, psalms, even Tolkien’s imagined mythic history…universe sung into existence)
Because in all of that there is rhythm as well as sound.
okay better close.
But thank you again for your essay Kristina!April 27, 2022 at 2:55 pm #74886
I am posting your words again because something else struck me here:
Rhythm in art and in the art of life is essential. Rhythm imprints its patterns into our body, mind, and very souls. This incorporation builds strength and resilience in ways that our everyday cortex awareness is never able to fully grasp. And if it does detect these imprinted patterns, it rarely appreciates them. Rather, our left brain’s general default tendency is to judge, compare, and doubt their worth.
This line: This incorporation builds strength and resilience in ways that our everyday cortex awareness is never able to fully grasp. And if it does detect these imprinted patterns, it rarely appreciates them.
There is much to be said for the healing potential of Music.
Yes it certainly can be balm in times of grief…or trial.
But I would like to share a story, one told by George Harrison’s sister Lou at a Beatlefest.
She told her listeners about a young man who was determined to commit suicide and he also wanted to “get back” at his parents. So he decided he would put on their Beatles records and they would “find him…”
So he put on the records and swallowed the pills.
After the 1st record he felt a little less “down,”
By the second record: he felt a bit more upbeat.
By the third record: he felt down right chipper and realized he “didn’t want to die.” So he called the hospital.
Yes he survived.
So what was it about that particular rhythm at that time? Who knows?
But what you say about strength and resilience that passes by the awareness of the regular cortex…it’s a HIGHLY poignant note.
It’s as though all the myths are just waiting for us to look them “in the mirror.”April 28, 2022 at 1:53 pm #74885
Gosh, sunbug, what you wrote is just so gorgeous! I actually feel the energy of your words. A transmission in rhythm!
And I love the linking of the Trickster archetype with the left brain.
I’ve always loved the song ‘Dancing on My Own’ by Robyn and that whenever she sings the song she always feels so present and lost in the beat especially at 2:48 where she just goes for it with her dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rje7uy78mc8
“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” — Plato
Keep dancing! Kristina.April 28, 2022 at 1:58 pm #74884
“Music is our myth of the inner life …” — Susanne Katherina LongerApril 28, 2022 at 5:39 pm #74883
Thank you Kristina!
I enjoyed the video as well!
You can feel the passion turn into the dance for sure where she just lets go.
Robyn reminds me a little of Pink as well.
That was brilliant! Thanks for sharing!
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