“Sarah? Did you leave?”
I scramble to feel around the yoga deck with my hands and knock over my tea.
She was gone. And suddenly I felt how helpless I truly was without anyone to guide me. Funny. This lack of sight thing sure is an ‘eye opener’…
It began with our Friday Morning Ecstatic Dance.
From 730am to 9am, we kick off our non-verbal, movement-only wakeup that has become a highlight on our weekly Momentom schedule over the years at our Artist Residencies.
I’m currently helping lead and manage our Circus Island Residency and 40+ jungle community at El Pital on Ometepe, Nicaragua. I feel the morning sun rise and rinse through the canopy of trees and vines reaching over our yoga platform above the lapping waves of Lake Nicaragua. The distant top of Volcan Conception peers down at us, then retreats back to its morning cloud cover. The jungle is alive. The sounds of howler monkeys, uraccas and buzzing cicadas make sure to remind us. I smell the fresh water below my feet amidst the swirly energy of dancing bodies around me.
Stepping onto an ecstatic dance floor blindfolded is a powerful practice. It wakes up the senses while removing certain constraints of how you dance and with who. Freedom through limitation. Yet I didn’t expect I would end up staying blindfolded the entire day…
Here are some of my reflections and insights from the challenge of going blindfolded in community for an entire day:
Radical trust is needed
In an instant, my independence is lost and I became totally reliant on my community and friends as a support system. To achieve anything I must trust and rely on those around me. This can be a powerful reality shift – especially for myself, so used to being the host, provider and running on high functioning independence. Errrr! Gear shift! I suddenly became sustained through the social ecosystem around me.
Your world both shrinks and expands
Without sight I’m limited to my arm’s length bubble of things within my reach. Everything contracts. No distance to see. At the same time, that smaller reference field opens up to greater awareness. Can I tell who’s behind me by their touch and embrace on my shoulder?
Sensitivity through sense deprivation
My hearing is expanded to a wider lucidity. Being in a larger space with lots of people, many sounds and conversations and with no context to focus on – it was overwhelming at times.
You are forced to slow down
Each physical step takes time and trust. Sitting alone on the yoga deck, while my ‘caretaker’ for the moment drops into a workshop means that’s where I’ll be until someone else can help walk me to another spot. I’m forced to do a fraction of my usual tasks. Time to surrender and just be. Without sight I can’t manage the arrivals, meetings, or external communication – which all involve looking at a phone. I forfeit my phone to another team member to answer any incoming messages. Trust and slow down for the day.
Small wins are BIG wins
Even the act of feeling for where I put my cacao tea – sitting along on a yoga deck – involves finding it through touch but not knocking it over. Two very long minutes later (of probably looking like someone way too high to function in ‘real time’), the greatest small win of my day is rewarded hot a sip of hot cacao. Only through sight is finding your drink in a split taken completely for granted. (And I hadn’t even considered what going to the bathroom would be like).
Sensory deprivation is a powerful tool and practice to expand our consciousness. Through losing a sense one can play with the malleability of our mind and body. It’s amazing how quickly you can get used to limitations and changes. Finding different ways to perceive and function in an altered environment. At Momentom, we love to play with our senses through blindfolded dinners, sound healings, tantric touch workshops and more.
While my one-day experiment with a blindfold in community brought in many reflections, realizations and gratitude normally taken for granted, it made me wonder what else would be experienced from an extended duration or other senses suspended.
@johntearly | www.johnearly.ca
For more information on our Circus Island or to apply to any of our other International Artist Residencies visit https://www.momentomcollective.com/residencies/circus-island/