Monday, 12 December 2016

Can you learn to sleep?

I assume not, but then, when researching sleep for this project, just the thought of bringing books about sleep into my bedroom changed something. I slowed down, but what slowed? My thinking? Maybe. I know that as I thought about a sleep ritual remnants of one emerged. 

I made tea. I already have “sleepy tea” - as my mom calls it - in the cupboard. I just had to make it and after just considering a sleep ritual, I did. It occurs to me that I was also aware of the texture of my bed sheets and the motion of my limbs as they did things like “slide between” or over or into the sheets.

Sleep is not a given. There is too much to potentially get in the way of rest. It is too often described as an indulgence so no doubt there are psychological barriers.  I wonder what the value might be in formalising and publicly enacting a sleep or rest ritual? Would the same thing occur in others as it did in me? Would we respond to the suggestion collectively?

Monday, 5 December 2016

Where has Aleasha been?

I am trying something. I feel like I have neglected this blog and its tiny, but dedicated audience. I
don't want to do that. I also want to show up and be honest about the process of creating The Handless Project in a way that invites others to join me in sharing something of the meaning of our lives. The thing I will try is writing shorter less composed posts in between longer, more considered essays. I hope that this doesn't change the quality of your experience while engaging with it.

In the spirit of this I will give you a quick update on the project and where we are headed next.
"...and at sunrise she set forth, walking the entire day until it was night."
The Girl without Hands Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Drawing from The Handless Maiden story I am now looking at the idea of journeying with a 24 hour ritual journey around Liverpool. We will walk, roll, ride or be carried around the city, visiting places of emotional resonance to people living here and enacting small performed rituals marking each spot. Like the maiden we will begin at sunrise on the first day, but we will continue until sunrise on the second. More details about where we will be and how you can get involved will appear soon.

I have two companions who will be journeying with me and they are Joanne Tremarco and Vicci Riley. Both are performers I admire for their ability to listen deeply and to improvise from a place of compassionate awareness (my words not theirs). I can't wait to show you what they do.

I am also going to try and grapple with some of the more difficult intersections between the story and our 21st Century world. Disability (why does she need to grow her hands back in order to heal?), sexual violence, Hejira, religion. Thoughts about these issues have been swirling around my head for as long as the project has been in existence so I will be inviting your thoughts on all these issues. Do we need a new version of the story, one not filtered through J & W Grimm's squeamish christian lens?

All this and more coming soon.