LEIMAYblog // Considering Yokes by LEIMAY member Andy Braddock

In his workshop, Maximilian Balduzzi said something about giving oneself over to the Time in the Space. Something about how it had been a long, hard-fought battle to get to the point where he was able to accept the fact that, facing a rehearsal time, he would be in the Space for the next six hours. Being able to say, "Ok, I'm not gonna think about what I've got going on later today, what I'd rather be doing. I'm here, and I'm gonna be here, so I'll just give it my best shot and not worry the reserves." Even when I'm at home, all alone, I often cannot wait to get through an hour or two of self-enforced rehearsing. I set an alarm, and when it goes off, I run down the stairs and do something else. An active acceptance has to happen, embracing a yoke, even alone. As I experience it, the yoke is of attention -- being attentive and activated for a sustained period of time. It takes energy. It's less about having an obligation to come up with something, and more about the fact that I am going to be expected to be in control of myself, to take constant notice of what is happening, that I will be evaluated (if only by myself), and that I will be expected to do one thing and not any other. Ridiculous as it is, it's difficult to accept a limitation on freedom in this way. For the next few hours, I can't go make a sandwich, slouch in a chair, or wander around picking things up and putting them back down again. Dang. In lieu of actually being able to do that other stuff, I let my mind wander to them. I think about that sandwich. What's at stake is a kind of openness that is presence that comes out of accepting the time, being nowhere else and clear-headed. Unfortunately, to stay open and be present in my surroundings is exhausting and causes me anxiety. Something anxious-making about trying to take everything into account. When I don't have the energy to meet this anxiety, I check the clock and jump with parts of myself to the time when rehearsal will be over. Looking at the clock is especially toxic to any process that involves improvisation. In order to be able to spontaneously follow a thread in real time, I have to recognize what is coming up in real time. I think it's pretty much discipline, like being able to sit and pay attention to my breath, and it gets easier with practice. Part of the practice is constantly reigning in attention, over and over and over again.

Andy recommends:

Video: James Brown and His Famous Flames

James Brown delivers

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