Last month I spent a week in Morocco exploring the sights and sounds, colours and culture and came home feeling renewed and full of creative energy. Now, at last, I am back spending some regular time in my studio, having made camp under a duvet for the last few months. I have just met a lovely friend, who I haven’t seen for a while, for tea and had a nosey around her new studio space and feel inspired to get over the procrastination of putting a little something up here that I made on holiday.
Our discussion over tea was about pain. Quite simply, how being present to others pain reflects our own and how challenging and awkward this can often feel. I very much found this in Morocco, where so many badly disfigured people live off of the pennies of those who can stand still long enough to engage with them and generously give some change. My partner is one of these people, while I shied away from contact beyond a smile, embarrassed by my awkwardness, he stopped to spend the time giving them some change. This warmed my heart, and also stimulated me to confront what it was within me that I struggled to respond to. The mirror it provides, of our wounds and pain that we so desperately try to hide away from view. Our awkwardness for these people is the awkwardness we avoid, or indeed embrace, within our own spheres of challenging emotional experience.
After an initial fear of difference and a lack of connection to a culture so rooted in conservative dress and seemingly worlds apart from my comfortable, British life, I encountered a moment of absolute connection. Not directly with any of the physical beings that I met on my travels, as I kept my skin covered and gaze low. But with the very centre, the core energy, that connects each and every one of us. That human experience that we all play out…
“We’re really not that different, you know.”
I recorded this short film from the roof terrace of the place we were staying – I loved the way people looked from up there. I could gaze freely at the heaving mass of people going about their business, and found myself captivated by one woman who I had seen, walking the streets asking for money, a number of times in the previous days. I was intrigued to notice the solitary path she shakily took along the Medina alleyways and felt the urge to video her from above. I was captivated by her movements and the way it all played out from my birds eye view; the movement of hers and others along the tiled floor. I even like the grainy, shaky quality of the film itself. Since I have been back I have found that I have carried my experience forward into my every day life in a positive way, connecting with the similarities between myself and others and being more mindful to internal responses to pain and difference.
Ah… Aren’t holidays great for slowing down and soaking up the detail, or as Artist’s Way calls it “filling the well”. Spoilt for choice of beautiful, intriguing and spirit tweaking stuff and things.