The House of Pelvic Truth

pelvisbw.jpg
 
 

THE HOUSE OF PELVIC TRUTH

an homage to Martha Graham
on International Women’s Day

My morning of International Women’s Day started out, like many of my mornings.
A snowy, icy stormy drive to a café, where I kick-start with a cappuccino, and, inspired by a caffeine-induced high, spend an hour, furiously writing.

My morning café habit is now, a decade old ritual of mine.

I’ve noticed over the years, as I’ve drifted from spot to spot, there is always a gang of regulars – men, that hang out over their newspapers, and kvetch.
I’ve come to see this as an age-old instinctual ritual in the male psyche…the elders must gather, check in on the tribe, and discuss the important matters of the day.

At my current haunt, one of those regulars, likes to comment on my anti-social habits…
So Intense, you, sitting there, just writing!
Why not come and sit and talk with us?

Always the same sentiment, different days.
(I go there to write, not gab.)

I used to be annoyed, but now I just laugh, chock it up to one of those other, deeply wired primal things we all do – but of course, the female is there, for the edification of others!

So, I turn to my own engrained womanly instincts - giving a smile with a cordial nod, and say some nicety, and get back into doing my thing.


 
 
Beauty is a catalyzing presence, that invites and even demands, transformation.
— Frederick Turner

 
 
 
Martha Graham and Erick Hawkins, 1938

Martha Graham and Erick Hawkins, 1938

Today, I was enjoying my cafe time - scribbling away, sketching out a new blog post…and just completely content for the first time in a some time.

Noticing, to myself, how I am just getting back to a space of what feels like “A-Okay-ness” after being in a place of deep restoration.

Thinking…
Halle-flipping-lujah, I think the heart break is almost healed!!

Finally feeling,
like I might even be emerging from a seven-year, trial by fire.

The local man walks up to me on this day of International Woman’s Day, for his daily dose of ribbing, and says…
So WHAT do you DO, do you go out dancing, and to the bars and such???

I reply…
Not so much these days. I don’t go out dancing anymore.

He says…
I have a story to tell you…

(I cringe, nervous he is going to say that he spotted me a couple of years back, in one of my more infamous moments, dancing on top of a bar.)

But that is not what he has to say.
He continues…

You know, a couple of years ago, I did not know you, but would see you come in.
And there was that time, you were with that Very Big Guy, and you looked So Very happy!!
You were all smiles, and your radiance was so Big.
You were so bright…a beautiful light.
You just blossomed!!!

I nod, “yep.”

“That’s okay” he continues.
”Every woman should be made to feel like that,
even if it’s just ONCE in her life.”

At that point, I decide we are done with the café for the day. Slam my book and head for the hills.
I arrive home, feeling a bit like a worn-out, wilted flower.
Sitting down at my desk, I realize it is International Woman’s Day, the day, I always post about Martha Graham.

Ah, of course, I think.
Today. Martha is the medicine.
that force of a woman,
SHE will hook me back in.

 

 
photo by Imogen Cunningham

photo by Imogen Cunningham

I will never possess a tenth of Martha Graham's ferocity or jawline or tenacity. And she would be horrified at my lack of core strength.
But her wisdom and commitment to deep Truth, is something I invoke often.

Martha Graham’s students referred to her school as "The House of Pelvic Truth." She was indeed someone that understood the creative portal, and that the core of THE movement, and life, must always eminate from the sacred center.

That holy place.

She is “reputed to have told a dancer not to return to the studio until she had gone out and found herself a man.”1
In her autobiography, "Blood Memories," she recalls telling a female dancer, “you are simply not moving from your vagina.” 2

 

photo by Imogen Cunningham 1938

photo by Imogen Cunningham 1938

“I am a dancer.  I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.  It is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”  –Martha Graham,  Blood Memory, an autobiography

“I am a dancer.

I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.
It is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”
–Martha Graham, Blood Memory, an autobiography


 

Of course I appreciate her bold embrace of holism of the body, of the sensuous, and of sensualism.
I admire her as the Matriarch of Modern Dance.
But I hold a deeper commitment to Graham, because she was strictly possessed, in her determination and discipline, to being a vessel, for the Creative Forces to move through her.

She was a devotee of Truth.
She stood strong so the blood memories could flow through her veins.
She heeded the ancient wisdom.
She knew the feminine angst of what it means to be a woman, who has this incessant and constant hook-up with the Eternal.

Martha was the Archetypal Warrior, the reminder to “keep the channel open,”
that “no artist is ever pleased”…and all that we can really hope for is the “blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

She understood,
that we sometimes need to bleed,
as the sacrificial offering,
in devotion to something higher.

…and so, she is the beautiful emanation, and reminder for me,
and for all Women, to always, keep on dancing.


Oh. And about that café dude situation?
I would agree. Yep. My light has been a little outwardly dim for several months.
But I’m totally cool with it. And very, very, aware of it.
For now, It just means I’m not as outwardly interesting to others while I sit and write in my cafe. But I am in a season, where I need to learn to become interesting to myself, and be less dependent on others, to trip my light fantastic.


Sometimes a woman needs to draw her radiance inward, recharge her battery, fill up her tanks and take the critical time to restore, integrate the past, and remember the most important thing…

That light,
must first feed
and nourish herself.

So what if you notice a Woman is looking a little dimmed out?


Understand that two things could be happening:

  1. She has been re-routing her life-force elsewhere:
    Giving a bit too much to the others. Running on empty. Not taking time for replenishment, or saving some for herself.

  2. She is in a Winter season:
    Where, that big radiant magic, is simmering, magnetizing, and pulsing…working with the forces of nature, deep within her sacral core. There is big, beautiful and potent work going on in the belly of her sacred center…and it’s just not time for you to see it yet.

So, when you see a woman looking a little less-than bright - or you might be feeling a bit dimmed-out yourself…
just give a little wink, wink, and nod, nod.
And say…
I see you.
I get it.
And, I love what you are up to in there.

Because you know, that when a Woman conspires with the Creative Forces, magic is afoot, and only something miraculous can ultimately be revealed.

 
 
 
photo by Imogen Cunningham

photo by Imogen Cunningham

Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in Winter. It’s quiet. But the roots are down there riotous.
— Rumi
 
 

1. Bannerman, Henrietta. Martha Graham's House of the Pelvic Truth: The Figuration of Sexual Identities and Female Empowerment
2. Graham, Martha. Blood Memories, an autobiography.