Bloody Practice of Letting Go

Apr 17, 2016
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Last month we celebrated the Spring Equinox at YoYoYogi with another wild and transformative evening of ritual and dance.  For the past few years I've been creating large art-altar installations for the ritual part of this event.  This time, I created a large geode-like pod structure-- almost 10 feet tall!  It turned out pretty effin' amazing, however, the construction of it offered me a big life lesson.

After the Winter Solstice Boogie last year, I was given a gift certificate to ADX Portland, which is a very large space that you can rent to work on big projects.  The space comes equipped with every kind of saw you can imagine, a room for metal working and welding, and lots of other tools and machines for building.  I was so excited to have my own 10 x 10 foot space other than my living room to build this.

Normally, I have 5 or 6 dedicated friends who help me build these installations.  They come over in their work clothes, we eat pizza, drink beer, and we create magic together.  This time, because you have to be a member of ADX to enter the space, I had to build it without the help of my friends. At first, it was awesome.  I created, constructed and hummed along just fine feeling independent. But after a few days I felt a little like I was marooned on an island all by myself.

I was three days from the Boogie Equinox event when the catastrophe happened.

At this point, I had all the pieces were fastened together at the top with Gorilla Tape.  The structure of the walls were built, the chicken wire fixed in place, and the paper mache just about finished when I decided it was time to fix the top of the sculpture.  I got out the step ladder, put it in the middle of the pod and climbed to the top.  I thought that cutting all the tape that bound the top together was a brilliant idea until I actually cut all the tape.

All of a sudden, there I was at the top of the ladder, with nothing holding it together but my left hand.  I looked down and the roll of tape I needed was on the ground.  I looked up and noticed blood starting to run down my arm.

I was in a pickle.  If I let go, the entire project was going to collapse to the ground, yet I was holding on so tightly that I was bleeding.  My arm was getting tired.  I stood there, alone in this big room, a bit paralyzed by what to do.  Then I literally started laughing out loud.  I thought, "now ain't this a life lesson about grasping and letting go!"

In that moment I surrendered.  I open my grip and watched as the whole thing crumbled to the ground.  As if perfectly timed, just then someone walked by and asked if I needed a hand.  I smiled awkwardly, wiped the blood on my pants and said yes. He held the pieces one-by-one as I taped it all back together.

The next day I took the whole thing down, put it in a van and took it back to my apartment to finish building it in my living room.  My friends rallied til late in the night to help me finish it.  The Spring Equinox Boogie went off without a hitch as we danced the night away!

Summer Solstice Boogie is coming up in June.  I wonder what life lessons will come my way!?