A few days ago a fellow artist and friend Eric OneKey based in Rwanda asked me to take part in his Read All About It challenge. His intention was to hear the stories of real people, artists or not, and hear their stories through art: poetry, dance, music,... any medium they preferred. He created a hashtage with the same title. I was in Japan at the time in the mountains in Nagano, where I was staying in a Buddhist temple for some time, meditating, doing yoga, ...
I thought what a better time to start a project like this than right now! So with the help of three other artists we created a space to allow magic to unfold. We had someone playing traditional drums and gongs for Buddhist ceremonies, we had a DJ that played soundscapes and we had a photographer to document it all. It was a magical project and here's what I had to say afterwards, as a response to Eric's challenge.
My whole life I have felt a sense of not belonging. I often feel like an outsider in every place I live or visit. I have been searching for a home for as long as I can remember, to help me settle and grow roots.
I thought I had found that home many times and I remember feeling a sense of rest coming over me when I found that place. Yet, soon enough, sometimes days, months or even years later, the unrest crept back underneath my skin and inside my bones. Not an unrest caused by groundlessness this time, but an unrest of feeling comfortable. Because to me comfort is the opposite of growth.
I realised that there is a feeling much worse than non belonging, it is the feeling of becoming stagnant. So, I keep changing my environment in order to keep growing.
And now here I am, in a Buddhist temple in the Japanese mountains. And with the support of 3 other artists, each focusing on their own craft, I start my dance. We are 4 artists all with the same intention: to create a space to allow magic to unfold. Now I understand why dance started in temples. Through hours of improvised movement I start shedding my skin and making way for a rebirth. Because that is what life is, we continuously die and get reborn again.
I tell my younger self: ‘don’t be afraid of discomfort and suffering. It indicates that it is time for change. Change your environment in order to grow. Let go of what was and allow the universe to guide you to new doors opening up all around you. And when you see one? Just walk through it and don’t question why. Just like dance, the message will reveal itself when the time is right. All you need is to take that leap of faith...’
What I now realised is this: I don’t have no home, I have many! Through the kindness of friends and other artists I have been able to find a place to stay wherever I go and I’ve been made to feel welcome as if it were my own. I have a home pretty much everywhere in the world now... gratitude for those that provided me help in this lifestyle I chose. It taught me it is ok to accept a helping hand on the path you choose for yourself.
photography: Hotaka Yamakazi
soundscape: Kai Takatsu
gongs: Kenshi Takatsu
dancer: Hilde Cannoodt
#readallaboutit - Eric OneKey - check out Eric's incredible work