// Soles with Soul //

Transformation.

These pair became an extension of my intentions for over 15years as we moved, learned and grew together.

I have never been one to buy many 'things' In this life and I never did bother much with fashion. I think I have spent more than 3/4 of my life in some sort of loose fitting clothing ready to move/train and the other quarter in mixture of over sized nappies, bare chest, shorts and sliders (flip flops). 

I never even owned a suit until a couple years back when I was forced to buy one as a best man to a great friends wedding! However thanks (largely) to my partner I have come to realise that clothing is much more than just mere protection from the extremities of weather and our privacy but can be seen as an extension of our identities.

I have always felt that there is something really special about footwear, especially for movers as they absorb your intimacy with the earth and in turn transmit your energy back. 

(It's funny to me, as I had a friend while coming up as a young boy that would regularly read people's personalities by their choice of footwear. A bit like the urban street version of mystic Meg reading star signs, but much more accurate!)

These pair of shoes reflect, and remind me the difference between change and transformation, for me these here are soles with soul. 

Today It seems that we are constantly obsessed in searching for the new (or rebranding the old), the latest model/item, make, brand, fashion or trend- The next best move, posture, skill or hero to model the way. 

Unfortunately the movement world seems to have become contaminated in a similar way by absorbing and embracing this hyper capitalist tendency to take, claim, isolate and appropriate in order sell (sell even better than before). 

Movements which once had connection to something greater, once carefully cultivated embodied not only transmitted physically but orally largely through organic interactions are today torn from their roots and culture, harvested and plucked ready to be sold and packaged with no regard to their 'culture' (supposedly due to their attachment to traditional arts that hold limiting 'dogmas') and so the growing 'movement' Movement, steam ahead by liberating these old paradigms by rebranding the 'old' and ironically calling it 'movement culture'. 

This is by no means a negative criticism, but a mere reflection by a mover, In hope to aid other practioners along the way, especially those leaders who teach and have platforms/audiences into raising their consciousness and research beyond movements.

I am ever hopeful in that everyone is doing the best that they can with the understanding they have at this time, as the truth will be in our inner work, in (y)our intentions- this will guide and direct (y)our walk through this life. 

culture ËˆkÊŒltʃə/

noun

  1. the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
    2.the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society."Afro-Caribbean culture"
  2. synonyms:
  3. civilization, society, way of life, lifestyle
     

In the meanwhile, if we are going to take from a culture, i think we should bear in mind that (his/her)stories attached to movement are not always just mindless dogma but timeless wisdom.

The central theme to many movement arts of the African diaspora is work, music, improvisation and play. Within these elements are a lot to be learned from in regards to movement. Traditional, tribal/folk movement forms that have managed to survive have evolved with time to become arts. They have managed to withstand the test of time via transformation (metamorphosis)- to grow, develop and inspire trough the ages, as they are for life, a lifestyle, a way, many drawing inspiration from nature and closely accompanied by some sort of gnosis or spirituality.

We are grateful for all those generations of practitioners, movers, artists and craftsmen that came before us to inspire, pave the way and share the wisdom. As it is because of their courage, sacrifices, and wisdom attained and shared that we can further our practice today.

I hope you can find it in yourself to see this and realise that its bigger me and you.

As the amazing Terence McKenna loved to say, ‘Culture is not your friend. Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery, and replace it with a mythology. It exists as a buffer to authentic experience. As they created larger and larger communities, they replaced the direct spiritual experience of the shaman with priestly religion. Drum beats and sweat were exchanged for digitized, corporatized noise. Local tales got replaced by Hollywood blockbusters, critical thinking with academic dogma.’

Take movement arts like Bboying, Capoeira, Rumba of the African diaspora, where huge portions of the art are embodied/orally transmitted as an example. At first glance it is very easy to fall into to the culture trap and believe that the art is the culture it self, as they are constantly dancing together but one is not the other and vice versa. They all have a living culture that may contain their own dogmas and by products, but the art it self is largely free of dogma! As it is found in the moment, It is the improvisations created in the 'now' within the circles/spaces they’re manifested which ensures that they are timeless, ever evolving, moving, 'fresh' and alive and living.

I can relate to where the confusion maybe held, as when you’re learning an art from a teacher and institution or 'method', you can be lost or trapped in that teachers own dogmas and beliefs, which for most part can be a positive, as that person if of sound mind and intention will be transmitting his/her experience gained over time in order to cut your ‘randomness’ and provide the space for your growth and development. But its important to remember, that the teacher is not the art, nor can he/she alone account for the culture alone, in my opinion realising and overstanding this is all a part and parcel of the process of transformation. 

("Seu princípio não tem método, Seu fim é inconcebível o mais sábio dos Mestres") -'Its beginning (principle) has no method, Its end is inconceivable to the wisest of mestres (Masters).' - Vicente Ferreira Pastinha

So the limiting factor here is largely our own perception. Which admittedly by large when beginning in the journey of any art is in the hands of the teacher you happen to be learning with, but no matter how charismatic they may be, he/she be does not own or count for the art as a whole.

The transmission of traditional art is usually a lengthy process as it is passed down generation to generation and for most of the time this is for good reason, as the practitioner not only learns the movement and physical skills necessary for that moment in time, but their essence. Ciphered and coded within movements (and other elements within the art) are messages to be passed on and carried forward to the next generation.

Through the illusion of time, many things appear to change but actually just transform, as their principles remain. Through the practice of observation(study), experience(embodiment) and testimony(oral) wisdom is acquired and passed from one generation to the next.

Homage to the ancestors. 

To those who have inspired us on the path. To those who continue to plant, cultivate and take care the 'fields' that is continually 'plucked' and 'picked' from. 

Transformation (metamorphosis) is a continual process which usually leads to development and growth. 

The caterpillar transforms into the butterfly from inside out. 

Everything comes from something else.

It's important to know the roots. 

This is something I learnt with the elders.

Anything made well with true craftsmanship is with sweat, intention and soul.

If you want a good shoe that lasts the test of time that you can rely on, find a good shoemaker.

A real craftsmen, his work is priceless.

Or if your like me, cultivate and invest in a good friendship like I did. 

A friend who recognises the real from its reflection and presents to you that what he sees in you.  Thank you for the decades of love, respect and soles.

You were always one of the most natural movers and inspirations growing up, heres to you my brother,

Daniel Morris. 

I salute.