Turn Your Head


The other day Lori Clarke and I were discussing strategies for negotiating daily barriers to change. These barriers can be as obvious as physical pain or financial precariousness, as intangible as depression and anxiety, or as mundane as boredom and disengagement. We are creatures of habit. Our neurons love to fire along the same worn pathways and it can be extremely difficulty to lay down new patterns. We get stuck. 

We are both fortunate to be part of a group of artists working with choreographers Christopher House and Anne Troake on a dance project sponsored by Neighbourhood Dance Works. Christopher has been studying recently with seminal dance artist Deborah Hay, whose interest lies in dance as a means of exploring consciousness.  Lori reminded me of one of the directives Chris brought us from Deborah - Turn your head. 

It's a deceptively simple action, but carries a powerful suggestion. When our gaze is constantly pointed in the same direction, we experience tunnel vision, limiting our opportunity to access and process new information. The act of turning your head immediately presents an altered perspective, both literally and symbolically. It is not to be confused with merely turning away from difficulty or averting your eyes from the unpleasant. I think of it more as a way to acknowledge difficulty and approach it from a different direction. It is a gentle reminder to challenge our point of view, an embodiment of the notion of change.

We are not always in a position to make radical changes in our lives. No magic program or pill will make us happier, stronger or wiser overnight and I bristle when I hear people making such promises.  But sometimes the smallest of actions can help rouse us from our reverie and see the world afresh. Give it a try.