BODY IS EARTH
Carbon, water, nitrogen, oxygen—the same materials that comprise
the Earth, also make up our own blood and bones, our breath and our brains.
Our shedding hair, skin, tears, and eventually our entire bodies are all
returned to the Earth where they break down again into these same materials.
Interestingly, we can see this basic knowledge reiterated through an
etymological inquiry. The modern English word Earth shares its
root sound –er with other words in our Indoeuropean language family
for “to exist” and “to be.” We may recognize this
sound in the Old English word eart or art, as in “thou
art,” or the Spanish word ser which means “to be.”
Over time, the extended roots -ergh and –orgh
evolved into the Greek word for orkheisthai—“to dance”—and
the word orchestra in English. (Chambers
Dictionary of Etymology, 1998, American Heritage Dictionary of the English
Thus, when we utter the word for the planet upon which we make our home,
we are speaking aloud all that linguistic history, affirming the knowledge
that our very existence is intimately related to Earth. When we dance
and make music, we are actually describing, reflecting, and participating
in the processes of Earth.
It becomes more and more apparent each day that human beings will be
required to deepen our understanding of Earth’s processes, and harmonize
with these processes if we are to thrive on a long-term basis. We can
do this simply by consulting our own bodies.
Since the our bodies are quite literally made from Earth, we can use
them directly to gain an understanding of the way Earth works. And this
type of understanding is not reserved for just a select few “experts.”
Just as each and every one of us has a body, each and every one of us
has the opportunity (and responsibility) to access this deep knowledge
through the practice of bodybased arts.
We must now summon our body wisdom to balance out the inefficiencies
and myopia that has accompanied thousands of years of exclusionary use
of technical and rational thought. Only when we have absorbed wholistic,
natural “law,” and ecological principles thoroughly into the
entire bodymind system—not just the frontal lobe of the brain—will
we truly begin to innovate solutions to mounting ecological and societal
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