Emily Wright

DANCER | EDUCATOR | SPEAKER | AUTHOR

Passing Through

Summer is drawing to a close. Kids are back to school and fall décor is appearing in stores. Almost imperceptibly, the days are getting shorter. But the air is still hot and humid, and our farmers’ market stalls are filled with late summer produce—tomatoes, summer squash, okra, and green beans. Welcome to the in-between.

The theme of transitions has been on my mind since the end of June, when I attended Up & Down, a 2-day movement workshop at the Feldenkrais Institute of New York co-led by nervous system specialist, Irene Lyon, and professional dancer, Elia Mrak. Mrak introduced a particularly potent exercise, entitled “Passing Through,” by observing that we are always traveling between things: between day and night, between work and rest, between last year and next year, and, ultimately, between birth and death. “Passing Through” asks trios to negotiate with the task of attempting to travel between their partners while their partners are simultaneously trying to pass between them.

As we shift from summer to fall, I am aware of my habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, and enacting transitions. I usually experience transitions as disruptive. I feel suspended, untethered. I long to feel my feet on solid ground. I find myself alternating between resistance and rushing in an attempt to avoid or at least minimize my discomfort. In “Passing Through,” I discovered that dwelling in a threshold place can also be simple and pleasurable. We began slowly, gave each other space, found places to pause, and sought pathways that were mutually beneficial. “Passing Through” evokes a quality of being that reminds of these words from John O’Donohue:

May we learn to return

And rest in the beauty

Of animal being,

Learn to lean low,

Leave our locked minds,

And with freed senses

Feel the earth

Breathing with us.*

 As you move through the transition from summer to fall, where do you sense the thresholds in your life? What are you leaving behind? What new pathways are before you? How can you find moments to pause, to deepen your attention to self and others, to discover mutually beneficial ways of “passing through?”

*O’Donohue, John. 2008. “To Learn From Animal Being.” To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings. New York, NY: Doubleday, 73.