I saw that Susan Kleckner had organized a window performance in Soho. For one year, women activists would use a storefront window as a place to protest. I immediately liked the form...endurance, availability, limitation. Aaah! All the things I like, deciding to do a week in there blindfolded, having practiced that a few times in the early 70's, and remembered what a sweet experience that had been. The time I allowed my husband Mitchell (Payne)to guide me, take care of me, so I could practice receiving ,was a way to give myself attention and yet be more allowing as half of a couple. And then resurrecting the 3 day blindfold for a 1975 women's conference this time living in a gallery and Pauline(Oliveros) became my guide and I became a laughing, non-judgmental,accepting nymph. Oh how happy when habituation leaves even for awhile and I had a chance to FEEL how to respond, not SEE what to do as dictated by society or my eyes or everyday worries and patterns. I knew that if I was publically blindfolded for a week I would have a chance to be SOFT-HEARTED.
In the beginning I had fear of the porta-potty which is unusual because I am usually very natural about bodily functions. I knew that people were seeing through the curtain that maybe I pulled shut, maybe I didn't but after a day using a porta-potty while blindfolded, in a NYC store window behind a shut curtain was a breeze!
What I discovered is that memory and imagination are picture making enteties and cause as many images to surface as sight itself. Of course I knew this from years of meditation retreats but this time I had a week of no-sight to really see it. Each word that I thought, produced a picture, an image so I never missed not-seeing because I WAS seeing my thoughts, my fears, my imaginings, my memories, . I saw images of words and realized that exhaustion comes from working so hard since there seemed tobe threelevels of sight and thought:
1 .The actual seeing of the thing or person.
2. Discarding or accepting the sight
3.Spending more time on analyzing or reacting to the thoughts that come from the seeing.
Exhaustion comes from having the burden of all three levels. By-passing level one, or sight, vacationed the mind and cut out one more need to control seen reality and after a few days I thought I WAS SEEING but in a new way.
My kinesthetic memory was strong and I moved without faltering and slowly (the window was about 4'by 8' so there really was no place to move to). And because of the slowness and carefullness I could feel when someone was there and HOW I FELT ABOUT THEM.I was captive and prisoner by choice, as art, and because I could not run away,I RECEIVED everything and everyone; the argumentative, the gentle and it seemed an occasion to balance the reality of war and peace.
I din't see night but knew it was there and did alot of inner work on scared LITTLE LINDA, counseling and advising her, not waiting for mother and father or a prince in shining armor to come and unlock the door and get me out of there.(I was locked into the store.)
Thoughts(not sights) of fire, thieves, predators of all kinds came and I guess it was good charnel ground meditation and I did dial out by counting the numbers on the face of the phone and called a few friends for support in the nights, a victory .
I learned to cook a complicated soup, another victory(have no idea now what kind of stove it was.)
I learned how to prepare for senior citizenship and possible macular blindness, another victory.
I learned how to feel the love of friends who reached out with soup and visits,a victory.
I allowed myself to be a vehicle for the voyeurism of viewers, peeking at me from outside the window, 2 inches away from me, another vistory.
I like practicing new skills but as an artist, reaching outside of the 200 year old traditions that are male invested.
I like to use art as a forum and place to practice receptivity by feigning a handicapp( I was also doing this because I had been working as a caregiver and my cancer-ridden terminal client said to me one day, "This cancer isn't going to kill me, the service is!) , and I thought, I'd better practice receiving NOW before it's too late.
AFTER A WEEK OF BEING BLINDFOLDED:Equilibrium is off after 2 days,and after seven I have sea legs.Taking away the blindfold is like giving my brain a laserdose of light.Ihave sea legs, stumble, can't walk,nausea, feellike an escaped prisioner. Vow to come out of these things moregently and moreprofessionally next time.I WILL DO ANYTHING TO EXPERIENCE THE SELF.