The Ineffable state of Intimate Familiarity / Dana Venezia

This work started from an internal feeling that I was disconnected from myself. And I figured this is an issue others can relate to, that humanity in current times can relate to. The following meditation calls for us to reconnect to our most intimate selves and, from there, resolve the greatest of issues. 

The Ineffable state of Intimate Familiarity is a meditational journey constructed as a game of mnemonic visual imagery. The ideas worked through the text are based on the arguments of multispecies feminist theorist Donna Haraway. In her book Staying with the Trouble (2016), Haraway presents different possibilities for learning to live well and cope in today’s disturbing times. She calls us to act and alter how we think; to develop ‘Tentacular Thinking’- to grow new arms of perception and imagination. The Anthropocene produced a new reality with dire consequences, and our responsibility is to amend and build better relationships in approaching what is to come. According to Haraway, one of the ways we can start to heal as a society is by making kin with all living beings on Earth. 

In the visual imagery, the participants are guided through a healing journey. They are led in a state of conscious awareness to work through processes of self-reflection, weave inventive connections between memories and words and ultimately experience a transformation of personal and collective change. The pedagogical character of this meditation is the textual learning of Haraway’s key principle through bodily experience. As Haraway said: “We become – with each other or not at all.”

*The Anthropocene is an unofficial epoch referring to the time in history where human intervention is significant enough to alter Earth’s climate and ecosystem.

Meditation:

Welcome to the ineffable space of intimate familiarity. You are invited to lie down or sit comfortably. When you are ready, close your eyes and slowly sense your surrounding space. Begin to deepen your breath, extending each inhale and each exhale. Let’s take three deep breaths together, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

To start, I invite you to set an intention for the practice. And I will tell you what this intention is. Your intention, as of today, is to change the world. You – yes, you – will affect reality on Earth. You are about to undergo a transformation that will allow you to deal with life and reality optimally. You will learn how to be wholly present and live with the trouble. Your personal transformation will affect the whole world; without it, no change can exist.

As you start the journey, commit to your intention, and agree to give the practice all your attention. Wholeheartedly enter this practice with all your awareness. Imagine that the best place for you to be is here and now. Imagine that the best place for you to be is here and now. 

Lift your right hand, place your right index finger at the corner of your right eye, and apply slight pressure. Keep your finger there until instructed to release it. Place the word ‘I’ in the corner of your right eye. Imagine that the corner of your right eye is outer space. Imagine you are floating in the dark, silent void of the galaxy. You are in the sphere of non-awareness. And this sphere highlights a feeling of loneliness, of being out of touch with yourself and your environment.

Release your right hand. Lift your left hand and place your index finger at the corner of your left eye. Place the word ‘world’ there. Your left eye becomes a sphere which is Earth. Imagine that you suddenly see Earth from outer space. You watch the planet and perceive it as a small, fragile ball. You decide to land on Earth, and as you land, your awareness undergoes a cognitive shift. You feel elated and connected to yourself and the whole of humanity.

Move your left index finger, place it behind your left earlobe, and apply slight pressure. Place the word ‘change’ there. Imagine that you’ve landed on a high mountain. You are at the top of a sacred mountain, at the center of the world, where the sky meets the earth. You stand at the summit and feel a light wind caressing you. You breath-in clean air and observe your surrounding space. You decide to generate a change in reality. Think about the change that you wish to make in your reality. Imagine yourself making that change at this moment.

Release your left hand to the side of your body and reconnect to your breath. Retrace where you’ve been: the corner of your right eye, the corner of your left eye, behind your left earlobe. You’ve moved from the dark and silent space into the world, to the top of the sacred mountain.

Let’s continue. Lift your hands and place them on the soft area connecting your ribs. Place the word ‘kin’ there. Imagine that you are descending from the mountain into a magical forest. You stroll in the woods and come across a primordial plant. It’s an archetype that consists of all past, present, and future vegetation. You feel connected to this plant as though it encompasses your past, present, and future. You feel close to it like it’s a part of you. You touch the plant as kin. 

The following points are located at the soft spots where the arms connect to the shoulders. Move your hands to touch these spots and apply slight pressure. On the right, place the word ‘New,’ and on the left, place the word ‘create.’ Imagine yourself entering the primordial plant; you become the primordial plant. You descend the plant’s stem, following its roots into the earth. You become the plant’s roots, from which you will create your new world. From the roots, from the source, you are going to rewrite reality and create a new world order. So, remember, on the right, you place the word ‘New,’ and on the left, the word ‘make.’    

Now repeat the sequence of hand gestures. Imagine that you are holding a thread, which you are stretching between the points in the following order: move your right hand to the corner of your right eye, move your left hand behind the left earlobe, move your left hand to the corner of your left eye, move your left hand to the area between the arm and the shoulder, move your right hand to the space between the arm and the shoulder blade, move both hands to the soft spot between the ribs. And again: move your right hand to the corner of your right eye, move your left hand behind the left earlobe, move your left hand to the corner of your left eye, move your left hand to the area between the arm and the shoulder, move your right hand to the space between the arm and the shoulder blade, move both hands to the soft spot between the ribs. Now connect the movements to the words you’ve just implemented to construct a sentence. Let the hand gestures guide you as you connect the words. ‘I will change the world by making new kin.’ Keep repeating this sentence in your mind. Practice this phrase with its assigned gestures.

We are coming to the end of the meditation. Release the mantra and reconnect to your breath. Bring yourself back to the place we started, to the dark and silent sphere of non-awareness. Recall the intention you set at the beginning of the practice – that starting today, you are going to change the world. When you are ready, open your eyes.

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