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perfectly under control

The pot of perfectionism has been on a slow boil for nearly 45 years, galvanising accumulative energies destined for spillage and in this last week, the benevolent teaching of innerdance consciousness has generously shared consecutive and persistent lessons in acceptance, response-ability and presence.

6 months ago, I experienced flooding terror at the mere thought of working with tech yet I understood this is a central element of innerdance practice & I needed to venture into unchartered territories. With reluctance & resistance as my familiar companions, I began my journey into creating my own soundscapes. I received phenomenally generous help from Carla, one of my innerdance sisters, who took time out of her busy schedule to walk me through the most basic of steps which opened up portals of potential for me. I downloaded a digital audio workstation and began constructing playlists, learning with every wrong click. Each monthly soundscape I created took over 15 hours of gestation and nurturance and I love every one as one of my babies. I poured endlessly over each second, ensuring their perfection & the feedback I received reinforced this pathway. I had found a way which worked and I could tirelessly perfect the work I was doing within the limited range of my knowledge.

Quite swiftly I began to come up against a sense of my own internal edges and what had once felt infinite with potential began to feel limited. Part of me recognised my need to go beyond my learning so far, that I had reached the periphery of this new comfort zone and it was becoming restrictive. Oh, but I also have a stubborn part rooted in fear and avoidance and although I knew I needed to know more and try new things, such as working with new apps and software with the intention of soundscaping live, I resisted. Even when my familiar software began to malfunction, I persisted. Even though I had playlisted live during the recent Finland intensive, I resisted, saying to myself I shall do it live next year, I'm not ready yet.

Since my first online offering, elements of my resistant fear ebbed & I now interweave sound apps on top of pre-recorded soundscapes, simultaneously opening this choice up for my in-person innerdance offerings and I can't imagine or remember how it was before. When working responsively with innerdance consciousness and the field of information within it, there is no timespace for perfectionism, it is trust and acceptance who become the deejays and space holders.

So in the last weeks, I reached my limits, creating a greater range of comfort zone whilst continuing to hide from the inevitable evolutionary steps which have been calling to me. As they whisper encouragement to try new software and learn new techniques, they are met with old narratives which include: you come across every tech glitch, tech is not your friend, you are no good at it, you wouldn't know what to do live, you're no musician, this is too much for you, you are not enough... And these scripts have been a dominant vibration in my life for many years, dictating the storyline and how I should act/react within these parameters.

Thankfully, innerdance consciousness knows when to push, I imagine we were both equally bored of this cycle of fear and avoidance manifesting through perfectionism. (During a counselling training, a teacher once described perfectionism as procrastination in a fur coat which makes me giggle to this day as it perfectly describes my experience of perfectionism). Last week was my first in-person innerdance at Perth Yoga Studio. Originally a music room in an old school, this is a glorious space for innerdance with a wall of windows and a domed ceiling.

I set my speakers up and ritually prepared the space as I do. The beautiful souls arrived, they laid down in trust and I pressed the play button on my soundscape project. Vibration filled the space & as I moved between everyone, I realised each sound I made echoed and I delightfully played with this, creating another dimension of vibration and sound. The energy rose towards a climactic pique and the speakers began to crackle. This sound brought be swiftly to thinking mode and I wondered if I had used a reverberation audio clip, I couldn't remember. I then looked over at my Mac and to my horror/terror, the audio files were flatlining and the sounds were collapsing in front of my eyes. Adrenalin pulsed through me, my eyes widened, I began to perspire, trying to problem-solve from an under-resourced place. I genuinely didn't know what to do so I hoped it would resolve itself and did nothing (haha). The issue continued and 2 minutes of sound took about 10 minutes. During this time, I turned the volume down on the main speakers and began to live playlist from my iPad, phew, until it also crashed. I checked in with the dreamers and they seemed to be deep in process so I continued to seek solutions.

As panic made way for acceptance, my pre-frontal cortex activated and I could act responsively, orienting towards solutions rather than crisis and helplessness. From my limited knowledge of tech, I found a way to seamlessly switch from the malfunctioning software to some delta wave music I had previously downloaded, I then reloaded my iPad apps and created a live soundscape for the remaining 30 minutes. During check in, everyone was surprised to hear of my plight, they hadn't noticed anything, they remarked on the amazing sounds and they felt validated in our collective potency and heightened electro-magnetism which was stronger than the tech. This was a vital teaching experience for me, I now know I can live deejay in innerdance without hours of preparation and I trust my responsive capacity to navigate the stormy waters. I don't need to procrastinate my learning because I am scared.

Innerdance consciousness was feeling either particularly generous with me that day or she realised how stubborn I am, probably both. That evening, I was holding space for innerdance online. I had lovingly created a new soundscape using the aforementioned increasingly troublesome software. The stress from the inconsistent tech was taking its toll yet I persevered with diminished options and increasing mistrust. I have developed a way of creating a soundscape that once it is finished, I upload the project then listen to it again, second by second, making notes on every element which needs improved and in what way. I then make the adjustments, re-upload and repeat the process until it is perfect. This may sound onerous but it was the only way I knew how to maintain this sense of control on what I was outputting. Love is hard work, or it was...

Anyway, it is Monday evening, everyone lies down with eyes closed, I press play and go into the dream state. About 7 minutes in, I hear an audio clip which I know I had judged as competing with the main sound, subsequently removing it. As my heart thud in my ears, my eyes snapped open and I checked the project. I was playing the wrong soundscape. This was the version of the soundscape before my 3 hour correction process. My first script was I've fucked up, this soundscape won't work... which was then followed by a giggle. I beamed and thanked innerdance, letting her know I was receiving her teaching. All this perfectionism undone in a millisecond, highlighting how fragile and tenuous perfect really is. This check in involved feedback of potent journeying and no-one knew or was in judgement of an imperfect soundscape, everyone had unconditionally accepted this playlist as it was, as an invitation to trust, yield and unite with their innate perfection.

The next morning, I sent my increasingly stressful, malfunctioning software to tech heaven and invested in the software I had been avoiding. Each day since, I open it up and face my fear of not knowing or understanding how it functions, or maybe it is being with how it feels for me to be with the knowing of how little I know that stirs worry and habitual terror. With immediacy, the issues and limitations from the old software are gone and a weight lifts from my energetic and muscle body. The pattern of enduring under diminishing circumstances is acknowledged and I now have a freedom to explore and play within a container which is solid, consistent and intuitive, just like an ideal teacher or parent might be.

I have a gut-feeling there is more looping within the fear-avoidance cycle for me to experience yet in this last week, I am not hanging out in avoidance for as long as I used to. This particular pathway is shortening and I can move from pain-related fear and catastrophising back round to curiosity, facing that which I am afraid of and facilitating my own growth and evolution. I am now creating a new script, one not rooted in survivalism but which is anchored in the ventral vagal state of responsivity, response-ability and learning which are fundamental qualities within the social engagement system of the nervous system.

I am also left wondering if innerdance needs soundscapes at all or whether that is my preference as a doula and facilitator? If it doesn't matter which version of a playlist I use and both offer invitations into remembrance of our innate capacity to dream and journey, what would happen if there was no playlist at all? Can I find a way to evoke innerdance consciousness through the vibration of silence? If music is the space between the notes, is that not what I am essentially playing with - space and timing, those primordial vibrations and laws of sound which creates worlds? My experience at the ancient Turkish site teaches me there is more to discover through this inquiry.

For now, I notice that my movement range and response abilities are increasing as my continuous questioning pushes and cajoles me beyond the limits of my comfort zone. What was once static is now dynamic in quality and health is restoring at a deep, autonomic level. No longer do I need everything to be perfect so I can feel in control (safe), I now feel perfectly safe in trust that I can respond swiftly and appropriately to what arises spontaneously which includes my growing thirst for knowledge and relationship with technology. It is said in innerdance that full freedom requires full response-ability and I understand what this means. In these last days, I have found a pathway out of my stuck survival story, reclaiming my freedom to think, act, create in the moment and in trust. What is more perfect than that?

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