Arrivals, departures, process: Extracts from my journal in Ghana

I had a lot of time and space to think, or not think during my months in Ghana. Occasionally I wrote some of those thoughts or non-thoughts. The Dagaari people – the tribe of the community in which I was living – are a people who live predominantly in the ‘now’ – the present tense. They have a common saying – ‘aanu ban biou’. Means ‘who knows tomorrow’. Today they will spend all, because who knows tomorrow… In this surrounding, I realised that the culture in which I had been brought up was quite radically different. My perception of time and timing and my impatience to arrive is deeply rooted in me, however much I wished it otherwise! Below are a few extracts from my journal in Ghana, and seem to bear relevance to my choreographic concerns and working methodology.

28/11/08 ‘although I speak of ‘process’  and ‘journey’, I am still as hooked as any on destination. I am impatient to be able to understand and speak the language, know the codes of conduct…essentially to fit in. I want  to know it all now – to avoid the discomfort of not knowing. And this desire is so focused on the end and not the interest in the means of learning – the gradual shift from no understanding to some. The gradual change towards a little more ease of being. ‘

19/12/08 ‘yet however much I/we/society focuses on the destination, in fact whether we desire it or not we are actually constantly involved in process, and indeed – we never arrive!  (perhaps this explains those perpetual feelings of longing and incompletion – forward looking). If we look backwards we can see many ‘arrivals’, but they never felt as such because as we reach/approach each destination, the new one appears on our horizon and that becomes the new desire. The reality is that we are never inside the longing we are inside the now – the means for the gradual shift that goes unnoticed – the process of movement – the process of nothing perhaps.’

27/03/09 Aviation travel provides a glimpse of ‘simultaneous’ living. Realization of many different worlds existing simultaneously. How does this impact my experience of journeying and travel? With air travel I can reach my destination physically almost immediately (although my mind and spirit may take a while longer to catch up). What is the sensation of having arrived so quickly? Is it satisfying?


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