Artful Practices for Well-Being

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Constantin Brâncuși. Fish (Listen at MoMA). 1930

Blue-gray marble 21 x 71 x 5 1/2" (53.3 x 180.3 x 14 cm), on three-part pedestal of one marble 5 1/8" (13 cm) high, and two limestone cylinders 13" (33 cm) high and 11" (27.9 cm) high x 32 1/8" (81.5 cm) diameter at widest point, 21 × 71 × 5 1/2" (53.3 × 180.3 × 14 cm)
Pedestal: 5 1/8" (13 cm)
Other (cylinder): 13 × 32 1/8" (33 × 81.6 cm)
Other (cylinder): 11" (27.9 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange). © Succession Brancusi - All rights reserved (ARS) 2018

Hello. My name is Francesca Margarite Maximé. I’m a somatic experiencing trauma healing practitioner, a somatic psychotherapist, and a narrative poet.

Welcome into this space.The noticing of what it's like to actually be received by the space as you enter. What it's like for each step to be lifted. The foot placed on the floor. The bend of the knee and the ankle as the other foot is also lifted and placed on the floor.

And what it's like to be a body breathing a body in motion entering into this space of Constantine Brâncuşi.

Taking a couple of breaths here, just really enjoying what's here.

Who am I here? How am I different here then the ways that I have been, when I have been home and my apartment, Quarantined. locked down. Masked. Covered.

What has been hidden, what has been hiding, and what is emerging now entering into the space recognizing taking in each of these sculptures and in particular the one at the far end, Fish.

Notice when you may have noticed it. Notice where your eyes first landed as your feet did when you were entering into this space, this gallery. Where is your attention drawn?

How is it to hear the sounds of others also with you in this space? Using sense doors of sight and sound. Notice what it's like to feel the weight of gravity that is supporting this blue gray marble massive piece on a pedestal.

The weight of it. And then notice what it's like to feel the weight of your body, your foot lifting and placing in movement. Not locked down. Looking out and taking in.

Notice what happens inside, if there's a story there. If there's some kind of a, I do like or I don't like a preference. I wish it were this; I wish it were that. It's too much this; it's not enough that. I have ideas about what it needs to be.

And see if any of those have a spot in your body. If they're there. This breath that is breathing you, in much the same way that a fish has gills. And that it breathes differently than we do it breathes through the water. Deep underneath.

Perhaps in much the same way that this is solid, landed, grounded, balanced, the weight of its natural heavy enormity. Perhaps you too, receive that sense of groundedness. Settledness. When you take in this piece of art.

And then it is too, perhaps, what is it like to imagine that this is both marble of the land and both of the sea, and that fish in fact, also often travel and schools. And what is it like to be in this school together?

Not alone and isolated. But the representation of what it really means to be in this place where we are one of many. And although all the fish in the ocean cannot see one another that they are all there necessarily so.

Breathing in and breathing out through gills or through mask. Noticing what it's like to take a gaze and orient to the room and see what it's like who are these other beings. What is their experience? What is it about them that perhaps I'm wondering, or making up about how they are right now? About what they’re noticing right now?

In this time of not knowing there being some uncertainty, in this time perhaps of grief. Loss or stress. What is it like to notice there may be sculptures in this room. And the different forms have been created. And what is it like to notice inside, as we breathe in, we breathe out, that there is both the beauty and the solidity and the creativity before us. That we're not really separate from, but in fact are swimming in.

And what is it like to invite in and just see what it might be like to receive a drop of that feeling of fluidity that fish feel? As they glide forward, sleek, masterful. At home, right where they are.

Breathing in and breathing out. Inviting in. Can I be with this? Allowing the beauty of what this moment has to teach us. Can I be with this too? A body breathing, letting the breath breathe me.