An Invitation to Stop Suffering (listening for answers)

We’re spending a couple days discussing The Stop Suffering Project. Yesterday you heard Ann Glaviano. Today we’ll hear from Monica Mata Gilliam, the founder of daMata Acupuncture and a Master of Eastern Healing.

Performances are November 20-22 at Dancing Grounds. Come prepared to play, bring your cell phone, and buy tickets ahead of time here.

Monica Mata Gilliam

Monica Mata Gilliam

Wonderfully congruent to the creative process Meryl employs with FLOCK, my healing process is based on the generative and transformational power of questions.

Questions open us up. Questions create a pathway for exploration and for listening. My particular interest is to access information from the consciousness of all things to create new possibilities for change. When it comes to my healing practice, the “consciousness of all things” I speak of most often includes the body and the disease process.

Rather than seeing the body as something people are stuck with, I recognize the insightful collaborator the body actively seeks to be. (If only we would ask our bodies questions!) I listen to bodies daily and am regularly blown away by their awareness and honesty. People come to my clinic with their stories and their pains and a bunch of conclusions they came to after desperate, late night searches on the internet. Very rarely have these people asked to know what is being expressed by their current symptoms. Even more rare is the person who comes in seeking change without judging his or her current state as a “problem.”

The Fight

Yanina Orellana escapes The Examination Room.

What if every “symptom” were simply information? What would it take to use all of the information that comes our way to create the lives (and bodies) we would most enjoy? Everything is speaking all the time! I would imagine that it is possible to create change without asking questions or listening, but what is the fun of that?! We spend so much time suffering rather than diving in and participating with the conscious unfolding of these lives we are living. What a ride it can be!

For The Stop Suffering Project I had the great fortune to lead the FLOCK through some of the physical “Listening” practices I use with bodies. These are a bunch of hands-on techniques I have studied and created that assist in determining what the body is saying and where it might require facilitation.

Wow. What a gifted bunch of healers these people are! Perhaps it comes from years and years of listening to their own bodies? Perhaps it comes from the years of presence each performer has cultivated on stage? Wherever it comes from, the gift of each of these performers was an inspiration, both for me and for the piece itself. As we dove into the healing process we uncovered some of the painful (and hilarious) absurdity of the ways each of us suffers. I wonder what it will all lead to?

Yanina's foot

Yanina listens.

Performances are November 20-22 at Dancing Grounds. Seating is extremely limited, so buy tickets ahead of time here.

All photos by Christian Hardy.


Meryl Murman is the Artistic Director of FLOCK, New Orleans' newest dance company. FLOCK is a constellation of individuals who come together to stretch the boundaries of contemporary dance through a shared sense of curiosity, play, and physical and emotional abandon.