excerpt from performance
Belly Laugh, Belly Growl:

I. Greeting

Tonight, may we celebrate that peace which,
in the words of Black Elk,

comes within the souls of people
when we realize
that at the center of the universe
dwells the Great Spirit,
and that this center is really everywhere,
it is within each of us.

Black Elk, I believe you. The center of the universe is within each of us. But where? Give me a map! I want to know!

Well, I’ve done some research, and I can announce that the center of the universe is in the center of our bodies, in our bellies.

Now, I figure that this is important information, especially since in our culture the belly has such a bad reputation. That’s why I’ve appointed myself Belly Queen.

Here’s some background on the BQ. I started out in my mother’s belly, and I liked that. There was a direct pipeline delivering the juice right from her belly into mine. I was at home.

But that didn’t last too long. Once I slid down the chute, this is what I heard: “Oh. A girl. Well do the best you can. Don’t be emotional, don’t be physical, don’t be sexual, don’t be spiritual. It’s okay to be intellectual, but otherwise do not be.”

My survival seemed to depend on it, so I colluded with this breeding for non-being. I emptied myself out. From the neck down, there was nobody home.

By the time I was twenty-five, though, the stress of self-effacement was catching up with me. So I began learning how to reinhabit the territory beneath my chin.

In fact, the last twenty years have been the continuing adventure of reinhabiting this body. In the process, I’ve come to respect the center of the body, the belly, as the meetingplace of body and soul. In the process, I’ve come to appreciate how our Western culture treats our bellies. It’s enough to make you laugh, and it’s enough to make you growl…

© Lisa Sarasohn 2013