"Use it," we used to say in acting class. Now I am a Zen student. My name is Elena and my practice is using it. Six years ago, I started using my feelings about motherhood, my body, my psych experience, and my friends to make a longish video called "Martyred Moms: The Price of Sacrifice." Since then, I've used aging, outrage over heterosexual privilege, and wicked self-doubt to make ever-shorter works of semi-art.
This year I am diving into my deepest dilemma, the reconciliation of disability and dance. Enough D's? Not quite. Disability drives my identity. Deformity shapes my movement and thought as I struggle to insert myself into the dance world where I crave to be a citizen. And fail to belong, as usual. A fruitful conundrum.
Thanks to Zen, I can approach absurd paradox and contradiction with curiosity and openness. I can also approach them with immense frustration and battalions of defenses. And even those are included in my practice. Aren't they? Anyway, I love this Sangha and the teachers at Village Zendo. Here I can belong exactly as I am.
Elena TaJo (aka Taurke Joseph) is a videomaker, a practicing clinical psychologist in downtown NYC, a practicing mother, a sometime performer, and the director of OGReHome.com, a site to induce Outsider Grief Relief through understanding and play. Elena completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology at NYU and a Fellowship in Family Systems Medicine, then taught medical residents 'psychosocial skills' for a decade before giving up all legitimacy to pick up her arts career where she left off many years ago. She has won no awards or major signs of recognition yet her work reliably provokes and amuses people, which keeps her going. You can check out her videos and words at OGReHome.com.