Walking Woman: combining inner and outer activism, seeking the balance, assuaging the artistic soul and in the blink of an eye, inspiring.
You are cycling down Park Street in Bristol, probably relishing the wind whistling past your ears and the joy of a downhill run with a view, and as you zip past the shops, you spot two women, dressed in white, faces still and serene, walking with ceremoniously slow steps along the pavement. Then, just as quickly, you have passed them and they are gone from sight.
What that momentary glimpse creates in you, what it inspires, how you interact with it, what you feel, how you interpret it, what you think, what you do because of it, may fuel a wonder that leads you to fertile ground.
Walking Woman was an action manifested by two women, Angela and Miranda, as part of Bristol Co-Mutiny on 17th September 2009, and here we reflect on what we did and how it interconnected with the Co-Mutiny space.
Walking Woman is many things at once and it is rich in both symbolism and action. It is meditative and animated; it is inner activism connected to the outer world; it is balance and it is change.
Walking; one foot then the other; in that way we can scale a mountain and cross a continent, we can see how in small stages great things are achieved. We learn patience through walking; we feel calm and present and grounded to the earth.
By combining walking with meditation we quiet the mind and we do not flee ourselves. We can be in this reality and allow growth to occur in us.
Action and activism take many forms and we should celebrate this range, for each creative action will inspire many more. Just one creative action can feed a nation. Creativity is bringing the soulful into your external world; we can infuse the mundane with the divine; we spiral upwards.
This walk was both meditative and animated because it was two people seeking to be and do simultaneously in space and time. Some might say we behave like this all the time, but in reality, we do much more than we are, unless we really intend otherwise.
The interplay between the walking-meditating and the action of outwardly moving in and among the public in the centre of Bristol was also fascinating. It felt like balancing on a tight rope, inner calmness and yet in, of and relating to the world; the eyes open, awareness fluttering between internal and external; intending a message and a will to maintain composure, meditation and centre.
Mostly activism is considered an external act, something tangible which will bring about a series of external consequences, but activism is also within us, constantly and inevitably, and we have the ability to direct its course. By bearing with ourselves, our conflicts and joys, we can integrate our disperse parts and channel our psychic change.
To my mind, the Co-Mutiny is an amazing manifestation of animus focused on bringing about social change by seeing and acting outside the system. It felt so relevant to offer an action of inner change to this space, as our external actions are defined by our inner world and we cannot and should not nurture one without nurturing the other.