Big bang in the bathtub

A year ago I was invited to a festival in France with the piece "Enduring Freedom". There were great conditions with a good salary and accommodation in the hotel. Normally I'm used to it differently. In a good mood, I set off with my neon tubes. The costume, in this case a black suit with a hat, already envelops my body. I don't like to travel with a lot of luggage and I often play with the dissolution of borders. So my imagination already starts with the journey.

I spend the four-hour train ride standing. A habit I picked up in Tokyo. I usually stand as inconspicuously as possible with my face against the door, as if I were looking out the window with interest. Without holding onto my hands, compensating for the swaying of the train with small counter-movements, I defend myself against losing my balance. It all comes down to good footwork. But the upper body should also be very flexible and permeable. For the price of the train ticket, I also get a full-body massage and also train my sense of balance and fine coordination.

Arriving at the hotel, I am pleased to find that I not only have my own shower, but even a bathroom. I don't know when I last had this pleasure, but it must have been a year or two ago. So I'm as happy as a child to dive into the hot water after the performance.

Exhausted after the premiere, I prepare my bathroom. I quickly and generously flush one of my predecessor's pubic hairs down the drain. I have to kneel down to put the plug in its intended place. At that moment, my head disappearing halfway into the tub, I see strange color gradations in the lower third, where the four walls meet the floor in an elegant curve. On closer inspection, the said spot turns out to be a zebra-patterned lunar landscape.

Normally, and also because I'm not used to it, I don't care about such details. It's different this time. Is it my exhaustion or the arrogance that shot into my head because of the lavishly furnished hotel, which bows to the bourgeois dreams of its customers with this bathroom? My bathing dream suddenly bursts. My alter ego takes to the barricades and vehemently refuses to wallow its bones in this filth. You're not going to back down this time, you're going to complain to the front desk, you're going to claim your right to a clean tub, it hisses from the corner of my skull. I'm used to all sorts of states of mind after a performance, but now I'm amazed at my own reaction. A little awkwardly I reach for the next towel, smear soap on it and go to the said spot. It does not help. But I understand how this lunar landscape came about. In the course of my career I have repeatedly hired myself out as a cleaner. So I'm a specialist, so to speak. I can see it right in front of me. Quickly smear a horizontal line of cleaning agent in the upper third of the bathroom, let the whole thing run down, whereby the aggressive agent eats into the dirt, and then simply hold the shower on it for a moment. No bending over, let alone rubbing down the walls.

My anger at this whole bourgeois make-believe world takes on a threatening form. I take a shower and, frustrated, lie down in the bed, which is far too big with its four pillows and a meter-thick mattress.

Well rested and with a fake friendly face, I duck past the reception to throw myself into the lavish breakfast buffet. Contrary to my habit, I slip an egg into the designated cooker. Only the hourglass doesn't make it to my table. Exhausted after the second performance, I steer my tired bones a little uncertainly into the hotel. Maybe the bathroom wasn't so bad after all; and I was probably a bit overwrought. I give myself hope and kidnap my thoughts into the long-awaited bathroom. I try another light; There are enough options to avoid possible shadows. I kneel down in front of the tub, stick my head in and immediately see it again, this zebra-patterned moonscape. So it's true. It pisses me off. This hotel, the festival, this city; a huge greasy Disneyland. The guillotine falls, my head rolls trumped into the bathroom. I straighten up, disturbed. Beaten in the shower, I know which head must roll now.

I postponed the denunciation to the next day and returned the smile at reception in a friendly, tormented manner as I walked across the red carpet to the breakfast buffet. The egg slips into the boiling water almost by itself; only the hourglass doesn't make it to the table again.

After the third and last performance, having finally crawled into the hotel with all my luggage, I only long for this one hot bath and seem ready to make a number of concessions. So I kneel in front of the tub for the third time. This time stark naked, arm resting friendly on the cold rim, head tilted on it, the rest of the body melting on the marble floor like a Dali clock.

Dreamily and exhausted, my eyes hang on the zebra-striped moonscape, the fingers of my left hand playfully tampering with it. I put my thumb in my mouth and rubbed it with plenty of saliva. First gently, then more violently. It's already getting hot between your thumb and the moonscape. Lo and behold! Small black worms form between the two very different surfaces. I hold up my thumb in triumph, as if to show someone. Dancing on its crest as proof, little black worms, squirming through heat and friction.

You're going to smear that filth on the desk when you check out tomorrow, my head growls again. My limp, hanging body wants to get up defiantly and grab the shower with determination. At that moment, the last veil is lifted and the true cause of the lunar landscape is revealed. It is located exactly where you press your dirty heels into the curve with your full weight when you get into the tub.

The body, which has just awakened to new strength and action, immediately collapses. In one fell swoop they are there... all those who have lain in this tub before me. All the travellers, men and women, old people and children, lovers or the desperate. Everyone is suddenly there. With my own saliva, I've just rubbed my way through all of their existences. It would have to be hundreds, even thousands. I see their faces, I hear their voices. I see her naked limbs squirming in the tub.

The Dali watch definitely has a firm grip on my existence now. Unable to make a decision, my hand instinctively reaches for the faucet as if it were a last resort. Water splashes deep. The lunar landscape sinks centimeter by centimeter under a crystal-clear surface. I break the flow to cover them just inches tall, warm and tender. I don't want to dilute them too much. It is quite clear what will follow now and it is quite clear that it will also be so. Only I didn't have the faintest idea how and if I would ever be able to enter this area, let alone push through it. Scrambling to my feet, supporting myself on my stiff, cold legs, I stare suicidal over the cliff toward my doom. I have to go in there. While I push my body, with only my arms on the edge of the tub, following my toes, with my head down, into the impossible, ring-shaped waves make the moonscape dance. Lights break and cast a thousand faces flickering against bare walls. They all stare at me. In cutting silence.

Finally arrived on my knees, in front of the scaffold or the altar, or in the grave I dug myself, I remain petrified. My fingers free me from this solemn, even graceful, but unbearable situation with their silence and absolute obedience. Resting on my thighs, which are just under water, they now glide unobtrusively along my flesh into the depths. There they inevitably come across the zebra-striped lunar landscape, which has become a bit greasy due to the heat.

Reverently soft, almost accidentally, the bent back of the hand nestles up to the first shy Contact. How to get to know a strange dog by holding the back of your hand to its wet nose and not immediately risking your fingers. Drawn past my knees, my hands turn simultaneously and now slide forward with fingers spread wide and palms open, carefully feeling the relief of the lunar landscape. Long-forgotten impressions of countless existences stream past my fingertips like Braille. Both hands, grazing over all her limbs, sink into a sea of condensed existence. The rest of the body hanging from it is inevitably pulled down with it.

In order not to drown miserably, I twist halfway around my curved axis at the last moment, fall sliding, finally sliding sideways forward, over the greasy lunar landscape and land gently twisted like a baby on my back, all fours stretched out by me. Before I know it, the waves have calmed down and the limbs that have just been pulling me down mercilessly are gently supporting me and saving me from drowning. Relieved and safe, pleasure drives the salt out of my eyes while I solemnly float quietly in the moonscape.

Unable to add even a tiny stir, my eyes seem to be the only thing in my body that sticks with me. With her help, I feel my way along strange limbs, looking for support. At the height of my penis or that of someone else, a never-ending orgasm erupts like a volcano, and future dirty heels tumble up the tub wall. Finally stripped of any remnant of myself, dissolving the subject in the slimy soup, I just manage to unplug with my toes and it all spills out the other way.

My pathetic leftovers rattle themselves cold out of the tub, not without pressing their heels into the bulge with the last of their strength. Without a shower, without drying myself, I withdraw, the precious wetness hanging from my body, naked and shivering into bed. The soothing warmth puts me to sleep.

Relieved that I don't have to complain, scarred from the night's bath, avoiding the eyes of the receptionist, I slip off to the breakfast buffet. The hourglass comes to the table. I have three minutes.

As a symbol and product of decay, the sand trickles slowly but obediently through the short narrowing that connects both rooms. My eyes fixed on it, I suddenly see my tub again. Rather two tubs with the drain connecting. One open at the top, the other at the bottom. The tiny grains of sand squeeze around the small openings like heels. There, at the end or beginning of one room or the other, they leave their footprints while waiting for their fall. Prints that, with friction and pressure, become black, squirming, dancing worms. Between these two spaces, squeezed in the short constriction, the moment condenses. Formed from innumerable imprints that flutter rhythmically vibrating like dusty spider webs in a hot chimney. The events that fall through them or remain as memories set them in motion and fill the moment with sound. Its echo reverberates in both rooms like a never-ending big bang in its parallel worlds.

The three-minute egg has long since become an Easter egg. I'll make myself a sandwich with it, check out as quickly as possible and leave Disneyland.

I spend the four-hour train ride again mainly surfing on my heels. The pressure of the space below me flips through me wildly like the wind through the pages of an open book. Letters thrown in waves vibrate to the beat of the train to form spiral-shaped structures. The landscape trickles by.

At the age of 99, my grandmother attended one of my performances for the last time. As always, I reserved her a seat in the middle of the front row to avoid having to climb the grandstand steps at her advanced age. It was five minutes after the performance officially started when the stage manager came to me backstage and said the show was sold out and we should start now. A look at the crowded grandstand immediately revealed my grandmother's absence. There was only one empty seat in the middle of the front row. Since I was 100% sure that my grandmother would appear, I asked for an additional five minutes. When this also passed and the stage manager became increasingly nervous, referring to the impatient audience, I asked him to step in front of the audience and explain that we were waiting for grandmother.

Just at that moment, I hear my grandmother's loud voice turning to my brother, who was selling the tickets at the ticket office. "Hello Zeno, good to see you," she says in a loud voice that can only be heard by old people whose hearing has deteriorated. "You know, my television is broken," she thunders.

The audience, who had been waiting a little nervously, suddenly falls silent and their 150 heads turn towards the cash register, which is clearly visible on their left. After an appointment for the repair of the device in question has been made and my grandmother accepts her free ticket, she walks about 8 meters to her reserved seat. This leads straight from the box office, parallel between the stage and the grandstand. 300 eyes gaze in amazement at 99 years of life, which is approaching its goal step by step. A life coming to an end. Footsteps, cutting through space and time, figures and signs whirling wildly and then gently into the air again, drawn to the end of the beginning. Banned by this scene, my eyes fixed alternately on the grandmother and then back on the audience, I don't move from the spot and wait for things to happen. Suddenly the spectators seem to me transformed into dead people. A shiver runs down my spine. They follow the last steps of a man sentenced to death with excitement. The only empty chair among them longs for the weight of past lives.

300 dead eyes pierced every emotion, be it a sign of hope, despair or surrender to fate. My grandmother becomes an object in which the whole paradox of life is reflected. Every step in life inevitably leads to death. Walking this path alone is difficult enough. Watched by 150 dead eyes, he appears in a new dimension. How is it possible, in each and every one of those steps, each of which could inevitably be the last, to touch something that could satisfy the dead eyes' curiosity? The tension and dismay of that moment brought tears to my eyes.

The dead audience marked by the burden of flesh, satiated with all the fruit tasted or just smelled, forbidden or promised of life, is greedy for something new, unknown, maybe something that has escaped him. There wasn't much that caught her attention. Most of it they had already regurgitated thousands of times. 99-year-old, wrinkled and brittle hands reach into empty space for the umpteenth time, in search of support and support, whereby the hope for this, like a dream after waking up, irrevocably melts between the fingers like sand. A tragic clown or sophisticated magician couldn't have done better. So close to the end, the single-mindedness of the movement blurs, as if it had worn out with time, become jerky; but perhaps also aware of their impossibility, following the wish to touch life, to escape death. Like an almost extinguished fire, here and there a weak flame licks up again. Sometimes it's just an ember or the smoky smell that reminds you of the past. Impossible to stop time, to escape the pull of the empty chair.

With old people it is often like with small children, where the movement is not pressed into a corset by the everyday, goal-oriented "normal action" and under the pressure of a social adjustment; but following a more archetypal reflex, expressing the essential but often paradoxical, lying behind rationality.

The individual movement thus gains in intensity and expressiveness. You could compare it to a winding mountain road full of potholes, in whose curves the most beautiful views open up again and again, with no guarantee of surviving the ordeal, let alone getting to the next bend. In contrast, the Autobahn is yawningly boring.

Inch by inch, as if my grandmother were in a hard-fought trench of World War I, she struggles forward, leaving imprints in space and time, driven by a desire to plunge into life again and again. These imprints sometimes nestle caressingly around her fragile body, other times they pummel him desperately, whipping forward to ever wilder contortions. To soothe the eyes, to escape from the horror, only excess remains. The dead audience is fascinated by the burning of being. The friction of existence between life and death. My grandmother turns into a laughing fury, dancing, whirled around by dead eyes. For a few seconds she succeeds in repelling their attacks and triumphantly slipping away from fate in the distance of a raging sea, riding on a wave of joy, lust, even eroticism. Amazed and touched by this victim, the dead eyes cease their attacks. Only a short time later, with fresh, insatiable strength, like a swarm of ravens, which pounce on the newly plowed, still steaming floe to pull the worms out, burrow again into the desperately resisting flesh. Until this now pathetic creature is broken down into all its embarrassments. A final gasp, a jolt, followed by a silent twitch and my grandmother falls in line, crumbles and fades into the last empty seat in the front row. Seen paradoxically and objectively, this whole process with all its drama happens very slowly and deliberately, almost in stoic calm.

Suddenly, 302 dead eyes turn searching and searching in the direction of the empty stage, where I, petrified, sought shelter behind the curtain. I'm only seconds away before it's my turn. In my costume, with white make-up and waiting for the performance, I suddenly feel pretty ridiculous. The whole choreography in my head, a back and forth, up and down, sometimes fast, sometimes slow and then so deeply touched by my grandmother as she takes a few steps. I am about to turn to the audience and say that this was butoh dancing and that I have nothing more to add to save myself from my strange embarrassment. A little confused and torn, I decided to dance anyway. Although I was neither an audience nor a dancer, my grandmother's walk was probably my best performance to date.

The next day I bought a big rose and went to my grandmother's. She lived alone and when I was in Switzerland I often visited her. I also wanted to thank her for the inspiration last night. After the rose was handed over, I sat down at my usual place at the kitchen table. My grandmother placed the rose in a vase filled with water and placed it on the table before she sat down across from me and we had lunch under the rose.

After dinner it was time for my grandmother to have her usual nap and I wanted to clean the kitchen before I left. So we said goodbye and she made her way towards the bedroom, didn't she without first grabbing the large rose and vase with both hands to place them on the bedside table next to her bed. So I stood behind her as she stooped a little, clutching the vase in both hands, and set out on her way. As I watched her doing this, I had the strange feeling that it was not my grandmother who was carrying the vase with the rose, but rather that she was being led directly by the rose, not to her nap, but to her death. Like a dog on a leash, she obediently follows the master. Or is the dog pulling at the master? Led from life to death, or led from death to life. To understand life means to understand death. Wanting to live means wanting to die. Are we more afraid of life or of death? All these questions bombard me as I stare, mesmerized, at her crooked, asymmetrically bent back, from which a rose grows.

Just as my grandmother is about to walk through the open kitchen door, her eyes hanging from her back laboriously straighten up, and like a chain, vertebrae follow vertebrae, until the upper body is almost as straight as the rose in the vase, in the room plugged. Both the head of the rose and that of my grandmother are now at the same level. Equal, erect and straight, she looks life fearlessly in the face. Actually, she just wanted to make sure that the rose on the door frame wasn't damaged.

The doomed woman gathers all her strength once more, pulls herself with both hands on the umbilical cord out of the withered body subjugated by time, into the prime of life. She sniffs at the scent of virginal lust with relish, jumping playfully like a young foal across lush meadows.

A touch of lightness touches the tired bones, gives them wings for a short time, and like a flock of birds in spring, they screech happily over the treetops. The light-heartedness of her being transforms the kitchen into a summer fairy tale.

Suddenly, sixty billion cells sprout, sixty billion roses. Torn in all directions, pulling and pushing; a frantically thrashing, whirling, defying all laws of nature, slavering and screaming, stamping and roaring; a life and death struggle ensues. Countless hands torn by thorns, gesticulating wildly, fighting defensively, trying to free themselves from a forest of thorns. The kitchen is now like a slaughterhouse, with bloodstained walls and torn body parts sliding down the walls.

Black, low hanging clouds gather, lightning and thunder break the innocent bones; they fall to the ground with a crash. A heap of misery, ruined by the passage of time, hanging on the last straw, inevitably led to death by him. What remains are bare bones bound by roots and a huge rose climbing triumphantly into the sky. Life sinks into darkness while the rose grows towards the light.

A little disturbed, I clean the kitchen, or what's left of it, and hurry out of the dust.

Before we turn to walking, let's deal with what happens before. We stand before we go. We take a stand. In German, but also in many other languages such as English, "standpoint" and in French "point de vue" or in Japanese "tachiba", the word means an external as well as internal attitude that sums up our existence . A pause, introspection, before we dare or risk taking the next step. A weighing, weighing, daring or balancing before we give up our balance to leave our position. A definitive and absolute act, by the way. Nothing will ever bring us to the same point at the same time again. We give up, there or away.

Now comes the step, or in other words, it prevents our fall. But we only dare to take this step if something disturbs our balance. A stimulus or impulse that hits us from the outside or moves us from the inside. Leaving your point of view is always a risk and takes courage. A step or even a fall into the unknown. The verb dare means an uncertain outcome and is derived from the scales. So we weigh, sway and wobble, weigh the stimulus or impulse before we leave our position and dare to take a step. The best balance is as close to imbalance as possible. When we stand, we just don't fall. The healthiest you are the closer you are to the disease. The richest you are the closer you are to poverty. One is most alive the closer one is to death. Can you stand it?

In Tokyo I lived for about three years on a narrow, straight street about five hundred meters long. In the middle of this street was an old, huge cherry tree. My way away or home always led along this straight road. I often met an old Japanese woman on her way. She was maybe eighty or ninety years old. Sometimes she came towards me or I overtook her. She walked hunched over, like many old people in Japan. Every two or three steps, her old, life-worn body straightened up to reorient itself. Once I tried to walk behind her to perceive space and time on her scale. I quickly gave up this plan so as not to attract too much attention from other passers-by, their movements were so slow.

One day, it was early April, the cherry tree had just passed the zenith of its bloom and individual petals were snowing on the ground, the old woman came towards me. Our paths crossed, I turned and looked after her. Over her back I saw the long road and its end disappear in the distance. The street became her path, symbolizing her life and the steps she was allowed to take before she died. In the middle of the path the cherry tree was in full bloom. The intense and almost overwhelming beauty of the cherry blossoms symbolizes the transience of life and all things in Japan. In Japanese culture, this aesthetic principle is called "mono no aware" (pathos of things). It describes the feeling of transience, its sadness but also acceptance. Kazuo Ohno described it as sadness in beauty.

I looked excitedly at the old body, which was constantly getting up and reorienting itself. It seemed to me that their orientation depended on the blossoms of the cherry tree. Like a lighthouse in a storm, the beauty of the flowers show her the way. I asked myself, how is it possible to go under this beauty but also transience and in the direction of one's own death?

A very important image in Butoh is the fact that every single step in life brings us closer to death. A paradox that shapes our existence. Tatsumi Hijikata, Co-founder of the Butoh, described the passage as a walking column of smoke, among other things. Life burns under our feet.

In the gait of a small child, walking is reflected in all its beauty and necessity. It only leaves its position when it has a reason. It sways back and forth, swaying, and lets itself fall slightly bent over. Something has weight, is important, destroys its balance and falls into the unknown thanks to its body weight. Only the trailing leg can avoid the fall before reaching a new position.

Later, after it has copied its parents and been shaped by external influences, the way it is done will change significantly. Adults usually walk with their feet ahead. Like a blind man, he gropes his way towards the unknown. The weight and weightiness have lost their motor, they are replaced by the external or internal urge, if not almost compulsion, to go on. To make progress. The countless possibilities that surround us in the post-industrial, pre-digital age prevent us from making a clear choice. The movement deforms into an arbitrary mush of casualness. There is no longer an urgent need to leave one's position. Rather, you sneak more like a thief, approaching your prey without risking having to leave your vantage point. In other words, you grope ahead over the thin ice so as not to break through. The fall is avoided in order to weigh oneself in eternal security. The point of view is not abandoned but reluctantly shifted.

A famous Japanese novel says that the dead are buried under the cherry tree. The roots of the cherry tree twine around their bodies, sucking out the essence of their souls drop by drop. These drops feed the blossoms of the cherry tree.

Not only does the old woman step by step into life and her death, but she walks over the bones of her drained ancestors and goes after the beauty fed by the essence of their souls.

Our legs are not our legs like our body is not our body. They were formed over millions of years by the need to transport us to another place. The experiences and memories of countless ancestors slumber in them. We can trust them and do not have to lead or control them. Rather, we should not determine our self through our center but through our periphery. Like the feet that take us to places that are good for us, or the hands that reach for things that are good for us. It is not the center that determines the periphery, but the periphery that determines the center. It would also be more interesting for society to orientate itself on its periphery than to control and determine everything from the center.

With every step we take, like a fisherman, we pull nets tied to our legs out of the swamp our past, filled with the bones of our ancestors. Like an oracle, we hurl the bones into the air before they pile up into a new vantage point. The falling rose-pink blossoms, fed by the essence of the dead souls, cover the pale bones like a new robe. With every step we take it off to slip right back into a new one. Each daring step into the unknown becomes a metamorphosis, shaped and nourished by the swamp of the past, the essence of which guides us like a lighthouse through the paradox of coming into life, of walking toward one's own death.

From a physical point of view, the walk is just as complex as it is on a psychological and emotional level. The first necessary movement is not lifting a leg, but the liberation of a leg. The easiest way to do this is by bending an ankle inwards and thus shifting the entire body weight to the inside of this leg. By shifting, the hip on which we are standing is loaded with the full weight of the upper body, moved very slightly down and towards our center. We stand on one leg and one hip. In response, the opposite hip is lifted slightly, increasing the distance between the unloaded hip and the floor and therefore bringing the hanging leg into a free state. A good way to experience this is to lie on your back and ask someone to pull one foot in the direction of the long axis of the body. The foot that is being pulled is the supporting leg. The hip on the same side follows this pull and the opposite hip shifts in the opposite direction, pulling the leg attached to it as well.

The opposite happens to most people. To balance on one leg, hips are shifted sideways, forward, or behind the supporting leg. The opposite hip inevitably sags and the distance to the floor decreases. Therefore, the leg must be lifted to step, which requires a lot of strength and thus prevents its free fall due to the tension of the muscles. You control the step to eliminate any risk and always have the option to end the adventure early.

Back on the standing leg, the ankle is again bent slightly forward and inward, the knee follows this movement, the body is completely thrown off balance and a movement as a flow of weight is initiated. The full weight now falls on a small area behind the big toe of the supporting leg. You spiral into the ground in the direction of your own body axis. This spiral movement goes through the whole body and divides it into two parts, so to speak. One half on the supporting leg winds slightly forward and the free part backwards. Our self is torn in two directions and reflects the full drama of this step. A final gasp follows. The coccyx rises up and back, the sternum rises up and forward, each vertebra, one at a time, opening forward, receptive to the unknown, and closing backward toward the past. The weighing and hesitation is put to an end and we dare to jump into the abyss like a suicide.

So before we even think about taking a step, let's get our balance on the minimal surface needed to just stand. It's like wringing out a wet cleaning rag with both hands around its longitudinal axis. We ascertain the essence of our own point of view before we dare to leave it once and for all.

During the lunch break of a workshop in Barcelona, in which we dealt intensively with standing and walking, I went for a walk on the Ramblas. For a long time I've gotten into the habit of thinking about walking and not about my bank account when I'm walking, which doesn't bring in much at this moment anyway. After a few minutes of walking, I suddenly felt like the fish I used to be millions of years ago was looking through my eyes. Suddenly there was a connection between my origin and the present. My humanity crumbled to dust in the face of the brevity of his existence.

It is not worth orienting oneself to being human or holding on to it, the time since we are human is too short. Rather, I felt a fishing hook stuck in every single cell of my body, the cord of which stretches endlessly back to the origin of the universe. With every single step I pull the cord and extend it in time and space. Not without feeling the resistance and pain, the current one to leave my point of view, driven by the desire, curiosity and joy of throwing myself into the unknown. Kazuo Ohno described the dance as a prayer of instinct. Through my eyes, the past bores into the present and vice versa. My gaze explodes in both directions.

Once out of balance, the essence of my existence brought to the point, my own identity thrown into the balance, I now let myself fall. I give up, up and down, trusting my decision that has led to the loss of my point of view. As the only connection to the ground, the small area behind the big toe is pushed backwards, i.e. opposite to the direction in which we want to go. So I push myself back into the past towards my origin again, as if I want to reassure myself for the last time where I come from and what I leave. The reaction or response to this pressure determines the direction of my path or the next step for the first time. In order to be able to remove myself from something, I have to push myself into it again, so to speak, and leave an imprint.

The free leg, hanging from the slightly raised hip, completely loses its contact with the ground and falls forward like a pendulum, completely free and relaxed. The coccyx follows this pendulum movement. You literally pull in your tail at the fear of the unknown. Therefore, the lower back arches backwards in a relaxed manner. Slightly shifted in time and space, the sternum also falls down and forward. The spine relaxes and opens each individual vertebra backwards, one at a time. So I open up again towards the past, make sure of the direction I'm coming from and invite you to take this step with me. I call this phase of the step the humble fall. Bowing, thanking and apologizing, I leave my position and my somewhat arched, rounded upper body embraces the unknown in an inviting, humbly manner. Humility immediately follows rebellion.

It is completely useless to consciously lift the leg and determine its direction. All the factors that play a role are far too complicated. The only sensible preparation and condition is being free. To open up unconditionally to the unknown in order to be able to react immediately to the new point of view. The first part of the body to explore the new position while avoiding total collapse is the heel. From there I roll over the outside of my sole towards the pinky toe.

Quite different for most people. They arch forward with their lower back, their chest lifted and like the prow of a ship, they push away everything in their way. Our imperialist past has materialized in the course of time. As mentioned above, when I walk, I focus on walking. The eyes are open but no longer looking. I've seen most of it several times and no longer demands my attention. In general, we don't look outwards but inwards. We don't see what is, but what we are. Looking outside means looking inside. So I let myself be touched by the shapes, colors, light and shadows as if I were seeing them for the first time and let my inner self determine whether it is of interest or importance to my existence.

I became aware of this mechanism a good ten years ago in Berlin. The mantra of walking automatically prevented me from constantly directing my attention outwards. This made me all the more aware of its influence on my person. The influence of the people around me with their erratic, somewhat cramped movements or, unfortunately, often aggressive attitude. Yes even theirs Hairstyles and clothes often emphasize this impression. The aggressively designed cars approaching me at high speed. The headlines posted on newsstands that outdid themselves in cruelty. The goods presented in the shop windows or billboards, elaborated down to the last detail to appeal to our most primitive instincts.

After about a month of external abstinence, I noticed as a side effect, so to speak, that I no longer stare at women. I no longer keep an eye out for fair game in the subway or on the street. This circumstance led to more attention and observation of how we men, if we are straight, look at, or rather stare at, women. It's the same with homosexual men, of course. I often buy my tobacco from a homosexual in the neighboring village, and he always scans me up close with his eyes from top to bottom and back again. One of the few opportunities as a man to perceive what it feels like to be degraded to a sex object. When it comes to their instincts, my peers often give a miserable picture of themselves. Not to mention how it must feel for the stared women to be degraded to an object of desire. Suddenly I stopped being a perverted machine. All this just because when I walk, I focus on walking. After another month of external abstinence, I realized that I hadn't masturbated in a little over a month, something that hadn't happened in the last forty years. Of course there's nothing wrong with masturbating, I still sometimes lay my hand on it with relish. But it is worth thinking about how much we cultivate our primitive instincts more or less involuntarily through external stimuli and are enslaved by them.

Daring to take the first step, leaving everything behind, humbly falling into the unknown, we touch the unknown with our heel for the first time. This point of the appearance must not be in front of our body's center of gravity. Otherwise, the reaction to the falling weight acts as a brake because it acts on our body in the opposite direction to where we want to go. The walk seems rather apathetic and unmotivated. The point of impact must either be directly below us or, depending on the speed, slightly behind the body's center of gravity. This is the only way to walk based on body weight.

Rolling over the outer edge of the sole of the foot, we gain momentum again by letting our weight fall on the inside of the sole of the foot. The ankle rotates inwards, the knee and hip follow suit, slightly shifted in time and space, and there is a wave-like and spiral-like movement around our body axis upwards. This stabilizes and aligns our upright posture. The free leg has thus become the new standpoint. After the humility comes the straightening up, the construction of our new point of view and ego. The final phase of the step is complete. Before we stand up again, we can decide whether we want to stop here and distribute the weight on both legs again.

The process of metamorphosis is complete. The self has dissolved, died and been reborn. Until the next step.