STOPTIME: Live in the Moment.

Brenda Bufalino: Tapping into Your True Self

February 06, 2022 Lisa Hopkins, Wide Open Stages Season 5 Episode 18
STOPTIME: Live in the Moment.
Brenda Bufalino: Tapping into Your True Self
Show Notes Transcript

This conversation was a true masterclass in creativity and the art and practice of tapping into who we really are.

At 84 years old Brenda has had an extraordinary career and a lifetime of experience. She sits down to talk to Lisa about life, dance the joy of teaching and what living in the moment means to her.

About working with Charles "Honi" Coles" :

"Honi never told me anything. Nothing! And that was probably the biggest gift he gave me."

Bio

Brenda Bufalino is a true legend. Her career as a performer, choreographer and innovator spans more than 60 years. She has been awarded: The Flobert Award, The Tapestry Award, The Tap City Hall of Fame Award, The Dance Magazine, and the prestigious Bessie Award - all for outstanding achievement and contributions to the field of tap dance. 

A true visionary, she is known for her collaborations with her partner and mentor the great Charles ‘Honi’ Coles, and her many performances with Gregory Hines, The Nicholas Brothers, and the many giants of tap dance. She is founder of the award winning American Tap Dance Orchestra and her own experimental work, with taps, electronics and poetry has influenced generations of tap artists. She is a published author, poet and ceramist and a revered educator and master teacher.

Links: https://www.brendabufalino.com/

Episode recorded January 18th, 2022  (Lac Selby, QC)

Support the show
Lisa Hopkins:

This is the stop time podcast. I'm your host, Lisa Hopkins, and I'm here to engage you in thought provoking motivational conversations around practicing the art of living in the moment. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm excited to dig deep and offer insights into embracing who we are and where we are at. I'm so honored to introduce you to my next guest. She is a true legend. Her career as a performer, choreographer and innovator spans more than 60 years, she has been awarded the flagbearer award, the tapestry award, the tap City Hall of Fame Award, the dance magazine and the prestigious Bessie award all for outstanding achievement and contributions to the field of tap dance. A true visionary. She is known for her collaborations with her partner and mentor the great Charles honey Coles and her many performances with among others, Gregory Hines and Nicholas brothers, and many more giants of tap dance. She is founder of the award winning American tap dance orchestra and her own experimental work with taps, electronics and poetry has influenced generations of top artists and will continue to inspire top artists to come. She is a published author, poet and ceramist and revered educator and master teacher and I am thrilled to say she is here with me today. It is with absolute delight that I introduce you all to the one and only. Brenda Felina. Welcome, Brenda.

Brenda Bufalino:

Thank you. Well, with that introduction, you know that I've lived a long time

Lisa Hopkins:

absolutely such wisdom in the room. Listen, I read that you create in a barn in the show shawangunk mountains, is that where you're calling in from today?

Brenda Bufalino:

I am calling from the Shawangunks. I'm not at the barn at the moment, I moved down into the village of new pulse for the winter, because it gets pretty icy up there.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, no kidding, right.

Brenda Bufalino:

I was up for two years during the pandemic. And then finally I said, I think I'll spend the winter down in the valley where I can walk more, but I will go I go up every two or three days, you know?

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, yeah. Can you paint a picture for us of what the rhythm of your days are like, in this moment?

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, you know, with a pandemic, and the isolation, there are certain things that really helped me quite a bit, I say that, um, we stole my tap shoes, it was flagged, I didn't want to tap dance, which was very, very strange. That is not the case anymore. But what happened was finally an I could learn tai chi of zoom. And I have tried for so many years to to learn tai chi, and my metabolism just wouldn't take it. Because it's so slow. So that is how I start my day. And more often than not after that, a meditation. And then I tried to get outside, you know, it's, I feel like it's so important to be out. So then it then it's free form, then it's free form. I paint, sometimes I'll do a painting, I'll do practice calligraphy. I'll write a poem, I'm working on a few essays. And and then it says, however, I want the day to take me more or less. If I'm in the barn and can get there, which I really want. I will practice for quite a while. That's kind of how it is. I'm working on two books at the moment, two new books and it's it's an unusual time for me. Usually when I start a project, I finish it. But now I have a lot of essays, a lot of I'm working on the new novella, which is a sequel to the last one, which is a song of this split down. And I can't it's hard for me because I need to get to Lynn, Massachusetts. That's where it takes place. So when I'm when I'm writing the place is as much a character as as the characters. Yeah. And I'm writing from the from the turn of the century, and the shoe factories of landmass. That's where my A Families went. It's a biographical saga, much of which I make up because I only have so much information. So I tried to work around that as much as I can with character development and putting myself in it because it is three generations. And the other book is a book on composition. Hmm. AP composition. Very cool. So because everybody now is improvising, we have tremendous amount of great improvisers. But in terms I feel that comp, composition. And choreography is kind of the weak point at the moment. Mm hmm. So after having probably choreographed about 150 works, both my solos in the company, you know, the to do, I thought I would take apart my pieces, and talk about how they were constructed. Very cool. Because that still interests me, I'm still finding out as you probably do, right? You you look at your work, say, oh, oh, no, I understand what I do.

Lisa Hopkins:

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. No, 100% it's so fascinating. If it's okay with you. You were talking about your sequel to your to your book to your to your fictional book based on biography points that you know, and then filling in the blanks, right, if I understood correctly, about your history. Yeah. And what I think is so fascinating about what you're doing is, is you're recreating and discovering your past that wasn't lived or that that like the missing pieces. It's it's a fascinating space to work in, I bet.

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, it is because I only have two or three points and come from a New England family. They didn't talk about themselves. You know, what, there's something about all Baptists, New Englanders, if they talk about themselves, they think it's a sin. But I do know enough. And I know and what I don't know, makes me so curious. Like that. Like, why did my grandmother insist on raising two generations of female artists? Why did you do that? This was not an accident. This was she insisted on this. Interesting. And that's why, you know that that was the thing that started the process. Yeah. And discovering that she was an orphan. And I find her mother anyway. Interesting. And also the Blackfoot, the Native American, which was pretty held secret for a long time. Then there was any of that was also. Alright, so that's a research project. So there was all this research. Yeah. Where was this grandmother, this great grandmother, where she, it's traveled many, many places. And to create I feel like I gave this grandmother a life. Hmm. Absolutely. And I gave her a life.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, that's what stands out to me. It's such a beautiful and exciting thing. I get you light up when you talk about it.

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah, it's still very much very much interests me. so fortunate as an artist, many, many artists are told when they're young. Oh, that's so wonderful. You're so creative. This is great. And then you become of age. And well now you're not supposed to do that anymore. Now you're supposed to get down to business. Right? Learn how to take care of yourself and do something practical. But I didn't have any of that.

Lisa Hopkins:

Did you not have that given to you or did you just not receive any of that?

Brenda Bufalino:

Oh, it was not given at all. I'm mother. My mother was a lyric soprano. And elocution is she was a dramatic leader. My aunt was the coloratura and the concert pianist and I was the ingenue in the act. Interesting, and my grandmother, who was the producer and the charge behind it all. So we had a wonderful, wonderful concert that we performed many concerts that were kind of very Victorian. Mm

Lisa Hopkins:

hmm. How old were you then?

Brenda Bufalino:

I think I started performing with them around seven or eight. .

Lisa Hopkins:

Wow Were you interested? Like, did you? You know, did they sort of say come on Brenda, you're gonna join us and it was just part of the fabric of life or were you interested and what was that like?

Brenda Bufalino:

I danced every day from the was six. So every Sunday at our home was music and dance. Yeah, so it just morphed. I made a little money. Whichever one I didn't like. And it affected me as a performer for many years was my mother was always late. My grandmother was always yelling, hurry up. My costumes were never finished. The safety pins were always sticking in my back. My shoe Lakers laces would always come untied. But we were always late. And I never I never knew why I had such anxiety performing. Because I've been a performer all my life until the act was recreated at the Boston Conservatory when I was in my 40s. And then it all happened again.

Lisa Hopkins:

interesting.

Brenda Bufalino:

And then I said, Oh, this is where that anxiety comes from. Yeah, not mine. It's not mine. Yes. I'm ready and prepared. I don't have to worry.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. Yeah.

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah, it was too bad. I had to do it again to find out.

Lisa Hopkins:

Well, although I mean, what a great discovery, right?

Brenda Bufalino:

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It changed everything for me. You know, it really made the rest of my life as a as an artist as a performing artist, not a creative artist, because it didn't affect that part at all. You know, because I was free. I was never.... I was always encouraged to be my wild, crazy self. So that was free. The creative part was totally free. It was the performing part. Getting to the gig.

Lisa Hopkins:

Until you discovered what that was, how did it show up in other parts of your life? If at all?

Brenda Bufalino:

Oh, I'm always early. Always, I do not like to be late. And I don't like other people to be late. And that was something with Honi too, you know, working with Honi Coles he was like that as well. was very professional, very prompt, and even had a better disposition being a performer than I did. Much better disposition.

Lisa Hopkins:

What do you mean by that?

Brenda Bufalino:

He was very patient. I'm impatient. Why do you think that is? Why do I think he was patient?

Lisa Hopkins:

No. Why do you think you are impatient?

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, it's just been part of my character for as long as I remember. And, and I have had to work on myself very hard. Over the years, then I had to slow down my reaction to things. I react very, very fast. And I can remember as being a child, if I colored outside the lines, I break all the crayons. Well I get so mad Yeah, yeah. Hello. So I've really worked on that because as a choreographer and as as a gatherer of persons, as a teacher, and I've had I've had many spaces that I've created in environments that did not serve me. Hmm. But people did. They always know where I stand. Yeah. You know, they know they can trust me because I will not before else. Yes, I think I the Italian streak is strong in me

Lisa Hopkins:

Do you think the impatience thing is like a tempo thing is that people are not keeping up with you?

Brenda Bufalino:

I think a lot of it is yes. Yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

Did working with Honi Coles help you learn patience?

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, he didn't let me talk anyway.

Lisa Hopkins:

Right? It was a more of a mentor relationship. What would you say?

Brenda Bufalino:

Was a masculine thing. I mean, half of our shell because he really did not know how to talk to musicians, he tell the band to lay out. Now I could have, I could have told them what to do. But he was the boss.

Lisa Hopkins:

That's really interesting.

Brenda Bufalino:

All the years of "Taking a chance on love" with our soft shoe. Band could never play it slow enough. And I discovered that if we, cuz I do it solo, if I tell the band to play it in 12, eight, instead of four, four. They can do it. Because I'm sure that's how he feels it. Without it. Hmm. That?

Lisa Hopkins:

Yep. That's, that's, that's really insightful of you. And it's really it connects to what you're doing with your writing too. Like the fact that you're able to sort of, you know, take tools, knowledge, instinct to put them all together to communicate.

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah. Yeah. I love that process.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, I can see that. Beautiful.

Brenda Bufalino:

I like I love analyzing. Mm hmm. And yet, when I choreograph, I have purposely a great deal of the time not want to know what I'm doing.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah.

Brenda Bufalino:

I'll find out afterwards. Mm

Lisa Hopkins:

hmm. Totally. There it is. Again, though, right. It's a real balance between like, letting the Muse live. And then letting the pragmatic side come back later, and maybe sort of

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah, playing that. That's, that's great that you're saying that because it is it's like a chord. It's like a chord. I would always talk to the orchestra, but equilabrating, the vibrations. How do we take this dancer has this quality? This one has this, right? Then we work like this. Nobody becomes has to change who they are. They just have to equilibrate?

Lisa Hopkins:

Yes.

Brenda Bufalino:

So there's always this balancing act.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. But that's energy. And that's that's the beautiful. That's the essence, isn't it?

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah. And also, that work on a chord striking a chord, rather than one note. So by working on all this, these elements, and even the elements in yourself, you're striking a chord. And so then you have counterpoint? Which so much of my work is based on.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. And juxtaposition and perspective. Oh, yeah. I knew I knew we'd have fun. You're talking my language? Yeah. No, that's beautiful. Go on, if you'd like.

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, that's how I play with my days,You know, and then But then then there's this other issue. This side issue that I'm still studying of -spontaneity. I have none of that. In in the in the creation moment, none of that. But all the work has been done at other times. So that when the creation moment comes, it's all there. It doesn't have to be thought about. Hmm.

Lisa Hopkins:

So you're saying that spontaneity is isn't... You're redefining spontaneity. You're saying spontaneity is not what you see happening. When you're seeing creativity happening, that it's a sum of the parts of all the things that came before? Is that what you're saying?

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah, it's what you have gathered. Yeah. As far as who you are And so that that when you're in the act of creating, you don't have to think about is this right? Is this wrong? Is this in my balancing this and my balancing that you just do it? Yeah. I mean, that's what practice is about, and practice of see the practice of seeing how things work of seeing, like, for instance, today, I have this amazing view. And it's, of course, the snow. So being able to see the cross country skier across the river, and the mountain and the branch that's broken, and the car that's going by the practice of seeing of a lifetime you've already made a painting. Yeah. You've already made a piece of choreography. But the practice is not only with your feet, or with your hands, the practice is with yourself. So that when you create, I mean, I was always spontaneous. But what I created was fairly raw. What I create now is not as raw, but I hope it still has the act of becoming of first thought. But it's about seeing for me now, and it probably has something to do with age.

Lisa Hopkins:

Hmm. Or enlightenment. No, I mean, really, I mean, yes, age age. But not everybody your age sees things that way. In fact, everybody, I would wager that the majority of people your age, are pretty stuck in their ways - are going blind. I mean, not literally, but internally.

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, isn't that a choice. Those are choices that we keep making along the way.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yep. Oh, yeah. No 100%. You know, I've read something that you wrote on your blog. That that really moved me and I wondered if I might share it.

Brenda Bufalino:

Sure, of course.

Lisa Hopkins:

So it was September 3 2020. So just just a couple years ago, just four days before your 84th birthday. And you wrote "Ennui mixed with the silence, that is provoking the Muse stares out in space at the sparse, but spirit filled garden absorbing the sun on my rocky knoll. I promised that today I would put on my tap shoes. I will after I have fixed my gaze on the bees buzzing the flowers of my oregano plant." Talk to me. First of all, that's so beautiful, so evocative. And it really truly moved me. So thank you for that. Talk to me about that space between boredom and inspiration and what it means to you.

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, I don't think ennui is boredom. To me, it's like a lassitude, somehow you haven't been feeding yourself. And you forgot to be hungry. So you're weak. So weakness. Boredom is essential for an artist that's essential to allow for that, to catch yourself from constant entertainment. You know, because if you don't, nothing arise, it's I guess, I think a boredom in Buddhist terms of emptiness. And I don't know if you know, the, the, the, the practice where emptiness is form Form is emptiness. Yep, nothing but one. Yep. And I remember the first time I heard that I said, Oh, that's frightening, gives me claustrophobia. And now I realize that's everything. Yeah, that's where things begin. That's where new things begin and new impetus a new charge. Yeah. Or nothing. Huh, I think and that, that's I have to say that I have worked not being terrified of nothing. I said to work with it.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. In that little passage I read, I feel like you've really captured in writing, you've captured that that moment where you are the participant in the observer, you're in two places at once. And by by being there you also you created a third place, and now a fourth, because here we are, and so on, and so on, and so on. So its creation in itself. So I just want to thank you for that. I mean, I, I learned a lot about you just from reading that.

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, I'm so glad you read it, because I just was transported to that moment. You know, I mean, that's what that's, that's the food. That's the food, the impressions, being able to absorb the impressions. And seeing them, that's the food.

Lisa Hopkins:

What is what is your definition of living in the moment?

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, I guess, just as we're talking about seeing detail, what knocks me back into my seat is opening it up. Feeling the expansiveness that anything is possible. And actually, I've always been a bit of a prognosticator. A futurist, you know, I mean, what, like when I decided that tablets definitely was time to return. And I said to my mother, I'm going to specialize in tap dance. And she said, for who? What do you plan to do it. But that's one second, hit that. So it really requires clearing out. Clearing out and a lot of times, it takes a lot of conversation with myself, or really reading the right material, and getting away from chatter. And it's like, opening the curtain. It's like opening the curtain. And sometimes, if I play on my, my constant, Tina is my greatest, my greatest practice of the moment, I play, it's a classical instrument, mine, I got a new one during the pandemic, and it has been my savior, because I will practice like, Grace, what I do with my days, I've probably practice close to two hours a day. Wow. And attention, that attention. Really, the use of attention opens up the space, it's a scattered mind. That is not present. So there are some things if I if I tap this the attention to sensation in my body as I'm doing fighting against always trying to get better. You know, so a lot of obstacles to it. I always start out, I always start out noodling and put on my shoes and just noodle and and wait to discover myself, you know, I just noodle noodle noodle and all of a sudden, I start to be there. Right? And then this switch happens. So it is like you say, there is process there is process. First, generally I start from an open mind, I'll have ideas, I'll have ideas, but when, when I start to actually go forward with those ideas. It's a process of just allowing, just allowing, allowing and then finding and then the attention gets gathered almost by itself. I don't have to do it. But I know what I want. I didn't know when we start, we know what we're hoping for.

Lisa Hopkins:

You know, we spend so much time trying to learn the stuff trying to master the stuff that now I feel like the stuff is starting to teach me what mastery really is.

Brenda Bufalino:

That that is really true. That is really true. i Yeah, that's a very well said, very well set. My last dance class was when I was 17. You know, I did not learn tap dance. By taking a lot of classes. That was not possible. When I came up. I learned it as a kid. You know, I learned my shuffleball change, my off to buffalo, I learned well, but I didn't learn to the art of tap dance that I had to discover. Yeah, that was hours and hours and hours and hours to end hurting myself to find out what, what I needed to do to get it. And that's the basis of my technique that is still today that I teach. But in terms of the creative process, and I find it's so tricky. Like I have a few mentor mentees. One very young man, he's so talented. I worry about giving him too much information. I also want him to find the answers himself because that's where his voice will come. His voice is not going to come through what I say. Or what somebody else says. Or dancing for other dancers. Then everybody ends up dancing the same. So it's it's so tricky. It's so tricky. Being a teacher. And you know, as we have done this for so long, we know so much. But how much should I maybe those secrets the dancers kept? Were because they didn't want us to follow them. They wanted us to find ourselves. Hmm. Honi never told me anything. Nothing. That was probably the biggest gift he gave me. Yeah. So it's Wow. Yes. I don't. I don't want us to, to put water on the fire. I love being a mentor. I love it. And I love watching how how dancers, the dancers are working and what they're doing. But I'm very sensitive to, especially with young people, because they get too sophisticated too early. Yep. I hear you. I know. What I know. Is the sophistication and the artistry. Yeah, much of that. Should they know how much of that should they do? I don't know. Yeah. Oh, no. The answer to that. No, no.

Lisa Hopkins:

If you could tell a little Brenda just starting out something that you know now that you would have liked to to have heard then what what might you be telling her?

Brenda Bufalino:

Wow. Maybe to be kinder to myself. She never want to listen to anything. She wouldn't have listened anyway. That is so that's I'm gonna have to think about that, because she was always such a renegade. And I appreciate that. About her, but this doesn't mean you were bad. This was because that's what I always thought if somebody criticized me. Like, they didn't like the way I did a shuffle. That meant they hated me. was always about me, but it wasn't. So I guess that's what I would say to her. But I've learned that and I have talked to her about that. A lot. Yeah. I've spent the last 30 years at least 30 or 40 years now talking to her about working with these irascible, wonderful characteristics she has so that they can be functional in the world so it doesn't hurt other people. It doesn't hurt myself.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. Did you did you in your conversations with her ever talk? Tell her what you just told me, which is that you really admired her for her. fierceness?

Brenda Bufalino:

Yes. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. I never criticized her for that. But how she did it was a prop. My impulse was rarely something to be admonished. It was how it came out. You know, how do we express ourselves? How do we do it clearly? So that it doesn't attack, but can inform. Yeah. No, mean, I, there was a time I you know, I have a very sarcastic wit. And I love it when somebody also has it. But I've learned that that's a lot of people get hurt by that. And I have I have said things in the classroom, things have come out of my mouth that I cannot believe I said. And they're very clever. Very clever. But they're mean. I feel terrible. Yeah. But that's my that's. That's part of my creative process. Yeah. comes out of my work on stage that comes out of my monologues. Hmm.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yep. It harkens back probably to I bet your your avant garde stage.

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah. You know, I kind of at least I had the character that was hoping enough people would leave. Yeah. You know, would tell me how good I did. It's, I guess it's kind of like impatient. So it's wet. It's wet. And jazz. Is that, huh? That's one of the things that I think that that we're a little bit missing today is the wit,

Lisa Hopkins:

and the nuance too right?

Brenda Bufalino:

and nuance. You know, it's..

Lisa Hopkins:

when things are so crammed packed like that. It's just like the noise in your head that you're talking about. It's just like, there's no nuance there's no, there's no room for for growth at all, because everything's so packed in.

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah, yeah. And that's, that is something that I really I had that. And Honi had that. But as he aged, I was lucky that I did not know him in his heyday. By the time I met him, I was 17. He was in his 50s. So it was full and rich. And, and, and excited me and started me on the path. But what happens when I got back together with him after 15 years, 1415 years, I studied him. He didn't tell me anything. But I studied him really hard. And what I learned in terms of what you're talking about how he set things up? Yeah, he set things up so people could hear what he was doing. I learned again, about nothing. Leaving space, which we were talking about before. Yeah. For the for that moment. And I do, I am working on this as a mentor. I think that is something that could be useful for young people to hear. Yeah. Part of the problem is because they're not dancing for audiences. Enough audiences, there's not enough work. You know, I was very fortunate when with my solo performances, and with the companies. I had three companies before I really understood what I wanted with the orchestra. Yeah, I already had three companies. But and I was performing all the time. I performed in nightclubs. I performed everywhere. So I got feedback. From my audience. Yeah. Of what happens with the dancers, they're dancing for each other. They're getting feedback from each other. And they're not having a sense of the audience's their partner. So that was after after being in the Avant Garde and shooing everybody out of the space, I got a little sick of that, you know, and so I went all the way back. And my audience was kind of angry with me because I had a rather big audience for a lot of my avant garde work and It also was allowed me to do very creative work later. I mean, I'm so glad flirt. But I wanted to remember what my mother had. My mother could make you cry when she recited the Three Little Kittens - Could bring you to tears because she was in love with her material and love in in love with who she was giving it to. Yeah. And, and that was Honi. He loved his one chorus dances. And he loves sharing. Yeah. And, and when I did my solo shows, because I've done so many and all over Europe. I learned the audience is my collaborator. We're in this together there. All of a sudden, we're breathing together, they are being able to listen to what they would never normally be able to listen to. It's like being a sorcerer really

Lisa Hopkins:

Brenda, How, how do you want to be remembered?

Brenda Bufalino:

Oh my gosh. Huh. I don't really know. I can't say that. I mean, I, I I just feel so incredibly fortunate to have been a performing artist who teaches I've had relationships with people all over the world that are so deep because of teaching. So I don't know. I don't I guess that's just up to people. I hope I hope people will. I think my books in a way my books. I got it tell you that shows. I'm gonna tell you what I always want to be when I grew up. I want to be a writer. It just happened that I danced. So I don't know. I can't I can't answer that. I whatever people want to do with me when I'm when I'm gone. They can do with me.

Lisa Hopkins:

I love it.

Brenda Bufalino:

I don't know. I really don't know. I hope I inspired people to be who they are. Yeah, you know, I really do. I really do love it. And that's one of the greatest things of for my company members. As much as everyone with did exactly what I was a dictator. They all have their own styles. The dancing today and they all are different. Yeah. So somehow, I managed to inspire them to be who they were at the same time is they had to be me. huh

Lisa Hopkins:

hmm. That's a great insight.

Brenda Bufalino:

So maybe that, you know,

Lisa Hopkins:

wow, I could I could speak with you all day long. All day long. I'm okay. I'm gonna ask you a couple more things that won't keep you all day long even though I want to. Oh, hey, can you finish this phrase? Most people think Brenda buffel Leno is but the truth is,

Brenda Bufalino:

at most people think that Brendan Bohannon is really tough. is really a fighter. She's really tough. But really soft. Really, really, so. Yes, it comes out tough. No, really, very, very soft.

Lisa Hopkins:

Why do you think people think that?

Brenda Bufalino:

That's, that's my, that's my reactive personality. Your personality is not always who you are. Hmm. So I mean, that was Brian Siebert. Hit it on the, you know, when he when he said I was to express it. She smiles too much, huh? My son is always telling me to quiet down. But that's energy. Yep. What am I gonna do? And then I cry. Sometimes I cry when when, you know, okay, I get this. I cry. Because that's like saying that my energy's bad. When that's something that is a force, that's a force that was able to do all these wonderful things that I've done in my life. Yeah. Tricky, tricky stuff. Yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

I'm going to say what makes you I'm going to say a word and then you can respond in whichever way you'd like. What makes you hungry? Asking what makes you sad?

Brenda Bufalino:

Last one, I've lost people. I've lost so many people. I'm so old.

Lisa Hopkins:

But how wonderful to have had so many people that you cared so much about that you feel so deeply.

Brenda Bufalino:

Yeah. Oh, yes. I truly, truly know.

Lisa Hopkins:

What, what inspires you.

Brenda Bufalino:

And I mean, nature. Trees inspire me. Water inspires me. Winds frightens me. So that inspires me, a blade of grass can inspire me in the oregano plan inspired me Sati the music of Satie the music of Gurdjieff inspires me. So music. art inspires me painting artists, you know, at so many things. Hmm. A great conversation. This this inspires me. Our conversation inspires me.

Lisa Hopkins:

What what frustrates you?

Brenda Bufalino:

What frustrates me is that the lack of desire for my fellow humans to to explore reality. Not to decide it. But to explore it.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. What? What makes you laugh?

Brenda Bufalino:

The absurd. I said to my son, the other day, I'm trying to get myself together. He's a well, well, you when you find out the parts that are in the bucket, let me know. And I laughed for half an hour.

Lisa Hopkins:

What makes you angry?

Brenda Bufalino:

Oh, I think probably injustice is it's always been a big problem for me. I, I have worked, and got myself in a lot of trouble fighting in justices. And generally against those who can't defend themselves. I get I get ferocious and very active.

Lisa Hopkins:

Then finally, what makes you grateful?

Brenda Bufalino:

God I think what my teachers have taught me and I'm including all of them. Sometimes I'll go through a list when I'm meditating. of my teachers. And and what they've taught me and I'll just start to cry. And you have such gratitude. Mm hmm. And, and this life, I mean, I have lived the magical magical life and the strength that I've had that was given to me. I still got legs that can dance. I can't believe it! And that's from my ancestors. And that's one of the reasons why I write? I'm incredibly grateful for my lineage. really grateful. They weren't easy. But what a lineage? Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, incredible.

Lisa Hopkins:

What are the top three things that have happened so far today?

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, the first thing I wanted to go out and I couldn't because it's ice, I got pissed off. Did many many rounds of Tai Chi found out why the teacher wanted us to do at least an hour of Tai Chi because my legs got really tired from Tai Chi. That was great to find that out. And this conversation with those was lovely. Wonderful.

Lisa Hopkins:

What is something you're looking forward to?

Brenda Bufalino:

Well, I'm going to Boston to set "Buff Loves Basie" restage "Buff Loves Basie" and Thelma, Goldberg's young, young company. I love to work. I love to work and the challenge right now for me is that I really shouldn't work all that much. It's my nervous system. It's not my body. It's my nervous system. has a hard time with it. But I love working. I've been working since I was so little I can't ever remember not working.

Lisa Hopkins:

You know, it's you know, it's so cool that what came to mind when you said I love my work, and you smiled sort of impishly - it was great. I love that. -You've come such a long way from the little Brenda who used to break the crayons when she colored outta the lines. Cuz Brenda, you've been coloring out of the lines your whole life and look where you are today.

Brenda Bufalino:

And what I learned to do was love that coloring out of the lines!

Lisa Hopkins:

Exactly.

Brenda Bufalino:

And I study and in the middle of the art of imperfection. I understand now that's my love is imperfection.

Lisa Hopkins:

I love it. Brenda, it has been such a joy speaking with you today. Thank you so much for taking the time to be in the moment.

Brenda Bufalino:

I would like to interview you!

Lisa Hopkins:

well, To be continued. I mean, it's just been a joy. It's been an absolute joy. I've been speaking today with Brenda buffalo Eno thanks for listening. Stay safe and healthy everyone and remember to live. In music stop time is that beautiful moment where the band is suspended in rhythmic unison, supporting the soloist to express their individuality. In the moment, I encourage you to take that time and create your own rhythm. Until next time, I'm Lisa Hopkins. Thanks for listening