Through the 10 000 Things

In my last blog, I wrote about learning to Open to the flow of life,
learning to create space in our bodies – and minds –
and in this to allow light and joy to enter us.

I realise that I need to add an important clarifying piece:

Being open to life
does Not guarantee constant joy.
(And wouldn’t that be somewhat dull anyhow?)

Sometimes life comes through as grief,
as rage, as fear, as passion,
sometimes it scares us shitless.

The question is,
Can we keep moving?
With it?
Without being subsumed by it?

I think the joy underneath that I am finding
is that all of these experiences are forever changing.
I am getting to know the underlying energy, river, flowing –
that can show up so differently in different moments.

I don’t need to mistake the expression for the flow.

My job has become to notice when I am getting stuck, or stiff –
Hooked into one or other of the experiences, or expressions, of life.
When I notice, I can begin to create space, returning to motion.

It’s a different kind of motion than the
relentless doing that exists in our culture.
It is being Here Now,
All of me;
Embodied me.
Moving with what is here.

(The Movement helps me Presence
The Movement helps me Open Space)

It is – literally and metaphorically – a dance
Dancing what is in me
As I dance stiffness, it loosens;
As I dance anger, it shifts,
sometimes into agonizing grief;
As I dance longing it unfurls into pure beauty –
Or sometimes painful sadness.
But it keeps changing.
Whatever is there
I just dance it

I don’t judge or deny these different manifestations.
I enter them.
And let them enter me.
In entering, I am creating space.
I move with them.
In the movement I am creating space:
Their hold, their density begins to shift.

***

The river flows.
I am a dancer of all its expressions,
The more I dance, the more I find myself
moving
between dancer, dance, danced

Sometimes I drop into the dance beneath
the anger, the passion, the fear.
And in that place I find
silence, stillness, grace.
Space

***

Perhaps this is part of what the practice offers.
A place to touch, or connect,
beneath the river of expression
beyond the 10 000 things

And yet the doorway is
through the stream of expression,
Through the 10 000 things

I am Loving this Journey. 
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Opening – to Life Coming Through

I have spent much time during this past weeks feeling full of life, light and joy. Almost too much – like my heart and my whole being might crack with it all. Instead of cracking, it feels like it is e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g me instead.

I have also been in conversations with people who are not living through this reality. Who are stepping through heavier moments in their lives. Grief, challenge, irritation. Whatever it is, as I have listened to them they have helped me see that the explosive joy and the lightness is actually not my full experience.

Actually these weeks have also been full of tiredness, of waking with a stiff and achey body; with mind being rather fuzzy and grey. In particular when I wake in the morning.

Rolling over and out of bed, squinting eyes because the light out feels too bright, I make my way sleepily into the day. I choose a play list and begin to move, slowly at first, connecting with the earth of this body, and the body of this earth, moving, easing into embodiment, slowly but surely finding my way into the fire of this body, waking with the sun rising in the sky.

So no, I am not jumping out of bed and exploding into joyous movement. It is slow, a little hard, perhaps not full of beauty and grace, but it is a pathway – each day – that I walk, or dance, into wakefulness. Returning steadily to my incarnate self.

By the end of most dances, light and joy is pulsating in me once more.
I am discovering that on most days, these are ready to enter and flow through me,
perhaps because they are basic elements of this universe. The question is:

Can I open to them?

Can I create enough space in me to receive their flow in me?

Yes I can.

By the end of the dance each morning, I have almost forgotten that this is not how I woke.
I marvel at the flow, and I have already forgotten the stiffness of just one hour ago.

It seems important this afternoon to capture this.
To remember this, as I continue on my journey.
I am not magically ascending into light,
I am slowly but surely, step by step, dancing my way into it.

And there are many ways,

One friend’s practice is time in her garden.
In my old life I would have scoffed at this. Surely that does not count as a practice?
But no, she becomes garden as she sinks her hands into the soil beneath her feet.
Another friend walks.
For hours she can walk, connected to her spirit as she enters the spirit of the land.
I dance. Some meditate. Some sing.

I am curious about the embodied nature of many of these practices

With the body as a gateway,
Aligning mind, body and spirit,
And opening, Opening, OPENING
to the flow of life coming through.

Yes. Here it comes.

Life coming through.

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This is my Work – And Yours?

I woke this morning and danced – yet again. It no longer matters how I feel when I wake, the dance calls me to enter. As I whirled with fire and water I found myself thinking how wonderful it is to dance and then to go to work more open and free.

And then I had an insight positively rush through me saying THIS IS YOUR WORK.

Perhaps this is the most important work I have to do at this time. Dance, woman, dance. Dance your soul free. Dance your Self Expression. Dance! Feel your body; touch your spirit; experience grace, power, and life moving through you; Dance!

What a relief. To let go of the labels in fact. That there is my work and then there is my leisure and my dance. No.

This is what I came here to do.

Kufunda is one of those things.
Dance is one of those things.
Loving my children is one of those things.
Touching the earth with reverence is one of those things.
Being a woman is one of those things.
Creating Community is one of those things.
My heart knows – and Loves – those things.

And so when you ask me how work is going? I can honestly say it is whirling, moving, flowing, rising with beauty, grace and potency.

What is your work? What did you come here to Do? What did you come here to Be?

May your day bring you in touch with that – may you Live it in your each moment.

It is your gift to us all.

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Dancing the world more Open

“So here it is – I feel like a shell that I was in has cracked open and the fullness of the world is streaming in to meet me. It comes with so much light, I almost have to keep my eyes a little squinted. Light, love, joy, beauty. I walk past people and love them. Some of them can’t see me – perhaps they are still sitting in their shell. Shell’s are safe and snug, but not so good for meeting the world. Greeting the world. There is a bounce in my step and I want to dance into and through my dance. I guess I am. I see the sun’s rays touch a clearing in the woods through the clouds, that have opened for a moment and it takes my breath away. I am awash with gratitude. I hear a song that rocks and I laugh out loud. I hear the sound of the waves retreating from the beach, a sweet gentle swoosh and my skin crawls with delight.

I don’t think the world has changed radically in the last few weeks – so that is how I have come to my shell analogy. Something in me has cracked open so the sunlight can truly touch me.”

Journal entry January 9, 2014

It is not like everything is always hunky dorey. As I sit here writing I am tired. I often wake tired during these days. But then I get up, and dance. As I dance my body wakes, and my soul returns from wherever it may have gone at night – and I see the grass and the trees and the rays of sun outside, and I marvel. And I cannot be anything by filled with delight for all this beauty sharing  my world with me.

Yesterday in my marvel I thought of all the people who don’t have the garden I do, (or the friends, or the community), and thought perhaps it was harder for them to wake in the morning and marvel at their surroundings.

Surely that is true – and yet…

I know that I did not always feel so much gratitude flowing through my veins. I know that I did not always feel that my life was the best thing there is. Even with the very same trees, and grass and sun and dogs and life right out there.

So what exactly has changed?

I am not entirely sure, but here is my best shot at capturing some of it….

1. The dance is opening my body – Literally. Making me less dense. Where there was stiffness I am learning to find flow in the movement, where I was stuck I am coming open – perhaps even undone ;-). And I am learning that space is healing. Space creates lightness. We are mostly space, the density is in many ways an illusion. The dance is connecting me to the space between molecules. And where there is space there is freedom. I am becoming light and more free in the dance. I bring the density of mind into my dance and feel it dissipate beneath my dancing feet :).

2. I have made a choice a few years back to only do that which brings me joy. When I am filled with joy, my light shines brighter. So whilst it is in many ways a selfish choice, it is one which has benefited my family and friends so very much. I am literally becoming more luminous as I choose in accordance to my joy. What does joy dictate for me? Such things as: Dancing more, spending more time with the trees, playing with my dogs and my children, bringing more laughter and movement into the meetings I host, cleaning up my mess…. It aint a bad task master at all!

3. Gratitude. I am developing a habit of expressing consciously and oftentimes out loud with friends and family my gratitude. Gratitude is such a magical river. The more we express it, the more there is to express. So the more I touch my gratitude for the two enormous Msasa trees in our garden, the more I fall in love with them, and the more grateful I am, and perhaps it is that gratitude that spills over to the grass blowing gently in the wind, and the dance of the wind in the leaves of all the trees. It is full of magic and grace and power and beauty. And I stand in the morning at the end of the dance and am filled with gratitude for what is mine to touch and feel and live.

How can I not marvel at my life?

At yours?

At ours?

Safety Warning!

It makes me a little more vulnerable. Or perhaps a lot. This newfound openness. Stories of pain move me more quickly also. But I treasure that. I feel some relief in fact for being open to both, to all spectres. Sometimes it means retreating from others because it is too much to be open and connected. I am learning that balance, though, and thankfully I have friends that can call me back if I go into myself for too long.

And here we go. The journey continues. On with the dance.

While I dance I can not judge, I can not hate, I can not separate myself from life.  I can only be joyful and whole. This is why I dance.”- Hans Bos

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Women are Medicine – Men are Magic

Another beautiful piece on our retreat by Bev Reeler

Something happened at the end of the year in our Women are Medicine workshop at Kufunda.

Well many, many things happened………
but the story that stays with me at the end was about the men.

Some of the Kufunda men said they wanted to be part of this workshop
so they offered to cook for us……………………

A group of young men and boys from the youth group
gathered in the kitchen every day
chopping and laughing and singing to loud music
a different harmony

It was the best food we have ever tasted at Kufunda
and for 4 days, we were nourished by their extraordinary care and generosity

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On the closing morning we invited them into the circle
and they stood in the centre
in a circle facing outwards

We welcomed them with a Hopi Indian salute
and the women spoke to them of the gratitude they felt
for the nourishment and care they had given.

Their eyes shone
one of the younger boys shot his fist into the air
‘YES’

Then we asked them to teach us aikido
(for they have been doing it for years now)
to ‘make the cut’……..
to draw our swords and cut our place into the present
cutting away what was no longer helpful and bringing our power into being

Young boys teaching their sisters and wives and grandmothers
how to draw our swords
bringing, with deep focus, our intention in the world

When we were ready we came back to the circle
and as each woman made her cut
there was a young man holding our back

They brought their warriorship
fed us
held the babies

IMG_0240As I drew my sword
a young man 50 years my junior stood behind me
it was an extraordinary experience
some new meeting of energies
combining into a powerful force

Something magic happened
Something that we have never touched
in all years of gender circles
about equality, abuse of women, rape, wife beating
some new energy shifted into place

as they made their cut into the centre of the circle
to ‘hold our backs’
bring their support to this co-creation of feminine and masculine energy
and a new possibility opened up

roll on 2014

Gogo Bev
Gogo Bev

Women are Medicine Retreat.

By Bev Reeler

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Elder, wise woman and wild soul, Bev wrote a piece on the magic that entered our field during our recent Women Are Medicine at Kufunda in December. I have chosen to include it here. I hope to write more about our time together, but for now this touches the deep spirit of what moved through us during those few vast days,

How does one capture the stories of those few days?
What we witnessed was just a seed
a small drop of magic that danced the surface of our being
but as time lends depth to the ripple
it moves out in ever widening circles.

What we spoke of, what we danced, what we shared in a sacred way
Echoes back into our lives
carrying with it a growing energy,
a fresh authenticity,
an old/new wisdom reactivating.

We were working at a new edge
we had an agreed intention – to empower the feminine
but no plan
we worked in an organic spiral
willing to change direction
to take the risk
to follow spirit
and dance it into being.

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We met together with the forest
on the newly moistened earth
trees and plants bursting with abundant life
the greening earth an endless display of patterns
and clean-washed, ancient rocks
gleaming old colours.

We are part of a dream.

Love to all of you
and in deep gratitude for what you taught me in our few days together
we will meet again.

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Running with Lions – Vision from the future

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Beautiful Alpha Male Lion that I met on foot in Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe in October 2013

Did you know that dance can transport us beyond the realm of the every day? To the land between time. To dream time. To future. To past. We can travel with our souls. Dance can transport us.

On this morning, January 1st 2014 I travelled with a small band of warriors. Brave men and women seeking more clearly, fully, strongly how to walk with Light.

We danced a dance that took us from the past, connecting to our ancestors; to this moment balanced between past and future; and finally to the future – where the souls that are not yet born are watching us, seeing what we choose to manifest, and which dreams we choose to spin into the world.

Some of the magic that danced with our circle of women in Zimbabwe during the recent Women are Medicine retreat, danced with us here. In Northern Ireland.

A vision entered me in this dance. A vision danced with me.

The beginning of the dance was filled with light. With joy. So immense, so light, so bright. I felt like an angel flying high. High.

As we moved into the dance of the future, I met the Lions. The lions of Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Perhaps they were the lions of everywhere. I saw how they are watching us and waiting. What will we choose?

And I cry. I am wrecked with grief, as I watch how as a collective we are choosing to destroy them. From this place of light and freedom I connect with the deep grief that is also true. Wondering how I can feel these two so close together, and wondering if I will ever escape the feeling of immense grief. A sea of grief. A vast vast ocean.

I experience how grief sinks deep roots into the earth.

Joy lifts me up – high. Grief brings me down into the centre of the earth. Both are needed. How can I dance between them?

In the moment where I experience each one, it feels like the only reality. In this moment I am wondering whether the grief will ever end. Ever?

I dance and dance and dance and then it moves through me. And I realise that I can dance with the lions. I can play with them. And we play. We romp, we run. The grief has lifted. I feel the women of my ancestral line behind me, strong beautiful women giving me strength. I am not alone.

I am in the future dancing with the lions.

And then grief returns, fills me once more. Back and forth. Joy and grief. Entwined.

I have a sense that there is something I am missing. Something I am not seeing. This dance continues because I am not yet seeing something.

And then I get it. Lion is asking me not to wallow in this grief. Not to remain here. Not to simply mourn him, but to use the grief to help me access his medicine. To fuel the courage, power and grace of Lion in Me. He is asking me to embody him. In crying I have created space for light and joy and Lion (!) to enter.

‘Let the light in’, Lion says, and ‘Run with me. Run with me. We have work to do.’

He looks back once, and then runs.
I run with him.
The courage of lion enters my body through the crack of grief that has broken me open.
Open heart, open soul, running with lions.

As we closed the dance – in that moment – rain fell from the heavens.
Bringing blessings.
Manna from heaven.
Soft Irish rain.

I am left knowing that I am not alone.
Lion runs beside me.
Ever-growing circles of dancers, dancing light into this world, dance with me.

May we all run with the lions, fly with eagles, go gently with deer.
We have work to do.
We have lights to shine.
And they have medicine to offer.

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