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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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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Dancing on the cliffs

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I have just arrived to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, to be with friends for a New Years retreat.

We live right by the wild North Atlantic, and yesterday after arriving we took a walk down to the cliffs at Kilbane.

After a while I made my way on my own seeking out a place where I could dance with this incredible place, on my own – to really arrive. To really land.

It began a little self-consciously. What if I were spotted? “Lone woman seen dancing wildly on the cliffs at Kilbane.” Now that doesn’t seems like such a terrible occurrence, but then it felt like something I would prefer to avoid.

So the beginning of the dance was awkward. Self-limiting. Small movements. Peeks across my shoulders. Still I persisted. I danced with the elements, inviting them one by one into my dance, into my body, into my spirit. Slowly grounding through earth and then, thankfully, and perhaps inevitably releasing, letting go with a great Whooopie when Fire joined. Yes, fire got me going – and then I was free. Free. To dance. In this place of raw beauty.

All the elements were here with me: The great rocks of Mother Earth, the Fire of the setting sun and the wildness in my heart that this land awakens in me,  the Waves crashing against the rocks, crashing, the wild Wind blowing blowing blowing my heart into great delight.

I am feeling a little giddy in this moment. I think it is from the awesomeness of swirling on the Northern coast of Ireland, with the elements dancing me too, with me dancing the elements.

I felt, I feel like I am truly coming home to my wildness. Dancing the earth alive. Nonsense, she is alive already. Dancing the life she is giving me, you, everyone, And in that dancing giving it more strength, more Is’ness.

I wondered as I danced in front of the ruins whether whoever built it would have imagined that one day a woman would arrive from Zimbabwe and dance, swirl, soar here on these rocks, by these waters, with this wind. I suspect not. And I love how the world is slowly but surely

Becoming

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Journals from a Soul Dancer

The dance continues – it is now 115 days of dance. Each day another dance, another step into a new experience of being Alive.

It has changed my life. I am a different person, woman, body. Weight has been shed, I think it is not only weight, but also emotional density that has loosened and flown away in the movement. My mind and emotions are lighter too. My whole being is full of Joy. Vibrating joy. Light. Space. Invited in as I join in the motion of all things.

Yesterday I read a reading of a psychic friend of mine. It helped me see more clearly why the dancing journey has been so incredible.

“If you can love yourself wildly, then you have done everything that is required to begin, a life of divine expression.”

Angela Deutschmann

We enter our divinity through love. Love for self, and love for Other. Even as we see something that we do not approve of, can we love it? Can we truly love it?

“The only way to miraculously transform or improve or heal something is to love it deeply, exactly as it is. As all of you do that, you are aligning with your god-selves, and that’s why the miracle occurs.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Angela

In the dance I love myself. It is that simple. It is not an intellectual ‘should’. It simply is a feeling of delight, of appreciation for Me, for Being here, in this Body, on this Earth, in This Moment.  In this place gratitude flows, abounds – and the world as I have known it begins to change. Subtly, almost imperceptibly at first, yet profoundly, and here I am 115 days later in love with myself, in love with my life, connected to the land on which I make my home, connecting to my husband in a way that I haven’t before.

The dance  springs from love. Love for myself, love for this body, love for this earth – and knowing in my bones that I have found a practice that keeps me connected to these. I have found a practice that opens my body, my heart, my mind – and let’s the oxygen of love flow through me as barriers dissolve.

Perhaps I should add that the dance is changing. Deepening. Becoming more sacred. Inspired by Movement Medicine, I am now dancing most days a dance in which I invite in and dance with the four elements of Earth, Fire, Water and Air.

I can – literally – dance the world alive. My world. My body. My connection to the earth that holds me, the fire of the sun that burns in my cells, the waters that cleanse, and the wind, the breath of life – that allows me to soar. As I dance, I notice where there is flow and movement, where there is stuckness. I touch it and dance with it. After the dance I marvel at how much I have shifted, moved simply through the grace of the movement of the dance. Creating new space in me. Healing space.

“The moment you realise it doesn’t get better than this, it does. In other words, the moment you let yourself, against all the arguments from your ego, the moment you let yourself fall completely in love with reality as is, the miracle begins. Not because you have earned it, not because you have attracted it, but because you have chosen god-mind.”

“Divine-mind can both love what is completely, and desire something even more beautiful.”

And here I am in a practice that offers me this naturally. Simply. Almost automatically.

I dance on – filled with gratitude for this body that transports me through this life in its fullness and beauty.

Join me?
Join me!

Reflections from the first 30 days of Dancing

Actually is it exactly 135 today, but it began as a thirty day ‘challenge’ to myself, and has grown into an integral part of my life and days. I wrote this piece soon after the 30 days were over, and for some reason did not post it, until now.

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I have come to the end of my 30 days of dancing and to the beginning of a life of dance.

I can’t quite believe that 30 days have passed already. In many ways I am, of course, entirely the same person who began 30 days ago. In just as many ways something has shifted fundamentally.

For one, I feel lighter, brighter. Even when I go through spells of tiredness, or irritation, I seem to stay with these for not quite as long. I feel less attached.

Over the last few weeks many things that had been scheduled – and that I wanted to do or be part of – have slipped away. I have noticed myself be able to let go more easily. It feels like I am more able to be in this moment with what moves in me. And if it doesn’t move; if it gets stuck, or I get irritated or anxious, I bring it into my dance. I literally dance with it, and invariably it does move through me. Out and away it goes.

My decisions are also affected. They seem to be coming from a more present, immediate place. My mind is learning that it can relax a little. How does this choice or decision Feel? How does this Feel? I check my gut, my heart, my body – and then Choose from that more embodied place.

Not always. Mind likes to get involved and sometimes she complicates things still. But over the course of the 30 days it feels like a muscle of tuning to a different place is being grown.

Each day in the dance (over the last 2 weeks in particular) I am making a moment of ceremony of giving permission to live from this place. “Yes” I say. “I can listen to more than mind. Yes I say, I give permission to my Inspiration, to my God spark to guide me.”

Later, mind will wonder whether I am making it all up. But each day for split seconds in the grace of dance I say Yes to living from a different Centre. And each day I feel the impact subtly, slowly but fully in my life.

I am also learning about Self Love.

Through my dancing, I am recognizing my desire to be liked and loved by as many people as possible. It has entered my dance in a very visceral way whenever something has been amiss with people around me – and I have come to see that much of the discomfort is from this fundamental desire to be liked (I suspect we all carry it!). To simplify I think it would be accurate to say that most of the agony I experience in my every day comes from the impact of my sense of my standing with people – when I think I am judged by others.

I no longer wish to be in the world from a place of seeking to be liked. So the Yes each day, whilst not exactly a No to others, is also a Yes to coming from a place beyond the politics of relationship. It is a deep Yes to what feels like the right way forward for Me. Not for you. Not for Paul. Not even for my children. Often what I do wish for myself is good for them also. And when we take the long view – it probably is in every single instance.

And in it I find a far more fulfilling Love for My Self. Delight in myself. I love myself in the dance. Why would I not spend all my days dancing then?

I love myself in the dance. I love myself after the dance.

Someone who loves themselves has so much more energy, vitality, life force, capacity to be creative, luminous, beautiful.

At the end of 30 days of dancing I feel more creative, beautiful and luminous.

And I no longer feel shy to announce this.

It reminds me of one of the stories of the Buddha where a King and his Queen had become meditators. The queen arrived and told the Buddha that she had realized in her meditation that she loved no-one but herself, and had told her king, and he had said he had the same realization. And the Buddha had said, very good. You are on the path. This is the place of beginning. How can you love another, when you truly don’t love myself?

And so I am learning to Love myself – and I know and feel and trust that is leading me into a richer more honest loving of everyone around me.

I am learning Love again, through the only being that I have – my own.

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