Letting go of a 1000 day commitment…

I have let go of my 1000 day of dance.

Eeek.

Yes I have.

As I write this I feel my heart beating faster, my face flushing.
A part of me is so not okay with this.
A part of me wants me to continue the 1000 day commitment.
To go ALL the Way.
This is also the part of me that I am learning to embrace, hold gently,
allowing her to experience resting on the earth,
rather than trying to carry the world on her shoulders.

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I recently completed my Apprenticeship with the School of Movement Medicine.
I will continue to be in learning with them for years, but the first formal apprenticeship is over.

A big part of my journey has been to discover a little girl inside me
who has learnt that to survive
she needs to rescue the world.

I have danced with her

I have danced with her into my brokeness
I have danced with her into my wholeness

In the dancing, I have also discovered
that Mamma Earth, Mamma Africa,
and the Ancestors at my back
don’t need to be rescued
(this came as something of a surprise!)
and especially not by a little girl.

They are here to support me.
(imagine that!)

They want to support me.

They invite me into an equal partnership.
They invite me to step into my Power
not to rescue Earth or Africa or Ancestor as victim
but to learn to dance with them,

to dance with a being, a force of equal Power
in my power, and my vulnerability
We are really One

In trying to rescue, I am separating myself from that force.
In trying to rescue I close myself off from receiving support and nourishment
of Mamma
of Life

My journey towards 1000 days of dance ( 767 days on the road) have been an invaluable gift of Life
And had become in a way – a holding up of the world
A compulsion

Dare I trust that I can rest even from this gift?
My beating heart and flushed face aren’t sure..

But in the shift I already see new gifts.
Unexpected gifts of community

Instead of waking a 5 am to dance before the beginning of my day
I am waking at 6 with my children,
Then, after they have left for school
I go down to Kufunda and do my morning practice in the Dare (place of meeting)
with whomever wishes to join me.
Together we dance, 5-10 people, greeting the new day, in community
We dance like this perhaps 3-4 times a week
Creating joy and light and spaciousness together

Yesterday in leaving the Dare and the dance
I realised that for something new to be born, something always has to die
Releasing my solo commitment to a 1000 days
has opened a new possibility of a lighter
and just as delightful
collective coming together in dance

So here I am curious
curious and hopeful
And the little girl is learning
ever so slowly
to release the weight of the world
and begin to trust
that the world is in fact
holding her

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Practice is Integration

I thought I had to return home to integrate
write in my journal
reflect
harvest nuggets of wisdom

I returned to fullness
and so did none of these
I still feel the spaciousness of the phoenix
living with me
in my busy days

I continued my dance
but slowly, for there was a tiredness in my bones
perhaps that was the integration….
(the slowing down to let it all digest, without words or thought)

Yesterday the real meaning of living integration showed itself
As I danced the phoenix again
ah the beauty and the joy of it
a tool, a method, a dance
to work with stories
that no longer serve

That is integration
the continuity of practice
mind needs not be too anxious in getting it all right
body knows, soul knows
and then mind can serve the clarity that can arise from that
powerful combination
The practice, the practice, the practice
All else flows from there
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The Phoenix

Reflections from working with the Phoenix

I thought a lot of the rising bird when I imagined the phoenix
I did not dwell much on the fire,
or even the ashes of the dying bird,
upon which the new phoenix could rise

But this was a journey not only of rising
but also of dying
of stepping into the fire
and finding the incredible
courage
strength
and light that can be found there
forged in the fire
discovered as a resource, to be able to stand in the fire
and then to rise
and then to fly

Like the Phoenix

Here is to the next 43 Years

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43.
And I feel like my life is just beginning
The sap is rising 😉
And there is a joyous, awestruck, exhilarated Wild Woman
ready to go the next lap,
ready to dance it, sing it, fly it

So here’s to the next 43 years
Here is to dancing into freedom
Here is to singing and swinging my joy
Expressing my rage, my power, my grace, my beauty, my delight
My Is’ness
My divinity
My unquenchable optimism
Not because I have anything to hope for
but because I have touched and keep touching
the miracle of this life, this existence

A soul in a human body
learning to inhabit the freedom of soul
in the expressive, creative, and yes beautiful constraint of body

Here is to dancing freedom, to medicine woman me, to lioness priestess, to motherhood, and loverhood, to friendships across time and space

Here’s to the next 43 years
May they rock my world
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The Potential of Youth

Last week I went to speak at the International Congress of AIESEC, the international association of students, that I myself once belonged to. There were 500 students from over a 100 countries. It was a blast! And it was inspiring to me to see the passion and desire to contribute meaningfully in so many young people. I spoke to them of leadership. In some ways I felt that it was silly to speak to these driven young people of leadership, as they so obviously embody it themselves, and so I used the opportunity to speak to them of another kind of leadership; one that is perhaps less aggressive, more collective, that listens in to life, and flow. I shared my story since AIESEC, and the patterns of leadership that have emerged through the collective story of those of us who are connected in the Berkana Exchange, and captured to beautifully by Deborah Frieze and Meg Wheatley in Walk Out Walk On:
Start anywhere, follow it everywhere – Go where the energy is
We make our path by walking it – Because we are entering new terrain – the solutions to the challenges of our time, do not lie in more of the old)
We have what we need – But of course we do, we just need to recognise it, and work with it more appreciatively;
The leaders we need are already there –  As my work in rural Zimbabwe, and the work of my friends in communities across the planet is a clear testament to;
We are living the worlds we want today – Doing our very best to live the future today;
We walk at the pace of the slowest – How challenging this is in today’s fast paced world, to begin to see that there is a gift in waiting for the slowest. We can’t leave anyone behind.
We listen, even to the whispers – This also takes time, but the subtlety and nuance and surprising discoveries that become available to us as we listen to each voice makes it clear that a treasure trove awaits us as we learn to include everyone.
We turn to one another. My dear friend Bob Stilger says this all the time – Whatever the problem, community is the answer. It is easy to forget this, because we are not used to working well in community, and yet, and yet, given the world we live in today, we must find our way into this wisdom, because no-one is going to descend from on high to save us. We are it.

I was not sure whether what I spoke had a place to land, and yet it seems it did. I spent the rest of the day in wonderful conversations with many young people who were wanting to find a way to live a life of meaning – be it in a corporate setting, or starting their own new thing – and not being sure how exactly to ensure this.

It made me feel that the network of Pioneers of Change is still so relevant, even as it is no longer an active agent in the world.

And so I was happy when I was approached by two former AIESECers to give my ideas on an initiative they are about to start called Future Finders, aimed at helping youth between 18-25 to:
Connect more deeply with their dreams. As they said, so many young people don’t really know what they want to do. What they really want to do.
To support these young people as they enter the world of work to not let go of their dreams and aspirations.

I think it is something well worth supporting, as we who are now older are making the path by walking it, to reach out a hand to help many more join with us.