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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Nurturing my Relationship(s) with all of Life

Yesterday a small group of women spent time in a friend’s garden
We were on a mini-solo
staying with whatever caught our attention in the garden
Being open to nature
is it came to meet and greet us
after the first summer rains

I was astounded at how rich it is
How much is there
Right there where I have stepped
every week for so many weeks
But this was seemingly my first time to Truly see it,
When I finally consciously chose to go and meet the world

I saw the Crested Barbit, the very small lizard, the Chongololos making their way quietly, returned with the rain,
looking as if they had never left;
the log that has been placed for us to sit on,
the myriad colours of green, that were surely there the day before,
but which shone so much brighter after the rain.
The Bourgainvillia and the many many flowers, red, white, orange, yellow, purple
whose names I don’t know;
the beautiful rocks, placed lovingly in a basin of water,
the bird bath glistening in the sun,
the cacti,
the crooked twists of the trunks and branches of the many different trees

It felt like a haven, a miraculous paradise on this earth.

I have often appreciated Bev’s garden
But yesterday I met it in a way I have not before

And I wondered, and I wonder
how much of the gifts and miracles of life
pass me by
as I move through my life
with my awareness turned inward
moving through the stories and the dramas of my own delightful mind 🙂

I am learning something about the quality of Relationships
And that I am in relationship with all of life – not only human beings:
The earth beneath my feet,
The Trees that grow in my garden
The many birds that nest above me, the wind, the rain, the butterflies, the bats, the rocks,

And it is my choice how conscious I wish to be about those relationships

As with all relationships as I engage with them,
I discover new gifts, immense beauty.

I am discovering a world of magic,
Just waiting for me to reach out and touch it

What does it mean to be human?
In a world full of magic
To truly be human in a world full of magic…

I suspect the answer is something so much vaster
than what I have been living until now

Like the unfurling of a new shoot
I open myself and reach out
into a fresh new world

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Practicing Belonging

5 weeks ago I arrived with my two children to Dar Es Salaam.
We were joining my husband here for 10 weeks. He has taken a new job here, and I with the children will spend half my time here for the next three years.

I am reminded of a plant that is transplanted.
And that needs extra care as its roots enter the new soil.
I did not consider this when I arrived. A part of me felt perhaps bad for leaving my village and my work behind – and so instead I got extra busy. How much more I would be able to accomplish from here, where I had no meetings, but just lots of glorious time.This was my thinking.

I landed and I got busy:
Fundraising proposals
Programme updates
Skype calls
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When there was a little moment of space I filled it with more
I had a spectacular entry into learning how to bake sourdough bread
I baked and baked and baked until I had it down pat
and then I baked some more
rye bread
cinnamon rolls
whole wheat bread
raisin rolls

To say that there was a manic quality to my arrival in Tanzania would be an understatement
Shopping things for the home
Playing with the kids (downloading multiple waldorf home schooling books, to get that little details sorted while I was at it all 🙂
skyping, doing, baking

And then I woke many mornings in a row
exhausted
uneasy
listless
sad
and I wondered
what is going on?
Why can I no longer rouse myself?
My dance became slow and heavy
I kept baking, skyping, doing

And then I saw it,
From a conversation with a friend,
and then more fully the next morning
in the dance
the wound that all this was springing from:
A need to do,
A belief that I have to Do to be of value,
that I need to earn my room and board on planet earth

To simply stop, and land, and settle and arrive
feel the sand under my feet, the wind on my face, the sun on my shoulders
this would not do.
This would surely not do.

Of course the seeing of something like this
is the first step towards its losing its power
And so I made a commitment to myself to take five days off.
Five days of just being here.
The anxiety that the thought of five days of stillness induced
was another sign that something was way off
But I stopped.
I read Jane Austen (she had never made it into my reading list, and may never return, although it was a delightful little intermission)
I played with my children
I danced
We went to the beach
I journaled – though even this felt sometimes like too much effort
All in all I did nothing much that could be called by my mind
particularly productive or beneficial to something larger 🙂
And yet it was such a healing balm to me and perhaps my children also.

The days went, one and then the other
And the image of the transplanted plant came to me
and the feeling of my roots sinking in
and the gratitude for how quickly it was actually happening
once I allowed myself to be present to where I was
Here.
Now.

I danced a dance of Belonging.
I belong. I am loved.
Even when I am not Doing.
Doing has nothing to do with belonging.
Belonging has to do with belonging. Being here now.
And the manic doing is perhaps not so very pleasant
For anyone.

I am back in ‘work’
Still redefining what that means
Noticing what really fills me with joy
And what is being done from the wound
From the need to be a productive contributor to my community
From the need to be of value

Not that it is bad to want to give
But when it is coming from a fear of not belonging
(and here I speak of a more fundamental sense of belonging
To life, to the planet, to Pachamama),
It is not so healthy
When it is coming from love, delight of giving, joy of expressing my gifts,
It is a very different thing.

Dancing, moving, being,

Learning to simply be. Learning to simply Be
That that is not only enough.
That that is all I am ever required to do –
for right action flows from this place.
Beautiful, strong, inspired action
springs from this place.

I can still bake
I can still skype
I can still do
But I don’t have to.

 

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Joseph dancing on the beach

Celebrating Freedom

Today is Zimbabwe’s independence day.
Technically we are celebrating 34 years of independence (so young!).

I have decided to join the celebrations today.
And to celebrate a slight different aspect than the political technicalities of freedom.

I am celebrating today the freedom that dances in my cells.
The freedom that is rising in people everywhere –
And in the people of Zimbabwe.
to follow and live our own deep Joy

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I am choosing to make today a celebration
for all those of us, in ways big and small,
Who are making space in our lives
for that which brings the deepest joy
different for each one of us,
equally valid for each one of us

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For me, personally, it is the freedom
To dance each morning,
simply because it makes me feel deeply good
The freedom to love my dogs insanely (I just finished feeding all five of them) 🙂
To serve the children,
to create a safe container for their free and beautiful spirits to flourish
as we create a school that can be big enough to love and hold and support them in their journey

The freedom to follow a path of calling forth the medicine of women
beginning with my own
The freedom to fall in love each day, many times over
with whatever connects to my heart and soul
trees, people, animals, life, you name it!

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I celebrate today
The freedom that I am experiencing at Kufunda
As people are choosing increasingly
to show up as themselves
instead of what our culture has told us to be
Sikethiwe, Fidelis, Admire, Tsitsi, Anna Tenis, Maria, Enock, Ethel,
and so many more
slowly but surely standing up to be yourselves
I honour you deeply
I see your deep grace, power, beauty,
And thank you for showing up
Life is richer – infinitely – with you in it 🙂

IMG_0620IMG_6387I celebrate today
The freedom I am experiencing in all our children here
as they discover that their curiosity and delight
are gifts that we treasure and welcome
Tino, Maki, Joseph, Emily, Claudia, Alice, Ayemu, Ngoni…
and all of you that I haven’t mentioned by name
You are sooo beauitful
Your gifts are already taking us all by storm

 Today I celebrate 
The freedom I experience in pockets of Zimbabwean society
freedom to speak, to sing, to dance,
to express the soul of this place and this people
To make choices that go against the grain of so much of what is here
Simply because it is what our free souls must do

Freedom to choose love over hate
Simply because hate feels heavy and toxic
and love brings joy and space and possibility and grace
Today I brought Mugabe into my dance
With gratitude
for all that he has taught us
May we learn the lessons well
Aah that he would join this dance of celebrating
the deeper freedoms that are rising here
One day perhaps he shall

For now I celebrate
with a light and overflowing heart
with delight in my being
for the joy and the freedom
that live here already
And for the MUCH more of it
that I know is possible and is on its way
as more and more and more of us
begin to choose
the dance of freedom

 Dancing on into freedom

…. At 42 I am exploding into my freedom and into my Self
All the old, boring, limiting nice-ness finally being swept away
by my dancing feet, and drumming heart
All those limitations of old
Fuelling my desire and clarity for Shift
That welcomes each of us
To Fully Show Up
in connection
To be Here Now
As the Noble, Awesome, Shiny people we each already are 🙂

Me, Alice, and my late Grandmother. Taken years ago.
Me, Alice, and my late Grandmother. Taken years ago.

 

Children at the centre
Lucia at Nyeredzi

 

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Fidelis Masimba

 

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Tsitsi

 

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Emily, Lillian, and Mary

 

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Hlekisani hugging Joseph

 

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Mukudzei dancing with the village

 

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Gogo Zonde and friend on their way to build compost toilets

 

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Community women celebrating at the funeral of Auntie Marie. Yes celebrating her life and her death with exuberant human joy

 

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Anna and Patricia – Stripey ladies at Women Are Medicine

 

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Prayer, Admire’s son

 

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Ethel


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Gratitude

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Sacred Permission to Live from My Deepest Feeling Self – Soul Dancing Day 15

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Saturday two weeks ago I began to dance. I returned to dance.
As I danced this morning I could not quite believe the journey I have traveled
in what is really less than a blink of an eye

This morning I danced a sacred dance.
I danced with the sunrise
The still full moon setting behind us – the sun and I  🙂

As I danced I realized somewhere deep inside
That this dance is a giving permission
An active giving permission for my God Self, for my Sacred Soul
To express,
To let that part of me be in charge

Each day in the dance I step aside – even if just for a moment
And surrender to my Sacred Self

This morning I realized that I am giving permission
For her to lead in more than just the dance
To lead in Life as Dance, in the Dance of Life

And there I thought I was just having fun!

A friend of mine did a psychic reading for me this week
In it she says:

“There is no doubt that the next step for you is ……
a far bigger and bolder step forward and that is
into the recognition of you as God.”

Blasphemy some might cry.
Pure beauty, I say.

And the reading ends thus:

“But of course the sooner you are living from that place (All of us),
the sooner your worlds will hold the kind of beauty and grace
that you sometimes dare to imagine they can.”

And my heart fills with joy and tears and longing and gratitude, because I have a choice to live from that place now. From my God Spark. And to live from there exclusively. To listen to and for and from what feels Deeply Good, and to trust this it is in fact also good for the world, and for my loved ones. Perhaps for a three year old this would be dangerous advice. But for where I am on my journey this is how I might really allow grace and beauty to manifest through me – not for their sake – but as a natural process of living from a place of following what I deeply feel and desire.

It is a little scary. To trust myself. To trust my lived experience and Feeling of what to do – and to follow only that which Feels Deeply Good. Which Feels Deeply Good.

Each day, each morning or evening in the dance I am learning even more fully, with all of my body, and all of my spirit, and sometimes parts of my mind ;-), to feel myself, to trust myself, to treasure myself, to listen to myself, to follow myself.

And this morning it turned in a subtle but important way and became an active Giving Permission to live from that place.

Trust yourself, because the Bottomnest piece of you is Divine.

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Many of us have been speaking of the Rising Feminine
As I reflect on my dance and the movements inside me
This blessed and beautiful spring morning
With the birds chanting, the slight breeze, the moon set, the sun arisen
I realize that this capacity to navigate by Deep Feeling
Is in fact a deeply feminine quality

For too long we have been told
Emotions are bad
Not objective
And here I am learning to listen to and once again give permission to
My deep subjective feeling of goodness
Not random emotions so much as the deeper undercurrent
That can be felt when genuinely attended to

The Feminine is rising

Do you feel it too?
In your bones? In your heart? In your soul?
It is in all of us
Man or woman
Rising

May we all Dance in Beauty. May we all Dance in Peace. May we all Dance as One

Gabrielle Roth