I am Dancer
This is who I am
First and foremost – I am Dancer
Before even being woman, mother, lover, community organizer…
I am dancer
And when I let myself dance
The dance flows, jumps, moves into all my roles
All my states of being
Enlivening, Enriching where it goes
And where it opens
I marvel that this knowing could have been lost to me for so many years
For decades it lay in my forgetting
Filling me with many arbitrary facts and figures
Ideas of what success is and how to strive for it
But little space for my Soul to speak and be heard
Thankfully our return to Africa, to Mama Africa, when I was still a young teenager
helped break through into the beginning of a listening
A listening for heart and meaning
A listening for soul
That brought me to co-create
a trans-local learning community of pioneers with friends
And then Kufunda Village with friends and family
And still it was to be years for the listening to finally bring me
from the rich journey of arriving into the work of my heart
To the Movement of my soul
Dancing my Lifeforce
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.
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.
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
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
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
I am two years and a month into my 1000 day dance journey. As the dance has deepened my writing about it has slowed. It was as though I could no longer really find words to express the road I was travelling. So I let them go for a while.
What a journey it has been. Recently I almost stopped the daily dance. Not the dance itself, but the ‘having’ to do it everyday, because it was becoming something I did from a place of discipline rather than joy.
But I found my way back, when I remembered that it can be – if I choose – my way of listening each day to my heart, my soul, my joy – and follow what I hear.
It can be my way of connecting more deeply to my Self. It can be my way of connecting and reconnecting with the world around me – the trees, the birds, my sleeping children, the earth, the setting moon, the rising sun, the changing seasons, the gentle breeze or fierce winds, the rains drenching the earth that my feet love – It can be a way each day of meeting the world as she rises to meet me.
I have come to deeply appreciate it as a key to my Life.
I had no idea how many locked doors existed in the house of my soul (which is my body, my earth bound being) – and how much light and air and space I could let in through dancing one day after the other. I have danced slow dances, fast dances, joyful dances, grief dances. Dancing through the house; opening its doors, finding lost parts of myself; hurt parts; scared parts; angry parts; and bringing them home to a me that is growing ever more capable of holding them all.
I keep dancing in particular with the theme of ‘Holding up the World’. I dance many dances with a little girl inside me, who believes that she must hold the world up; rescue and save others in order to save herself. She is very tired, and very lonely. And she is there in me and in my dance.
I am learning slowly but surely, to dance with her, to listen to her and her needs and to gently bring them to life in my dance and in my life. A slow but sure healing of old old old patterns, that no longer serve me. No longer serve her.
And so it is dawning on me
that in the Movement
in the Dance
I am re-connecting
– recalibrating if you will –
to the very flow of Life
Synchronising to the pulse and heartbeat
of the living breathing universe
of which I am a part
which I Am
It is both a Physical
and a deeply Spiritual
No longer I as a separate entity,
but instead Flowing into,
the stream of movement
that all of life is
Perhaps it is so
that as I dance,
following the intelligence of my dancing body
I am integrating, fusing, melting together,
Matter and spirit
as they meet and breathe and dance in me
Perhaps it is always so
but in the movement
I awake to the expression of that communion
I can follow it, without mind, without thought
simply allowing myself
to melt into
I have not been writing much in the last months
Perhaps as the journey descends more deeply into
old patterns buried deep in my psyche
it is harder to put words on it
These days I am dancing with the discovery
of a fundamental lack of Trust in Life
Stunning me, as I have always known myself to deeply trust
Life to provide,
Allowing the intelligence of each next step
to simply emerge when the timing is right
perhaps that which is our greatest gift is also our greatest challenge
And so as I dance with my psyche
I am seeing that at a deeper level
there is a part of me that is ever busy
busy busy busy
For if I did not
It would surely all fall apart
My projects would die
The sky might even fall upon my shoulders
shattering the world as I know it
It is a mighty frustrating discovery to have made
For now each time I dive into action,
quick and very capable mind leading the way,
another part of me is watching,
‘here she goes again’
And I do not wish to judge my mind and the part of me
that knows how to act,
to fix, to make happen, to mobilise, to create
But I am waking to the possibility that it does not need to be such an effort
And I am seeing that perhaps to get through to the other side
I need to let go, to surrender, to rest, to retreat
rather than to push through
And my mind does not really know this dance
Perhaps my heart does, and surely somewhere my body does
But my mind does not,
And so in this moment it is an awkward dance
An awkard awkward dance of seeking
– so far with little success –
to find my way to the still centre in the middle
Where I can learn to rest, and trust,
And simply Be
And even as I write, I know that I will not come to this place through seeking
but through a letting go that I don’t yet know how to allow…
Dancing dancing dancing body in the night separate dancing the dance of separation
outside the moon shines mother waits for her child to find her way home
‘you are not alone you are not separate’
dancing the dance of separation to find my way home
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:
Busy busy busy
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
whole wheat bread
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
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
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
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
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.
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