Thursday, January 17, 2019

Because Life is a Dance

Years ago in 1998, a friend turned me on to Joseph Campbell, specifically the series of interviews of Mr. Campbell by Bill Moyers.  I was captivated!  So much so, that I changed my life direction:  from  dance performance, choreography and teaching to body-mind transformation, which eventually led me to study and teach yoga, become a life-coach, study nonviolent communication, and create Transformation Playground Dance.  I offered my first free-dance and journaling classes in 2001, and called it Transformation Dance.  Years later I taught under the name of Dance Journey, offering regular classes in St. Louis, as well as movement classes at a treatment center for people with eating disorders.  Today I call it Transformation Playground Dance.

"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don't think that's what we're really seeking.  I think that what we're seeking is an experience being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive..." * 

That's the kind of dancing, the kind of moving, and the kind of living that interests me.  When I listened to Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell and their explorations of meaning, stories, cultures, and myths, something in me was touched.  I remembered my fascination with learning and various dance and even martial arts techniques throughout my dance career.  I had noticed that moving in different ways, with a different focus and intent, changed how I experienced myself in my body.  This was unexpected.  I wondered - Just how many facets of me are there!?

Later, I went on to study with Kathlyn Hendricks, a psychotherapist, movement therapist, and teacher/trainer for individuals, couples, and coaches interested in conscious relationships, embodiment, and creativity.  From her, I learned that bodifying -- trying on movement in a way that matched my inner state -- was a way to move through stuck experiences in my body, relationships, and work-life.   This only reinforced my calling to facilitate people to put our bodies into motion.
◯ "The whole world is a circle.  All of these circular images reflect the psyche." * 
I also am fascinated with cycles.  Whether it's the cycle of the an inhalation and exhalation, the cycle of a traditional prayer, seed to plant, the moon, I discovered something interesting in dancing specific aspects which are part of a greater whole.  So often we get stuck in duality:  focusing on something being right, and something else being wrong, less than, bad, or forbidden.  So inherently it seems to me that dancing something is a way to experience it fully to unlock the gifts of it, and intending to include a full cycle of movement is a gateway to wholeness.  It turns out that this is a key tenant of Tantra, and non-dual embodied spiritual awakening.  Who knew?
MOYERS:  "Then heroes are not all men?
CAMPBELL:  "Oh no.  The male usually has the more conspicuous role, just because of the conditions of life."  * 
Originally to me it was just play.  And it still is!  Although now I have a greater cognitive understanding of why this type of play is so liberating, powerful, and often life-changing for people.

* Quotes are from The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers

- Read more about Transformation Playground Dance here.
- Join me next Tuesday evening January 22, at 7:15pm at Yoga Source in St. Louis to dance.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Writing to Bridge the Gap: Lifting, Lifting

Writing to Bridge the Gap

Lifting, Lifting

There are many ways which we can close off inhabiting our bodies in a protective maneuver to try to reduce pain and suffering.  Thomas Huebl refers to these coping mechanisms as childhood heros, because of the protective function served by these originally intelligent movements.  Over time, what was once actively creative recycles itself, no longer within conscious awareness.  

Since rising above our difficulties is often equated with spiritual maturity, Lifting, Lifting makes a distinction between rising above in a way which is resourced in wholeness vs. avoidance and closing as a traumatic, survival mechanism.  We can't fully respond when we have closed off a part of ourselves, since the very process of shutting down and disowning our experience creates inner fragmentation, and negates the possibility of a response that is grounded in wholeness.

The good news and the bad news is that what is disowned will find a way to express, through our own behaviors or in relationships.  What is disowned lives through us individually, through the generations and through our culture.  Life wants to move!  

Waking up in our bodies is a process of discovering these unconscious loops of once-creative protective processes, appreciating their once-necessary protective function, and releasing the habit in favor of newly emerging creative movements.  

Lifting, lifting,
I don’t want to drop…
It’s scary down here!
And unpredictable.
Can’t I just hide?
If I hold myself up,I will be ok.  
Positive, inspired.  Loving.  Lovable.
All the good things people taught me to be.
When I drop, I become real.
And, what will happen then?