May 19, 2009

Day 3 Community Support- Dance Ugly

As I spiralled round the room this morning, eyes wide open behind closed lids, I thought about how much I appreciate having this safe space to “dance ugly and drool”. I first heard this saying in the dance dome at Esalen. Actually it is where I first read it. I womyn from Boulder, Colorado had knit a whole string of prayer flags pulling inspiration from her Soul Motion practice. The one that caught my eye had this mantra knit into the pattern, one that kept rolling round my brain while I danced my 5 Rhythms practice this morning. “Dance ugly and drool”.

I love dance, nearly all forms of dance. I believe every sort has it’s very own window to the answers beyond. I love to dance like I did yesterday at the May festival, fully conscious of the flow between musician and dancer. Feeding the band my energy , that they in-turn feed into the music which feeds me back, a wonderfully symbiotic relationship. One where I am dancing with my attention focused outwardly, fully present to the crowd, my fellow dancers and musicians, part of the creation of an inclusive environment of celebration. I love to dance at night clubs too. I find my spot on the floor early, enjoying the wide open space which will soon be filled with sweaty bodies. Club music here in Nelson is often a blend of live musicians and dj’s. I make a game of finding all the different lines within the music, gliding between being driven by the beat to snaking round a melody. In both of these dancing situations I feel a need, for the most part, to stick to my “look good”. Certainly in a night club atmosphere there are social morays, I don’t HAVE to adhere to them, but it does make my life easier. If I were to end up laying flat on the floor in the middle of the Spirit Bar, shaking my legs in the air, concentrating on keeping my jaw relaxed by letting out a long slow tone, well management would likely send over a door man to escort me off the floor, assuming I had had too much of.... SOMETHING. But this morning in 5 Rhythms this is exactly how I moved, and no one blinked an eye. More to the point it is in no way out of the ordinary. Being able to hold a space where movers can do pretty much anything, where they are not questioned, mocked or ridiculed, this is talent. Maryanne, our local 5 Rhythms guru, has this ability. She is soft spoken, somewhat shy, and understated. So much so she doesn’t have a single page online that I can link to to showcase her work. Yet she can move with wild abandon and encourage us to do the same. She has led the 5 Rhythms here in Nelson for a very long time, with a dedicated following. She danced in New York with Gabrielle Roth, the Diva creator of the 5 Rhythms. I have never spoken with Maryanne in depth about these times. I am not sure how long she danced with Gabrielle, or in what capacity. I do know she danced with Vinn Marti the creator of the Soul Motion movement practice, the work I am presently studying. I also know she is able to seamlessly hold a sacred movement practice for her students. One of the things I know I am meant to do in this lifetime. I am so blessed to have elders to show me the way. I imagine I might have to duck if I were to tell her this face to face! Maryanne is beautiful, young and feisty! By elder I mean that Mary-Anne and Vinn are wise and strong, that they walked the path, step after step even when they were weary. They continued to follow what it was they somehow knew they were mean to do in this life. In a brilliant moment of synchronicity Maryanne spoke aloud the “Dance ugly and drool” mantra long after I had been pondering its wisdom. We were flailing around in chaos, jaws open, hair flying. I didn’t occur to me earlier that she would know this mantra. Somehow she always knows what to say.

I used 12 days journal #36 during the movement practice to write down some lyrics that grabbed me. Something like “I want to talk to God but I am scared cause I ain’t spoken with him for so long”. I know this fear. I wrote these lyrics in the journal because it was the only thing I had to write in, but later it was clear this was by design . The question “How did you know what things you were meant to do in your life?” came to me later while I was dancing. For me the answer is to follow the voice of God. That might seem like a pretty hefty statement, but it is simple really. We are all connected to the source, we have many different names for this source. After years of resistance I took to calling this source God...simple enough. The way it works for me is I just listen to my heart. I love my fear and know it is there to protect me, but I quiet it down so I can only hear my heart voice. This voice, that I often find it when I am dancing, NEVER leads me astray. This voice tells me the things I am meant to do with this life. Leading movement is one of those things. Raising my babies with love, boundaries and a commitment to communication is one of those things. Loving with a wide open heart is one of those things. Writing this blog, committing to this experiment, sending out journals into the world is one of those things. I don’t know what all of that makes me, but that is OK. God knows, and that is good enough for me.

I had left the journal on the counter at the studio in my haste to get back to dancing. A friend from class picked it up and then agreed to take it. If you read this I want you to know how much I loved dancing with your feet today, I felt the connection. And I want to say, sister to sister, all hippy languaging aside, that you are an inspiration, someone I am honoured to know. I love you.


  1. How did i know what i was meant to do? Hmmm, I thought I didn't know for a long time, then eventually I found the answer was to look at what I was doing. Now the answer seems to be "I just know" Certainly, one dark day in the distant past I had the realization that, no matter how bad things were I "wanted this to happen". I'm not sure I'm answering the question here and mostly I've been uncertain about what I was meant to do and have had to be satisfied with that. I've also had some resistence to being told what to do by others, maybe with the exception of God, but only maybe. Music, dancing, being a layabout and a know-it-all is what I really want to do, and if I can make that a contribution to the universal good I'll be satisfied.

  2. I know what I'm supposed to do because no matter how I try to get away from a certain path I always end up back on it. I have a very simple path ahead of me...and that is to help all of humankind by writing my words and then sharing them. Sometimes this seems like a monumental task, but then I realize that all I have to do is just keep writing one story at a time. Whenever I finish a story I have that "ahhhhh" feeling, the one that lets me know that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

  3. I know what things I'm supposed to do after the fact. When I do what my heart tells me to, and I do it even thought I'm trying to rationalize it away, take a leap of faith, just say YES and don't ask HOW, later on, the universe just seems to converge into a single, meaningful point and pokes me in a way that I can't ignore it, and I just know, then, that I did what I was meant to do.

    It is a hard thing for me to do. I like certainty. I like to plan, I like to be settled ahead of time that I'm proceeding in the direction I need to be going so that I can do so with confidence. But the most meaningful things that I've done have been those where I had to just jump and hope that the ripcord on the parachute will deploy when it's supposed to. Then, when I land gentle on my feet, whole and hale, I know I did what I was meant to do.