I sit here humanly
lump of groundling that I am
and what I see is
for the barn swallows have returned
and my god they fly so,
they fly so it brings on tears
their creamy feather-bellies
like fast-melting smears of butter
against a sky that is newly, softly, contemplating becoming blue
their slipping ways through the air
pulling my heart out beyond my ribs
my heart like a hungry cat, yearning to chase, pulling tight on the leash of my veins
and the starlings, they’re frenetic
every dark-plumed, spicy-eyed movement
a nest-building manifesto
every squabbling squawk
a yellow-beak curdling shriek of warrior intent to survive
every thin-black-belly-flashing swoop
a mark scrawled on the wall of the world: check, another day lived
and of course the robins sprint in their gangs,
bellies of rose charging straight at their futures
and the redwing blackbirds are chanting,
their bellies pumping, little bellows of honey-song
and the hummingbirds run the skies like our thoughts gone loose,
jewel-feather flicks of life tracing signs in the air, their bellies full of fire and nectar
and just now there was a pair of ducks
they arrived stage left
on their grand, final turn toward that tiny silver landing-sheet of pond
their wings splayed as far as a duck can reach
their toes spread wide - feet unfurled before them like wild orange warning flags
their heads turned over their shoulders to spot their safe watery ground
oh they flew like kites with duck hearts opening toward me and everything else
and then they disappeared stage left
having authoritatively traced their duck arc
of focus of flight
of trust of wing
of spreading of chest
and of a deep anticipation of earth
that lives in all bellies
even in those of birds
All month I’ve been wondering to myself about my blind spots and unexplored territories, which can yawn as wide as a canyon, as wide as the sea. It’s funny that these great gaps in awareness are often the result of me putting a real squeeze on things: I can leave so little space for others, for myself, and even for the world to unroll in its way. I forget to even ask, "What's it like in your shoes?" I forget that I don't know what I don't know. I forget that I usually don't go where I usually don't go. Yet from my unwillingness to freely give space comes... wouldn't you know it... open spaces of unknowing. New spaces. Cool. As usual, I find that Gabrielle Roth, 5Rhythms creator, had a perfect and motivating way of expressing this: “What will I find on the other side of all I know?”
The other side of all I know - the empty space - is where I’d like to point my ship's compass. I don't know what's there but I know it's a good place to go. Once I’ve raised the sails, I’ll let go of the wheel and see where the wind blows.
Why dance? Why meditate with moving feet, why rock ourselves until we’re present?
Ten thousand reasons.
Here’s one: revolution.
When humans enter a discipline - like 5Rhythms - that asks for our expanded awareness, purposeful mindfulness, radical responsibility, and connected creativity, revolution just starts within. When we stay with a practice, revolution does come in its ways, quietly and slowly and also deafeningly and like a thunderbolt.
And it naturally turns to seek its mirror, without.
When we use an intentional practice to truly take care of themselves, work to become more self-aware, and deepen our capacities, we get more empowered and available. That which we ignite, explore, and grow into on the dance floor often wants to serve others, not just ourselves.
When that happens, we are able to reach out. When we reach out, we find ourselves engaged. When we engage, change and the unexpected rumble in. When change rumbles in, we have an opportunity to surrender to the wild unexpected and eventually reach a new place together. We get a slightly new view of the world from our new place. And we receive a space to integrate, to put things together. To bring the world into ourselves and to combine ourselves with our world.
None of these observations are news, of course. It’s all been said and done before. Which is no reason at all not to do it over and over, and again and again. When we dance we observe this old true story over and over, to our great nourishment.
And yet there is fresh, radical potential in our choice to give it a go, every single time. Did you know that source of the word radical is “from the root”? When we enter a practice with intention, inner revolution may arrive at any time to take root, shoot up, blossom and cross-pollinate, bear fruit, or shed its leaves.
So why not inner revolution in service of others, in service of the whole? It’s our natural inclination to yearn to put things together - to try to re-member ourselves and our reality. Why not dance, not just together, but FOR togetherness, for healing? Why not dance for revolution?
I can’t think of a single reason.
Let's move in support of what's needed in our communities. Here's one opportunity, this month.
A few weeks into this new year, I am being challenged to stand on my own two feet, to keep moving with fortitude - and, equally, to round things out with a mindful measure of surrender, softness, silence, and sympathy for myself and others. This whole business is a never-ending process, according to wise ones throughout our history. But my attention to this challenge sure gets sharpened when I'm trying something new, walking an edge, and moving out of my comfort zone.
When I hear phrases like "edge walking" and "expanding beyond comfort zones" coming from someone else, a rather glamorous picture arrives in the dark theatre behind my eyes. I see empowerment, courage, daring, creativity, capability. I don't visualize the shakiness, tenderness, storms of doubt, and need for rest that tend to come with my vulnerability when I move beyond my usual borderlands, or move deeper into my questions and feelings about life.
So it goes. Looking on, from outside an experience, is wildly different from living right through that experience on the inside.
For me, 5Rhythms® practice is a beautiful place I can go to let these things sort themselves out, step by step, again and again. This moving meditation - this art form-in-action - is a sanctum where I can let life play out in my body, and my personal dance of question marks.
As this year settles in, I invite you to re-invent your investigation of life, experience the power of your body in motion, and ask and answer your own mysteries… perhaps on a 5Rhythms dance floor in Duncan.
The other night I heard children sing and women’s and men’s voices twine together with the breath-and-muscle acoustic calls of instruments that came from forests, from the spines and limbs of trees. And when I got home, finally the real dark got me, and it got me good. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to leave, now that I’m in, deep under, and hushed. In praise of long nights, of soft soothing darkness.
I do believe it’s time for my first “newsletter”. Consider it a love letter, and an invitation.
First, a big thank you to those who joined the circle of my practice classes, and you who have expressed interest and support. You’ve made a huge contribution to my ability to complete the 5Rhythms® teacher training. Your openness, energy, and feedback really supported me on this learning journey. I felt like a very rich woman as I flew off to my last training module to join well over a hundred other trainees and teachers from all over the world… your participation and warmth have carried me.
My hope is to continue how we started: in kind community, in an adventurous spirit that leads to learning. 5Rhythms is one of the great learning pushes of my life, and it has filtered into all my roles and work in this world. It's provided a radical tune-up for my attitude to learning and to life.
I simply want to share this way to grow and learn: each dancer for herself or himself, and all of us together. Healing through the body, movement, and embodied self-awareness has revolutionized my life at least 3 times now. I'm motivated to hold space for others’ brewing movement revolutions and paths of self-care.
Several of you have asked about future classes.
I am pleased to announce a Big Launch Series (well, big to me, anyway)… of 3 classes:
Way of the Wave
November 28, &
NOTE: 7:30 -9:30 p.m. That's a change in our class time, to allow for more space to arrive and settle in.
Way of the Wave will continue in the new year: the last 2 Friday evenings of each month, 7-9 p.m. Just reach out for any information you might need:
- by email: email@example.com
- by phone: (250) 710-1998
PLEASE FEEL EVER SO FREE TO PASS ON THIS INFORMATION TO OTHERS AND PUT THEM IN TOUCH WITH ME.
It’s time for communication and community-weaving.
More about these classes:
Dance is the fastest, most direct route to the truth. - Gabrielle Roth, creator of the 5Rhythms®
We are made of energy, waves, patterns, rhythms. In 5Rhythms moving meditation, we follow their truth as they rise and fall: we dance ourselves free. Instruction in this powerful (and powerfully fun) practice will be balanced with space to simply explore, express and exist. I invite you to get your toes wet: all are welcome, no previous experience needed. Dive into the dance that only you can do.
On the practical side: consider arriving up to 15 minutes early if you can, to give yourself time to transition from your day into the dance - and so we can make a good beginning together and warm up gently. For your basic self-care, dress in layers and remember your water bottle.
Everyone, I am open to feedback and conversation. I’m learning for myself that the wisdom of the group field is never-ending! My ears are open.
If you have ideas about a dance space or time that might serve this community (or you specifically, as part of this community), do feel free to share. Of course, there is no solution that will work for everyone. But it's a question worth asking.
I will be so happy to see you when and if my classes can serve you again - hopefully well into the future.
Sometimes I realize that my poems are simply ways to praise others, whatever form they take. I am so blessed to witness the existence of my fellow beings. You all are so beautiful as you dance your lives through your years, over the land and sky and waters. I'm in love with the lot of you.
receives a visitor
you walk into the gloaming land of my sleep
you glide forth, from behind me
you always surprise me
now how can that be true when both your arrival and my response are so predictable?
here it is, though, here I am in my dream prostration doing my thing
and wham, a you-walked-on-my-grave drumroll of recognition rides up my spine
as you arrive in your humility
your gorgeous sumptuous attitude of tender, of firelight
of honey gathered, of bloom and seed
and you kneel on my right, gliding down to this plane I’m on
joining my prayer or my worship or what am I doing here in this dream?
anyway you descend and join my kneeling my bowing my laying low
oh my stars
you come robed in the thickening blue purity
of a clear-day sky
that has found itself in the mood for evening's dark thoughts
oh fascinating one
as you kneel with me in common cause
you are clothed both in heaven’s blue
and the kind, sweet-hot light of open eyes
your two eyes that kindle what they see
your eyes that set fires where they wish
oh reckless sky being
please be careful where you aim them
oh, never mind
you know me, I am already beyond ashes
I am combusted long since
I am smoke
I am powder, carbon soft as silk
you know the beautiful old line: I am stardust
so just breathe me
as I commit to the prayers dreamed
by a mote of dust, an ex-ember, a handful of soot
with thanks to Jonathan, to Jewel, to Alain
I’m watching this world
unfold itself too fast for me
I'm watching the world
become a hard hand
quickly deciding to offer
a rapid series of slaps
rattling my cage
yes, now that I think of it:
I want one to crawl into, and
perhaps it could have
a) water bowl
c) coherent, defensible world-view
oh yeah I want that
but I know
I shall promptly upset my bowl, shred my blankie, and cower away from good sense
right about the time I realize I am without tools
and without tool kit
and without empty pockets, even
I shall hunker down and feed myself
on a discarded heap of my own heart muscle
wrapped, as it is, around empty space
I shall crouch and feed
until I am fed
I will not turn over
or circle inside my bars
or scratch at my floor
until I have wrathfully, savagely eaten my nothingness heart out,
fully completely irreversibly
until I am quite sick on it
stuffed with my nothing heart
and in too deep
all the way in, in well over my head
remembering that it’s the wild beasts who get put into cages,
my wild blood, made homeless by my heart-eating,
will finally boil
and it will be time to rattle and roar
from within my without
and my howl
shall not cease
until you all break out
show me how it’s done
Listen, hand, let go.
Peace like snow will sift into
your new-emptied palm.
Listen, heart, open.
Swing your door wide to this not-
Rescued yet again.
By deer's ear seal's eye tree's arms
flick of lizard's dance