Soon a big year starts for me: I will have been engaged in daily spiritual practice for thirty three years.
That is a lot of daily practice. Some delicious, some a slog, some neutral. Once set in motion, the dailiness was fairly easy to maintain. The health benefits—both mental and physical—are striking and rewarding. Spiritually it is less predictable, but I think that’s because from time to time I entertain fantasies about what ‘spiritual’ is, what Path is. (As distinct from the experience of Path which arises from practice and study.) My favorite fantasy is that Path will relieve me of my ‘self’ and of the conflicts in my life. I ask it to be Prince Charming. The escapism disappears, however, when I get down on the mat and breathe & move. I find myself, whatever she is today, and no matter what trouble I have been avoiding, I find solace. Such a simple thing. Read more
Days of hammering nails into the porch frame of the barn transform me. I’ve gotten good at swinging the hammer, letting the tool do the work, the nail going straight in, but I have to focus on each strike. I breathe and strike. Breathe and strike. Then I stand and gaze at the march of 2X4s thinking of the time when the boards will all be screwed down and people will sit here, chatting, or quietly watching Hermit’s Peak. This thought makes it easier to bend forward and begin striking again. Breathe and strike. This is mantra work. This is breath work. Read more
I arrived in Bogota Airport, a run-down, monster airport. This is a big city and not an American one. Disorder and dirt abounded, and not speaking Spanish was a handicap. It’s not true that everyone everywhere speaks English. Finally, after an uneasy hour and a half, I connected with my promised driver, a man holding a piece of paper with my name and the conference name on it, which would have to suffice in terms of trust. I got in a shiny black SUV and we muscled through the snarl of rush hour Holy Week traffic. Read more
I’ve been traveling a lot and, while having a Dancemeditation Room is preferable, it isn’t likely. But I’ve had plenty of space to do Simple Side-to-Side Rolling. This is pure magic! It completely refreshes my spine, hip sockets, and organs, and wakes up fascial communications. It doesn’t take much space, or a special space. Any relatively clean rug will do. I throw down a thick blanket that is clean and I’m ready to go. For time, this works at ten minutes but may seduce you into going a lot longer. Also, this is an excellent practice to do if you are a guest since it will not weird out any host anywhere. Very useful! Read more
This article, reprinted from Dance Studio Life Magazine, was written as meditation basics for dance professionals (dancers, dance teachers and studio owners.)
Focus on Breathing for Healing and Balance
We love dance and all its benefits for body and soul. But running a business and teaching a physically demanding activity can be stressful. There’s a lot going on, and most of it requires focusing away from our own bodies and feelings. From my time as a professional dancer, dance professor, and meditation teacher, I know meditation gives us a moment with ourselves, Read more
The other day I had a call to make, one I dreaded. The person is perfectly kind on the surface but I knew, from past interactions, that afterward I would feel as if I’d donated blood. More than a pint. Much more. I debated not calling. How to get out of it? Or how to get something out of it?
The aftertaste is what stays with me longest. Read more
Shafi means “To Cure, to Heal.” (Click here for a full description of the practice.) Below are two practitioner accounts of working this practice into a busy life.
Dee Powers, ITCert*
I silently chanted Shafi surrounded by white lights & my favorite animal friends. I was very quiet & very still for what seemed a very long time. Even though I could hear my grandson playing loudly in another part of the house, I was able to be in that beautiful & graceful place. Read more
I want [my veil] to unfurl so I toss her but don’t drop her. I let her billow. I wrap a wide arc of space in her skin. Soon she has seduced me into her world. My legs and feet have forgotten their clay and I am in the small sky that inhabits my NYC apartment. Air is always a morsel of sky, yes? Breath is always a morsel of sky.
I have difficulty finding a kind way of being disciplined. For many recent years in my Dancemeditation work, I've been adjusting harsh, punitive disciplinarian-ness of my professional dance years. I seek strength and clarity which require the cultivation of will, but that will mustn't be a willfulness reeking of domination (which, oddly, might be a form of greed, yes? Want. want, want, my way, my way, my way, etc.)...
Dancemeditators worked together as a practice community in our individual locations with Shafi Chant. Shafi means “To Cure, to Heal.” ..."I love this practice because it challenges me more than anything else I can think of but also supports the process at the same time. My thoughts and writing felt therapeutic and not like spiraling downward...."