Emailing with friend, Maggie, about the recent Dervish Dancemeditation weekend in Asheville where 5 Rhythms is regularly practiced—she mentioned that she loved Lyrical—I wrote this in agreement: I find the Curvilinear Flow—my preferred descriptor for Lyrical (the 5 Rhythms aren’t actually rhythms but textures)—is certainly my native movement habitat. Since it benefits the entire fascial system, if I had to take one movement arena to a desert island, it would be Curvilinear Flow. I shot that off in email, then afterward got to thinking about verbal cues for movement and what they invite. Read more
Posts tagged ‘healing dance’
My friend, magnificent dancer and being, Alia Thabit, invited me to write a guest post for an online 90-day daily practice group she is conducting. I addressed two topics she and her group have been working on.
Hazy End Goal
What makes daily practice interesting to me is engaging in it with no fixed expectation. A hazy end goal is enough. Saying, “I’m heading there,” is enough. Anything else gets a little delusional. Read more
We are born to die.
The usual verbiage is that we are born to live and die, as if existence is an arc, but as far as the body is concerned, living and dying are integral. Like a snake we continually slough off skin, layer over bone, rip connective tissue and re-solder it. Living, at the biological level, involves constant dying. Life and death are not just cyclical but simultaneous. Life and death are one. And the same. Our culture gives us so little affection for small, daily deaths. Read more
It is so easy to squander peace, crush it beneath habituated frenzy. Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan often said, “If you are in a state of peace, stay there.” A good reminder. This year, after the Summer Movement Monastery, I am content. I could make a list of reasons why but I know that these happenstances are simply concurrent with a more fundamental experience of self. In Sufi, we talk about maqams—stations. There aren’t many of these but each one is a pole around which the seeker turns, looking, feeling, sorting the unreal self from the Real. Read more
Evie told Poppy how one day, nestled in the stalks of the Shasta daisy, she found a tiny neat nest of slender twigs stitched together with spider threads. In it were three speckled eggs. One was a dud but the other two hatched. At first day the babies were grotesque. Dark skin sealed big eye bulges shut. Yellow-rimmed beaks gaped automatically, fantastically whenever the leaves of the daisy stirred no matter what stirred them, and thin pink rib skin hammered out helpless, helpless.
Earth—what we are on. Sky—what we are in.
Earth is gravity. It is constant.
Sky is breath. It is cyclical.
During winter months in NYC, I teach a stellar Tuesday morning group. We’ve been working together for a number of years so I can go wherever the flow takes us. One morning last March, midway through the session after a long period of moving, they lay resting, all eyes closed, while I was watching the room, feeling my way through it. Were they sleeping? Reflecting, or struggling quietly? This was good, this internal chewing inside their beings. Read more
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
A week or so ago, Nannette, Ric, and I got together for a much-needed impromptu Dancemeditation practice on Cape Cod. I had been feeling stressed and overwhelmed and was very grateful to be spreading out my blanket, getting down on the floor. With the neutral Kerala Dream as soundtrack, we settled into an easy going Opening Sequence. Once we were relaxed, I said:
Practice: Bone Watching
Close your eyes. Move any way you feel. Let’s focus on the bones. Watch your bones as you move. The soft tissues will actually move the bones, but when you pay attention to the bones instead of the muscles, you’ll draw attention to the part that is ‘being carried’. Let your soft tissues carry your bones. Let your bones ride along. Read more
Here is a basic Sufi adage: The best way of knowledge is through experience. Just to be clear: ‘experience’ means doing an action rather than reading or talking about it. Experiential knowledge involves all our senses. It is three dimensional and multi-sensorial. It’s not that thought isn’t valuable, but thinking about an action must not be mistaken for doing an action, and information about a matter must never be mistaken for experiential knowledge of the matter. As well, there is the obvious reductionist fact that thought is body. Our marvelous, lovely thinking is the result of our nervous systems swilling endogenous or exogenous chemicals. Even fantasies of disembodiment—resurrection of the body in heaven, out-of-body travel, etc.—are created by the body. Read more