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Posts tagged ‘movement meditation’

The Rosebush and Rapid Method

The most Rapid Method of spiritual development? Keep reading. Here it is.

My teacher called his Sufi training method Shattari—the Rapid Method. It was a wild ride! This is the spiritual lineage of Dervish Dancemeditation. Embodied spiritual development moves us quickly and fully through the stations of spiritual path. This is because it is embodied, and body truth is not the same as mind truth. Bodies are complex, ahead of any game the mind can devise. The body’s doorways to the mystical center are infinite, swift and full. Read more

Inviting Curves

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

Soul Killing or Soul Developing?

There are only two directions in life: Soul Killing life and Soul Developing. Each is a choice. Each takes a long time. One is mostly passive while the other requires effort. Though Soul Killing is smooth slide into Lethe, it is littered with clues. You get heavier and heavier. Poison seeps into your pores, drips liquid lead into your tender lung sacks, hardening and stilling their swell. You hardly breathe. You can barely move in your flesh tomb. So you grind to a halt. Or run maniacally away from yourself. Busy busy. Your heart slams and rattles ever more weakly against the dungeon wall of you. Your body is one tremendous clue: if you hate it, if you feel numb to it, if you barely know you have it, and if you even exist thinking of your body as “it”, you are in Soul Killing.

Soul Developing is a conscious act every step of the way. Read more

Life & Death & Awareness

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

Gravity & Breath

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

Bone Watching

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

Heart to Heart with Darkness

Ric and I take a walk at midnight. The sky opens and tosses down a fine rain/ice. The black bayou quivers. Damp coolness slides around my neck and fingers my ears. Ghost touch, tomb taste. Tonight, thoughts skitter, feet move under me, Read more

A Little Chew of a Cue

In the morning workshop, after the ingestion period of all our breathing and movement, we moved onto an hour and a half excavate/integrate period with this cue: As you let your body move, be aware of all the little ‘in-betweens’. Of your fascia. Any small movement.  Be aware of your breathing.

Body Cues
In the flow of workshop, verbal cues are best when a bit vague, grammatically speaking—pointed but open, with room to explore. Read more

Dancemeditators Describe Their Room

Here is a wonderful string from a Facebook conversation amongst Dancemeditation™ practitioners. Our goal with this conversation is to inspire and support a daily practice or teaching of Dancemeditation. Each month we work on a suggested topic.


November 1  Dunya McPherson, Principal Teacher
Please describe in excruciating detail exactly where and when you do your daily practice. Where is the space? What time of day? What do you wear? What do you sit on? What music have you been using? How long have your practice sessions been? How many each week for the past two weeks?

November 1  Jessica Iscah Tkach Paquin
In the last two week I have practices 2-3x a week. I have a dance/meditation room. It has teal walls and big bright windows. Read more

Book Party #1

Friend, playwrite, director, and Dancemeditator, Kate Temple-West, wrote this about the Skin of Glass premier on Sunday the 6th in NYC:

“Today was Dunya’s book launch for Skin of Glass!

It took place at the beautiful Metropolitan Building in Queens, owned and designed by Eleanor Ambos, who also owns the Harder Mansion/Mill upstate where we will be having our Summer Movement Monestary. All of Eleanor’s sites have a romantic, out-of-time atmosphere, as well as a strong sense of protected space, as this is clearly important to her. The Metropolitan Building is a beautiful red brick warehouse with many magical floors. The second floor where the event took place has an antique library feel, with soaring ceilings, thin Doric columns, beautiful distressed painted wooden floors, and antique furniture. It manages to feel spacious and intimate at the same time.

A screening of Dunya’s Dancemeditation films played as people entered, accompanied by very talented live musicians, Premik Russel Tubbs, Narin (tabla), and Annemarie Wiesner (violin) with live dancers around the perimeter of the theater space who eventually made their way to the stage area in front of the film screen. The Dunyati Alembic dancers, including Nisaa Christie, Anita Teresa, Kate Russel, and Carleen Bevans, interacted beautifully in their meditative state with the film. They were dressed in long flowing silks in light colors of peach, lavenders, and pink, overlaid with cream. They danced with veils of varying shades, mostly doing slow movement, in contrast with the faster movement in the films. It was an excellent intermedia improv. My favorite part was the film close up of Krys Statho chanting Ya Shafi (it means, ‘to heal’), as live musicians played, so that there were no words, only Krys’ lips mouthing. I wish I could think of a more descriptive way to say “it was beautiful”. The chanting and music along with the dancers’ slow meditative veil work felt very healing and profound to me, and I’m always interested when that can happen in a performance context. It is a rare experience.

Then Dunya read, interspersed with some more choreographed pieces with Anita, Nisaa, and Kate on a tiny raised stage behind her, reminiscent of a slice of Dunya’s apartment, on oriental rugs, with colored scarves behind them, and an ornate mirror. — o.k., much more ornate than Dunya’s, but with a similar feel. Their first piece featured the dancers’ undulating spines, and later they did some hand work that made them look like a multi-armed goddess. They were accompanied by dancemeditation practitioner Annemarie’s soulful violin.

Dunya read from the section “Blue Eyes”, and about her experience seeing Butoh master Kazuo Ohno at La MaMa. When she read from the final chapter, “Blood”, about what it means to be a Sufi teacher, it brought tears to many of our eyes.

Afterwards Dunya answered questions from the audience, and then signed books as everyone mingled, chatted, sipped good tea and munched on cakes and tea sandwiches.

We were thrilled that Liz came all the way from Minneapolis to be there! Carlene came from Maine to grace us with her dancing, and Gayla also came a long way, helping out by being the financial end of the book signing. I was the “stage manager”.

It was a very memorable event. I was really happy to be a little part of it, and I’m excited that her book is now available! Hurray! It was also wonderful to reconnect with some beloved Dancemeditation folk.