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.
In the flow of workshop, verbal cues are best when a bit vague, grammatically speaking—pointed but open, with room to explore. Read more
Imagine eating and eating and never digesting. Imagine being full, packed to the gills and never being able to assimilate, starving for nutrition, wallowing in gluttony run amok. Now imagine that this is not about food but about body taking in information and never having a chance to integrate this information. This not so hard to imagine because it is how we live. 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 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...."
Jessica Iscah Tkach Paquin, ITCert*
I did my practice this morning. I felt my sacrum get very heavy on the floor and spread out, towards the end the energy had moved towards my crown, but I still had this heavy spreading sensation.
Here is some of what I wrote in my journal afterwards: As I chant Ya Shafi an image of a crane forms in my mind. Read more
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
“There is a sickness worse than the risk of death and that’s forgetting what should never be forgotten…” –Mary Oliver
I am working with a new chanting. New to me. Otherwise, old as time. Its not important that anyone know what the word is. It’s a Sufi chant. Sufi chanting is called zhikr — remembrance.
My new chant surprises me because the part that is meaning — its literal translation — doesn’t touch the fullness of the experience. This chant must be right for me since, as I do it, I cross a threshold into the place I never want to forget, a place where I feel completely human yet safe and real. Most ordinary days, human-ness is a long string of vigilance and fear. I’m familiar with all that, inured to it. I seek the place where, like my time as an infant, I was held by my mother or father and they were vigilant for me. I was safe in their arms. They watched out for the wolf and bear, the snake and illness. Those killers. ‘Being held’ is a sweet flavor of giving up into the Moment. Yet the Moment requires surrender, letting yourself be held.
On the surface, the Moment could be any sort of temperature or condition; it could be painful, or it could be luscious. That, however, is just its surface. There is the inside of the Moment. The inside of the Moment is far more than being held and carried. It has a secret wisdom. (Not so secret if you get there but untouchable to most who stand on the outside of the glass window in life.) The importance of spiritual seeking is to find and touch, every day and in as many moments as possible, the inside of the Moment — not forgetting what should never be forgotten.
The inside of the Moment is a lamp in the dark, a vista that is boundless, is newness, is inspired existence, is non-separateness, is freedom, is spaciousness. It is soft like rabbit fur, and a perfect embrace. It is communion, knowing, contentment, and the end of bottomless want. It is the end of fear.
Lisa Michaels, VP of Sacred Dance Guild interviews Dunya May 19, 2011.
The Sacred Dance Guild and Natural Rhythms offers an exciting tele-interview series focused on exploring the many ways people express spirituality in dance, hosted by life long dancer and current SDG Vice-President Lisa Michaels.
DUNYA-Spiritual Dance Guild Inteview 5/19/11
I lay belly down on the deck of my cabin, rolling my thighs on warming wood, smelling the day. I watched a small brown bird hop from blade to blade in the grass. All of sudden my breath opened deep. I felt my body melt into the wood, and my back absorb the blue sky peeling away the fog cover. All the days spent witness dancing in workshop in recent years, where I learned to watch people without ‘leaving my body’, suddenly clicked in. I’ve worked diligently over time to stay in my body and see, stay connected to my breath and see. This morning it blossomed naturally, unbidden and un-labored. I was seeing, breathing, feeling my body.
In the past, I’ve so often seen through a haze of my preoccupations. I’ve been afraid of letting time pass, of letting it slow, of letting it stop, sit beside me, and open the tight little packet in my chest.
Today the bees still toddled from dandelion to dandelion, but there were the front edges of autumn — choke cherries veined with burnt red, the sun leaning down at angle, and the first migrating ‘v’ of birds. Time so full. My body filling with it all.