As I was beginning on a spring cleanse, a friend wrote to me: I complete 7 years of celibacy this month—please have a cup of tea in honor of this milestone. After 7 years, I am free of all past lovers, and there is a definite boost to my energy.
All I could think was that we wash our hair a billion times but rarely consider clearing our sexual channels. I don’t think women, in particular, talk about this option much. Sexless-ness is hush-hush turf. Read more
When we cultivate our spiritual life, our daily life increasingly becomes the face of the Divine.
This came to me as we chanted Ya Muhyi (The Enlivener) in the recent Baton Rouge weekend workshop. I saw daily life as surface, like the earth’s crust, floating above a timeless unitive Communion. We have families and jobs, responsibilities and identities. This is our surface. If, inside, a spark flutters then flames into a blaze of spiritual life, we find, 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
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
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
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.)...
There is a big idea is Sufism known as Nafs. Resistance to practice is entwined there. Nafs, in brief, are self-destruction. More gently put, they are the aspects of self that undermine core soul hungers of Self. They can show up as fear, doubt, or lack of self respect. Read more
Shadows on a slab of wood. Shine on metal. There is a dream within those details. I sit still, look at the space, at the walls, the coats on the door, the vases on a high shelf, the row of blue-and-white dish towels hanging by the sink, the glasses case on the sage green sofa, the aluminum-colored computer, the lacy Victorian tea cup, books tucked in a row with their slender stripes of colors and letters promising a world. 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.