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
Can’t Find the Grand Canyon
We engage in practices to open ourselves and to learn what it means to be present in this Moment, rather than caught in an old personal story. Last night at 2am unable to sleep, I slid into chanting thinking that I should be asleep and that chanting would calm me, but the chant felt dense, lumpy. A Being-ness had come over me and chanting felt like floating up from a depth. Then I realized I was awake because I was in the Moment. 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
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
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
My dancing meditation or meditative dancing or meditation dance or Dancemeditation treats me like a bumpy hand-woven sweater. When seeing how well knit I’ve become, it grasps my ego’s thread end and tugs. I unravel into a thin wiggly strand, drape over the world’s edge then drop to a quiet little nowhere. Read more
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
At the recent Kripalu Intensive, on the last day, Loretta read this stunningly beautiful poem to all of us. It captured our state but took us beyond as well. She has kindly let me share it here.
Under Shiva’s Gaze
Shiva graces our Dancing
As we enter the Great Temple of the Body.