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What I Learned from Your Giving

Reading around the blogosphere, I came across a yoga teacher’s definition of her community: “My yoga community is, and always has been, centered around who I am actually rolling out a mat with.” Before December 31st, the conclusion of the whirlwind Ravenrock Match Grant period, this would have been very close to my own definition. I understood companionship on the Path as being in my body Dancemeditating in a room with others. These past two weeks have changed that.

In early December, Iscah Paquin, our Fundraising Queen, said, Why don’t we put out a call for contributions for those considering end-of-year giving?
Hmmmm…Maybe a few people would give. In all honestly I have trouble asking for help, and fundraising didn’t sound fun.
Okay, I said.
Then, right away I was overset by the Super Angel’s gift of $10k and her request to turn it into a match fund.
Now? I said.
Super Angel said, Why not?
And Iscah said, Why not?
We were off and running, and have landed in January with a funds (we raised $16,000) to lay in a floor in the Red Barn at Ravenrock and equip a simple camp kitchen, and through this I have discovered, in a new way and on a new plane, our Dancemeditation community. We don’t just lay out or mats. We build our sanctuary.

I wrote a thank you note to each person as donations came in and felt, down to my toenails,  gratitude for each gift. But another strange feeling began to grow. I didn’t feel giddy or proud. Though I was profoundly touched in a personal way, I knew this gift was not to me but was instead an expression of regard for the practice of Dancemeditation. Funding a project is a portrait of people’s belief in that project. No one would have given money to this effort had not Dancemeditation touched them or given them value in their life. I felt that, I knew that, finally, and any inability to trust practitioners’ love for the practice  that I might have harbored was dislodged. (Ah yes, trust. Always my foible.)

This feeling in me was like watching one of those Chinese paper flowers that is tightly bundled until you place it in a glass of water and it unfolds into a beautiful blossom. This dawning and blooming was like that. Each monetary gift was energy and presence. I knew that each person’s presence would be in the dance floor. (I had heard those words before but hadn’t known them.) Not a thought but rather perception of how energy transmutes from one form to another, this blossoming filled me with peace. We are a community. We are building something we need. We.

We have tossed our veil of gold into the air and are letting it fall into the shape of the space we need — to roll our limbs and tissues, to move, to breathe, to rest, to convene. Not a huge cathedral nor a massive social effort. No, this is human size and, like a body, has skin and bones and bottom and top. We can see its dimension. It fits us, just right.

Knowing that you appreciate Dancemeditation as I do, and enough to give, even in this hard time, has brought a sense of profound relaxation to me. I am not alone. None of us is alone. I feel the group, and I feel us gathered along the Path. As well, I can feel that everyone trusts me to do the right thing. And I will. I will use these precious funds wisely and prudently and with integrity. (That’s the easiest part, because I have spent my adult life doing this. It is my blood and breath: very alive, and more alive now.) I hope you can also feel a greater relaxation knowing you have so many activated companions on the Path. We’ll see one another up on Ravenrock’s rim soon!

Thank you all. Thank you.


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    1. leema #

      Lovely… my imprint in the floor…a grounding presence! Somewhere in space and time a small part of my essence exists in a form called a dance floor!
      Asalaam Alaycum!
      Lady Le’ema

      January 26, 2012
      • Yes! Yes, it does.

        January 26, 2012
    2. Loretta Armer #

      I have heard it said that the practice of gratitude is considered one of the highest expression of spiritual growth. The generosity shown to you Dunya and to the dream of Ravenrock is our expression of gratitude for the practice and experience of Dance Meditation and the devotion you model for us in your own practice. I can’t tell you how much the chant, “Al Lah” has helped me since last summer. When my mind wanders from whatever I am “doing”, I remember to pray and breathe silently, “Al Lah”, and I immediately become centered, still, and remember my deeper purpose in life. Thank you, and as Le’ema, said, our footprints are forever on the dance floors and I add to that, our collective “soul” print is forever in our heart space. Loretta

      January 29, 2012
      • Gratitude takes me over. It is a surrender to one’s interconnectedness. I suppose it takes a lifetime to learn this…I love what you say about the breath and chant…

        January 29, 2012

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