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The Courthouse

It has been a while since I’ve been able to write a post, but I found this scrap in my journal and it opened something about chaotic, uncertain inner periods.

“In creative process, there is the inland sea and there is the book or dance or symphony—masterpieces, competencies, mediocrities—that litter the beach to be seen, to be turned over, to be heard. Art is the jetsam of the great submergence.”  

Ruminating with Cassie
I was sitting with my dance friend, Cassie, on a grassy knoll in front of the grand, historic Barnstable County Courthouse. It crowns a hill overlooking the marshes of Cape Cod Bay and a winding picturesque village Main St. where Oz, a zen-y clothing store, and Nirvana Coffee House thrive. These days, if you have county court business, you enter an airless, badly lit, utilitarian building erected behind the original edifice.

Cassie and I drank our lattes and luxuriated in the October day. It was what we would have called unseasonably warm except that no one really knows what is seasonable. Cassie related how she had been sleeping more than usual this summer. I asked in what form. Long nighttime sleeps and naps. Her sister reported the same. When I asked what the sleep was like—full of dreams? Restful? Rejeunvenating or troubled?—she couldn’t really pin it down…I told her about the terrific dystopian short story I had just read. ‘The Sleep’, by Caitlin Horricks, is set in a fictional depressed, forgotten, no-place North County town where the inhabitants gradually begin to sleep through the winter, hibernating like bears, and how this changes their economy, materialism, and relationships for the better. It is a wry story, yet I had found myself thinking What a good idea! and wondering if I could actually sleep more…And here was Cassie’s real life tale of sleeping more.


In the beginning of my recovery from surgery, I could accomplish one thing a day—make a meal, or take a sponge bath, or gather my laundry together—then had to rest for the remaining waking hours. After a few weeks, I could do two things a day. Eventually I recovered the stamina to live normally. Sort of…These recent weeks are full of strange ambivilences, hesitations, preemptings, suspensions. My capacities  have returned yet nothing flows with ease. The air shakes. The sky broods. All around we meet upheaval. Bad news, sad news…

Silicon Valley techies lament how the devices they created are eroding our ability to be and stay focused. Devices are, in a sense, dementing us. I think about the balance of stimulation. Too much stimulation, especially chaotic, irrational, disjunct stimulation, is exhausting and destabilizing—like blaring raucous music or never shutting off bright lights. There is so much bad news and sad news moving in our palms. I see my own ability to handle overstimulation eroding. I once easily rebounded, now this all depletes me. I am uncharacteristically oversensitive, take any little thing personally, am less resilient, and I also worry about this weakness, adding shadow to a deepening dimming. As well, heavy tropical weather arrived in New England weeks ago and refuses to leave. Sleep sounds so appealing. Doubtless, my psychology friends would accuse me of being depressed but I know depression and this is not the same flavor. 


I shelter myself in my ground—my breathing, my body in gravity. I breathe myself down from alarm. I move gently and feel my flesh as it circles and arcs. My daily practice…I know one thing for sure, this is a time to be kind to myself and, because I am not the only one working hard to keep head above water, kind to other people.

I return to the inland sea image. I am an artist and meditator and have spent my whole life in the strangeness of creativity which mostly isn’t a bright star but, rather, long sojourns in murk. I have huge faith that this time of sluggishness and of wanting to sleep is the time of brewing. Much is moving, shifting, reassembling, and falling apart. I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I don’t know if this will end well. Not every piece of art is gold and shimmer. In fact, every piece of art is its own color and dimension.

At the end of our companionable time together, Cassie and I crush our spent cups. I am utterly grateful for an afternoon with a friend. The sun has gone behind the sage, somber courthouse enveloping us in shadow. A quiet witness to our conversation, it does not hand down a judgment on our concerns for ourselves or for humanity.






Dancemeditation_LOGO_B&WI am delighted that you are with me and appreciate your sharing these writings friends. Thank you!

My work and writing are sponsored by Dervish Society of America (DSA), a nonprofit 501-C3 organization dedicated to the Path of embodied mysticism. DSA provides opportunities for personal development, exploratory inquiry into embodied spirituality, and community connection through practice, service, and performance. DONATIONS are tax-deductible.


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    1. Majida #

      Dunya, this closely reflects the moment I’m living. Grateful for your words. Healing needs many moons. Earl is recovering from a major surgery.

      October 12, 2017
      • Majida, I am sorry to hear of Earl’s tribulation and yours. Patience for us all…Much much love to you ~

        October 12, 2017
    2. Dunya, thank you for this piece. It so reflects my own current experience, so relieving to see it in your beautiful words.

      October 12, 2017
      • Love you, Mary, for all the brilliance and good you bring to this time and this world. Wishing us all comfort ~

        October 12, 2017
    3. Dee #

      I love how you share with us the innermost workings of your mind. So many of us feel the same way but may not have the gift of expression and articulation that you possess. I love you for your bravery, as well. Please keep writing and sharing. I eagerly anticipate every word. xoxo

      October 12, 2017
      • Thank you, dearest Dee. I’ll keep going.

        October 12, 2017
    4. Anastacia #

      I’ve been pondering a lot about our conversation and how one of the possible factors making us so tired is trying to make sense of things – things that don’t make sense, will never make sense, and words that are irrational if not lies. We can’t use reason to make sense of all this crazy a** sh*t. There’s so much energy and talk spent trying to do so! So, what’s the best response (not reaction) to irrationality? How do we take it’s energy and swoosh it into a new direction rather than butt heads with it and tire ourselves, to little or no purpose? How do we side-step it rather than engage/ argue/explain, which “buys into the crazy”? As you write here, grounding into body, breath and kindness, and settling into the murk (love that), the unknown, is a sane solution as we await insight while nervous systems and hearts heal. Thank you.

      October 12, 2017
      • Healing and awaiting the moment of swoosh. Perfect word. ❤️❤️❤️

        October 12, 2017
    5. wendy #

      I love you Dunya!
      Grateful for you!!!

      …my word play haiku reply to all the awesome words,
      love to all!

      eagerly healing
      every piece and dimension
      we swoosh perfectly

      warmly wendy

      October 12, 2017
      • Grateful to you and this, Wendy ~

        October 12, 2017

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