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Posts tagged ‘inner gaze’

Soft & Warm

In case you are meeting me for the first time, I tend to write about my Dancemeditation practice and Path—what comes up, what happens inside me, why I resist, etc. At the moment, it’s about how to survive in troubled times with a little help…


Surviving in Troubled Times

I’ve always loved sheepskins. They are some sort of perfect. For the past few years I have depended on them at Ravenrock which has no thermostat. When temperatures abruptly drop, I stoke the wood stove and curl up on my cozy sheepskin. This winter I am on Cape Cod—cold, damp bone-chill. I bought a quarto (four sheepskins sewn together) to do my practice. Read more

My Hips Can’t Heal

I lean forward, my feet tucked under me, slightly suspended as my arms press down on the armchair arms. My iliotibial band glows gold with streaks of iridescent peacock blue. The chair bottom falls away. I hang over a chasm. A river crashes through the gorge far below, its roar faint I am so far up. I grip my legs to me but they grow heavy and slowly unfold, and hang down, and now I know that they hang by the merest thread from the sockets. The threads will break soon. My legs will fall and smash on the rocks jagging up through the churning white water. Read more


I finally stole a moment for my practice today amidst the chaotic situation I currently and uncharacteristically inhabit. I was alone in the house for 30 blessed minutes. Music played. I danced. And I thought about safety. I had stolen time, yes, but the room was not entirely safe. My antennae pricked up for the return of a car. I didn’t want to drop too far in and be abruptly disrupted or, like a molting snake, be discovered in a soft open condition. Intrusion. Interruption—these are very treacherous for me. Read more

Leading and Following

Observing is a good way to learn. Listening with stitched lips, wakeful eyes, and quivering ears brings magic into your life.” —Fatima Mernissi, Moroccan feminist scholar, Dreams of Trespass

Leading and Following—powerful, powerful, powerful—is fundamental to Dancemeditation training. It quiets the monkey mind. It teaches us how to hear the Divine. Big claim, but true.  Read more

The Most Subtle

“What happens in that passage between the subsiding of the movement and the beginning of deep rest?” That is the study question I asked my NYC Dervish Dancemeditation group in last week’s session. The perfume of a meditation period—from The Rosebush story—is most palpable in the stillness and inner gaze during the Deepening Phase that follows the active Effort Phase. (Three Phases of Deepening: Effort, Expansion, Deepening)

Here are a Sri Prem Baba’s thoughts, that are may be relevant: “Perhaps one of the main challenges for the spiritual seeker is the impulse to keep doing things. The ego always wants to do something, but there comes a time when there is nothing else that can be done. One simply needs to stop and quiet down, which will enhance one’s perception of the truth.” Read more

The Rosebush and Rapid Method

My Sufi teacher taught Shattari—the Rapid Method. It was a wild ride! This is the spiritual lineage of Dervish Dancemeditation. Embodied spiritual development moves us quickly and fully through the stations of spiritual path. This is because it is embodied, and body truth is not the same as mind truth. Bodies are complex, ahead of any game the mind can devise. The body’s doorways to the mystical center are infinite, swift and full. Read more

Inviting Curves

Emailing with friend, Maggie, about the recent Dervish Dancemeditation weekend in Asheville where 5 Rhythms is regularly practiced—she mentioned that she loved Lyrical—I wrote this in agreement: I find the Curvilinear Flow—my preferred descriptor for Lyrical (the 5 Rhythms aren’t actually rhythms but textures)—is certainly my native movement habitat. Since it benefits the entire fascial system, if I had to take one movement arena to a desert island, it would be Curvilinear Flow. I shot that off in email, then afterward got to thinking about verbal cues for movement and what they invite. Read more

How Beautiful She Must Have Been

“How beautiful she must have been, he thought, reflecting at the same time that this was truly a dreadful thing to say of a woman, as if beauty were necessarily and invariably confined to youth.” — Ruth Rendell, The Monster in the Box

How can a woman first feel her own beauty, know it, live in it, before the witnesses, known and unknown, begin to parade their more or less appropriative gaze across our bodies? Culture designates that the appearance of a woman exceeds all else, and it is our youthful beauty that is most prized. Eyes latch on, grasp, grip, grind. We are invited or rejected. We ‘work’ this or don’t, but it is impossible to avoid. Eyes stealing beauty, steal soul as well. It is a serious though common offense to steal a woman’s beauty, and for a woman to let it be stolen. We go hungry. (Another stealer/spoiler: the average camera. It doesn’t do so well with sags and wrinkles, but neither can it catch starry skies, nightscapes, or wavering seaweed under the water. It misses some very beautiful things. )

In Dancemeditation, we close our eyes and move, feeling what we are doing, and tune our awareness to an eyeless world. Our other four senses resuscitate. We relocate. We root. As we digest self as sensation, motion, texture, scent, the visual and cognitive aspects recede, becoming proportionally smaller in our identification of self. Simultaneously, this non-visual, elongated, un-judged experience magnifies the alterior aspects of self. We are the sensation of ourselves, not only what we think or see that we are. (Or for that matter, what others think or see that we are.)

Most important, as our own beauty becomes associated with a filled-out interior world — our beautiful inner state, a touch that we find beautiful, or scent, taste, sound — beauty belongs to us, and beauty is where we belong. We reclaim stolen beauty. If it was a land we weren’t allowed to inhabit, we are now in perfect residence. Beauty is our home.

A woman’s beauty must always be, first, a subjective discovery and, second, a witnessed corroboration. Discovering her beauty is a journey involving all five senses and a reflective mind. Being witnessed thereafter is a delicate honor.

What is your beauty?

Morning Dance

In the land of false flowers, there is a mirror.
Stop gaping there.

Turns your eyes in,
where Gaze has heat running under the skin,
and marbles of pulses roll
along the canals between the eyeballs and toes.

Sensation is the first way of Knowing who we are.
This Dance is not what you think.
This Dance is what you don’t think.

We are incarnated, blood everywhere,
in and out.

Don’t turn from these flowers,
these carnations.
On Earth, hearts forever pray such blooms,
gratitude for what’s Real.