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Posts tagged ‘Practices’

Back Roll: the Basics

The curve prepares itself in me.

Rousing Back Roll
Back Roll is a basic piece of my daily practice. I have done Back Rolls since the Sufi get-go with Adnan. He loved them. He would start crossed legs, put on some rousing, boisterous Iraqi drumming, roll back to Shoulder Stand then forward to crossed legs. We followed him. We were a large group, all snuggly pie-pieced into one another on raying blankets. We’d hike forward on our blankets, cast a quick glance over our shoulder to avoid crashing into someone else, and roll back. He’d go on and on, and we with him. Somewhere along the way as we picked up speed, he’d reach out a hand to the sound system beside him and turn up the music–fuel on the fire. The energy built, more force, more speed. Back Rolls were easier done faster because of momentum. Our backs found the perfect rocking curvature until the rise to standing was almost inevitable. Some days we rolled up into a jump then back down to shoulder stand, a wide lively pendulum, like being on the swing set on the playground.

Gentle Back Roll
These winter months I do a different version. I sit crosslegged and rock forward and back gently on my sitz bones which are like little rocking chair rockers. It is a small motion. My psoas shifts my viscera and buttocks press along the rug under me. I go slowly for a while, watching my spine responsively arc into a curvature, my weighty head dropping forward then righting. I feel like a sailor on a sea swells. The curve prepares itself in me. At some point, I roll back effortlessly, hovering briefly on the wide upper back fascial pad where my shoulders are tightest, my feet and legs hover in space high above, their weight funneling down to press my resistant shoulders into the ground. Then I roll back, bending forward into the shadow my body casts over crossed ankles and folded calves. My hands have caught my knees in cupped palms, elbows akimbo. Sometimes I hang forward here, feeling my buttocks and outer thighs lengthen, my low back and my outer ankle open. Because one leg is crossed forward of the other, I know I’ll roll back again to return with the other leg in front, stretching both sides equally though my body’s inherent asymmetry will make the stretch feel like another body-world. Gradually, after several passes, I feel my shoulders wake up. Sometimes, I stay in Shoulder Stand. Sometimes, I roll up and down for a while. Sometimes, I grab my toes, stay on my back, my legs partly or fully extended, like a baby or like a baby bear, and use the floor under me as a rolling pin, smooshing my skin and sinews and fascia and fluid and all the flesh. I love this.

 

 

This piece contains an excerpt from my new book, ‘Dancing into the Deep: When Dance is Your Meditation.’  Coming soon!


I 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, a nonprofit organization helping people realize their human and spiritual potential by honoring their body and its movement ways using evolutionary Sufi Dancemeditation practices. Thank you for your gift. It’s tax-deductible! DONATE

 

 

Retreat 2018: Influence & Ear Feet

One evening, near the end of the 2018 Movement Monastery retreat, we did Witnessed Self-witness. It yielded for me what our minds might consider a surrealistic episode, yet for the body this is a normal perceptual way.

The exercise: Witnessed Self-witness. Couples sat cross-legged, facing one another murmuring. One person spoke with eyes closed, tracking sensation in the body and speaking out loud these self-witnessings while the partner listened. In this retreat, we have explored listening, or visually witnessing, in a new way. We moved beyond responsibility for and guardianship of our partner, and opened to being influenced. In the Old French and Old English, the meaning of ‘influence’ was “the flowing in of ethereal fluid affecting human destiny.”  Read more

Dreaming Body

Dancemeditation is to the Body what dreaming is to the Mind.

I  would hate to never dream…I love to wake and wonder where I’ve been, grasping at dim air, fading figures amused at my futile attempts to catch their tail. I love the improbability of making sense of their portentous magic that flattens and dulls as I note it in my journal or recount it to a friend. Lost is the weave of one place tucked into another, actions looped and looped, tunnels of dense color, haunting fragments, timelines crossed. Dreams come while we lie still, our bodies suspended in sleep while our minds journey far and wide. What if the reverse happened? Read more

Meditation & the Constructed Self

Thoughts on meditating—an oxymoron. 

Constructed Self
I recently came across the term ‘constructed self’ and felt how well it catches the sense of personal identity we all more or less consciously cobble together. Ego, persona, astrological sign, enneagram type, and any other system of human definition can be tossed right in there. We maneuver through the world using constructed self to deal, choosing shoes, jackets, apples or pasta, homes, partners, jobs, hobbies, pets. Are you a dog person or a cat person? Read more

Cull

A childhood friend calls complaining about losing her once-upon-a-time ability to go full-out for twelve hours a day. I had so much energy! Not now. I think we all have to limit how much comparative looking back we do. We can get into a peevish resentment about aging, as if it is a personal affront, rather than moving into the next chapter. I mean, is age really such a surprise? Our house of memories needs culling. It’s a discipline. A little remembrance is fine. A few important, rich memories. I am tolerant of obsessing and redundancy—our rehearsing of the self, making sure we are still who we think we are—but if we rehearse this too much we miss who we are becoming. Read more

Sufi Tea

Four of us met for Sufi Movement Meditation and Tea last Friday. It was early afternoon in crisp, late autumn when light fades quickly. The first snow, the way we love it, feathery and delicate, glittered on the few leaves still clinging in the shrubbery. The dusting gives us time to switch gears into the darkest, coldest season.
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Hospital

I have been at Mass General Hospital in Boston for a surgery to replace my hip, then several days afterward in a rehab facility. For me, these are all one hospital experience.

Time has stopped. It moves back and forth, stuck in a groove without progressing. Overhead fluorescent lights flip on, blanching the close corners of a room that is better left in shadow. Weary dusky rose walls, linoleum floors, and acoustic tile ceilings. Stuck time, stuck time, stuck time, stuck time, stuck time…is stagnant. Read more

On the Pitching Deck

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

Stepping
Getting from one chair to another. Five steps. Pushing down on the arms of the chair, engaging his shaking thighs, standing in a crumple, and inching one foot forward, then the other, grasping a table edge, a doorknob, the stepping stones of the room. He knows every bump and outcropping of furniture and makes his way like an old mariner on a pitching deck. Read more

Secrets & Places

I am staying in my parents’ house.  The house is in limbo, no longer their home but kept exactly as if they might return at any moment, though they they never will. Like a dreamy puppet, I walk up the stairs focusing on each step, the bend in my legs, the extension to climb, my spine, my doing this coming from a need to feel right here right now as the end of their life rears closer Read more

Move with Me: Intuitive Flow Week One

ArabesqueWeek One: Session Summary


Part 1: Words of Wisdom: Relaxation and impulsiveness. Read more below.
Part 2: Follow Me: Floor Movement. This session we will be lying on the floor. Near the end, you will need a long veil or strap to loop around you foot and gently manipulate your leg’s the range of motion.

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