Posts Tagged ‘awareness’

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New Year’s Re-Solutions for the Conscious Dancer

December 30, 2010

Groan….New Year’s resolutions….hate them and yet they nag at the consciousness…maybe this year I can actually hang on to one and follow through! Nope, not going to make any… but there’s that wee voice urging you to just try to improve some aspect of your life that may be bugging you… you’ll feel better. That’s the hope at least.
Ugh and double ugh…at least that’s how I feel about it. There’s a definitive lack of joy in this approach… a “should.” ¬†Already doomed to failure….

So how to restore joy to conscious growth? It’s all in the dance.

The only New Year’s resolution you may need to keep is a weekly commitment to a conscious dance practice. Twist my rubber arm! The dance is truly meditation in motion and will reveal ego layer upon ego layer to you. While this may sound slightly terrifying… that is to the ego….we are anyway, constantly confronted with opportunities for self reflection in our daily lives. I just find that ecstatic dance is a delightful, conscious way to approach self-discovery. Number one, it’s fun. That really is the key to sustaining any sort of resolution.

The dance provides us with an ever-changing field where we can foster greater awareness and let go, practicing our perceived “self” disappearing into the One, the¬†truth of who “we” are. Our bodies in motion unclench holding patterns and habits. Bound to…the dance is change. Every musical note, every step we take arises and evaporates like waves on the shore, never to repeat themselves quite the same way. We develop an ease and eventually an un-attachment to change and that is a true gift…how much suffering people cause themselves by resisting the inevitable!

And yet as dancers we have little habits that we hold fast… our choice in dress, the section of the room we tend to gravitate towards, the people we dance with, the kind of music that rocks us, the way we move our hips. Don’t get me wrong… I am not knocking our preferences as that self-expression is also part of our beauty. What I am suggesting is bringing greater awareness to our habits and perhaps having some fun experimenting with trying something new on the dance floor in the new year. What have you got to lose?

I notice in myself, for example, that I tend to stay in a certain area on the dance floor and that some other places in the room feel mysteriously awkward. The habit is to stay where I feel good instead of exploring the “weird corner.” I flirt with it for half a tune perhaps, conclude that it is still funky and move on. What if I were to stay there the whole time? I get nervous just thinking about it. There may be a gem in self-discovery that I may be missing in my habitual avoidance.

And then there’s the character that I call the “Energizer Bunny,” the fun, crazy party girl that wants to rev you up into a frenzy on the dance floor, a knee jerk reaction that is often my tendency. “Let’s go wild!” she says, “I’m hot and I’m happening. Happy, happy!” Trying to make “something” happen is more like it… instead of just meeting you. At times, I am covering up my vulnerability, other times it truly is fun to encourage wild let go. Walking this razor’s edge of awareness, seeing my ego, all is revealed in the dance and dissolves in it. Perhaps your inclination is to meet people as the soft, sensitive type, that you want to pull people exclusively into that sort of dance encounter… I have met you. The Energizer Bunny wants to shake you up and the softer side of me is attracted…the ego is afraid of not being “good at” sensitive…the oceanic self is ready to dive into the mystery with you. Aaaaah…such reflection and wisdom we can share! Above all, let’s foster a sense of humor about our masks… make that part of our re-solutions this new year… drop the habit of seriousness!

Here’s a fun re-solution for your dance wardrobe…and you know you’ve got one even if it’s your favorite ripped T-shirt and sweats… maybe approach unclenching your dance persona like a theatrical piece. It would be radical for me to wear a flowing, goddess outfit or come as a hippie queen with a leather, beaded halter top, feather arm bands and long skirt. Just to imagine it, I can sense how it would inform my movement with a fresh approach. I’m always in pants.

And those folks you’d rather not dance with…or your tendency to always be a loner…perhaps gently invite yourself to open to connect. There just may be a treasure trove of understanding in there about all your relationships. I see for myself that I want the dance to be a pleasurable experience so I might avoid “odd” people, parts of the room, clothes, “bad” moods…seeking pleasure is the function of the mind. While it’s also perfectly good to care to enjoy myself, I can really limit my experience this way. I’ve danced with people who were sad or angry; it was so beautiful to just be with their emotion and not try to change it or make it better. We are so socialized to put on a smiling face or to try to make ourselves happy…as part of a renewed approach to conscious dance, encourage yourself to come as you are…moody, tired, angry, joyous and share your truth on the floor. And if you are the ever moody, dark cloud dancer, explore this attachment…who are we beyond all this? Thank God we have the dance and community to help us see and celebrate it all.

And then there’s our attachment to certain music…I love techno and have trouble getting into Balkan sounds personally. Others curdle when they hear Tracy Chapman or rock and roll. Over and over again, we are asked to practice un-attachment, neti, neti, neither this nor that. Re-solution: dive into dancing your resistance instead of going out to refill your water bottle. Move your contraction, your “no.”

Honestly, all your New Year’s resolutions can be solved in a regular conscious dance practice…saying “yes” to change, trying on a new self-image, total self-acceptance, exploring relationships and resistance, peace within… and it doesn’t have to be some grueling task like diets or 100 daily crunches or name your own self-torture. There’s a reason why the dance is called “ecstatic.” As the layers of ego fall away, the pure joy and peace that You are is revealed. That’s something to be ecstatic about!

Wishing you a glorious new year on the luminous dance floor of Life!

The earth has disappeared beneath my feet,
Illusion fled from all my ecstasy.
Now like a radiant sky creature
God keeps opening.
God keeps opening
Inside of Me.
Hafiz

 

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