Posts Tagged ‘dance’

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Dancing with Chaos

March 22, 2011

Massive sigh, a much needed exhale…!

These last few weeks’ global upheaval has left me feeling pretty raw and vulnerable. It’s challenging not to be swept up in collective hysteria and anxiety. More than ever, I am so deeply grateful for having a dance practice to move some of this energy and keep my feet on the ground. It is a huge part of why we engage in a conscious dance path: to hone our gut instincts and intuition, to remember our feet and be embodied, to return to center, to grow our awareness into greater presence, to keep our energy and our emotional body flowing so as not to get stuck.

“Ecstatic dance” can be somewhat misleading though also the perfect name. The ecstasy for me  comes from the experience of letting go and that may manifest as a soul-shattering catharsis. That’s not going to necessarily feel all that blissful in the throes of it. Many people I’ve encountered have the misconceived notion that they need to feel happy to come dance. Ecstatic dance, thankfully, invites us to come as we are, to move with what is happening for us in this moment which may be sad, angry, frozen even… what a relief to be able to express our emotional bodies in movement! We are so socialized about having to be “happy”; we set ourselves up for an inner battle of rejecting part of our psyche and a dualistic struggle of wanting this, not that. Self-acceptance is a much more effective route to being content. Even for our physical health, we need to move the energy of those “dark” places for there is enough research to support the fact that cancers and other dis-eases are repressed emotional energy.

“In dancing and singing, you are discovering and releasing the energy of emotion, allowing it  to flow through you and out of you.  The result, for instance, of dancing through the rythyms of anger is to reach a calm, grounded position from which to effectively and appropriately deal with the source of your anger, rather than just chaotically erupting or simmering until you explode, or jabbing away with slights and insults like an overmatched boxer.  At the same time, you become familiar with the emotion and begin to feel natural with its phases and expressions. When emotions come, as they inevitably will, dance them, move them, and confront people, situations, and challenges from a point of centered stillness.  Blocked emotions end up exploding or festering and having much more impact than they should.”~ Gabrielle Roth, Founder of the 5Rhythms, from her book “Maps to Ecstasy.”

So get on the dance floor and move it, shake it, breathe into it, give it all space ! Your giving yourself permission to be authentic reverberates to the whole of humanity and this dance truly heals the planet. ‎”The moment you come to trust chaos, you see God clearly. Chaos is divine order, versus human order. Change is divine order, versus human order. When the chaos becomes safety to you, then you know you’re seeing God clearly.” – Caroline Myss, “Spiritual Madness: The Necessity of Meeting God in Darkness.”

Today, rather than writing much myself, I feel like sharing these quotes of wisdom from great teachers that have helped me navigate this particularly challenging time on the planet. I hope it encourages you my friend to keep dancing, releasing and opening your heart. LOVE

Here’s  a great video of Gabrielle Roth speaking on dancing with chaos.

This wonderful piece written by Dee Smith, a Native American, is about dedicating your dance to healing the planet. Really drink in this invitation and send out your dance prayers. This piece is copy-righted so if you intend to use it for other than personal use, please visit www.starstuffs.com for correct usage.

Dance to Heal the Earth by Dee Smith

Whenever you dance, wherever you dance, dance to heal the earth!

Dancing is power. Dancing is prayer. Some say that all is dance. Maybe. Now there’s a big dance coming, a dance to heal the earth. If you’re reading this, you’re probably part of it. You take part whenever you do whatever you do to help heal the earth. When you recycle. When you choose to show love, to fight for justice, to bring healing, to bring out what is good in others. When you avoid cruelty and dishonesty and waste. When you are outraged. When you speak out. When you give. When you consider the generations to come. When you protest to the oppressors and encourage those who feel the cutting edge of injustice. And, of course, when you dance. There is a tree that all the prophets see, and whenever you let your love show, you make the flowers grow.

Soon this dance will be done in a big way, in the old way, on sacred ground. All living things will take part. If you want to, you can take part. No one is twisting your arm. You can stop any time you need to, and start up again whenever you’re ready. If you’ve read this far, you probably know what I’m talking about. You’ve probably been doing it in one way or another for a good while. Soon will be the time to make no bones about it! Cut loose!

Anytime you dance, anywhere, whether at a party or in church, dance to heal the earth! Let your feet beat a healing rhythm into the earth. Let your feet beat a strengthening rhythm for those who struggle the hardest. Let your feet beat a life-giving rhythm for all peoples, regardless of race or national boundary, regardless of whether we’re human or whether we’re the trees, the air, the fish, the birds, the buffalo, the bear, the crow. We come out of hiding, we come back from the dead, and we dance, and our dance is a prayer, and our songs and our rhythms and our breath give life.

Is the music they’re playing some mindless jingle? Never mind, as long as it’s not bad music, and you can dance to the beat! Make your own words, and make the words a prayer. A prayer for the end of exploitation, a prayer for the end of lies, a prayer for healing, for justice, for life. Remember your prayer-song, feed it and let it get strong and pass it along. Dance and pray, whenever you dance, dance to heal the earth.

Have you seen anything? Wear it out! Make it so that all can see what you see! Take a white T-shirt and mark it with your dreams. Is there anything you’d like to tell the world? Take your shirt and mark it with your song! This is the way it has been done, so you can do it too. Use any color except black (there are reasons for that that will become clearer later), and you’ll probably find that a loose, pure cotton T is most comfortable for dancing in. Because this is an actual dance, you dance hard, you sing and breathe hard and sweat. Wear it when you plan to go out dancing, to dance to heal the earth.

Some people do this dance while fasting, and dance for several days straight. But even a few minutes of dancing helps, and joins with all the other dancing going on, everywhere on Earth. Not everyone can fast these days. Besides, you never know when you’re gonna dance, and you have to eat sometimes! But if you plan to dance, hold off eating till later, or just have a little. It’s easier to dance if you don’t have a hotdog weighing you down.

Some people say, do not do sacred things where people are drinking and partying. But all the universe is a sacred place. It really doesn’t matter what others are doing, you can make a place sacred wherever you are, with your intention and your prayers. Some people use smoke to make a place sacred; a cigarette or incense stick will do fine. You can dance to heal the earth anywhere, even a party or a bar! The earth is everywhere, so you can dance anywhere to heal her. Only one thing. Please hold off drinking or using any other intoxicants till you’re done. It works better that way.

The Lie has gone far enough. It spreads and makes everyone sick. Now is the time for this dance to begin. It, too, will spread, and it will bring healing to all. In the beginning, they say, God put a rainbow in the sky, to let us know that Spirit never forgets. Now is the time for us to put a rainbow across the earth, to let God know that we, too, remember.

Dance to heal the earth. Not just when you’re dancing, but always. Live the dance, whenever you move, in all you do, dance to heal the earth.

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Beautiful Dance Quote for Inspiration

February 2, 2011

What an amazing quote about dance! Had to share.

Dancing weekend at the Studio Maui Tribal Spirit 2011

I praise the dance, for it frees people
from the heaviness of matter and binds the isolated to community.
I praise the dance, which demands everything:
health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.
Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people,
who are in constant danger of becoming all brain, will, or feeling.
Dancing demands a whole person,
one who is firmly anchored in the center of his life,
who is not obsessed by lust for people and things
and the demon of isolation in his own ego.
Dancing demands a freed person,
one who vibrates with the equipoise of all his powers.
I praise the dance.
O man, learn to dance,
or else the angels in heaven will not know what to do with you.
~ Saint Augustine

The fact that it was apparently penned around 400 AD by St. Augustine, considered the founder of Western Christianity, makes it all the more incredible. I looked him up on Wikipedia: ” He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman African Province ( part of Algeria) . His writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity. He believed that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, and he framed the concepts of original sin and just war.”

Wow…. so the same man who promoted the idea of “original sin” writes that people need to learn to dance otherwise the angels in heaven won’t know what to do with you?! Pretty crazy. I wonder what sort of dance he was exposed to in Algeria that touched him so soulfully, Sufis perhaps… “Original sin” and “just war” are philosophical concepts… truth? Well, it can be disputed. The truth of dance is not conceptual; it is a living , breathing expression of truth and presence. It is undeniable. Hallelujah!

 

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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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Wheel of Fortune: Dance of Surrender

June 25, 2010

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot card can be read as a sudden stroke of good luck but it has a much deeper meaning: surrender to all the changes Life brings, knowing that when you are on top of the world, you may fall into rough times and rise again… much like the economy! Learning how to be graceful and fluid with change is one of the great gifts of the ecstatic dance practice. Currently, we are doing a series on dancing the archetypes of the Major Arcana Tarot cards which was easier when working with the initial ten, the people cards, like the Magician or the Empress. The Wheel of Fortune marks the beginning of the more metaphysical and conceptual cards.

Surrender to change is not a comfortable place for most. We’d rather hang onto the familiar, even if it’s not really serving us well,  instead of jumping off into unchartered territory. Fifty fifty chance it could be worse…. or better! One thing for certain, change is bound to happen whether we care for it or not. It’s the only thing that’ we can be sure of in this life. Undoing the fear habit of resistance is learning the art of let go. Ecstatic dance is one of the best meditation practices I know to understand change on a cellular level and become comfortable with allowing. You may hate a piece of music… it will be over in a few minutes…. you may enjoy dancing with someone….it too, will end in a few minutes. Like  a river, the dance flows forward. It becomes so instantaneously clear that if you cling to or resist a particular moment, you create misery for yourself. Buddha truly understood the core issue: desire creates suffering.

Easy to say…. society’s messages usually point to creating security…. marriage, homeownership, bank savings, insurance. Lots of fear-based advertising tries to convince you that you can successfully guard against unwanted change. The main attitude in the Western world  seems to be one of protecting oneself from life’s twists and turns. Different in places where there is belief in re-incarnation. Better luck next time!

How to practice surrendering to change lovingly? When we danced the Wheel of Fortune, we first shared stories about the greatest moment in our lives where we felt clearly “out of the driver’s seat,” and the most distinct sensation of “karma” at work, tuning into the concept that there are forces beyond us over which we have no mastery. When I visited Ramesh Balsekar, an Indian guru of the Advaita tradition, he forever blew my mind with the concept that we have zero control of our destiny, that the idea is only created by the ego for the ego, that there is no personal doership… talk about surrender, off with your head!!!! So as an avenue to physically ground the sensation of letting go and getting out of one’s own way,  we started by letting our bodies fall into a simple, repetitive pattern. We had to stay with the movement and let it transform organically without trying to manipulate it. Practicing this with others, it was obvious how difficult it was for everyone to just allow and not want to try to make “something” happen.

It’s a powerful exercise. Next time you dance, try starting with a repetitive motion every time a new piece of music begins. LET IT TAKE YOU. Remain curious with the subtle changes that start to unfold and follow them into unchartered territory. Watch the mind  making comments like, “This is boring,” or “My arms are tired doing this.”  The idea is to practice coming from a place of no concepts and letting things happen in THEIR time… not your ego’s. Becoming comfortable with letting go will foster greater peace and acceptance that will ripple out into all aspects of your life.

Leaving you to contemplate the question put forth by guru Ramesh Balsekar regarding free will. Years later it still shakes me to the ultimate core!

“Now, let us investigate the supposed free will you have to make a decision. What is ‘your’ decision based on? If you investigate this point you will find out that you always base your decision on your ‘programming’, i.e. the genes or DNA and your conditioning which includes your education and practical experience, over which you truly have had no control. Recent research has brought out the fact that many of your actions – both good and bad, positive and negative – can be traced to your genes. So consider for yourself: how genuine is my ‘free will’?! (..) There must be an honest and thorough investigation into what you think are ‘your’ actions from day to day. This investigation is really one step further from Ramana Maharshi’s famous ‘Who am I?’. This investigation that I suggest is based on theory: ‘Am I the doer of what I think are my actions?'”

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Express Yourself: Dancing the Fifth Chakra

May 10, 2010

“I missed the freedom of expression,” a dancer answers when I ask how they feel about the fifth chakra dance session we’d just concluded. Hmmm… I was hoping to create a context where greater creativity of movement could be fostered. Suddenly the demons of creative insecurity raise their ugly heads wanting to engulf me… perfect. We had danced a piece on expanding self-expression: I had gone out on a creative limb with the structure of the evening’s session and this feedback touches the core of my own self-expression.

Many people have received very little positive feedback for their creative endeavors and experiments in their lives. We started the session sharing stories of the messages we’ve been given about our artistic abilities: being told we can’t sing, that we had poor fashion sense, that we couldn’t cook, and so forth. Scholastic achievement gets much more attention; art, writing, decorating is just that “cute” thing you do. My mother was always hoping that I’d grow out of my love of theater and become a business major… the prevailing idea being that you can’t make money with art. Granted, it’s challenging in a society that doesn’t value it highly. Never did make a living with it but I have never regretted the enriching experience of following my heart and doing what I loved.

The fifth chakra deals with expressing one’s truth, being authentic in communication, The idea with the dance session was to cycle through different body parts, letting them express their story in their own language. For example, I’d call out, “Feet,” and everyone would explore their feet, first on their own and then with other dancers.  My intention was to encourage everyone to break out of their patterns and expand their movement vocabulary. Ecstatic dance usually has very little structure so I was taking a big risk departing from the norm and what the dancers were used to. I came to the session excited to play with this creative experiment. I was going to draw outside the lines…

What was curious though, was that the structure I imposed on the dance seemed to get some people more in their heads than breaking barriers. Conversely, other dancers totally moved beyond their comfort zones into fresh new territory and expansion. What was the challenge here? Observing the participants, I really could see how differently people approach creativity. For some, the task of dancing a particular body part opened the door to adventure; they relished the problem-solving quality of the exercise. There was something specific to work with, just enough of a parameter to use as a foundation to jump into the unknown. Without the invitation to intimately delve into their feet, they would not have necessarily gone there on their own and missed this rich experience. For others, structure became a head-trip, a nuisance, and closed down their self-expression. These folks operate more fluidly with an empty canvas. The blank page terrorizes others….

“I missed the freedom of expression,” says the dancer. “Ah, but what might be interesting to see,” I answer, “is that the invitation is for feet AND freedom of expression, spine AND freedom, hands AND freedom. They don’t exclude each other. Just see how your resistance to structure  prevents your flow when it is there actually to help. ” I remember hearing Osho, the Indian spiritual master, give a talk about creativity and how we could approach and engage in the most mundane acts as artists…. things like washing the dishes, doing the laundry, shopping. It really is a question of being present to whatever act you are doing and enjoying it. You will never wipe the windows in the same manner again…. you are dancing over the pane with the cloth, swirling this way and that, zig-zagging, making wide sweeping gestures. Next time you do this same act, you will probably do it differently. The window becomes your blank canvas. Windows AND freedom. Creativity is that simple and we all are artists. Take a risk and draw outside the lines. Express yourself!

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Dance of Power: The Third Chakra, Manipura

April 26, 2010


An ancient council tribe of warriors meeting in a circle…better yet, peacekeepers or Superheroes…grounded, spines straight, hearts and eyes ablaze, fully present…that’s what we all were radiating when we closed our dance dedicated to the Third Chakra, Manipura. Everyone was relaxed and rooted in their power, very earthy feeling until you caught the fire burning in a dancer’s eyes, challenging you to match them in greater integrity and strength. So inspiring to behold! Personal power embodied and not ego-driven. It feels important to experience our friends and family more often as warriors and warrioresses, fighting for their and others’ highest good, co-igniting ourselves towards achieving this ideal.

The Third Chakra deals with issues of power and will… enter the Ego. How do we get what we want? Manipulate? Dominate? Beg? Or simply ask? Watch out for the “selfless” act too, a wolf in sheep’s clothing…Yikes! My ego’s already squirming, comparing and wanting to feel “better than” as I write these words! That’s it’s job. So we might as well have fun with it and learn to laugh at our ego masks.

When I was researching the third chakra qualities, I came across a great explanation that emphasized the ability to laugh; to laugh at oneself or a situation is to have power over it. Makes total sense…you have to be detached from your trip to find the humor in it. This concept inspired the evening’s dance experiment.

Normally, an ecstatic dance experience is an open field for you to explore your inner world. So I wondered how it would be to very specifically direct the energy of the dance, enacting roles…loved what transpired from this creative risk, thanks to courageous souls who went for it with gusto. We cycled through a progression of five archetypes of the Manipura energy: Beggar/Victim, Anger, Diva, Clown/Fool and Warrior. I asked everyone to exaggerate these masks, to really become a caricature of these roles, with the intent of ultimately being able to laugh at ourselves. Great exercise to do with yourself if your ego is getting difficult…let it have a voice, daring to say the most outrageous things that you are too polite to say…”I’m the best. I am the hottest. I totally suck. I am the most pathetic. I am the most giving…”  Go for it… put a costume on and play it up and let it go bananas! That’s what it’s doing in your head and what you are trying to resist. It’s not going away… might as well enjoy your own hissy fit and  be able to crack yourself up at your own ridiculousness.

As part of the role-play dance, I invited the participants to connect with the energy of trying to out-do the other, try to out-victim or out-diva one another. The Beggar role had everyone on the floor in a wee ball of misery….no connection really wanted to happen. Anger… whoa! The room exploded and we got in each other’s faces. As in the sacral chakra, we had to be invited to explore our sensuality in dance, anger was also by invitation. And by the sound of it, most were thrilled to go there. Talk about fire and energy! It’s exactly that fire that helps us burn through our own inertia. The room was so alive… it was a celebration! The climax of the music came on with the Diva. That character was more cool and controlled though, an interesting juxtaposition. The Clown character helped us start to laugh at the whole thing and to allow ourselves to be even more ridiculous. Ending with the Warrior and meditation, we were brought back inside to a state of dignity and inner strength. And from that place, we gathered into a closing circle, silently acknowledging our power.

Giving space to anger was a huge piece of reclaiming our power. It needs healthy expression. And not taking ourselves too seriously, having a good laugh. You feel so cleansed after. De-toxing the physical body is all well and good….yet we neglect doing an emotional de-tox from time to time. Find a fun way to purge your sludge… no one however, should get hurt in such an exercise, especially not you. Be sure that if you don’t do your sludge, it will do you. May the Force be with you!

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Dance of Desire: The Sacral Chakra

April 20, 2010

Chocolate. Silky sheets against my skin. Cat fur. Wine. Moaning…nervous giggles erupted on that one followed by many heads nodding in agreement. Smiles were lighting up the room: everyone was starting to purr.

We were dancing the energy of the second or sacral chakra that night and we began with a round of sharing on what we personally deemed as “sensual”  for all five senses: touch, smell, sound, taste, sight. Talking about pleasure instantaneously made everyone happy… next time you feel blue, just start thinking or writing about YUM and watch how magically your energy shifts. There was an air of complicity as well, people leaning forward into the circle as if to speak of deep pleasure, it had to be whispered, a secret. What did you dare reveal as sensual, something so intimate… could you really tell that to people you only met last week? Observing this, I clued into the subterranean layer of guilt or shame that can  rob us from fully claiming the ecstasy of pleasure for ourselves.

Reclaiming our birthright to be sensual and sexual creatures was one of the focuses for the dance. That and intimacy, dancing with the Other. It was a luscious session: people rolling on the floor, connecting skin to skin, eyes half closed reveling in the soft undulations of their own bodies. It wouldn’t have happened unless we were invited to go there though. When encouraged, everyone was delighted to dive in….and how!

The tendency to keep our sexuality under wraps warrants some exploration. There’s a jungle of morality and societal conditioning to wade through… let’s face it, most of us receive messages from an early age that “too much” pleasure is not OK, if it’s even OK at all. As babies, we all start out in the ever-nurturing, warm womb and as newborns, all we do basically is respond to and bask in pleasure. Then society’s judgment casts us from Eden with “proper” behavior and ecstasy gets put away in a dark closet, emerging only when it’s safe. But we might not even fully be able to enjoy our “stolen” moments of pleasure due to the twinges of guilt and shame that are not even our own!!!

The “safe” part is the key here. People are so amazingly powerful when they are in their sexual energy, part ferocious animal, part divinity. I noticed in my own dances with others that after X amount of time, I pulled away feeling like I could only handle so much of their blindingly beautiful glory.  It was a certain shyness inside that felt like it was not OK to behold so much power for too long or get too wild with it. Boundaries… which need to be in place but have deeply crippled our vitality as well. We need to reclaim this wild animal god/goddess to empower all that we do.

It starts with saying YES to our sensuality. While taking a shower, really get into feeling the warm water penetrating your skin, smelling your shampoo, watching the rainbows in the water drops refracted in the light, sliding the soap on yourself. Too often we jump into the shower thinking about what we need to accomplish that day, rushing through it so we can get on with it.  We miss the joy of this moment. Think how much more relaxed and happy you could be by simply taking the time to enjoy your shower or your food or smelling the roses!

Loving ourselves in this way is not shameful or indulgent. Shame and guilt disempower us, making us shrink and fear our own true nature, turning ourselves against ourselves in a futile war. Time to bring ecstasy out of the closet and share ourselves in our mighty glory! Allow way more YUM into your life; you deserve it!

“Ecstasy is our very nature; not to be ecstatic is simply unnecessary. To be ecstatic is natural, spontaneous. It needs no effort to be ecstatic, it needs great effort to be miserable. That’s why you look so tired, because misery is really hard work; to maintain. It is really difficult because you are doing something against nature.” ~ Osho

“Sexuality is a life force. It is a force too often denied or perverted, and being robbed of our pleasure, we are robbed of our power. When we lose our desire, we lose our will. Power and will are attributes of the next chakra, and pleasure and desire are their seed. Sexuality is the flower of that seed. Power and will are its fruits.”  ~ Anodea Judith