Posts Tagged ‘let go’


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 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.


The Jeweled Dance Floor

April 12, 2010

If God invited you to a party and said,

“Everyone in the ballroom tonight will be my special Guest,”

How would you then treat them when you arrived?

Indeed, indeed!

And Hafiz knows there is no one in this world

who is not upon His Jeweled Dance Floor.

~Hafiz, 14th century Sufi mystic, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

A jeweled dance floor… that’s exactly what it felt like as I witnessed the beauty unfolding before me at the Sweat Your Prayers sessions over Easter weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visiting family, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to dance and celebrate the concept of resurrection. In a purely metaphysical sense…I love the idea of rebirth. It was also great to just be a participant and totally let go without a single thought regarding facilitation… almost… did make a few mental notes about wonderful music I heard. A highly recommended practice for any teacher or facilitator of any subject, being a student can refresh your passion and perspective; it always does my own.

Saturday morning in San Rafael, California. About sixty people arrive, start to warm up and gently dance. An exotic, dark woman with a shaved head, dressed in flaming orange walks over to the altar area and reverently places two photographs of people on the table. She squats with her face in her hands and contemplates the images. As the dance rhythms start to pick up, I notice that this woman is beginning to move wildly before the altar. She throws punches and kicks into the air. At times, she doubles over, clutching her stomach. When I see her face, stained with angry tears, I understand that she must be grieving a recent loss. I am awe struck with her raw beauty.

Thankfully, no one is rescuing her or interfering. She is processing and we simply dance with her in our hearts. One day it may be us in her place. That’s how I’d want it to be for me…a safe space to let go, move the energy and feel held by a loving community without anyone trying to make me feel better or calm me down. Her sad rage is a total gift to behold and be around. The room is electrified by her passionate love and we are invited to become more vulnerable and real in our dances. Some of us women dance with her…she is crouching like a ferocious lioness, moving like a tribal African warrior…. we are also crouching, moving in circles as if we are around a bonfire where this grief is being exorcised. As her anger subsides, a woman enfolds her from behind and she weeps in her tender embrace. It feels perfect.

I turn to the altar space and see a familiar mop of wild, red pixie hair. She is placing a plastic dinosaur on the table. I go over and poke her. Here is a delightful, mad woman that I danced with in a ten day workshop two years ago and haven’t seen or heard from since. She jumps, turning in shock only to see my face and break out in a huge grin. Laughing together, we start to jiggle and pop to the staccato beat. We lock into a madcap dance that is so magically spontaneous, playful and totally in tune with our every move. It’s intoxicating… a train ride with no brakes and it just continues to spiral into greater delirium. We’re giggling because it’s so crazy good. God, I love it when this dance magic suddenly showers you with it’s grace. You can’t anticipate it as you can’t force it. Truly, it is grace descending…. or ascending…whamo! You are transported to a realm that unfolds every second with synchronicity, boundless creativity, perfectly in tune, moving faster than you can think, in the Zone.

Then the song ends…we smile our gratitude and head off in opposite directions. No words are exchanged between us ever; I slip her my email before I leave. Pure nectar… our spirits deeply entwined in this intimate exchange… God knows what her name is… and so not important. We have met in essence. People really need to do this more often for humanity’s sake. And play together more. The child within was so tickled to play with someone. It felt like we were imagining and spinning out some story like we all have done for hours and hours as kids. Sheer joy!

Next day, Easter Sunday, I am bowled over by a man dancing full tilt with a prosthetic leg. He’s apparently a regular. That’s when the poem by Hafiz bubbles to my consciousness… the “jeweled dance floor” and everyone being God’s guest. What rich exchanges and amazing souls I have had the honor to bear witness to on this bejeweled dance floor. I am flooded with gratitude for this place where all hearts beat as one dance and essence meets essence.


Stoked! Seeing my First Article Published on Dance!

February 28, 2010

Great way to wake up on a Sunday morning! You article has been published!

…Especially after having to evacuate  yesterday morning with the threat of a tsunami blowing the house away here in Honolulu. Thank God we could all start our day peacefully enjoying our coffees, teas and cozy moments in bed…. my thoughts go out to those folks much less fortunate in Chile and Haiti. Hawaii could have been another insane disaster news reel today… the precariousness of life.

All the more reason to dance and learn to embrace change and let go on a cellular level. That’s what I hope to convey in the Ezine article that was recently published. It was a challenge to write a “How To”  type of article on ecstatic dance. But there are actually practical tips on deepening that sense of let go and surrender in dance that speak to every body.

I hope this article can serve you more deeply open… not only in dance but in your every day life. It really is about meditation in motion… come to think of it… that is the invitation of EVERY MOMENT in our lives…be here now. Dance is just a super fun way to remember this present moment. Can’t really think about the grocery list if you are skipping madly through the room! Multi-tasking is an unfortunate habit…. just skip!