There is an ancient Eastern legend that when God made man out of clay and commanded the soul to enter, the Spirit refused to enter this prison house. Then God called for the Angels to sing, and as they sang, the soul entered willingly, intoxicated by the song~
Thus is the wondrous power of music upon the body and the soul. It seduces us into ourselves, beyond and then back again.
It is as natural as walking and breathing and yet remains elusive to many of us. It is interesting to trace back to when we first unlearned our natural ability and tendency to move to express ourselves through dance.
When I was 8 or 9 I danced for my family.
In truth, I didn't dance for them exactly, but more fell into spontaneous dance and they all just happened to be there. It was a dance of full and genuine expression of the moment, feeling safe and inspired and beautifully unable to contain the joy of existence.
I was being danced, innocent and pure, delicate and undiluted, and it simply had to happen, right then, right there.
Then something else happened...My Mother, Father, Sister, Aunt, Uncle, and cousins, my family, all laughed.....at me. And not just the "That's really cute but we have to give you a bit of hard time though we still actually love and support you" sort of laugh.
No, this was much more of the "that is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen and it is our job to let you know that you should never do that again" variety.
And even if we say for the moment that I made that last part up in my mind, that the misinterpretation was all mine. Lets even assume that it was. What I do know is that I danced and my family deeply laughed at me for doing so. Looking into their faces, some of their bodies doubled over from the effort, what I saw was scorn and ridicule, what I felt was cavernous levels of rejection, what I experience was a deep level of scarring that would take many journeys around the sun to heal.
I didn't dance again for the next 20 years.
And if I did, it was certainly never without a lot of "enhancement" and "liquid encouragement." I would assume that this outcome was not necessarily their goal, but it was the result. So a huge part of my moving forward and reclaiming my life was to reclaim my dance. It was the best gift I could possibly have received. I can learn more from 10 minutes of dance with someone than I do in 2 hours of conversation.
The dance body never lies.
Last night before my class Ecstatic Dance into Being I had a new student come up to me and ask, "What is Ecstatic Dance"?
The question stopped me in my tracks and I literally had no idea what to say for a few minutes. Firstly, because the answer seemed to me to be contained within the question. Ecstatic Dance is movement that promotes a state of wholeness, wellness, healing and/or the ecstatic within a person. Beyond that though, the definition of ecstatic dance will likely vary from person to person and from culture to culture.
The Science is relatively simple. The range of motion that we engage in regularly is the range of motion that we have, especially after 40. This is intended to refer to our bodies, but of course applies to all aspects of ourselves. The broader our capacity to think, to feel, to Love, imagine, and to move, the greater our capacity to experience our fullest self expression. To move and explore our movement possibilities consciously and with intention is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves and the world around us.
A body (mind, heart, spirit) at rest tends to stay at rest,
a body in motion tends to stay in motion.
If we are lucky, we get to practice our asanas, katas, scales, breathing techniques or what have you for a couple of hours a day. But as any master will tell you, those practices are really about how one lives the other 13+ hours a day that one is out creating ones life. The practice is to facilitate the Embodiment of the teachings, they are rarely an end unto themselves. Dance allows us to put into motion any and all aspects of ourselves and move them, share them, and transform them. As humans we dance to communicate, to educate and maintain our cultural heritages. We dance to entice, to excite, to express, to challenge and to invite and to release.
"It is how you live your life beyond the yoga mat and outside the dojo that really matters."
Dance Visionary Gabrielle Roth said it wonderfully.
Use dance for,
Freeing the body and cultivating the Power of Being,
Expressing the heart and cultivating the Power of Loving
Emptying the mind and Cultivating the Power of Knowing
Awakening the Soul to cultivate the Power of Seeing.
Dance because it is one of the quickest, most holistic and most joyful ways to return to wholeness~
***This Poem/Story and any parts therin are the intellectual property of Saffire Bouchelion aka SaBou
And may not be utilized or shared in any way without his written permission.***
"The beginning of dance
is giving gesture to what we feel. While this is very obvious and basic to most children, it remains very difficult to those of us schooled to live in our heads.
The ongoing effort to dance, to give gesture to what we feel and experience, is ultimately healing because, as riverbeds are continually shaped by the water that moves through them, living beings are continually shaped by the feelings and experiences that move through them. If there is no water moving through, the riverbed dries up and crumbles. Likewise, if there is no feeling moving through the body, the being at the center of that body will crumble."
The Book of Awakening, June 24th