I burn away; laugh; my ashes are alive!
I die a thousand times:
My ashes dance back—
A thousand new faces.
To sweat is to pray and to make an offering of your innermost self. Sweat is holy water, pearls of liquid that release your past and anoint the whole of you in a baptism by fire. Sweat burns karma and purifies body and soul. It is also an ancient and universal form of self-healing.
Our ancestors danced until they disappeared in the dance, till they felt the full force of the spirit unleashing their souls. This was their religion and it goes back at least 75,000 years ago to Shamanic traditions that were grounded in the rhythms of nature. The movement was ecstatic, personal and tribal.
At some point somebody became afraid of people dancing till they became a sweaty prayer and fell to the ground in an ecstatic heap of bones. Men, In the name of God, separated all matters having to do with spirit from flesh and the body became the enemy, its energies, passions, instincts, whims and impulses suddenly suspect. The divorce of spirit from flesh is an ancient and universal wound.
Now is the time to remember our roots, our primal connection to the earth and the heavens and to heal the wounds of the past. It is time to fully embody the skin we are in and to embrace the sacredness of the home that is our body. During this process of divorcing spirit from flesh we separated light from dark and masculine from feminine. The separation represents the loss of the soul for the soul can only be present when body and spirit are one.
When spirit is separate from the body it is no longer inspired and since spirit is the catalyst that keeps all things moving we need to return the soul to its home. Think of your body as a begging bowl for the spirit. Understand that you have to dance through the dark to reach the light, to touch those places deep inside that are calling to be released. We share that universal wound of separation but we each carry our own personal scars from a past that may no longer serve us. In order to move forward authentic and whole we must clear the debris which continually creates barriers between ourselves and our full potential.
Movement is medicine and my healing path has been a dancing path. I begin with intention and allow all of me to be swept up in the rhythm and the beat. Music and I become one and I fully open to all that is possible. As the layers peel away and I am revealed to myself I know that I am more than I was before, that what was blocked has now been integrated into the whole and is no longer an obstacle on my path. Dance is my spiritual practice.
Allow me to encourage you. Our North American culture has never supported nor encouraged us to move our hips or to move in a way that brings pleasure to us and each other. This is a belief system that most of us share, that we should not move in such provocative ways. As a result our spines and our joints suffer the results of impeded mobility and flow. Begin small with movements that remain close to your core. Start with your head and neck using your eyes to guide you. Look around, sense the organic way the head and neck move as they follow the eyes. Be aware of any sensations and enlarge the movements only as you are comfortable. If this is new territory for you step in with a beginners mind, emptying yourself first and asking your judge to be silent. Treat your innermost essence as you would tend to a small child, with care and compassion.
The Nia Technique is a movement and lifestyle practice that can heal and transform body and spirit. If you are able to attend a Nia class I encourage you. It is a way to begin. If you are interested in experiencing Nia and how it might enhance your life please connect with me. I have regular classes in Antigonish and Loonsong will begin to offer classes and workshops on the Nia Technique in the spring of 2014. The new studio space is a safe and inviting place to begin to unravel the beautiful mystery that you are.