Two years ago a group of movement facilitators and lovers of dance came together to discuss how we could support one another in building a vibrant, diverse conscious dance community here in the Twin Cities. Before addressing HOW or WHAT, we tuned into our hearts and asked one of the most compelling questions I know:
Why do we dance?
Some replies came quickly; others required a moment of contemplation. Regardless of what was shared, the piece I found most intriguing was the collective nodding of heads, the recognition within our hearts of the commonalities we shared. On some level, in our own way, the dance had woven its way through each of us, offering opportunities to know the multiplicity and textures, intimacies and medicines that arise in and through conscious movement. Here are few reflections that were shared in our gathering:
I dance because I can’t NOT dance.
I dance to connect to Spirit & the Divine.
I dance to commune with my Inner Child.
I dance for holistic healing – it is The Dance of Becoming.
I dance to connect with old wisdom and the Earth.
I dance to share the joy of life energy.
I dance to connect with community.
I dance to navigate life.
I dance to witness - to see myself, feel myself, know myself.
I dance to unfold into the mystery.
I dance to be sane – to come back to myself - it saves me again and again.
I dance to feel authentic, to feel liberated.
I dance to feel whole in body + mind + spirit.
Perhaps you resonate with some of these sentiments. Perhaps you could add a handful of your own. THIS is the beauty of the dance. It meets us where we're at, again and again, changing and flowing and informing as we grow. We come back to it, again and again, because we know it works. We know because each and every time we step onto the dance floor with a willingness to listen and move with awareness - each time we enter and explore with openness to what is present in the moment - we WILL have a direct experience that informs us.
This way of being can be applied to ALL aspects of our life and living. And yet, so often we ask ourselves how (mind oriented) and what (action oriented) rather than why (heart oriented).
The truth is, your why is already in your heart. It informs how you show up in the world, influencing the actions you take, the way you think, the expectations you have. It is the key that holds your longings for personal growth and relational understanding (Self, Other, Community, Spirit). Knowing your why is a moment by moment inquiry, one that evolves as you do, and yet, the more aware you are of it the sooner you can make conscious decisions to align with it. So where do you start? Try this:
This exercise shares its roots with free flow writing and active imagination. Take these inquiries into your dance and see what your body has to say.
- Find a quiet place to settle in and call your attention into your heart. Take a minute to visualize the highlights of your life over the last year. What moments stand out as particularly satisfying or fulfilling? Can you recall the times in which your heart felt open and receptive to life? If possible, come up with 3 separate experiences.
- When you are ready, with eyes open or closed, begin to move and dance with what stands out. Take one experience at a time, allowing your movement to flow freely without thinking or censoring. Include as many details as you can recall: What was happening? Were you alone or with others? If others were present, who was there? What colors do you recall? Smells, images, felt sense? What did you enjoy about this experience?
- After entering and exploring 3 separate experiences, pause and check in with your body. What common themes show up? Do they occur in similar places? With the same people? For the same reason? What is the key element that supports you in opening your heart and engaging life in each of the experiences?
- Write, draw or dance about the common themes...then take it one step further by asking yourself why those themes are important to you. What is it that resonates? Continue to explore until you discover what is most essential. You will feel it: the knowing. The WHY behind your themes. That’s your true why, your true motivation behind all that you do.
Give it a try and tell me about it!