When I first discovered Conscious Dance I was astounded by how delicious it felt to return to my body. To bring my FULL attention inward; first for health and well being, later to observe and awaken. Along with that came a conscious realization of how much time off the dance floor I spent distracted, numb, out of my body. Each time I came to the floor, the sense of relief was palpable; this coming home, this BEing present, this deepening into authentic, integral inquiry. Dance after dance, exploration after exploration, I was beginning to take stock of the tools that were supporting me, that were altering my being, that were showing me how to BE in the world more fully. From that moment on, the dance became my meditation. My discipline. The gateway that would take me from separation toward wholeness - from the dance floor into my life.
More and more people across the globe are dancing because it is GOOD for us. It enlivens us. Supports us. Awakens us. And, when we can give it our full attention, moving more and more from the innate intelligence of the body, it can literally transform our lives. The body, truly, can support us in living an AWAKE life; one in which we move from the heart, open to the breadth of wisdom that lies within while simultaneously unraveling the unconscious patterns that obscure our inner knowing.
What makes this form of moving meditation so effective? Here are a few essential keys:
When we enter a Conscious Dance space, we step into a powerful experiential field that invites us to explore what it means, in our own bodies, to live with authenticity and presence. The emphasis is not on attaining a goal, learning “how” to dance or “fixing” ourselves. It is a process of resting in and trusting our bodies, unraveling the wisdom that already exists within. Through experiential learning we open to inquiries with a curious mind, bring awareness into the body, and pay attention - again and again - to what is HERE, in the moment. We give ourselves space to follow what is pulsating beneath the surface - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – so we can become more and more aware of the aliveness; discovering how it moves us, how it shapes us, how it informs us. The real learning comes in acknowledging our own experience as valuable, wise, provocative.
The Relational Field
We practice together, in community, recognizing both the healing potential of the personal and the transpersonal - honoring the uniqueness of the human being as well as the universal principles that shape us all. We come as equals, mirroring and supporting one another, wherever we are on our personal and collective journeys home.
Relationships take practice. For openness to occur, we need to consciously pay attention to what is going on within ourselves and others. In the dance, we practice staying present in partnership, noticing what’s happening within ourself, one another and the space between. Relational dynamics and communication become part of our contemplation as we refine our listening and attune to subtleties. When we are able to look at the other and see their vulnerability, their humanity, the same sense of uncertainty in a groundless world, we can connect and awaken the part of brain that ignites connection, unity and a sense of togetherness.
The nervous system is a complex network that continually activates and settles depending on input and response. Through the movement practice we can practice activating and settling consciously by paying attention and adjusting to moments of aliveness or drain, ecstasy or depletion. The dance can show us when we are present and when we close down, when we are HERE and when we “leave the room”. The practice of noticing our cycles of activation and settling allows us to pandiculate somatically - to pay attention to what disturbs or disrupts and return, again and again, to a place of self-resource. It requires gentleness. Fosters self-responsibility. Asks us what we need and how to adjust so we can stay within our window of tolerance - in present tense awareness - where we learn, clarify, and choose.
Movement as Meditation
Our sense of presence and inner knowing can be overshadowed by activity, body sensation, emotion or thoughts, but if we practice conscious dance on a regular basis we can learn to maintain a certain amount of inner silence and peace within our movement. The still point within the dance. Through this stillness we can access a deeper field of consciousness, an intelligence greater than our own. We move with and from a radical openness that is always available, on the dance floor and in our lives.
The Balance of Play and Discipline
One of the most provocative questions Gabrielle Roth asked her students was, “Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit?” Playfulness is a key to freedom, but we also need discipline to go deep, to move and include all that arises, to stay with sensation rather than story, to focus on what is enlivened, moment by moment. We need discipline to move through our resistance to practice, to move when we feel lazy or triggered, to turn to our practice when life gets too “life-y”, when entertainment or distraction are more interesting than our meditation. If you often find yourself in solitude, try connecting with another. If you move immediately toward connection, take time with yourself. Try something new. Discipline yourself toward practices that support both stability and fluidity. The less bound we are to our patterns, the more spontaneous we can be. We can emerge out the moment, not fixed to one way of being.
Dance after dance, exploration after exploration, I was beginning to take stock of the tools that were supporting me, that were altering my being, that were showing me how to BE in the world more fully. From that moment on, the dance became my meditation. My discipline. The gateway that would take me, from separation toward wholeness - from the dance floor into my life.
These are just a few key points that I have noticed make the practice of conscious dance such an effective discipline in awareness, transformation, and life change. What has the dance revealed to you ~ what medicine does it impart on your own life and living? Tell me about it!