Dancing heals us. I know this with my whole body.
This is a picture of me four years ago. I’m connected to an IV awaiting the first phase of major surgery. My team of four top surgeons warned me that total success in removing all cancer from a delicate area would be difficult and probably leave my left arm disabled.
In this picture my arms have just opened in a gesture from Armenian dance that symbolizes cherry blossom petals opening and fluttering to the ground. For that moment, part of me was a cherry blossom tree, emerging from winter with renewing beauty. I later emerged from surgery with news of a miracle: complete success in removing abnormal tissue without having to cut any nerves.
To me the dance was part of this healing miracle. By becoming a tree I became part of something so much bigger.
Perhaps you have danced and felt like you were dancing something old, that had been danced by many throughout time. Maybe you felt like the breath of wind or a lapping wave. And in the wave perhaps you caught a glimpse of the larger waves of creation through our lives.
When we know ourselves to be part of something bigger, so much more is possible. This was true for me with a health challenge. It is true for all us as we collectively face the challenges that come with the ill-health of our planet.
Here’s another picture, again with me dancing as a cherry blossom tree.
I’m dancing in the middle of this major street as part of a celebration of the water quality improvements that were part of recent light rail construction. Permeable surfaces and special plantings are now directing storm water into the ground rather than the storm sewer system. Now we are preventing urban flooding, rises in water temperature, and problems related to sediment, toxics, and bacteria in our creeks, lakes, and rivers. The design reflects an expanded consciousness of how a busy street is also part of a watershed. A tree might design a street that way.
To dance as a tree makes me think like a tree. There are many ways to dance into the mystery of the oneness that holds us together. The cool thing is that dancing in this way also enhances our bonds with each other and strengthens our creative capacity. We dance until we know with every part of our bodies our resilience and capacity to renew.