Hello beautiful soul!
Happy Interdependence Day! Yes, let’s just re-brand Independence Day. Perhaps because July 4th is my parent’s wedding anniversary, July 4th has always been about being in relationship. I wonder what our communities would be like if we put as much energy into celebrating our interdependence as our independence.
Tapping into our interdependence is like connecting to being part of a whole ocean, rather than being caught up in each wave.
Are you feeling the churning waves of these turbulent times?
Just this last week everyone who arrived at my dance class had recently experienced a significant and unexpected loss. These are not even COVID deaths or violent deaths – just more loss and upheaval in a time of immense change.
Are you feeling the time of big change too? While some people are deep in hardship, I’m struck that others around me are making big life changes like moving or changing jobs. Even these big happy changes can be disorienting and disruptive.
Last week, everyone came to class to be held and supported by something greater. Recently we have been paying special attention to the zig-zag patterns in our dances. Building on Laura Shannon’s deep research into the interrelated language of the textiles, songs, and dance patterns, we move through each small wave with a consciousness of how they echo the cycle of the seasons. We let go into the rhythm of the wave, we become the ebbing and flowing of the wave, we become the pulsing sea of life.
After dancing this way, the problems that have been frozen in our bodies have loosened. We have a bigger perspective and not just intellectually; the nervous system has relaxed and literally is able to regulate itself in response to stress with less adrenaline.
I find the same thing happens for me with qigong. As my practice moves me through each of the five elements I feel myself opening to the flow of life and its ebbs and flows. I can feel in my body that life is never wasted, it is always food for more life.
I could go on! Praying by the water, or Christian contemplative prayer – these are more doors to returning to our inter-being. Everything is a door! These wisdom practices share in common that they train our hearts to perceive this wholeness in every moment with every thing.
There are two main reasons why we don’t tend to practice during times like these.
Reason 1: Our bodies may be on high alert. When it feels like enormous waves are continuing to break over your ship your body is in emergency mode. Even when it isn’t really an emergency situation. Most of the time, we are not really being chased by tigers.
With gentleness, remember that returning to calm all by yourself is the long route. Draw on your teachers, the great teachings available to us, and community to help you do whatever practice is yours when it is just too hard to do by yourself.
Reason 2: As soon as you stop, you might notice how agitated you are, how tired you are, how much pain you carry. Everything that you’ve been holding on the inside might surge forward in a huge wave. Remember it is a wave, it will pass. It is a wave, it will pass. With practice, you can learn to train your attention on the ocean and the waves will pass more and more easily.
May your community of practice be an ocean of support to you!
Where can I find a community practice?
Drop in any week to Healing Waters Qigong, a Spring Forest Qigong practice group or the Wisdom Dances Circle, based in Laura Shannon’s research on tradition women’s dances as tools for healing and transformation.
The Garden, A Refuge
Check out the FILM (July 5-11) and/or LIVE OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE (July 17 & 18) of THE GARDEN: A REFUGE, based on a creative re-telling of the story of Job, Creation, and Hope. This is presented by Story Dance Theater, with a guest appearance from yours truly.