I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to dance. Pre-elementary school, I used to affix a towel to my head with a headband to create long hair, grab a hairbrush, and then jump up to see myself in the bathroom mirror dancing and singing like a star. In the third grade, I slipped on the bathroom rug and broke my finger because I was joyfully putting on a dance show for one of my little friends.
Now, I play music while I’m getting ready in the morning and often at night before bed, and I must confess, I dance around a bit. Dance is part of my meditative practice as well. It affords me a way to get out of my head and into my body to process and express whatever I am feeling. Which is often joyful, but not always.
Like today, for example. When I heard the news of yet another oil spill, this time in Southern California where some of my relatives live, I was devastated. I had not yet done my morning dance, so I chose dark and shadowy music. My movement gave me a way to truly feel my sadness and anger rather than to unintentionally stuff it by getting on with the happier parts of my day. I danced in solidarity with Mother Earth, fully understanding that my lifestyle also does her harm. I danced with the hopelessness of our world’s environmental situation, yet I refuse to lose hope.
Science melds with spirituality to teach us the Cosmic Dancer principle–the relationship between static and dynamic energy flow or the idea that the entire cosmos is in a continual dance of creation and destruction. There is balance, harmony. Another piece of this principle is that everything is energy, everything vibrates in a sort of dance. To me that means everything matters. That my small acts of kindness toward the earth, while infinitesimal compared to the challenge, still count. And even my energy harnessed as love toward all the suffering animals and plants involved in the oil spill makes some sort of difference.
When things seem bleak, it also helps me to remember that where there is destruction there is also creation. I fully believe that those of us on earth at this time are called to the dance of co-creating a new evolution of our world. And maybe “called” is not a strong enough word. Because we have not been listening, we are being shoved onto that dance floor.
Dancing has taught me about surrender and expansion, two ideas that might seem unrelated. However, I’ve noticed that when I fully surrender, allowing my mind to quiet and my body to find its way to the rhythm of the music, that’s when I feel most expansive. And when I feel expansive, I feel powerful enough to create.
Like last Friday night at the AWAKE festival. I arrived to an evening dance that I thought was going to be outside but had moved indoors because it was chilly. I was disappointed because I had to release my expectation of dancing under the stars…or did I?
As I was headed toward the building, two of my friends met me and said they were going to dance outside anyway. I joined them. As I allowed my thoughts to release and my body to melt into the music that floated out through the open door, I could feel myself expanding. Twirling across a football field-sized lawn, the three of us were twinkling stars in a great galaxy, connected to each other, the dancers indoors, and all that is.