We call this time together Ecstatic Dancing.
The term conjures images of complete abandon and delight, and I would venture to say it does... but, perhaps not always in the ways most imagine.
Nietzsche said, "You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star."
No matter how calm and together we humans may appear on the surface, at this point in our collective evolution there exist myriad chaos storms traversing our interior landscapes each day. Driving on trafficked highways, the daily threats to our water supply, hatred, racial and social inequality, raising children, striving to pay bills, acute aches, chronic diseases, and psychological challenges, to name a handful, stress our bodies and minds, and leave our souls swirling in a state ranging from a general anxiety to full on panic.
Much of these thoughts, feelings, and experiences are cloaked in smiling faces, or confident demeanors... we have been taught to "never let them see you sweat." But in our Ecstatic Dance time together participants are encouraged to allow whatever is present and alive within them in each moment out.
Allow your body to stretch, shake, spin, do handstands, or jump. Allow your voice to moan, howl, yip, scream, laugh, or cry. Allow your soul to grieve, celebrate, or live in the question. Allow what is alive in the moment for you to express itself.
In The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron there is an exercise called "The Morning Pages." The idea is that each morning you wake up and write three pages of stream of consciousness writing, that functions to train your mind to quiet the "editor mind" or the critical mind. It also functions as a way of cleansing the channel to allow clearer thought to move.
Similar to "The Morning Pages," Ecstatic Dance provides a sacred space to explore different movements within our human being-ness. It allows all the chaos building up within us over time to purge, to express. It is a space where one can surrender to the chaos and allow it to move through one's being...no judgment... no inhibitions... a safe place to shake it all out and find what is left at the center... the dancing star.
I have danced every Sunday (with a few exceptions) for almost a year now, and I can attest to this powerful medicine of dance. There are life challenges. There are frustrations. There is traffic, and children, and bills to pay. There are fears, and stressors, and joyful moments too, and every Sunday I have a place to process, explore, and move through these landscapes. I have moved through weeping, yelling, spinning, and laughing all in one session.
I have heard people say, "I'm not a good dancer," but I must stress that it is not about dancing, it is about loving yourself enough to allow your truth to be made visible. Yes, it is called "dancing," but that term is used loosely. It is not a performance. It is not a competition. It is about creating space where each voice/thought/feeling/movement living within you is seen as valuable and has a space to express itself with dignity.
Channels open and energy is moved. It is divine connection. It is sacred. I believe more of this type of medicine is needed in the world right now because peace begins within, and there is no peace without first giving space for the chaos to have its voice.
Life can be scary, dangerous, and overwhelming: this is the chaos we dance with each day. And though it is challenging, it can be used as a blessing and pathway for transformation and honing our skills of delving deeper into creator's arms. Ecstatic Dancing is a beautiful vehicle for accessing the sacred, for moving through the realms of chaos into the sweetness of peace and connection with other humans exploring their humanity.
Come dance with us, delve deeper into your being, and welcome your human-ness to a place at the table of life. We will gather and hold space for you to explore and discover the dancing star you are at the center of your being.
With love and compassion,
Suzette Winona Summers
* After re-reading this, I see that it is a very general picture. I will write another post soon, that is much more specific about the environment and rhythm of the experience, including the opening, closing, and music selections primarily created by my co-rhythm-keeper Catherine.