Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Last night we all danced the same line to the Mary Oliver poem "Blossom" with the goal of dancing a shared intention. Our line was "of hurrying down into the black petals, into the fire". I could really relate to the phrase, it is so powerful, although I am still faced with the challenge of knowing how to enter into the dance of the other and knowing how to leave the dance gracefully. It is a process that will take longer than I realized to be able to engage in. I search for the rules of how to do this, but there are none. The room was lighter than usual and I debated whether to ask for the lights to be turned down. I tried to engage with the other dancers a bit, but as always the challenge met me head on. Am I doing it right, or is there no right? I struggle. The light made it more difficult for me than usual, to sink into the dance. I moved to my reactions to the line from Blossom. At times it felt forced, like I was trying too hard to dance with the group, rather than dance with myself and with the space, as I have become accustomed to and comfortable doing. I am comfortable danceing this way, and feel totally fullfilled. I don't want to have to change. We will continue to dance the poem, in unison, with the chosen line of the night. I like the concept. A way of sharing a common language through the dance. The arch of the dance begins to wind down. The last song of the evening especially touched my heart and resonated for me. The line of the song that connected to me was "No one else can go there for me". It touched me in a special way considering the health altering dietary life choices I am about to embarck upon. As with everything I face in my life, I am trying to really embody the idea that "No one else can go there for me". I have to take full responsibility for my life, my health, my happiness, my overall well-being. I left the dance space, and as I exited the building called "One Song", I read what the meaning of the space was for the very first time, although I have been dancing there for many weeks. "One Song" Means "Uni-Verse". I was moved deeply by this idea, and drove home once again transformed. I never know where the change is going to come from, but I am ready for any possibility that is offered to me~~~~


In April
the ponds open
like black blossoms,
the moon
swims in every one;
there’s fire
everywhere: frogs shouting
their desire,
their satisfaction. What
we know: that time
chops at us all like an iron
hoe, that death
is a state of paralysis. What
we long for: joy
before death, nights
in the swale - everything else
can wait but not
this thrust
from the root
of the body. What
we know: we are more
than blood - we are more
than our hunger and yet
we belong
to the moon and when the ponds
open, when the burning
begins the most
thoughtful among us dreams
of hurrying down
into the black petals
into the fire

into the night where time lies shattered
into the body of another.
~Mary Oliver~

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Who Made The Grasshopper?"

Last night we danced Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day" , my line being "Who made the grasshopper"? When we all read our randomly chosen lines, it became a poem in itself. I had some "line envy" wishing I had picked one of the other wonderfully intriguing lines to dance, but mine came to me for a reason as always. As I danced I thought about the word WHO. I opened to the questions and the possibilities through my dance. I found I was reaching up with open arms a lot during the session, as if to question, and be an open vessel to what life brings to me, what can come if I am open. As the Zen saying goes, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.  The answer to the WHO, kept coming back to me as ME.  As the dance ended and we lay on the floor and as always, were treated to being ready the poem, in its entirety, in the order Mary Oliver intended~~~

"Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"

As I listened to the poem a smile came over my face and I felt peaceful and happy. I realized that I had truly been dancing the poem in it's entirety all night without even knowing it. I had known the poem deep down inside of me and the line "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" hangs on my refrigerator! I had been reaching, leaping, floating, flinging and spinning, with wing-like arms spread all night without realizing that I had embodied the poem. I rejoiced knowing that I am truly living this one wild precious life to the fullest. "I know how to pay attention", to the little things. To see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I am that grasshopper who is continually flinging herself out of the grass and embracing life!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Digesting Breitenbush 2010

I don't know why it has taken me so long to fully digest and embrace my experience at this year's Breitenbush-Imagination • Motion • Power--A Soul Motion Experience. For me, words usually come easily, but this dance experience was so powerful that it has been difficult for me to articulate it until now, a week later. 

When I first drove up the long gravel path into the woods, I felt the world begin to melt away. At our first gathering I felt..............I have arrived.............I am arriving....... simultaneous feelings. My fears begin to be assuaged. A friend reminds me "the dance remembers me" and that is comforting. Another friend reminds me " I am here to meet me". How blessed to feel a sense of belonging in my dance family. My intention for the weekend is "to be true to myself". Before the first gathering I skip on the labyrinth.

We gather. I dance, feeling the floor under my dance-shoed feet, but my feet need to connect with the ground on so many levels so I tear my shoes off. To return, to arrive, I dance, I sweat. I feel alive connected, grounded and home once again. The warm sweet sweat pours down my head, face, body. The dance builds and then when it comes to stillness, I stand tall and strong, rooted and tree-like, arms wide open and receptive to what is, what will be. As I reach upward toward the sky, eyes closed, a single cool droplet of ?? touches my cheek and seems to come from somewhere other than my body. I feel Jen's presence at that moment, in a surreal yet comforting way. Later in the hot natural springs I melt futher. We talk about remembering,  rememberance, Meshi shares the beautiful Lakota word for this, "wokiksuye". Then the Spanish phrase "lo siento", translating to, "I am sorry and I feel it".....I sleep deeply that night.

The next day down at the river is phenomenal. The river is running so fast, high and powerfully crashing over the rocks, it is frighteningly exhilerating. We meditate on the rocks, feeling the river, becoming the river, losing the boundary between self and river. Before returning, people begin to spontaneously and delicately plant picked daisies in my curly hair. The tenderness is overwhelming. I feel like a flower child and they confirm that I am. I blossom.....
We walk in meditation back to the dance space and begin to dance the river. It is incredible as the movement builds from the place of quiet rock like stillness, and crescendos till we all explode in the most amazingly powerful dance. I am exhausted and energized. The river is me, I am the river, the flow is always present, the river is a constant that is everchanging~~~~~~~~~~

I read what is written near the sacred soaking tub. 
The West seems to be the direction I am learning to honor. West~Fall~Introspection~Water~Evening~Life~Maturity.  
Fall is the season of harvest when all we have learned comes to fruition and ready to share. In the reflective gloss of sunset we look into ourselves with acceptance, gratitude and compassion. Introspection, the virtue of the West considers all we have gained and how we may share it with others. I return to the dance.

Can I move to and hear a slower rhythm of the music inside, even when the music is pumping, can I turn down the volume and hear the spaces between the notes? Can I listen to the pace of the music, the rhythm within? Can I witness more and move less and in doing so let my body engage more, listen more, give myself permission to sit this one out? My body and head ache. Can I listen to that. The music drives me and I can not resist it's powerful pull.

The next morning after the dance of visualizing the air beneath us, holding us up feeling alighted, and then the air on top weighing me down, all the emotions I have been holding well up and I begin to cry. The feeling of supporting and being supported, wanting to fix others and be fixed, the energy it takes to heal. It feels like almost too much to bear at this moment. I am exhausted. The community gathers again after the break with laughter, I am not yet prepared to join. I look outside at the trees and the blue sky and inside, to see the gifts the dance continues to bring to me and I allow the necessary tears. I sit listening to the river inside and the water splashes within and without and the tears run down my cheeks. Can I re-enter the dance of "the other" yet? I remember my intention to be true to myself, authentic in my dance. I step out and begin to witness the others in their incredible beauty as they dance with each other. There is a longing to be a part of it, yet such a richness and honor in witnessing them. My tears turn to tears of Joy not tears of burden. Seeing my favorite people move so effortlessly and absolutely stunningly together. The love, the listening the knowing of each others bodies, the sense of intimacy without losing a sense of self. My longing is heavy and deep. Suddenly the song begins to play and the lyrics I have spoken of before by Afro Celt begins to play, as if it is being sung for my benefit alone, like an offering, a welcoming.....
"When I’m traveling far from home
On the wide horizon
I can feel you’re still around
And the dream overtakes me
 Then I know, you’ll stay in this moment
We’ll go where it’s flowing
You’ll be what you want to be
Right here, with me
 When I’m out here on my own
And it all cuts through me
I see you’re safe alone
Ah, then it hits me
 And I know, you’re here in this moment
Right where it’s flowing
You are what you want to be
Right here, with me
 Stay in this moment
Go where it’s flowing
You are what you want to be
Right here, with me . . . with me . . . with me. . ."

....... and begins to fill that deep longing. The next dance begins and I ask to enter the circle knowing the time is now right for me. We take turns in small groups dancing our own personal dance, while witnessed by the others. I dance, I dance hard, I dance powerfully, I dance my dance, I dance my life, I feel free, I feel rich, I feel authentic and true to myself and truly a part of not apart from this beautiful dance community, my other family of belonging. 
I am so grateful..........

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The Turtle
breaks from the blue-black
skin of the water, dragging her shell
with its mossy scutes
across the shallows and through the rushes
and over the mudflats, to the uprise,
to the yellow sand,
to dig with her ungainly feet
a nest, and hunker there spewing
her white eggs down
into the darkness, and you think
of her patience, her fortitude,
her determination to complete
what she was born to do----
and then you realize a greater thing----
she doesn’t consider
what she was born to do.
She’s only filled
with an old blind wish.
It isn’t even hers but came to her
in the rain or the soft wind
which is a gate through which her life keeps walking.
She can’t see
herself apart from the rest of the world
or the world from what she must do
every spring.
Crawling up the high hill,
luminous under the sand that has packed against her skin,
she doesn’t dream
she knows
she is a part of the pond she lives in,
the tall trees are her children,
the birds that swim above her
are tied to her by an unbreakable string.
~ Mary Oliver ~

The Roller Coaster Called Life~~~~~~~

Well my feet are beginning to settle into home. It has been a wild and wonderful two weeks of travel and all things wonderful and I am trying to just digest it all and savor the richness. Travel is always difficult for me, as I am quite the homebody, but it was all beautifully full, so what more can I ask for? It will take me several posts to catch up and fully express my experiences these past weeks, so I will begin with the California leg of my travels. We visited our beloved Jenni as she had a last fling before a summer jaunt in Portland to test the waters before returning to SF in the fall for Holistic Culinary Arts College. I also had a consult with her Dr. who has a unique holistic Fourfold approach to health.  I have a lot of digesting to do regarding the changes, mostly dietary philosophy, that I will be making for myself in the coming months. It is going to be quite a challenge but will hopefully improve my quality of life. Change has never been easy for me, so I meet this new chapter with much trepidation, yet with hope. We then continued to have great fun during our SF visit. We BBQ'd with her wonderful friends, and then we, "the three amigos", explored Napa where the weather, food, laughter, wine and fun could not have been more wonderful. We stayed in a funky B & B and can actually say "Elvis slept there"!  We got to hear some amusing Hollywood gossip stories from the innkeeper. We then returned to finish the week off with my niece Emily's lovely graduation. We have invited her for her first solo trip to visit this summer. So glad we could share this family time in celebration.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Persistence of Memory

I am the first to arrive tonight. I blindly pick tonight's poem to be danced. My lyric line is "for their thick bodies rucked with lichen". I think of my healing body, my wrist, my tooth loss, the potential of my upcoming appointment with Dr. Cowen in S.F. to evaluated my overall health. I debated whether or not to dance tonight or to let my mouth heal another day. I had left my water bottle last time I danced and need it for Breitenbush so I went. I felt heavy, thick and tree like. Rooted yet heavy. Protective. The vision of lichen. 
Lichens occur in some of the most extreme environments on Earth and may be long lived.........
Lichens are unusual creatures................
A lichen is not a single organism the way most other living things are, but rather it is a combination of two organisms which live together intimately...... Lichens thrive in Oregon..........
Lichens include a fungus which cannot survive on its own -- it has become dependent on its algal partner for survival............
A lichen is a symbiosis............
That means that it is two or more organisms living together such that both are more successful within the partnership than they would have been if they were living on their own..................
Lichens conjure up the image of relationship for me. My relationship in my marriage as a wife, in our family as a mother. I thrive........... 
I begin my dance.......................
Black Oaks ~~ Mary Oliver~~
"Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,
or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
and comfort.
Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.
But to tell the truth after a while I'm pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen
and you can't keep me from the woods, from the tonnage
of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.
Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a
little sunshine, a little rain.
Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another -- why don't you get going?
For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.
And to tell the truth I don't want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don't want to sell my life for money,
I don't even want to come in out of the rain." 
As I dance the lyrics of the song that is playing resonates for me and this becomes my mantra of the dance tonight............
                                               ........ "Stay in this moment
Go where it’s flowing
You are what you want to be"
~~~~~from Persistence of Memory~~~Afro Celt 

The Persistence of Memory.......... my first introduction to art...........the beginning of my passion with the surreal..........Dali.
My memory persists.