This is an ongoing US and global project to help enthusiasts, scholars, practitioners, and curious parties learn more about shamanic living in a contemporary culture. The space here is devoted to sharing info, experiences and opinions about all forms of shamanic expression covering shamanism's multiple permutations. Among subjects explored are traditions, techniques, insights, definitions, events, artists, authors, and creativity. You are invited to draw from your own experiences and contribute.

What is a SHAMAN?

MAYAN: "a technichian of the Holy, a lover of the Sacred." CELTIC: "Empower the people...by changing the way we think." MEXICAN APACHE: "Someone who has simply learned to give freely of themselves..." AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL: "...a teacher or healer, a wisdom keeper of knowledge... (who) takes people to a door and encourages them to enter." W. AFRICAN DIAGRA: "views every event in life within a spiritual context." HAWAIIAN: "...human bridges to the spiritual world and its laws and the material world and its trials..." QUECHUA INDIAN: "embodies all experience." AMAZON: "...willing to engage the forces of the Universe...in a beneficial end for self, people, and for life in general."

-- from Travelers, Magicians and Shamans (Danny Paradise)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Journey Through Dance

For the past couple of years I had been aspiring to take higher level classes from my favorite dancer. Technically perfect and flawless, she leaves you captivated and amazed by her abilities. I was sure that finally taking classes from this teacher would be my ticket, a way to truly connect to my soul. I want to dance like that!, I said time and time again. The time finally arrived, and she provided me with the green light to attend her class. My skill set was finally at a place that I was given permission to move up. Suddenly, there was an internal crisis. The one thing I had wanted for the longest time, no longer truly held a strong appeal. It was the opposite, every thing in me was saying NO!

I was perplexed. I believed that perhaps it is because I was depressed or too tired to truly be inspired. Again and again, I watched her perform trying to come to a place of making a decision. Each time I watched I became sadder and sadder. The promise of the teacher who could show me the way crumbled and fell apart. I noticed that although her skills were technically awe inspiring, they seemed empty to me. Nothing spoke to my soul. I did not feel any of "me" in there. Emotionally I did not go anywhere. It was as though I was emotionally standing on a static platform. No depth, no rise, no fall, no journey. I struggled with my ego but finally allowed the dream to die and I let it go for now.

This morning, I got together with my sister in dance and we were attempting to choreograph movements to a song. I was feeling somewhat apprehensive because for a long time now I have been feeling stuck. Unable to get up and just dance or create anything and feeling as though there was no “crack” in which true expression could come through. The door seemed closed. She showed up this morning, ready to break down music the way we usually do, counting beats and phrases. It suddenly occurred to me to dissect the song differently this time and change our usual pattern of creating. I suggested that we open up and listen with our eyes closed and then write down what we felt the essence of that song was for each of us. Listening,seeing, allowing the spirit of the song to tell us it's story and who it is. Being willing to allow the song to dance us as opposed to us dancing it. At that point,we were to
each take everything we identified, the story, the essence, the spirit and like a candy wrapper holding the most delightful surprise, wrap it up in a movement. Lastly we were each to perform it for each other. We came to an agreement that we would not get caught up in being overly concerned with technical precision or even appearance.

End result? I danced in a way that I have not been able to since I first began. I moved with the essence, I told the story. No particular attention was paid to how good my technique was or even if I was portraying the movement correctly. I felt free and so much more like me. There was a “crack” and it was joyful and it brought back the joy in dance that I had lost. Did it look good? I did not know. I did not care. It felt great! It felt full and alive. My sister in dance? Well, she was moved and inspired. Her comment was, I had no idea you could move like that! You are already where you have been longing to be, you just don’t know it. She was also so very excited and appreciative of this new way of creating.

It occurred to me that in the same way a story full of metaphor and symbolism told verbally upon rising from a journey can hold essence on so many levels, so can movement. It was another delivery vehicle that opened a new door for me. Although I may still long to learn how to technically tune up my skill set, it is no longer more important than harnessing the soul. Hence, this was truly my journey through dance, the depth, the rises, the falls, death and rebirth. Although lasting only an hour, I felt as though I took a journey of a thousand miles and I am grateful for it and my ability to share it.


fearless.woman said...

How truly joyful. Thank you from my heart for sharing.

Walks In Two Worlds said...

Seems like you took the dance teacher outside of you and replaced her with the dance teacher inside of you -- very shamanic! This bliss you carry where ever you go, be there a teacher or not. How amazing you followed the deeper wisdom, the new dream, and not the old. Love, Robin

Allowing the light said...

Beautiful! I look forward to seeing you dancing by the water (or being danced by the water, or dancing the water... all of that probably). Your shared experience is also another illustration of how diverse can shamanic modalities be, and how important it is that each of us develop this creativity.

shewhofacesspirit said...

Yes, I have often noticed that if I have an idea for a painting and try to stick with it no matter what even when it feels forced, what comes out of my hand is flat. If I listen and let go and not get concerned about technique, just allow what wants to come through without judgment, the essence comes through and that speaks the truth.
Keep on dancing.