Dancing in Santa Fe

I went to a 5 Rhythms movement lab in Santa Fe, where I am on vacation, the other night. Chloe Goodwin facilitated. The space was extraordinarily beautiful, the music inspiring, and I quickly saw a range of more and less experienced dancers among the 20 or so people present.

It felt so great to be back in a dance studio. I’m accustomed to dancing once or twice (very occasionally, 3 or 4 times) a week in Austin, but it wasn’t available in Taos that I could find when I was there last week. I’ve been driving a lot. My body felt sluggish and stiff. Yoga classes have been helpful and also a nice way to meet people who share this interest when traveling, but even more than yoga, ecstatic dance in a studio allows me the freedom to let my body show me how it wants and needs to move to restore well-being.

So we danced freely in the space for a while. I felt shy at first, not knowing anyone (they all knew each other), so I just paid attention to what my body wanted. So good. Then I shyly began to make eye contact with a few people and danced with various partners.

Chloe introduced experiences of body parts: hands, elbows, knees, feet, hips, head, and more. Yes. I’m sure she was watching and seeing how people unconsciously restrict themselves. Yes, your head is a body part, and it can dance too, and it’s really good for your circulation and neck flexibility to move it. Instead of focusing your eyes, use your peripheral vision.

Then Chloe pointed out the blue masking tape on the floor, which created four spaces for dancing, which she described thusly: the outer edges of the room were reserved for people who just wanted to do their own dance by themselves. Coming in toward the center a bit was a space for dancing with a partner. The inner circle was for dancing in community, and the X in the center was for surveying, and dancing with, the entire room.

I danced in all the spaces. I love dancing alone, sometimes with my eyes closed to intensify my auditory/kinesthetic synesthesia and to be one with the music/my body/the space around me. I don’t care what it looks like. There’s a joy and freedom there for me that I recognize may be alien to others.

I had an especially wonderful and vigorous dance with a male partner, meeting and sweetly challenging each other over and over again. Yay!

Moving into the community circle, something interesting happened: Dancing in community, without a partner but in close proximity with other dancers, can be just like dancing alone at the outer edge. It doesn’t have to be, but on Tuesday night, it often was.

We noticed this after the dance ended, when we were standing in a closing circle.

Toward the end of the evening, when I was in the community circle for the third or fourth time, I noticed I was feeling tired, slowing down. I had already danced vigorously for an hour and a half, and I’m not a late night person — my batteries were running down.

I noticed that when I’m fatigued, I just want to dance alone, to wind down, to care for myself in vulnerability. I could have moved to the outer circle, but I didn’t. Maybe I was just too tired to think of doing that. That was a choice that perhaps I could make differently, next time.

I love the name Movement Lab. I’ve long considered ecstatic dance to be my own personal experimental movement lab. Movement, people, space, music, life. Play with it, learn from it, I be me, you be you, we be us.

What If?

What if our religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?
What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water – the rivers, lakes and ocean?
What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was Life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being?
~ Ganga White

New addition to my Favorite Quotes page.

Thanks to David Baker for sharing on Facebook. Yes. These are the questions to be asked.

The Blind Cafe in Austin, Texas, 2013

I wish I could remember how and when I first learned about The Blind Cafe. Online somewhere, for sure, in the last year or two.

What I read about it sounded so amazing, I knew I’d love to experience it when and if it ever came to Austin, and I added myself to a mailing list for notifications.

And lo and behold, The Blind Cafe coming to Austin this Feb. 20 and 21! I’ve already bought my ticket.

The Blind Cafe websiteWhat made me want to do it is this:

  • It’s a vegetarian meal with as much of the food locally sourced as possible. Check.
  • Profits go back into the community. Check.
  • The meal is accompanied by original live music. Check.
  • The seating is family-style. Check.
  • The waitstaff is professional. Check.
  • And blind… Hmm.
  • There’s Q&A time with the waitstaff. Check.
  • The meal is served in pitch darkness. Wow.

People who’ve experienced The Blind Cafe talk about how eating food served in darkness enhances their sense of taste. (It’s finger food, not soup, from what I’ve read.)

They also talk about how sharing a meal in the darkness with people you don’t know creates intimacy and community.

If you’re interested, there’s a Facebook event called The Austin Blind Cafe where you can RSVP, and you can buy tickets here. If the dinners sell out, which tends to happen, there’s a wait list for the next time the event is held here. (It’s also held in Boulder, Denver, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Burlington.)

Also, if the price is too steep, you can request a discounted ticket.

I like these people! I’ll post again afterwards to let you know how it went.


Day 14: Being a mad scientist, having a wise realtor, leaving home

We’re two-thirds of the way through the 21-day gratitude challenge!

I’m grateful for the “mad scientist” aspect of my personality.

I’m happily dreaming up and promoting the next challenge, a two-month experiment in doing the trauma releasing exercises.

I’m an Aquarius, born Feb. 7. That sign suits me. (If the “new astrology” is real, I’d be a Capricorn, which doesn’t suit me.) I like experimenting and learning!

I have no idea if anyone will follow me, but I’m willing to be the “lone nut”. (Most Aquarians are.)

That lone nut reference is to a video about leadership lessons from dancing, which you can view here. Are you willing to be a first follower?

I’m grateful for the wise advice of my realtor, who told me not to meet with the buyer of my house until closing. Yesterday I did meet him, but we didn’t converse. His realtor, his inspector, a foundation repairman, and he all came by yesterday to move ahead with his plans for buying and remodeling the house.

I wondered about that advice, and then I realized how emotional it is to sell my home in which I’ve lived 10 years of my life.

It’s the end of an era, not just of the house, but in my life.

The buyer and I will close and I hope we’ll spend some time hanging out. I can tell him about the plants and what I would have done if I had remodeled.

I’m grateful for the 10 years in which this house has provided me a home. So much has happened in those 10 years: The jobs I’ve had that paid the mortgage and bills, the times I’ve been unemployed, the people who have lived or stayed here with me at various times, the work I’ve done and have had others do, the heartbreaks and disappointments, the fun, the moments of joy, the moments of incredible stillness and peace and bliss…

The me of 10 years ago didn’t know herself (or like herself) nearly as much as I do now.

This house is where I recovered from my major childhood trauma, and where I got present in my life and truly acknowledged from the depths of my being how lucky I am to have a community of friends and family.

The guests I’ve had!!!

The yoga I’ve done!!!

The meals I’ve cooked!!!

I’ll be blogging more about my gratitude for this house and the past 10 years over the next week.