Tag Archives: Dance of Life

ADAPTING TO THE DANCE OF LIFE

“In the game of life, less diversity means fewer options for change.  Wild or domesticated, panda or pea, adaptation is the requirement for survival.”  Cary Fowler 

Photo: Geroganne Spruce

Photo: Geroganne Spruce

Do you adapt easily to change?  Do you dislike and resist change?  Can you see value in change?

Change is inevitable.  What we do with it is what matters.  Lately, my life is an experiment in finding the best way to adapt to being in a wheel chair and performing the daily duties that I need to perform.  I’ve experimented with a wheel walker, which can move through the house more quickly than the chair, but it hurts the knee that it supports.  Crutches are helpful except when I’m feeling dizzy.

Now all simple normal actions require more strength and have to be approached in a new way.  I can’t just stand up.  I have to pull up or push up.  I will definitely have more strength when this situation is over.

There Is Value In Change

All in all, this experience is just another reminder that there is value in change.  I’ve been forced to slow down.  I’ve had to let other people help, which is always difficult for me, but I simply don’t have the energy I had or the actual physical ability to do it all.  I have to accept certain limitations.

I know these limitations are essential, but temporary.  I can’t bear weight if I want to heal.  I have to frequently elevate my leg in order to prevent blood clots.  This has become my reading or napping time.  Before the accident, I rarely allowed myself to nap—I had too much to do!  What I needed to do before is now a requirement.

Change May Force Us To Do What We Need To Do

So, I am learning to adapt in order to survive—creating a new dance for my life that in some ways feels like an improvement and in others like a regression.  It’s a bit more sedate than I prefer, especially in spring when all the trails have opened up and the ice melted.  My feet are itching for another hike and I’m missing the best time to take nature photos for my blog.

Relationships Adapt To Individual Changes

But this is a very nurturing dance and is not just about healing.  It’s a challenge for me and my fiancé.  Can we, as a couple, adapt?  Can he become my caretaker for a few weeks?  How do we negotiate these challenges?

To some extent, we would have to adapt to change any way to learn to live together.  With my broken ankle, we simply have additional aspects of the relationship to which we must adapt.  While it may stretch our abilities, the outcome has been good.  This is the real thing.  We are committed.  The relationship will survive and we will eventually return to our normal pattern of being equally participating partners.

Change May Be A Spiritual Gift

On a spiritual level, I am enjoying more peace and quiet.  We all need some, and I used to tell myself several times a day to stop and rest or meditate, but I didn’t.  I kept going, and so in that moment when I needed to be totally in the moment and carefully consider the option of stepping onto the rock where I fell, I was thinking more about where I wanted to be.

Now I pay attention to every moment that I move.  I am aware of where I place my hand and foot for each move I make.  When I don’t, I risk falling again.  I am learning to be more creative with my adaptation and so it becomes easier.  It is a much more complex dance than the one I was doing.

Much Good May Come From Adaptation

Adaptation is often like that.  Difficult and uncomfortable at first.  Our resistance may kick in to make it more challenging.  It may be difficult in the beginning to learn a new dance, but as we practice it becomes easier.  Before we know it, we may be waltzing around the floor like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, loving life despite the complex foot work.

© 20124 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

DANCING TO LIFE

“Dance when you’re broken open.  Dance if you’ve torn the bandage off.  Dance in the middle of the fighting.  Dance in your blood.  Dance when you’re perfectly free.”  Rumi

Photo by Sandy Jones

Photo by Sandy Jones

Does your dance of life include the dirges as well as the waltzes?  Can you find some peace or joy in the really challenging parts of life?  Are you able to let go when it’s time to let go?

It has been a tough few days.  My dear friend Sandy passed on this week although I hoped somehow she would survive cancer.  Whenever I think of Sandy, I think of her beautiful photography and her eternal dance with nature.  She invited me to join her one day to take pictures and I learned so much.  She had a magical eye and each picture she took showed me some aspect of the subject that I would have overlooked without seeing it through her eyes.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Challenges May Often Change Us For The Better

Sandy was such an inspiration to me as I sometimes took her to chemotherapy.  During our rides, we began to talk deeper in ways we never had before.  She shared more of her life, and she opened like a blooming red rose.  I won’t try to describe the change that took place—I’ll let her speak for herself, so please take a moment to listen to this video, and meet my dear friend.

When I heard a week ago that she would make her transition soon, I began to really feel the loss.  I couldn’t bear the thought that we would never dance together again as artists as we had when she created a slide show to match the poetry I read.  Our exciting creative collaboration was really the center of our friendship, and it had been a long time since I had created work with another person.

Soon after hearing the news, I walked into my bedroom where one of her photos hung on the wall, a picture of a bridge over part of a stream with dogwood framing the scene.  And there she was standing on the bridge waving good-bye to me smiling, and every time in the last week that I have passed that picture, her image was there in my mind’s eye.  I felt such peace knowing she was ready.

Photo:  Sandy Swanson copied from the original

Photo: Sandy Swanson copied from the original

We Can Always Choose How We Respond To Life

Sandy reminds me that the dance of life is so varied and we can’t always make it be what we want it to be.  I am starting a new life with the most loving partner I could ever imagine; Sandy has passed from this life.  It doesn’t seem fair.  Life—it just is.  Someday I’ll be crossing that bridge too—we all will.  And it will be my final dance, but in the meantime I’m going to dance to all of life and feel each moment completely.

Dancing to life is about engaging with whatever is happening and feeling it fully.  We can kick up our heels joyfully or we can drag our feet remorsefully.  We can jump start new projects or we can slowly waltz around them.  It’s okay if the dancing hurts sometimes because life isn’t always good to us, but if we learn to cultivate joy, it can lift the quality of life immensely.

We Can Dance With Our Bodies And Minds

There’s no better way to find joy than to dance with our bodies or our minds. When I write I dance with words.  Others make preparing food a dance.  This week, the Olympic skaters will be dancing on ice.  When we hike in the forest, we dance among the trees.  A good dinner and conversation with friends is like a dance.  When we sleep, we may dance with our dreams.

When I feel sad about Sandy, I remember that she’s now with Oneness and she is well—dancing with the stars, I suspect, and of course taking their pictures.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Finding Peace in Death, Navigating Loss and Dealing with the Pain of Letting Go

AWAKENING TO COMMUNITY

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop (Photo credit: Stephh922)

“Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity.  True community requires commitment and openness.  It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.”  David Spangler

Are you part of a community, personally or professionally?  What does it offer you that you value?

My blog post today is a bit different.  Recently, Brad Swift, a member of my writing community, tagged me for a blog tour, The Next Big Thing—my very first!  The way it works is that a writer answers questions about her/his next book (or one recently published), tags five other writers and passes it on.  The next week those writers do the same thing, so it’s a great way for writers to connect with a larger audience.

I love this idea because it’s about community.  As I’ve often written, one of the major world shifts we need to make is from competition to community.  That’s why I’m grateful to be living in a town where writers are a community and the writers I’ve tagged below are a part of that.  We’re here to support and help each other so that we are all successful.  It’s a great way to live, so check out these special people at the bottom of my answers.

What is the title of your latest book?  Awakening to the Dance:  A  Journey to Wholeness which I published in June 2012.  

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I never planned to write a memoir, but ten years ago when I was out of work and had reached a point with a novel that I couldn’t get past, a woman suggested to me that I’d lived an interesting life in an interesting time and should write about it.  Desperately needing a new project, I began reading my journals from the 1960’s to the present.  As I began writing, the process of exploring my past was spiritually transforming and became part of the story.

What genre does your book fall under?  It’s a memoir.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  I’d love for Kiera Knightley to play me.  Kevin Costner would be perfect for Neal.  Judy Dench would be perfect for my mother.  Of course the book spans about 40 years, but I’ll let the director solve that problem.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness is the inspirational story of a woman’s search for her true identity apart from society’s expectations, her commitment to following her passions of dance and writing, her desire to find a soul mate, and the gift she receives by integrating spirituality into her life.

Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?  I published the ebook through  Kindle and Pubit and the paperback through Create Space.  It’s available on all three and on Amazon.com.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  I took almost ten years to write the book.  I was teaching full-time, and I have no idea how long it took to complete the first draft.  I probably spent at least two years just picking and choosing the most important stories.  Then I had to pare those down and focus the story more on the main theme.  I did extensive rewriting for several years because the book was originally too long.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Every story is unique, but my guess is that any memoir written by a woman who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s would have similar themes.  It’s not about abuse or alcohol and drug addictions as many memoirs are. Of course, part of it could be called a “dance memoir” but even that part focuses on how dance increased my mind/body connection and contributed to my spiritual awareness that we are all One.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I realized that I had used many practices, such as meditation, affirmations, chakra balancing, and releasing my fear, that dramatically changed my life for the better.  When I was younger, I had no idea it was possible to live mostly free from fear, so I wanted to inspire others so that they could create the lives they desire and be free from fear.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?  During the 1960s and 1970s when I was a modern dancer, the entire art world was experimental, breaking all the old rules and supporting authentic expression.  It was a fascinating time.

In everyday life, men and women were struggling with the male and female stereotypes that no longer served us.

The book also has a strong love theme. I write about several major relationships with men all of whom were very powerful forces in my life.  In one way or another, each helped me grow and explore the nature of love.  But loving oneself and spiritual love are also themes that run throughout my story.

Please take a look at these fascinating writer friends:

Debra LloydTrey CarlandJohn Waterman ,Celia Miles

What does your community mean to you?  Please comment.

 ©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

DANCING TO YOUR OWN CREATION

“Mind is like the wood or stone from which a person carves an image.  If he carves a tiger or dragon, and seeing it fears it, he is like a stupid person creating a picture of hell and then afraid to face it.  If he does not fear it, then his unnecessary thoughts will vanish.  Part of the mind produces sight, sound, taste, odor and sensibility, and from them raises greed, anger and ignorance with all their accompanying likes and dislikes.”  Bodhidharma

 

Responding to Change

How much responsibility are you willing to take for what happens in your life?  Are you creating your life or do you always defer to the ones around you?  What guides your choices?

This has been a very wet year where I live, and I am grateful I don’t live in the drought-ridden part of the country.  As a result of the dampness, a large number of large mushrooms have sprung up in my front yard which is very shady most of the day.  One of them was huge, eight inches across, and several others of two varieties were almost as large.  I’d never seen these before and had no idea if either the squirrels or I could eat them, but I don’t know mushrooms, so I thought it wiser to just admire them.  The squirrels weren’t interested either.

The appearance of the mushrooms, which I think are lovely in their own way, is just one example of how conditions to which we are accustomed may change and surprise us with their uniqueness or beauty.  But change can also be disconcerting, and how we experience it depends on what we think about the change.  We create our perception of what is occurring.  Instead of being afraid that poisonous mushrooms were appearing in my yard, I chose to appreciate their beauty and the opportunity to learn about something new.

Being in Charge of Your Own Thoughts

So many things influence how we think:  our social environment, religious or spiritual beliefs, family or cultural codes of behavior, and past experience.  In some way, we have all been programmed that certain things are good and others are bad.  But as we become adults, we have the opportunity to reprogram our minds.  We can make the decision to be the one who is in charge.

In order to truly be in charge of our lives, we must choose to be in charge of our thinking, for our thinking creates our emotions and together they determine what we create.  The quote from Bohdidharma makes this very clear.  You create what is in your mind and have a choice to hold on to that thought or to release it.  The question you must answer is:  What is the best for you or others affected by your decision?

Release the Resistance Fear Creates

Often we feel fear in our response to something new in our lives.  Will that new boss value the work we do?  Will a parent’s death destroy the family togetherness?  Will marriage take away our independence or bring us more love?  It is always best to release the psychological fears we have before we make a decision.  Fear creates resistance and blocks our ability to see what is best for us.

So, when that tiger or dragon first appears in our thoughts, we need to center ourselves, find that place of quiet in our hearts, and say to our minds, “Release this fear.”  Name it if you can, breathe deeply, and let it go.  These psychological fears have no value for us.  Repeat this gently until the negative image you have created releases.  It is yours to reject.  Then, in the quiet, ask Spirit or the Universe to fill your need and be willing to wait, knowing that what you need will appear, if not then, later when the time is right.

Releasing Your Fear Workshop

This process for releasing fear is what I teach each year in a workshop, “Releasing Your Fear.”  In the workshop, we delve more deeply into the mind and how it works and how to practice this technique so that it is truly useful to you.  If you want to learn more about the September 9 workshop, click here.

Creating Your Joyful Dance of Life

Dancing to our own creation means that we choose to be the choreographer of our dance of life.  We can choose the steps we like best, improvise until the right phrase appears, and practice what flows best until the dance that truly brings us joy appears out of our own creative mental process.  It is not some creator out there who is in charge of our dance, we are.

When we get stuck, instead of creating tigers and dragons, we can envision the positive outcome we want and take the steps to go there.  If one step doesn’t work, we can try another, and eventually the right one shows up. We only have to have the courage to release our fear of what is new, unfamiliar and unknown, focus on what we truly want, and believe we are capable of creating it.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Answers Are WithinLaw of Attraction Journals, Abraham: Accept What I’m Feeling (video), Abraham Hicks: Thoughts (video)

 

STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods; There is rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea and music in its roar:  I love not man the less, but nature more.”   Lord Byron

I’m taking a day off from writing the blog to be with nature and myself–to nurture and balance and find new inspiration.  May you have a lovely day, and maybe take time to revisit one of my previous posts under “Recent Posts” or “Topics to Explore.” Be good to yourself today.

 

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AWAKENING TO HIGHER CHOICES

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” Rumi

How do you make decisions?  From the ego or from your higher self?  How do you know when you’ve made the best decision?

Which Way is San Jose?

 Do you remember the song, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”  Recently, as it floated through my mind as old songs often do, I decided to look at the lyrics, most of which I didn’t remember.  I discovered that the narrator in the song is longing to return to San Jose because she wants to leave Los Angeles and return to a place where she can find peace of mind, space to live, and reconnect with friends.  She wants to return home where she has what she really needs because her Hollywood dream has fallen apart.

Becoming Aware of Wrong Choices

Like so many, the narrator of this song was pursuing a dream that evaporated in the midst of the noise, intensity, and superficial environment of L. A.  How many of us have experienced something similar?  How many times do we have to make the wrong choice in order to see what the right choice would be?  Hind sight is always a valuable evaluator.

When the path takes us to places that are the wrong places for us, how we respond to these situations is very important.  We often blame ourselves for being foolish or blind to the reality we can later see clearly.  But what if these twists in our spiritual path are simply other ways to get to the place we need to go?

We are not all infallible.  We can only see what is possible based on the level of our consciousness.  More than once in my life, I have chosen to stay in a job, friendship or relationship because I was afraid of the consequences of leaving or because I thought I could fix what was wrong with the situation.  Sometimes we can resolve the challenges that face us, so knowing when to leave is a huge decision.

Higher Choices Come From the Soul Level

In order to make the highest decisions, we need to consult our soul, go deeper, meditate, and take the time to evaluate the spiritual value of the situation.  When we do this, and out of this contemplation, we discover an answer, we then need to look closely at that answer.  Could ego have slipped in there to derail our best intentions?  Will the way we decide to handle a situation hurt someone?  I test myself by asking this question: “What choice can I make that is for the highest good of all?”

If we live in love for other humans, the decisions that are the most difficult are the ones where we know others will be hurt by our decisions, but sometimes walking away from a situation is for the highest good of all although it hurts.  It may be the higher choice. We not only need to love others, we need to love ourselves as well and choose not to allow others to undermine and abuse us.

I once met a woman who stayed with a man who abused her.  When I asked why she did that, she replied that she believed showing him unconditional love helped him to finally see that what he was doing was wrong and that it motivated him to change.  Did she make a decision that was for the highest good of all?  I don’t know.  I wouldn’t make a similar choice, but I do not know the details of her journey or the lessons of her lifetime.

Soul Choices Expand Our Lives and Free Us

The choices we make from the soul level are the highest choices no matter how they look to others.  They always serve us well even when the path is difficult.  They take us deeper.  They expand our understanding.  When I had to walk away from a relationship I’d been in for eight years, I was terrified, and yet, the moment after I said good-bye I was flooded with peace and joy. I never expected this response; I just wanted to be free of the irresolvable conflicts.  But no matter what doubts I’d had before that, I knew in that moment, I had made the highest choice.

Although we may sometimes feel we are overwhelmed by that river moving within us that Rumi refers to, it will lead us to moments of joy, confirming we have chosen the best way.  It is all part of the dance of life, and the more we awaken to our higher choices, the more we will love our lives.

What higher choices have you made lately?  Please share your thoughts.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Every Choice Is A Spiritual ChoiceKeep an Open Heart in All of Your Relationships,

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE: Feel the Love, Part 2

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  William Shakespeare

Where do you find love in your life?  Is your only source other people or do you look beyond and find it reflected elsewhere?

We all need to experience love.  In every spiritual journey, love is the key element.  We learn about it through many experiences; sometimes in secondary experiences through which others have expressed their love.

Art Touches the Heart and Soul

A few weeks ago, as I walked through the entrance of an amazing garden, Wamboldtopia, I felt transported into another dimension, one which brought the ancient spiritual energy of the past into the present.  The energy of this place touched me because of the natural beauty, especially the bright red and iridescent lavender of blooming azaleas and the lush green of many kinds of plants.  But this garden was created by a wonderful artist, Damaris Pierce, to create a natural home for much of her art work.  As I wondered down the paths, I found elfish houses, graceful sculptured women, and the face of a Green Man, and through these, Damaris’ spirit and love of nature touched me.

Only a love deeply connected to nature would create this energy.  But that is what an artist does—connect with that inner source of spirituality, even if they don’t call it that.  That is why we feel uplifted after walking in the natural beauty of nature or through an art gallery where the art reveals the depth of artists’ souls.  When the two are combined, we cannot help but feel the love of Spirit visiting us through those creations.

Through Nature’s Creatures We Receive Love

Other encounters with nature can also activate our own loving source and bring it to the surface.  As I ate lunch today with the back door open to my deck, an older Siamese cat approached.  I had seen her in the neighborhood before and attempted to pet her, but she ran.  This time, I talked to her through the door with warm words.  Slowly I moved onto the deck, and she began to give me those double messages cats love to give:  you can pet me, no you can’t.  I sat on the steps and waited.  She moved closer and allowed me to pet her, then suddenly she jumped into my lap and started rubbing me with her head.  For a few moments, we were lovingly connected.

I am so grateful when I can connect with the creative energy of the Universe, for it is the very source of life.  We are all products of nature, all “kin,” as Shakespeare reminds us.  When I hear the birds in the morning, I am reminded how glad I am to be alive.  I am filled with laughter when the local turkey gobbler performs his dance for me.  I am inspired and irritated sometimes by the community of crows that negotiate in the trees outside my writing room.  Each is a part of life that reminds me I am part of the dance of life.

We Are All A Part of Love

It is this reminder that we are a part of nature too that can be a powerful healer lifting us out of depression or disappointment or loss, reminding us that we are more than just this life on this planet. That is why it is so important that we make time to connect each day with that loving, healing, positive energy. We are part of the Spirit that creates all life and that love will never deserts us.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Emerson’s Nature: A River Reading, Native Pride, Finding God   in Nature

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DANCING TO THE MYSTERY OF LIFE

“Dance is the essence of mystery.  Through dance we experience a dimension that the linear mind is not structured to perceive.  It may have been dance that enabled us to first conceive of experiences beyond our immediate physical experience, thereby creating the concept of spirituality, of ‘God.’” -Iris Stewart

Does the mystery of nature feed your spiritual life? Do you take the time to really experience the changing of the seasons?  What makes you come more alive when winter moves to spring?

Dancing With the Mysteries of Spring

The first blossom that appears in my yard is the Grape Hyacinth.  Clearly, no one planted them here because they are strewn all over the lawn just like the violets that appear about the same time.  It’s a mystery how their seeds got here—just one of the many mysteries that arrive with spring.

Yesterday, walking through the botanical gardens in the sunshine with a friend, I was so perfectly at peace in a joyful way, observing the many flowers that were blooming way ahead of schedule. Once again, nature has caught us off-guard, dancing in a delightful way.

It is this dance of energy that connects us all to joy.  No matter what is happening in our lives, no matter how challenging they are, it is important to take the time to dance this dance of life.  Open the windows and dance to the breeze.  Dance to the bird song in early morning.  Dance through a field of flowers or down a forest path.  Dance with your dog in the park and let it dance with the other dogs, which it is sure to do.  Allow yourself to feel that connection with the creativity of life.

Exploring the Mysteries

When I was a child growing up in Arkansas, my family hiked in the woods and mountains where we often came across caves.  Questions and images flooded my mind.  Did anyone ever live there? Who had been sheltered from rain there?  Who built a fire there?  What animals roamed through the cave or used it for shelter?

We also visited larger commercial caves with multiple rooms and water dripping from huge stalactites.  I had difficulty paying attention to the guides because I imagined myself exploring the cave for the first time, I envisioned ancient people dancing there, their silhouettes reflected upon the walls by the fire around which they danced.  I was hypnotized by the mystery of it all, and out of that mystery, I developed a curiosity to learn more and considered becoming an archeologist.

Awakening to the Mystery in the Dance

Many people are afraid of experiencing something that is different from what they are used to, but the unknown, the mysteries of life are there to lure us away from our complacency, to give us that nudge to answer the questions that arise in our lives.  Mysteries take us deeper to places we might never discover otherwise.  Had I never taken dance classes, I might never have come to understand the mind/body connection that stimulated my interest in further exploring psychology and spirituality.  Had I not pursued answers to questions that arose along this path, I might still see myself as a victim of my emotions and fear.  Instead, I explored the mysteries of the mind and found techniques that changed my life and empowered me.

If we dance with the mysteries of life, will we find all the answers?  Probably not.  But we will find the one answer that matters the most—the connection with Spirit—because it is the essence of all life and the greatest of the mysteries.  It is the energy of flowers blooming, caves forming, and people connecting.  When I look into the beautifully complicated center of a Columbine, I always ask, “Who thought of this design?”  This is like asking, “Why do people have five fingers, not six?” although some scientist probably knows that answer.

Live the Questions Now

One of my favorite books is Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet.  Some of his advice is valuable for us at all ages, especially when we are frustrated by not finding answers.  “…be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.…the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”  Or, as I would say, dance the questions.

What mysteries are you dancing with today?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Being in Your Flow ~ There’s an App for ThatSynchronicity, Living in the FlowThe Art of Uncertainty: How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It (click on the book cover and read the first couple of chapters)

DANCING TO FREE OUR EMOTIONS

“Dance first. Think later.  It’s the natural order.”  Samuel Becket

Do you have difficulty sharing what you really feel?  Do you avoid expressing negative emotions?  Do you feel torn between being accepted and being authentic?

Physical Benefits of Dancing

Dance has often been at the core of my spiritual life.  Now, when I want to escape into joy or de-stress, I turn on music and dance around the house by myself.  It is a perfect way to lift my vibration and chase away the blues!  Dancing stimulates the release of endorphins which reduces pain and gives us a natural high in addition to increasing our metabolism and blood flow.  During the sixties and seventies when so many people I knew were doing drugs, I was never interested because dancing gave me a high in a natural way.

Emotional Benefits of Dancing

Not only is dance good for us physically, it can also affect us emotionally in very positive ways.  Over the years, I’ve met people who grew up in families where they were taught that any strong or passionate expression of emotion was not acceptable, especially if it was negative.  In other instances, people I know needed to hide who they really were or what they thought out of fear that the truth would damage their relationships.  Keeping our feelings hidden like this creates tension in the body and shrinks who we are, restricting our ability to express.

When we hide who we truly are and are fearful of expressing, we are denying our spiritual purpose.  We are all in this life for a reason, and understanding who we truly are reveals to us the purpose for this lifetime.  In terms of relationships, hiding behind what appears to be peacefulness also limits our relationships because what creates a more meaningful relationship is the ability to share what we truly feel and think.

Releasing Our Fear and Rigidity

There are many ways to release the fear of expressing emotions.  Therapy and spiritual disciplines may provide us with many tools.  Understanding why we are fearful is often helpful because understanding ourselves and our families allows us to let go of the need to protect ourselves.  Finding friends who accept our passionate expression reinforces the feeling that we are truly loved for being genuine.

But dance can be a valuable tool in this process.  Rigidity of body or mind is unhealthy for the spirit as well as the body, but movement stimulates the whole being to express. By using our bodies to release the mind, we become more aware of the mind/body connection and begin to feel a wholeness.  If we allow ourselves to feel the joy of the movement, we can connect to our spirit and the Spirit that connects us all.

The Wave

One of the most beautiful ways to explore the way that dance can aid our growth is in connecting with our spiritual selves through Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms Healing Meditation known as The Wave.  There are groups around the country who meet to experience this together, but if you are not ready to move in a group, there are videos you can follow on your own.  Still, the energy of a group can be exhilarating.  Seeing others moving without inhibition often gives us the courage to risk a little more.

Connecting Body and Mind to Open

Dancing with music is not always necessary.  Moving in silence allows us to penetrate the silence and the barrier of our own bodies.  In that moment, the body connects to the mind, and we visit that place where body and mind are One.  If we allow ourselves to move and feel whatever comes up, we empower ourselves.  How can we possibly express what we feel if we can’t feel it?  So that is the first step, to feel in the body and then the emotions. Then we must be willing to take that information and use it to transform ourselves into a person who is not afraid to express those thoughts and feelings.  It takes commitment because it is not usually a brief process.

When we give ourselves to the dance, we stop thinking.  Fear, shyness, judgments drop away and we are just in the moment—mind, body, emotions and soul are all One.  In that moment, whatever we feel is just fine, and if we can’t express our feelings verbally, we can dance them. By dancing them, we may one day learn to verbalize them as well.

How often do you dance freely and let go of stress?  Does movement help you release the fear you feel about expressing yourself verbally?  Please comment and share your specific comments about this topic.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  (Fear) You Decide, Deepok Chopra’s 7 Steps to Release Emotional TurbulenceFeelings (spiritualhypster.com)

DANCING FROM OUR CENTERS

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself.  But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.”  Thomas Szasz

Who is running your life?  Is it you, deep from your center?  Or is it your family, employer or the mentality of society herding you into the role they want you to play?

The last time I visited the Biltmore Estate and met the Tina Turner Chickens, I also observed a sheep dog herding sheep.  I had seen this on the nature channel, but I’d never seen it in person.  As the dog herded the sheep together, they were so close they were touching, moving like one being.  After herding them to a particular area, he left, but the sheep remained sandwiched together as if they were afraid to each step out into their own areas.

 The Dangers of Conformity

I immediately thought of people and conformity.  How often do we allow something outside of ourselves to limit our capacity to be who we really are?  Conformity isn’t all bad.  It’s only negative if it forces us to be someone we are not or causes us to hurt others in order to be accepted.  The McCarthy trials of the 1950’s are a good example.  Neighbors reported neighbors for being communists and whether it was true or not was irrelevant.  People lost their reputations and employment by merely being accused.

Inner Self and Ego

 I don’t know exactly what Thomas Szasz intended when he made the statement I quoted today.  But I suspect he was referring to the ego/personality level of who we are, for the spiritual level that is deeper is something we find only when we let go of ego and go deeper.  It is eternal.  We do not have to create it.  But we do create the person we are in this lifetime based on the choices we make and the way we think.

Creating Our Personalities Based on Our Eternal Selves

If we are in touch with our eternal being, the choices we make from that place, rather than from external influences, tend to be wiser.  In modern dance, the pelvic area of the body is the center of our body and this core must be strong in order for the dancer to perform the off balance tilts, falls and swings that are unique to modern.  Without a strong core, the dancer flounders.

If we make choices from that loving center within us that is our core, our choices will have integrity and compassion, and will enhance our lives and the lives of others.  That deeper self is the basis of our personality, but making the right choices can lead us to an integration of the two.  When we dance from our center, we are One.  But if we always allow others to dictate how we think and act, we are being unfaithful to ourselves.  We are letting life happen to us rather than creating the life we want.

If we spend our whole lives hiding behind the temporary high of buying things or being entwined with a dysfunctional family’s dictates or constantly searching for a quick fix to happiness, we will never find who we truly are.  We will not discover that by following someone else’s lead in the dance of life.

Lead Yourself in the Dance

When you create yourself, you become the dancer and the leader.  You look at each opportunity in life and decide if it contributes to who you are or want to be.  You find the courage to step away from the flock and follow your own path.  You love yourself enough to take charge of your own life.  If you have not found yourself yet, perhaps you are not looking deep enough.  Perhaps you have betrayed who you are in order to keep peace and have security.

Fear always surfaces when we try to break an existing pattern.  It’s then we have to turn to faith. “When you have come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen:  there will be something to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”  These words have comforted me more often than I like to admit.  Have faith and trust yourself to become who you really are.  You are your greatest creation!

What challenges have you faced in becoming who you really are?  What helped you take the risk?  Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Life, Being True to Oneself, Dare to Be Yourself