Have you ever just let yourself go?
Have you ever just moved your body like there is nothing stopping you?
The very freedom in movement can be confronting and overwhelming if you aren’t used to allowing yourself to move. I know. I find it really strange when I do actually allow this to take place, spontaneous movement of my being, whether I am in my living room, out on a mountain top, or doing intuitive yoga movements. It’s sounds a bit cookoo, I know. It feels that way too, until I absolutely let go. The challenge is in how to do that.
I have always had what I call “dancer envy.” I love seeing the fluid movement filled with grace and angst, and the communication without words that can be so cutting and confronting.(Check out Young Soon Kim with Emily Pope Blackman and you will see what I mean about fluidity coupled with superb technique.) Dancers have had to learn to let themselves go (and a lot of training to support the ability to communicate so brilliantly as well.) But I am sure that they, too, had many moments of complete vulnerability, and nakedness. It is confronting, moving our bodies, as our body language is more revealing than our words ever are.
What we say with our body “language”:
Have you ever gotten a “look” from someone, and then the words that follow don’t seem to match? Which part of the communication do you trust more? The body language, or the words? This creates so much confusion and mistrust in our daily communication with loved ones down to the guy on the street, when our words don’t match what our bodies are saying. When we communicate freely with both aligned, then others can “hear” what we are saying, and they can trust us.
Most of us aren’t professional dancers, yet we all have a body to express through, to others and to ourselves.
Back when I was a rebellious pre- teen and into my teenage years, I found a love in a “scene” of folks called deadheads. I loved the music of the Grateful Dead, and I especially loved the free expression I felt from the family of followers. I wanted to be able to be free too. I was so bottled up in knots of who I was, and what I thought I should be, what other people thought, and the hippie scene seemed to have many people hanging around that might just accept me for me. I am sure they did, but I didn’t accept me for me, so there it was. I watched the whirling dervishes dance, I saw the Dead Heads spinning (Jay Blakesburg captures this so beautifully, check out his amazing photos!), and I went along with it. At moments I felt alive, really free, but on and off I still very self-conscious, and a bit silly too if I forgot to stay in the moment for a moment!
I knew I had something to release, I had a story to tell, I had blocks in my body, mind heart and soul that needed freeing…
Fast forward to graduate school at California Institute of the Arts. (Cal Arts). I was in full swing with my cello playing, and had become very skilled in performing classical music, and composing/songwriting, but I still had a longing to get in touch with my body. Even after years of yoga, standing still holding in a pose, and pranic breathing, I hadn’t ever truly let myself move. I decided to take a West African Drumming and Dance class with Alfred Ladzepko. I found it very confronting, as we thrust our feet deep into the earth, with full feminine confidence yet it had a hardness and a suppleness at the same time. It was demonstrative of true release, true grounded freedom. I was not ready for that, yet I learned a lot about myself and where in my body I felt self doubting. It was brilliant. Brilliant because I saw where I was lacking in myself. It wasn’t about technique, It was all about freeing myself up! I’m not a dancer, but I sure did learn a lot from Alfred Ladzepko. Thanks Alfred!
So many years later, I am a mother, having pushed out 3 babies, “un”self consciously, and have had many life experiences where I should know myself, and I still had locked up emotions,and tension in my body, and knew there was more to me that I should let out.
I stumbled across a Shiva Rae DVD when I was doing my yoga teacher training and she moved us through some yoga trance dance. Wow! It was intense. I felt so locked, and so stiff, and every free movement I tried to do, was accompanied with analysis. I embraced the challenge, and started to incorporate this into my classes with my students. We all learned so much from this, being in a room of people and fully letting go, without even needing the libations of liquor!
Years ago I read something about how we as humans respond best in curved spaces, architectures and dwellings, because the four walls and harsh edges of most architecture goes against our natural fluid body. If we look at the natural world, most things are rounded,or have soft edges even the symmetrical objects in nature have organic shapes and curves. Our body being forced into these unnatural settings dictates our physical and emotional response to these environments. Even if we can’t escape these “walls”, when we become aware of this phenomenon, we can choose to break free of them by actively moving in more flowing ways. I believe this is why moving in these “fluid” ways can feel so confronting, and can seem unnatural, because of what our man-made environment has taught us. it is so healing and I believe necessary to get back to our natural, organic, fluid state by breaking down these physical barriers society has laid upon us.
When my first son was born, and he came out of my fluid body, I knew of the absolute miracle of birth, and of life. He had been immersed in the waters for nine months in his perfectly safe environment, and then the realities of the outside world confronted him. He cried. My father who was very close to the end of his life really wanted to see our first born child, so we threw him in a baby capsule at less than 24 hours old. I had the thought “how bizarre to go from the organic world to a car seat!” He had no choice, and I could tell he would not have chosen that plastic child constraint if he had a choice in the matter! In this world we live in, we are trained in life to sit at desks, to live in boxed houses, to put our bodies in confined spaces, more like a “round peg (us) in a square hole “.
This is not our natural state. This is not our natural environment. We are meant to be free, and flowing, yet we put all these expectations and rigidity and formality on our lives to “keep up with the Kardashians”, or whoever.
It doesn’t suit us. But I understand, it is the world most of us live in most days of most weeks, which explains why it is so difficult to remember our natural state of flow and movement. This can be adjusted. We just have to learn to remember. If we start moving freely, our intuitive body will start speaking to us, it will remind us of what being natural is, it will guide us to move in ways that support us, from a muscular level all the way up to our crown chakra–
The marriage of our spirit to ourselves.
We all are dancers inside, we all have something to express, we all can heal our bodies by listening to our bodies. Like a morning stretch, which is a natural instinct, so is our movement for the rest of the day, if we break out of the confines of our daily lives, and get on with “pumping and grinding” to the universal song and dance.