Monday, May 2, 2011

caterpillar dreaming

Spring brings new life, energy light and change. It was a difficult week that ended with an amazing experience and only today just now do i realize that i manifested that experience.  I needed to ground myself so that i wouldn't fly away.

I have recently become interested in Buddhism and meditation and my darling friend Stacerella suggested i check out dharma punx during my last visit to New York. She also mentioned 5 rhythms. Low and behold an email reminder appeared in my inbox saturday night for a day long retreat with Dharma Punx Against the Stream and 5 rhythms. A day of immersion into silent sitting meditation and then moving meditation through dance.

Needless to say i signed up.

Dharma Punx Against the Stream Mediation Society

'Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society was founded by Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx and Against the Stream, to make the teachings of the Buddha available to all who are interested. We wish to create and sustain communities of healthy, accountable, wise and compassionate people from every walk of life. We welcome people from all racial, economic, sexual, social, political and religious backgrounds and preferences and believe that the path of awakening is attainable by all and should be available to all.'

what is 5 rythms?

'The 5Rhythms is a cathartic form of dance for body, mind and heart developed by Gabrielle Roth. The practice itself is very simple. It is a map that can point you to the inherent wisdom of your own body. As well as being a great work out, a 5Rhythms class can be an opportunity to develop the skills of discipline, commitment and creativity, and to catalyze deep healing and self expression. All you need is the willingness to follow your feet into the next step.'

Being new to both practices i was super excited to jump in.  Dharma Punx' Against the Stream santa monica meeting space proved to be a non-intimidating environment and a very welcoming space.

We started with a sitting meditation started by one of Against the Stream's teachers, JoAnna Harper. She comes across as a strong, purposeful woman. I found her voice soothing as she directed me to close my eyes get comfortable and become still. To clear my mind of thought and ground myself in my own body, my breath. To feel the weight of my body on the chair and the weight of my hands on my lap. To be aware of my discomfort if any, and to consider staying still.

As my mind wandered toward what i had said to the woman who was nice enough to chat me up at the beginning of class, JoAnna's voice called me back to myself, "wherever you are, come home, your body is home."  For someone dealing with some body issues as of late it was an incredibly relative point of reference. 

As my thoughts went towards what would be happening later in the day JoAnna gently reminded me where i was. that the plans for later or future and the memories of yesterday could leave my mind as easily as they had come into it. That i should have compassion with myself and not judge these thoughts, or criticize myself for my mind's wandering as it is only natural. Just the sound of her voice guided me to returning home again to my body and my breath and becoming present. Something I realized it takes an effort to do in the age of iphones, droids, and everyone being so 'busy'. I liked being present.

We went from sitting to standing to movement with Kate Shela. Kate is a shamanic healer who teaches 5 rhythms in the U.S. and in Europe. Kate is a spitfire, silly, energetic, and all embracing. She is like a walking hug who doesn't do bullshit. She asks us to be true only for ourselves as she guided us through a wave of movement that is the 5 rhythms. 

What started out, as another participant summarized as "a weird wedding reception disco" to a truly cathartic experience with myself and with others. Relating to others through movement alone. Communicating yourself through dance as you feel it and however it comes. Slowly but surely without judgment. Living in my body and many a time completely present. 

By the end of this journey day i felt a part of a community of people and had experienced every emotion, fear, joy, solidarity, humor.

Like I said, I was in need of some grounding. A day of meditation and "mindfulness" and movement reminded me of who I am and who I want to be. That in dancing I am a dancer, that in writing I am writer, that in designing I am a designer and that in creating I am a creator. That in action and mindfulness I am moving forward. I am feeling very present for the first time in some time.

I have learned that I needn't dream of becoming the butterfly. I am the butterfly.