Over coffee dates and over phone calls, she praises him as if he were a god. With a squeal and a radiant, teenage grin, she says to me, over and over again: He is the most fascinating, sexy, amazing man I’ve ever known! p
My dear friend is happy. And I am happy that she is happy.
She says, I hope you’ll love him, too. o
She tells me he is a quiet man. A man who selects friends and lovers carefully, with no great rush. p
And she always talks about his hugs. His amazing, mind-blowing hugs. She playfully warns me that, were I ever to have the pleasure of his embrace, all time would stop. I would pull back from his arms only to discover that five hours had passed and I had missed my bus. p
The season is spring.
He is wearing a dusty jean jacket from some long-ago decade. Simple wire, round glasses adorn his bearded face. To me, in this moment, he looks exactly like John Lennon. This is comforting. p
It is early in the evening, around seven o’clock. We are at a sacred sexuality workshop. All our friends are deliciously naked, mingling around the snack table, nibbling on chocolates and carrots. Giggling and flirting and silliness everywhere. op
My friend’s lover and I have been standing by the coffeepot: serene silence shared between sips. As he takes a step towards me, unfurling his arms in the universal gesture of let’s-hug-now, something inside me trembles. Time already seems strange. I make some sort of stupid joke, stalling. My heart is pounding. It feels like my words are some defense—but for what? I suddenly feel young, like a child. p
I’ve heard about your hugs, I say. Should I be nervous? p
No, he replies. A kind smile. Gentle, merry eyes. p
We embrace. p
I sigh. I melt. Something new is now here.
We stand here … minutes or hours, I’m not sure … the din and chaos of happy friends all around us. We are floating. We are floating in a sea of love and touch: no boat, no anchor, no map or plan. There is just this.
I’ve had a lot of questions lately about how Reiki (energy healing) really works.
In this post, I’m going to give you the answers you’ve been looking for.
Okay, here we go …
The Japanese word “Reiki” means “universal life force energy.” This is a similar concept to “prana” in the system of yoga and “chi” in the practice of Tai Chi. In fact, all ancient cultures around the world have this concept.
Simply put, Reiki is the stuff of life. It is our basic building block of existence.
Each one of us is composed of energy. This is what we fundamentally are. Our science textbooks when we were kid may have said that we are made of atoms, of particles, of matter—however, my friends, I’m sorry to tell you that that was sorely outdated info!
Energy. We are made of energy.
And what is energy, you ask? Energy is vibrating waves of light.
It may appear that our bodies are perfectly solid—however, this is just an optical illusion!
The latest studies in quantum physics have shown that our eyes interpret objects and people as solid forms simply because that is the easiest way for us human beings to be able to function in our daily lives. (Wouldn’t it be a bit chaotic and annoying if our friends and our furniture were always swirling and moving about?!)
In reality, over 99% of your body (and everything else!) is empty space!
When our eyes “see” something, they are actually filtering out most of what is actually there, and simply showing us a more easily-digestible, easily-understandable picture.
Maybe you’ve heard of psychics who can see auras or mediums who can communicate with deceased loved ones in other realms? How do they do this, you ask? Well, they can do this simply because these people have trained themselves (or they have been born with a special gift) to see the quantum reality. They can see things that are hidden to most people. They see energy.
A Reiki healer is also someone who can perceive the deepest quantum, energetic reality. They’ve been specially trained to sense into the energetic reality of the human body, mind, emotions—everything.
During an energy healing session, the practitioner collects the Reiki energy from all around them and channels it into you for the purposes of your upliftment and healing.
Sound supernatural? Not really. They are performing a service that, in truth, anyone can learn how to do.
Doing Reiki is not a rare magic power. We all have the capability to learn this skill. It is a totally natural process.
Indeed, we all have the ability to channel energy for healing purposes. Even young children can do it. It’s simply that our society has trained us to believe otherwise. Learning Reiki or another form of energy healing is simply a process of de-conditioning yourself from what society has taught you.
On a spiritual level, an energy healer is someone who is helping you to remember why you came onto the planet, why you are here in this body and in this life. They are reassuring comforters and way-showers. They tell you what the politicians don’t know and what your parents probably didn’t teach you. They help reveal to you the awesome, mystical secrets.
In truth, who you really are at the quantum level is not a personality nor a body, but rather a timeless, immortal spirit. You are waves of beautiful, pulsating energy. You are Divinity itself.
Through contact with a Reiki healer, your whole system is upgraded. Just like it’s beneficial to periodically upgrade your computer software, the same is true for us humans, too. We need periodic upgrades in order to reach higher states of health, wisdom, and wellbeing.
Indeed, when we receive a Reiki healing session, we are receiving a beneficial adjustment at the deepest level of who we are.
Usually, people are initially drawn to Reiki because they are suffering a problem, whether emotional or physical. And yet, once they experience a Reiki session, they begin to ask deeper questions about life. They begin their long-awaited spiritual adventure.
Indeed, a healing crisis is often the beginning of a very beautiful adventure.
Though illness may initially appear “bad,” in truth it is beautiful because it often triggers an earnest search beyond the surface-level of reality, beyond what appears to be true … this is the path to enlightenment.
Dear friend, welcome to Reiki! Welcome to your healing journey! May you be blessed!
Today we will dismantle the second major myth about work. (Please see Part 1 to learn about the first myth.)
Myth #2: Resources are scarce, so it is necessary to compete.
The myth of competition has been so embedded into our consciousness that we might not even notice it. It’s been drilled into us since we were little kids. Remember in your school textbooks, the stories about Darwin and evolution? Ideas about how “nature” is a harsh and brutal survival of the fittest?
Did you ever think about who wrote those textbooks?
The people who wrote those textbooks, the people who promote the myth of competition is propagated by those who are not yet spiritually awake. These are ignorant people, clouded by deep misperceptions about how life really works.
The myth of competition and survival of the fittest serves the wealthy elite—but it certainly doesn’t serve you or me.
Simply put, the myth of competition serves to excuse bad behavior by those who would like to mentally justify their actions of greed.
If we believe that the Earth has scarce resources, then we will, naturally, feel justified in fighting over them and not playing together as a team. We will allow hierarchy. We will not cooperate. We will turn against our brothers and sisters, mistakenly seeing our fellow humans as enemies rather than as family.
The myth of scarcity creates fear, which leads us to work at jobs we don’t like.
Here are some of the common fear-based ideas we have, that stem from this outdated myth, that keep us trapped in passionless jobs:
It’s better to have a job I don’t like than it is to be homeless
It’s better to have a job I don’t like than it is to or to be a burden to my family or to “the system”
It’s OK that I don’t like my job because I’m lucky to have a job at all—so many other people are unemployed…so I shouldn’t complain
My boss is a real jerk, but hey, I’m grateful that he hasn’t laid me off yet
I’m not happy here, but at least I have health insurance and a retirement package
I’m not happy here with this salaried job, but at least I get a vacation every year
I have to stay in this job because I have to make my mortgage payment and car payment
If I quit this job, someone else will take it
If I start my own business, I won’t have any security and what if things don’t work out? At least with this job, I have a safe, steady paycheck
There’s too much competition out there to start my own business. Where will my clients come from? Who would really want what I have to offer? It’s all just too risky.
I have invested so many years into this career. To walk away now would mean failure.
I want to get to the top, even if it means I sacrifice some happiness every day. The stress is worth it in order to achieve my dreams.
As awakening coach Isabella A. Greene says, we humans are waking up to “a new paradigm of purpose and sharing our gifts.”
Indeed, humanity is evolving to understand that we are in this together. Truly, there is no such thing as competition—there are only our brothers and sisters. We can take each other’s hands, and walk this exciting path of work—together.
As we wake up, as we find our true selves on our spiritual path, we realize that we are stronger than the 1% elite, because our powers are the powers of love and sharing. We have the power of the entire Universe behind us!
As we share, we infinitely multiply the resources that exist. We see that resources are not scarce when they are shared sustainably and equally. For example, programs like regenerative agriculture show us that the concept of abundance is not just a silly new-age pipe dream, but an actual concrete reality that can be manifested.
Currently, the world economy produces enough food to feed every single person on the planet. If this is so, then why the heck are people still starving? Why are women, children, indigenous peoples and minorities struggling to make ends meet? The answer to this vexing question is simple: Humanity as a whole is still running the old programs of scarcity and competition. These programs keep us enslaved: sad, desperate, and in poverty.
In this New Earth paradigm we are co-creating, we share light (knowledge) with others, and then they share it with others … and then they share it with others … and so on and so on …
We are so powerful! The process of awakening has begun, and it cannot be stopped!
If we consciously change our ideas about work, the consequences will have a ripple effect that will, quite literally, change everything in humanity.
As the old systems fall apart, we can, finally, begin to free ourselves from the mentality of competition and see our brothers and sisters as allies. We are in this together. Each of us has a unique contribution to share: a contribution that will leap us out of bed every morning—excited to share, learn, grow, and discover, together.
If you’ve found this blog, chances are, you’ve been asking yourself this question a lot lately.
Well, you’re in good company! Welcome to the deep question zone. These days, so many of us are asking deep, profound questions about what it means to live with purpose and passion.
As we wake up to the joy of living, as we awaken to our true identity in this time that many of us call “The New Earth,” we realize there are some old ideas about work that we no longer wish to support. We realize that it would be in our benefit to release these old ideas and adopt new, more empowering beliefs in their place.
It is indeed time for a radical restructuring of belief about work!
In this post, I’ll debunk one of the major myths about work from the old paradigm. (In my next post, I’ll debunk the second major myth. Stay tuned!)
These myths are fear-driven and energetically keep us stuck in patterns that do not allow for us to live our lives to the most beautiful fullest.
Once these myths are cleared from our minds, we can begin to truly plan for our beautiful future—for what truly excites us!
Myth #1: Work is hard.
Did your parents ever tell you that work is hard? I bet they did. For most of us, our parents, grandparents, teachers (and pretty much everybody else!) told us, over and over and over again, that work is hard, that work sucks.
The idea that work sucks is so prevalent in our global human society. However, we are beginning to question it. We are beginning to break free.
As we question it, we ask ourselves: Whom does this myth really serve?
Well … this myth serves certain people, but it certainly doesn’t serve you or me!
To put it simply, the myth that work is hard serves a wealthy elite: the tiny sliver of population (“the 1%”) who control the financial systems and wish to keep you enslaved in subsistence/survival living.
If we believe the myth that work is hard, then we will sheepishly slave away, plugging away at work we dislike, for crappy pay—while their pockets grow ever-fuller.
This myth keeps us trapped.
If we believe that work is hard, then our standards for how employers treat us is going to be low.
If we believe that work is hard, then we won’t ask ourselves if we truly enjoy the work. We will just do it, like a robot, because … well, we gotta earn a paycheck, right?
In truth, work is meant to be a beautiful, life-giving, nourishing experience! Work is meant to be serve others in their awakening and healing process, as well as serve ourselves, serve our own curiosities and passions and learning goals.
In the New Earth paradigm, the giving and the receiving are One. There is equal joy in both.
I remember the first time I ever got paid for giving a Reiki healing session. I remember the woman handing me the cash. I stared at it for a long time, in nervousness and disbelief. I thought: “Wow, I’m actually getting paid to do this???”
At that time, I actually felt quite a bit of guilt for accepting money for doing something that was easy and that I actually enjoyed. Back then (this was about 7 years ago), there was that old programming deep within me that said, “Hey, work is supposed to suck. You are only supposed to get money for doing things that you dislike.”
It’s taken me a few years of intentional self-work and deprogramming to unravel the myth that work is hard. I’m currently in the final stages of learning this lesson.
I realize that not only do I wish to receive money for doing what I love—but that doing so is a requirement for the kind of life I want to create! I want my life to be a testament to others for how life can be in the New Earth paradigm. I want my life to be an inspiration.
In this new age, we are coming to see work as an expression of one’s unique soul signature. We each have particular inclinations, passions, and areas of interest that we incarnated to Earth to explore. Work is a major aspect of a human lifetime.
As we wake up out of the fear-driven old paradigm, we gather the courage within ourselves to take leaps of faith. We start our own business. Or we join an intentional community. Or we buy a cabin out in the woods and go off-the-grid.
Whatever we choose, we do it courageously, knowing that life is meant to be joyful and that the work we do is meant to feed not just our belly but our soul.
Indeed, rather than being overly difficult, work is meant to be a fun, flowing, uplifting experience. A way to invest our life force for the betterment of all.
When we are exploring our own unique passions through work, everyone benefits—because the quality of service, then, is naturally going to be higher when it is performed by those who love doing it.
Yes, of course, there’s still going to be routine, “mundane” tasks that need to get done. We’ve got to wash the dishes, chop the firewood, and clean the toilets. Fine. We can certainly work out fair, sustainable ways to share that labor. Of course! But the key is that, in the New Earth paradigm, a majority of what we’re doing on a daily basis is suited to our own unique soul. We are living out our dreams.
In the old paradigm, work is shit, and we are all expected to cram ourselves into uncomfortable little boxes in exchange for some dollars so that we can pay some bills. We drag ourselves from Monday through Friday and then fall into an exhausted heap on Saturday. Why? Is this really living? Is this really what we really came here to do?
In the new paradigm you and I are currently building, more and more of us are rising up and saying NO to the myths of the old system. We understand that what we offer to the world in exchange for monetary (and other types) of abundance are, truly, works of art.
Through our awareness and joy, we become a channel for the Divine, and birth our own unique manifestations into the world. In this way, work is never drudgery, but always an ecstatic adventure into the sacred unknown.
As Reiki practitioners, we tune into a particular vibration. We use our bodies like antennae, and we bring into ourselves a certain specific frequency: love.
When we tune into the vibration of love, we do this for the wellbeing of not just ourselves and our clients, but also for all beings.
In Buddhism, there is the notion of the Bodhisattva: the being who chooses to incarnate into a body with a mission to heal suffering. Bodhisattvas carry out their missions through their tremendous capacity to love everyone, unconditionally.
As Reiki practitioners, we have the very same mission. We are bearers of unconditional, boundless love.
INCREASING OUR CAPACITY FOR LOVE
Many of us are just beginning our journeys of service. And some of us have been serving love for a long, long time. However, even those of us who have been practicing Reiki for decades still sometimes deal with flare-ups of anger, sadness, and other lower-vibrational emotions.
As healers, how do we increase our capacity to love? How do we raise our vibration?
We increase our capacity to love through our intention. What the mind decides, the body manifests.
We set the intention to love every single day. We wake up and we say something like: “Yes, Love is the vibration I wish to embody, in every action, every word, and every thought.”
Every day, we as Reiki practitioners take action that is in alignment with the vibration of boundless, unconditional love. We are Present for others. We smile at strangers on the street. We help those who are in a crisis. When we are offering our professional healing services, we offer a sliding scale or donation sessions to those who are in need.
Every day, we model what real love looks like. We show others what is possible. We rebel against the cultural norms of the mainstream world. We share. We question. And, we intentionally choose not to follow the rules and regulations of a corrupt matrix, including those of a government to which we are not aligned.
Most importantly, we increase our capacity for love by choosing to bring the love frequency into our own bodies through daily self-healing sessions. We self-heal and self-heal and self-heal until we are so thoroughly familiar with the vibration of love that it simply becomes who we are.
In the beginning of our Reiki journey, it may be that the feeling of love may be limited to just during meditation or during healing sessions, or to during those beautiful moments when we feel love for our family or close friends … however, as time passes, and as our practice deepens, the frequency of love becomes so saturated into our systems that love is simply who we are.
DOING VERSUS BEING
In the wonderful book The Inner Heart of Reikiby Frans Stiene, he reminds us that Mikao Usui’s deepest teachings are not really about doing hands-on healings, but rather about “being Reiki.”
Imagine you are walking down a busy shopping street.
Can you walk up to each and every person,
place your hands on them and do hands-on healing?
Of course not, we would be in big trouble.
But we can “Be Reiki.”
We can walk in that state of mind of our innate great bright light,
and all the people, animals, trees, you name it, who come into contact
with our innate great bright light
can take from this light whatever they need (page 181).
Frans is so right. When we dedicate our lives to awakening with Reiki, awakening with the light, we are affecting the vibratory field of everyone around us. And, not only that, but we also create a ripple effect that shifts everything in existence. We affect the whole planet and the whole Universe too when we raise our vibration.
As Reiki practitioners, we are gridworkers as well, meaning that we anchor in the higher frequencies of love on this planet, in specific locations that need it. We bring love into our own bodies, and that radiates outward, for the wellbeing of all.
And, yes, this process takes time! It takes patience. We may be currently working on healing heavy traumas from our childhood or we may be living under extremely difficult circumstances. There are many challenges that we face when we decide to incarnate onto this planet. Difficulty is part of the game of Earth. Through difficulty, we learn the lessons we need to learn in order to help others.
RISING ABOVE THE FEAR
Daily life on this planet can be tough sometimes. As highly sensitive beings, there are many other competing frequencies besides love that we often feel inside our bodies. For me, for example, when I am in a room of sad or anxious people, my skin will literally start to hurt!
Our government propagates these competing frequencies, as well as our media, schools, and even our well-meaning families. These frequencies can be called many things, but their basic message is fear.
When we dedicate our lives to the mission of awakening ourselves and helping others awaken, however, we have the power to rise above that fear. We intentionally tune into the opposite of fear, which is love.
♥ Please see my Youtube video for more about how to transcend your comfort zone ♥
Comfort zones. We all have them.
Having a comfort zone is part of being a human being. It’s natural. It’s normal.
A comfort zone may last a few weeks or a few years. It may be subtle or it may be glaringly obvious.
What is a comfort zone? Simply put, a comfort zone is a plateau of evolution. A place where we feel stuck. Things feel heavy, slow, boring, tedious, lifeless, blaaaaaaa….
Somewhere, deep within our bones, we somehow know there is more … but what is it? How do we reach for it when we don’t even know what it is? Or, if we do know what it is … how do we experience what we want if we’ve never experienced it before? What do we do? How do we transcend? p
A comfort zone might be an addiction. An unhealthy eating habit. A pattern of procrastination. A suffocating relationship that no longer brings growth. A job that holds no joy, that grimly “pays the bills.” p
So, my dear friends, I ask you: What’s your comfort zone? p
SPREADING OUR WINGS p
As we begin to consider how we will transcend our comfort zone, let us consider a lesser-known definition of the word transcend. p
To transcend means “to become independent of.” p
What does it mean to be independent? Well, to become independent of something, we become free. We spread our wings and we fly away, up up up into the beautiful sky. We go into the unknown. p
If you are reading this article, then, chances are, you are ready. You are ready to transcend and find your freedom. p
In my work as a life coach and healer, I have found that transcendence tends to occur in two major steps. Both steps are equally important to the process. p
BECOMING FREE IN 2 STEPS
Step One: Ask the Divine for Help.
It takes humility to recognize that we, as human beings, do not have complete control. One of the reasons why AA programs are so effective is because they begin with the basic premise that in order to transcend alcoholism, we must first ask God (or a higher power) for help. p
This is so powerful. p
Indeed, change does not happen without Divine intervention, aiding our efforts.
Make no mistake: every time something miraculous happens to someone, every time some great change or good fortune occurs, there is Divine assistance at play.
Our egos might want to resist this timeless wisdom, but if we can momentarily detach ourselves from ego and simply feel with our hearts, the truth becomes clear.
It does take humility to admit we need help. This is not always easy. Nevertheless, once we can tap into that open space of humility, we open ourselves as a channel for the Divine to work miracles in our lives: to bring us the right people, resources, information, and energy that we need in order to transcend our comfort zone.
My dear friends, I encourage you to not skip ahead to the next step before asking for help! Most people skip ahead to step two without fully feeling step one.
Indeed, step one is absolutely vital!
If we want to change, but do not humbly ask for assistance from the Divine, then the action that we take is often unfocused, ineffective, frustrating, or it may take incredibly large amounts of sheer willpower that may eventually drain us. We may even eventually quit, because we are burdened and exhausted by the heavy weight that comes with falsely believing that we are in 100% in control. p
Step Two: Take Inspired Action
Yes, my friend, you do have a huge part to play in your evolution. You must take action in order for change to happen. You can’t simply stay in your pajamas all day, begging God for a miracle. p
However, the action you take must be first inspired by the Divine.
What does this mean? p
Well, acting from a place of inspiration means becoming more and more in tune with our intuition. We must cultivate intuition in order to know which action is right action and which ideas are just coming from ego and are a drain on our precious energy.
How do we cultivate greater levels of intuition, you ask?
The answer is simple: We engage in spiritual practice. We meditate. We do yoga. We read spiritual books. We participate in spiritual community. We turn off the TV and we get out into Nature. We turn off our phones and breathe. We pay attention to the foods (fuel) we are putting into our precious bodies. We slow down. We be.
As we devote more time in our daily lives to spiritual practice, our ability to tap into our intuition increases. We begin to hear what the Divine wants from us. We begin to feel the flow. p
Through Divinely-guided intuition, we clearly know the precise action to take that is most efficient on our path of transcendence, out of the comfort zone.
By combining powerful action (step 2) with humble recognition of the Divine powers that assist us (step 1), we become free. We move into a future that is more abundant with light and joy. We shed our heavy past burdens.
In truth, being stuck is an illusion.
In truth, there is no stuck.
The Universe wants us to evolve.
The Universe wants us to grow.
But don’t just take my word for it … test it out, and see for yourself!
A few minutes into the dance, and my eyes begin to burn with tears. My breath comes faster and faster.
This is the moment of the dance. Here it is: the moment of the unveiling. Today, the act of dancing is like looking into a mirror after rolling around in the mud. It’s a bit scary.
This is the moment of the dance; the time when the fear is released. There is a gorgeous song playing, haunting female vocals. I am allowing every note of it to invade the universe of my cells. I am one with the song.
Sometimes, as I dance tonight, I am a soft and subtle priestess: swirling, delicate, my wrists articulating the swoosh and grace of my subtle gossamer being—and, at other times, I am a forceful, angry, ferocious masculine beast: my feet kick and stomp, my fists pump and punch the air. I am hungry; I want blood.
The tears come faster now. Wet and thick like sludge. Some of these tears fall onto the carpet underneath my feet, and some of them fall into my open mouth and I digest them. These tears are primal and necessary. I must release them.
These tears let me know that I have accidentally taken on too much weight, lately, from the world. I have absorbed too much from the (seeming) brokenness around me: the poverty, the violence, the hatred, the fears. The bruised woman, tattooed from head to toe, who came to me for counsel, her traumatized child at her hip, who barely made eye contact. The friend who I watch killing himself with every cigarette. The glaring president on the television screen who says “build the walls”…
… somehow, somehow, in these past few days, since my last dance, that woman with the tattoos, that friend with the cigarettes, and that president have somehow broken my heart. I have allowed them to. I have forgotten who I am.
HOW TO DANCE
The dance doesn’t have to be pretty today. The dance doesn’t have to be perfect.
These are the words I tell myself on the days when it’s tough to get off my couch. These are the words I say when I feel lazy.
The dance can be whatever it is, Anya. It can be slow or it can be fast. I can spit or I can smile. I can be wild and mean or a delicate beauty. Whatever. Just dance. Just do it! Just do whatever comes …
For no matter how awfully, no matter how awkwardly a dance might begin, it will always always end in joy—if you give it enough time.
Yes, the secret of dance is to give it enough time. Give it as much as it takes. Stand up, turn on the music, turn off the clocks, and dance. Allow the dance to feel weird or laborious until the precious moment comes when the dance is a true dance. When all the fears are gone, and the music possess you.
For the past few years, I have made the commitment to myself to dance two or three times a week. And, recently, I have just completed a 30-day dance challenge—where I danced every single day, no matter how tired, no matter whether I was in the mood.
It was incredible.
So, what have I learned about dance?
I have learned that dancing is one of the most freeing things a human being can do.
And I have learned that I, personally, love to dance alone. It has become a sacred ritual for me. I do also love going to my weekly dance class when I can, but my home dance practice is deeply fulfilling.
When I begin my dance, in my humble living room, on freezing winter nights or on sumptuous summer afternoons, I begin with a prayer and I end with a prayer. At the beginning I say, “Please make me a vessel for the divine light to dance through me.” At the end I say, “Thank you; I am so grateful for this dance.”
Yes, friends, I dance with intention; I dance as a healing art. I dance for my own sanity and for my own self-compassion. I dance to fall in love with myself.
I dance freeform. No memorized steps. Just feel what emerges.
Some days the dancing is short: ten or twenty minutes is all I need: it’s a full busy day, and I’m already feeling good.
On other days, however, the dancing is a long and twisting journey: I turn off the phones and the clocks and everything else that beeps and I promise to dance until that blessed moment comes when I begin to feel good. I wait for the serotonin; I wait for the sigh of relief and the smile. On those rather rough days, I know that nothing else is as important as my empowered decision to dance.
Dance is a commitment I have made to myself.
It is a commitment to my own evolution and healing.
On the tough days, indeed, the dance is absolutely imperative to my wellbeing. I know that until this fear departs, I am utterly useless. I cannot serve myself, let alone serve others. Until this fear subsides, what can I possibly do?
So, I dance. I dance the fear away.
I choose to dance and I come alive within the dance. I lose myself, my typical notions of what “me” is.
I blur. I become a goddess and a god when I dance: I reach both, the place where gender has no meaning. I put on my comfiest sweatpants or my sexiest skirt, and I dance until the time comes when sweat slides down my neck and I am intoxicated by the smell of my own armpits as my head thrashes from side to side. I find I actually like this smell.
And now comes the moment when I strip. I peel off all my sweaty clothes, throwing them triumphantly onto the carpet in a beautiful, crazy heap. My roommate is not home. At this moment, I am naked and dancing. At this point, I have reached ecstasy. No drugs needed, except the delicious batch of chemicals my brain has made, especially for me.
HEAL YOUR BRAIN AND YOUR BODY WITH DANCE
Where does anxiety come from?
From whence does fear originate?
Why are some people able to cure their depression while others commit suicide?
Where does the darkness come from, and how can we bring in the light?
These profound questions about what it means to be a human being are no longer simply relegated to the province of priests—now, in our modern age, scientists, sociologists, and psychotherapists are joining the dialogue.
In the holistic community, dance is being used as a treatment for depression, PTSD, autism, eating disorders, and many other conditions. There is much research out there now, showing how dance is an extremely effective healing tool.
For example, Christina Devereaux, spokesperson for the American Dance Therapy Association, describes dance as a way of shedding light upon what’s hidden within the psyche, as a way to explore, purge, and clear painful emotions. “We really believe in the body/mind connection,” she says. “Dance is a way for people to use what’s happening inside them and express it in an external, expansive way.”
In a 2015 peer-reviewed study, neuroscience researchers found that dancing boosts self-esteem, lowers anxiety, and increases psychological wellbeing.
And at the Stanford Neuroscience Health Center, for elders with Parkinson’s meet weekly to dance to live music and spoken word poetry. This “Dance for PD” class is a truly holistic therapy: it heals on the physical as well as the emotional and mental levels as well. Incredibly, the program was launched 15 years ago in Brooklyn, New York, and is now offered in 16 countries around the world!
MY OWN DANCE JOURNEY
For over three decades, I struggled to live. The combination of undiagnosed PTSD (derived from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as a child) plus being gifted with a number of intuitive gifts and sensitivities (gifts not recognized as valid by my culture) left me disabled and suicidal. I simply couldn’t figure out how to function in the world.
In my early thirties, I had no choice but to leave behind a promising academic career, shortly after earning my PhD, due to my rapidly-disintegrating immune system and an advanced case of adrenal fatigue syndrome. (These are, unfortunately, quite common issues for those with unhealed trauma.) For a while, my friends and intentional family had to take care of me. I intuitively knew that if something didn’t shift soon, I would die.
Today, my life looks so radically different that sometimes I shake my head in grateful disbelief. I am healthier now in mind, body, and spirit than I ever have been in my entire life.
In my healing journey, I have been blessed to receive help in many beautiful forms: a highly-intuitive counselor, trusted spiritual teachers, a community of loving friends, and daily holistic practices such as reiki, raw juicing, yoga, and meditation. All of these tools greatly aided my recovery.
And it was that the final, powerful piece of my healing puzzle clicked into place a few years ago, the moment I discovered dance. It felt like nothing short of a miracle. A way to radically rewire my brain and detoxify old, clogged-up emotions.
A way to experience pure joy!
DEFINITIONS OF DANCE
Dance is moving faster than the speed of thought.
Dance is immersion in sound.
Dance is instinctive. It connects us with our ancestors, the ancient tribes who danced for rain and to celebrate the hunt.
Dance is primal and sacred. It’s an opening of the heart. It’s a healing space where we feel the music so intensely, so fully, that our bodies cannot help but move.
Dance is being possessed by the dance. The dancer becoming the dance. The body becoming a channel. A vessel of light.
Indigenous cultures throughout history have practiced dance as not only a celebration, but also as a divine healing art. During the height of my healing crisis, about six years ago, my friend Pattie, a Native American medicine woman, began to teach me how to dance. Her lessons were not formal nor were they complicated. They simply arose, organically and simply, because I was ill and she loved me.
We sat by the fire in the open air. Barefoot. Summer evening, fireflies. She began to drum. And she asks me, before the dance, “Are you finally ready to let go of your fear?”
I remember her watching me. I remember melting into the realization that she knew things that I did not. She possessed a knowledge deeper and truer than could be expressed in logical language. As I began to dance around the leaping fire, my feet stomping and grinding with Mother Earth, I wept. I moaned and sighed: anger that had been bottled since my childhood was finally leaving me.
In those beautiful moments with Pattie, I felt all the benevolent spirits who guided her nod their silent, loving assent. (Maybe those spirits were my friends, too?)
On those blessed summer evenings, I danced. I finally felt connected: to her, to her Ojibwa tribe, and to all the people of the Earth who understand the simple ways of healing.
We humans in modern cities lose a bit of life energy every day. Pollution, noise, stress, crappy jobs, poisoned food, living in squared-shaped boxes made of toxic materials. Our feet rarely touch the Earth.
Indeed, we lose our balance in one thousand ways and we become ill. We forget our connection to Source. Through sacred dance, however, we bring our awareness back into our bodies, back into our holy temples. We get our blood flowing again. We turn off our gadgets and our thinking minds, and we return to a simpler, more loving way of being.
What is dance, you ask?
Dance is a mode of reconnection. A testament to the truth that: every body, no matter how seemingly damaged, wants to heal.
Dance is a mode of evolution.
When we are dancing, we forget our stories. We forget our successes, our failures, our labels, our concepts, our To Do Lists…these all vanish, in the glory of the dance. The story of “me” dies.
And what remains? The true self. The healed self.
THE UNEXPECTED MIRACLE OF DANCE
Dance is a miracle. And we don’t even need music to do it.
Next time you’re in line at the grocery store, try and see what it feels like to gently sway your hips back and forth. Or, when you’re talking to the teller at the bank, what does flexing that smile on your face feel like? When you’re at home washing dishes, what does the soap and hot water feel like as you move your hands in rhythmical patterns across the glistening porcelain?
Can you feel the movement and graceful shapes of your body as you go through your daily life?
Can you make a game of it?
Can each moment of physical expression in this incarnation be an art form unto itself? Can life itself be a joy?
It’s time to turn up the music, my dear friends. Transport yourself to a miraculous place, beyond time and logic. No need to plan, no need to think. Just be. Just be you.
Feel the grace and splendor of your limbs, and breathe in this beautiful thing called life!
There are moments in life that we never forget. p
We look back upon them, wondering if the Universe had arranged it just for us. p
One such moment took place many years ago. p
A MESSENGER IN DISGUISE p
My family and I were living in Houston at the time, and we were on our way to visit relatives in Arizona during the holidays. The easiest way to get there by car is to take Interstate 10 straight across Texas, heading west. My girls were still toddlers at the time, and my wife was dozing off in the passenger seat, settling in for the long drive ahead. p
Knowing that the trip would take forever, I was anxious to make good time, and was driving just over the speed limit. p
Then, two cars that seemed to be following each other passed me, going about 90 mph. I decided, “hey, if they can go that fast, so can I!” So I pulled in behind them and followed them, also going 90 mph. At the time, I foolishly thought, “I’m behind them, so if a cop is going to pull somebody over for speeding, it will be the two cars in front!” p
Boy was I wrong! p
About ten minutes after I had started following the other two cars, I saw a state trooper with its lights on, following me, so I slowly pulled over to the side and stopped. We were somewhere between Houston and San Antonio, so we were still just getting started on our long road trip. “Great!” I thought. “What a way to start out a long trip!” Needless to say, my wife was not pleased with me. p
After showing my driver’s license and my insurance to the state trooper, he asked me to step out of the car, so I followed him to the back of our car, nervous about getting a speeding ticket. He had very blonde hair, almost yellow in color, and the brightest, clearest blue eyes I have ever seen. There was a glimmer in his eyes, even though his face was stern, which struck me as odd. He asked me, “Why were you speeding?” p
Not having a good response, I hemmed and hawed, and finally said, “Well, you see, I was just following the other two cars. They were speeding as well, so I thought I could just follow them.” p
The officer looked me square in the eyes, with his bright blue sparkling eyes. From his appearance and demeanor, I could have sworn that I was talking to somebody not from this world! He told me something to extent of, “Don’t do things just because other people are doing them. Follow your own way; be true to yourself.” p
He then proceeded to let me go with just a warning. p
BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
I could not believe it. Not only did I not get a speeding ticket when I was clearly speeding, but the trooper’s message hit home, in my gut. p
At some level, I already knew what he was saying to be true … as a loner, I generally tend to do my own thing anyways. It seemed like the one time I had decided to blindly follow others, I had been given a stern but gentle warning—don’t! p
Needless to say, I did not speed the rest of the trip to Arizona. p
Ever since then, I have been ever-conscious of not blindly following others, but instead, processing information for myself and deciding what to do with it for myself. I have been warned, and next time I may not be so lucky. p
His message really applies to all of us: don’t follow others, but follow your own path. Make decisions for yourself. Don’t just go with the flow, or with whatever is trendy or mainstream at the time. Follow what you know to be true and right in your own heart. p
This is true in pretty much every aspect of our lives: in our faith and spirituality; our relationships; our politics; our careers, and so on. p
Be true to yourself. Follow your own heart and mind.
So … are there areas where you may be following others blindly?
Do you follow your heart—even if it goes against what others say? p
Do you follow what you know is right, and live with integrity?
Known as the Be at Peace Coach, José de la Torre works with clients helping them achieve their goals and find peace by working with their minds, emotions and energy in a holistic fashion. He is author of Spiritual Living for Busy People, and also practices and teaches Qi Gong. Please contact him at peace-coach.com