Saturday, November 17, 2018

Living in Lands Prone to Wild Fires

Last week, November 8, is the day that the Paradise Fires began. As the news reeled in, my heart leapt in a panic. Feeling the tragedy on so many levels, I could not sleep, breathe or eat, without feeling the stress of the situation at hand. 
A few days later, I was in responsible for creating an altar for Dance Tribe Nevada City/ 5Rhythms gathering on Sunday. I wanted to acknowledge the tragedy, and the desire to lend a hand, while at the same time bearing witness to how vulnerable we here feel to wild fires too. What came through to me, spiritually, was my super sized white Polar Bear Stuffy and a pile of warm knit blankets, and quilts. One quilt held the history of my Great Grandmothers family as she had sewn the scraps together from recycling the clothing of her family thus carefully preserving those memories of her children. Add to this altar flowers and tangerines and the altar became both representative and functional.
In the middle of our 5 Rhythms dance, the Leader gives out a specific directive "Invitation" to follow in movement. This Invitation is one that evokes healing within. On this particular Sunday, the Leader invited us to dance the next dance as if it were our last, our last time together - which it might be. Yes, this was the feeling I was carrying with me. I swallowed hard with that suggestion, and then turned to the man next to me. We danced the most beautiful dance together, full of love and light. It was a gracious way to die! And in this last dance of life, I saw his beauty and I felt that he saw mine. I danced and witnessed at the same time. It was magical. It was real, alive, accepting, and beautiful -all at once.
The next day, I led my Authentic Movement Group, at Yoga Well Studio in Grass Valley. I am a strong believer that the Authentic Movement practice is the place to go to be vulnerable to yourself and others. The feeling we all held onto with the Fires need to be exposed and shared. So here's a synopsis of what we did. Each of us shared on a personal level how we were effected by the Fires. This was offered in a Speaking and Witnessing form, rather than a discussion. Next we helped one another in a grounding and breathing ritual together as a group. This aided us in dealing with our personal traumatic stresses as they were felt in the body. Next, we moved in a Authentic Movement form with the Teacher as the Witness. Normally we write after this and the Mover speaks with the opportunity then for Witnessing. Time is an important container, so instead we circled up and shared a Mindfulness Meditation together to prepare ourselves for moving out into our environment. Thank you all who participated in this rich practice: the voice we gave to our internal state of affairs, the deep listening, the breath work and grounding ritual with it's power to move us through to the next state, the Authentic Movement practice, which continued into a Mindfulness practice. I look forward to another Sunday, 5Rhythms, followed by another Monday, Authentic Movement Group Class. 

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