Dancing with Loss & Impermanence

Hello, Loves.

Feeling joyful as I write to you because, to me, it means we get to dance together tomorrow morning. Full disclosure: I also danced with the fabulous Lori Saltzman today (via zoom, of course) and it felt divine to move my body, feel my spine & hips release, and be in the “presence” of other beautiful dancers.

Rough week here. How was it for you?

On Wednesday, I experienced the unbridled joy of seeing my acupuncturist, whom I haven’t seen since March. I adore the man, Frank Griffo, and I’ve had the extreme good fortune to see him weekly for over ten years. Imagine my sadness when he announced he’s closing up shop in Berkeley. (He’ll still see clients in Petaluma). Sigh. I will miss him. I’ve put my well being in his capable hands for over a decade. I feel the loss. . . and the gratitude, both.

On Thursday, I discovered two distant friends had died; one from high school and the other from dance, Jewel Mathieson. Both taken by breast cancer. A different sort of sadness came over me with this news. Both beautiful souls who touched my life in meaningful ways. You may have danced with Jewel; fierce dancer, incredibly talented poet, beautifully authentic being. We grasp impermanence as a concept, but it’s harder to grapple with when it gets so real. May both women be free from suffering and all causes of suffering. May they know their true nature. Rest in peace, sweet women.

I feel like we’re all just holding on right now, trying to keep our collective head above water but sometimes we dip down into struggle mode. Considering the circumstances, that seems normal. From Jennifer Senior’s recent article in the NYT, WE’VE HIT A PANDEMIC WALL, “According to the National Center for Health Statistics, roughly one in 12 American adults reported symptoms of an anxiety disorder at this time last year; now it’s more than one in three.” If we’re struggling right now with some form of mental distress, we’re in good company. And so the question becomes: how do we take care of ourselves? How do we take care of each other? Being in nature helps me enormously. Meditation helps calm me down and get me centered. And dancing, this wonderful moving meditation practice that we have, well, it gets me out of my head and connects me with my heart and with spirit. This is the type of rejuvenation I need; juicy movement, shake-it-all-out movement, slow-sensual movement, jump-up-and-down movement, pound-on-the-floor-and-growl movement or the sway-in-spirit’s-sweet-embrace movement. The deep release of being danced (see below for more on that). I look forward to dancing with you tomorrow. I hope you’re taking good care of yourself . . . . . so that we can be of service to others.

It gives me joy to report that we will be in the very capable hands of our beloved Stacey Butcher tomorrow morning.

Here’s the link:

And here’s a poem written by Jewel. It was a gift to witness her perform a “reading” (it was more of a dance. . . and a wildly alive dance) after dance many years ago.

Come to Be Danced

We have come to be danced

Not the pretty dance

Not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance

But the claw our way back into the belly

Of the sacred, sensual animal dance

The unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance The holding the precious moment in the palms of our hands and feet dance.

We have come to be danced Not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance But the wring the sadness from our skin dance The blow the chip off our shoulder dance. The slap the apology from our posture dance.

We have come to be danced Not the monkey see, monkey do dance One two dance like you One two three, dance like me dance But the grave robber, tomb stalker Tearing scabs and scars open dance The rub the rhythm raw against our soul dance.

We have come to be danced Not the nice, invisible, self-conscious shuffle But the matted hair flying, voodoo mama shaman shaking ancient bones dance The strip us from our casings, return our wings sharpen our claws and tongues dance The shed dead cells and slip into the luminous skin of love dance.

We have come to be danced Not the hold our breath and wallow in the shallow end of the floor dance but the meeting of the trinity: the body, breath and beat dance

The shout hallelujah from the top of our thighs dance The mother may I? Yes you may take ten giant leaps dance The olly olly oxen free free free dance The everyone can come to our heaven dance.

We have come to be danced Where the kingdoms collide In the cathedral of flesh To burn back into the light To unravel, to play, to fly, to pray To root in skin sanctuary We have come to be danced! We have come.”

~ Jewel Mathieson

Sending you love. May you be danced.



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