Dancing On Water

A floating stage

An ever-shifting floor

An  offering of public art

A prayer

Such a spectacular day!  Venturing forth on Cape Cod Bay on our Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP), I was inspired by the gorgeousness to take my pop-up dance project to another level.  I mean, the day just begged to be danced, decked out as she was in aquamarine skies, bright sunshine and crystalline sea.

So, yes!  Dancing on the water was just the ticket to express joy and gratitude for Mother Nature’s resplendence.

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As someone who has done her fair share of performing outdoors, I was floored by the special experience of dancing right on top of the ocean.  Inexpressibly freeing, it felt both primal and transcendent.  Rapturous. Dancing to the sun and wind and sea, out on the vast watery expanse, with only a few inches of board between me and the sea.

Or, zero inches between us….when I fell in:).  There was just enough wind and wave to make things interesting.   Challenging me to be supersensitive to the countless shifts and extra aware of my own physicality, especially my core. As adaptable and mindful as I tried to be, I was thrown a few times by my amazing and mercurial dance partner: the ocean.

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Doing the kind of movement I love, which uses momentum and focuses on the breath, the swooping, dropping and suspending felt like a lovely match for the gentle, and not so gentle, rise and fall of wind and wave.

While a main intention was reverential, another aim was to share my passion for dancing with folks nearby on the water and the beach.  Part of my ongoing practice to thread the magic and power of dance into daily life.  Spreading the word with more people that dance and art can ideally, and should, be everywhere.

#danceiseverywhere

“…I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on a purely physical plane will have resonances with our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive….”~Joseph Campbell

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”~Martha Graham

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Thinking In Magic

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On a whim, I stopped in briefly at a favorite shop while we were on vacation. This change purse* immediately caught my eye.  And stopped me in my tracks.

What would that mean?  To think more often, even regularly, in terms of penchantment, mystery, wonder?  Rather than, say, in terms of logic, i.e. reason and strict principles of validity.

Sure, I think and talk about magic at times, especially when I am creating.  But I appreciate the reminder to cultivate this practice, of weaving magic’s radiant threads more lavishly into the fabric of daily life.

The gifts of logic and science and technology are undeniably enormous.  Yet, the  treasures of fascination, charm, entrancement make our existence shimmer in inexpressible ways.  Unforgettable and soaring ways.

And the magic that produces them needs to be cultivated and cherished.  Whether that sense of magic flows from an astounding sunrise or a blockbuster film or making art or hearing a piece of music that won’t let go or a heartfelt hug or…..

Even when moments can be and often are explained in terms of logic, they can be experienced in terms of magic, and miracle.  Take the very fact of reading this post.  What an incredibly wondrous confluence of feats your body, mind and soul are achieving at this very moment!

Sheer magic.

So, yep, I bought that little purse, which I will be carrying with me every day.  To remind me that magic, like love, is all around us.  And in us.  Just waiting to be discovered…and nurtured.

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.  Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”~Roald Dahl

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*Change purse: http://www.papayaart.com

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Overwhelming The World With Kindness

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”~Aesop

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As we were strolling in a small but busy seaside city recently, an older woman took a serious fall on the brick walk.  While no one saw the spill, numerous people rushed to help her upon hearing her screaming and seeing her writhing in pain on the ground.

Within seconds, folks were consoling her; volunteering to call 911; jogging into the shops searching for the woman’s friend; reminding her to breathe; obtaining bags of ice and a cup of water.  There must have been 10 or 15 people who helped in some way, and many more who offered, before the ambulance arrived.

I was struck by how swiftly, and instinctively, people came forward and came together to support someone they didn’t know and had no responsibility for, save that fundamental and truly compelling one we have for fellow creatures.

As we gradually dispersed, ignorant of each other’s names, backgrounds, passions, we were still deeply connected in that moment of the heart.  One that happens countless times every day, all too often unheralded and even ignored by the media.  A moment of compassion, of kindness.

Sometimes, surrounded by the incessant flow of dire stories, it can be tempting or easy to forget how amazing and generous people can be.  How we do, indeed, so often sink or swim together.

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And that step by step, drop by drop, we can turn a life or many lives around, ultimately filling to overflowing the world’s bucket of kindness.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”~Desmond Tutu

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On Cultivating Joy

We may think of joy as something that happens spontaneously.  But joy needs to be practiced and cultivated in order to grow.“~Thich Nhat Hanh

Soon after I came across this wise reminder in Thich Nhat Hanh’s small but profound jewel of a book, “How To Relax,” a hummingbird flew up to me on my back deck and hovered for a moment.  The hummingbird spirit animal symbolizes, among other things, the miracle of joy and of living. When hummingbird flies across your path, it may be asking you where your joy is and how you can increase it in your life.

At the same time, my daughter noticed a hummingbird feeding in the front yard from a new plant that I had bought impulsively–the last one at a local produce stand.  The brilliant colors caught my eye and I was smitten, even though I hadn’t been looking for a plant and it was a splurge.

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How can I increase joy in my life?  By moving the plant to the back yard where it is in full view of where I spend most of my time…and add a hummingbird feeder.

Turns out the hanging plant is also a favorite of butterflies, so we have this ongoing flow of delight by butterflies and hummingbirds.  There’s even choreography! A butterfly and hummingbird did a little duet exchanging places:).

It reminds me that enhancing our joy can be from something seemingly small.  And that a key is practice: of looking for the joy, of feeding it, and ideally, ultimately, of spreading it.

How do you cultivate joy?

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Photo credit: Bottom: Nikki Carrara–http://nikki-carrara.smugmug.com

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It’s About Rapture!

NIK_5801What’s the most important thing? That’s what I asked myself as I prepare to teach a few dance classes as a guest artist and I refine what it is essential for me to convey and, ideally, inspire in the students. And the answer comes right away: RAPTURE. Joseph Campbell’s priceless advice comes flooding back to me…reminding me to strengthen the practice of zooming in on what vitalizes me…and sharing that “zing” as much as I possibly can. Want to join me?

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Top 2 photos: Nikki Carrara; http://www.nikki-carrara.smugmug.com

Sirena Tales

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That’s been my mantra for the past ten days. Spurred by watching the iconic “The Power of Myth,” with the late visionary, Joseph Campbell.

It’s about rapture! My shorthand for remembering to keep an eye on the ball of what’s important in life: namely, what brings us alive.

So, when I heard that a favorite, sublime dancer (and human being) would be teaching a dance class at the end of the week, I vowed to myself that I would go. No matter what. Including the long drive, the hefty commitments I had already made for that day, my own performance in a distant city the following day.

This is what we need to do, according to the array of belief systems and religions Campbell researched exhaustively.  Ancient teachings the world over have emphasized again and again that we are each meant to figure out and follow our bliss. Whatever form…

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Dance Is Here

Getting ready to go dance with a new-to-me group of folks at a new-to-me venue.

Will they and I be a good fit?  Will the movement and I dovetail in that magical and sometimes transcendent practice of dance?

I don’t know.

And although I hope so, even the mere prospect of being part of a movement community, of connecting to others and to something inexpressible, for a moment, has lifted me up today.  As it does every day I dance.

A practice and an offering that is both delving and uplifting.

If nothing else, tonight, among us, in that space and radiating out into the Universe, the healing, expansive and transformative power of dance.

The message: Dance Is Here. And here. And here….

“The dancer believes that his art has something to say which cannot be expressed in words or in any other way than by dancing…

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… there are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfill the function of a volume of words. There are movements which impinge upon the nerves with a strength that is incomparable, for movement has power to stir the senses and emotions, unique in itself…

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This is the dancer’s justification for being, and his reason for searching further for deeper aspects of his art.~Doris Humphrey

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Photo credits: Nikki Carrara–http://nikki-carrara.smugmug.com

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dream dancing on the marsh

 

NIK_5824venturing forth

a duet

of movement

and imagery

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welcoming

the marsh’s artistry

staggered both

by sorcery

and mystery

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now a merry band

of three

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the musk and we

once twilit

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scatter into dusk

woven into sunset:

a dream

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This piece was inspired by my collaboration with the abundantly talented photographer AND dancer/choreographer, Nikki Carrara at a photo shoot on the marsh.  Just another example of how working collaboratively, and with nature, can fire our inspiration exponentially. For more of Nikki’s gorgeous work: http://nikki-carrara.smugmug.com

 

Posted in Creativity, Dance, Inspiration, Nature, poetry, possibility and expansiveness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments