“We thought of life by an analogy, with a journey – with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end and the thing was to get to that end; success or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead, but we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing and dance while the music was being played.”
– Alan Watts.
The first time I read the above quote by the philosopher Alan Watts, it muted the background melodies and drew in all of my attention. Kind of like when you play musical statues as a child; the beats stop and you freeze to the spot.
I was frozen in a kind of undeniable note of truth. Is it really that simple?
To see life in this way; not as a conquest or linear journey, not something to be controlled, mastered and measured; with money, titles or success, but instead as an experience; a movement, a dance? This seemed so opposed to much of what society and culture suggests are the goals and the ways of attaining those goals, yet echoed true in my little stardust soul.
Remembering that the whole point of this thing called ‘life’, may not be the constant chasing and longing for a larger house, a faster car, a more respectable wardrobe or a safe and secure pension to be enjoyed only when you’re nearly dead. Rather that the point may be just to grow, bloom, learn, love hard and dance to the music while ever it’s being played for us. To remember to keep the fire, the joy in purely existing, in jumping in puddles and dancing down the street, the curious quizzical nature, we have as children, throughout our whole life. In every moment. To every melody.
We are born in motion. In heartbeats and soundwaves.
I have always found a spirituality in dancing. And moments where I feel connected, to all and to myself.
A space in time, where I can feel a stillness in a world that does not stop. A little peace in paradise.
An active meditation and practice of enlivenment; consciously lucid in dreams and ‘reality’.
So how to weave this into life? Into my days. My work. My time? I have earned my living (a phrase I that I find entirely ridiculous; must we really ‘earn’ our ‘life’, how much is one’s life worth?), through being employed as a dancer for almost 10 years. Exotic dancing. Naked dancing. I have bared my body and sold my movement.
I have given so much of my self, motion, emotion and time;
motivated by those feelings of security that a little money in the bank can bring.
I strip. I take off my clothes. I dance for money.
I sell moments of connection. Moments of my dance.
But I find myself no longer wanting to dance for money, I want to dance for love.
I recently read the story of ‘Maria’, a young Brazilian woman in Switzerland, searching for love whilst employed in prostitution. The protagonist in the book ‘11 Minutes’, by Paul Coelho. Where in a moment of soul-searching she considers the socially accepted value of money and time:
Money! A special piece of paper decorated in sombre colours, which everyone agreed was worth something, everyone believed it – until you took a pile of that paper to a bank and asked:
‘Could I buy back a few hours of my life?’
‘No, madam, we don’t sell, we only buy.’
I also long for something more from the hours in my working-waking day. More than money and security. I long for honest love and passion; from within myself, from within my own daily action and movement. In the juxtaposition between dancing for love and dancing for money, I have found a truth. I have found that I need to learn to dance comfortably with myself and this translates into all aspects of my life. I have learned I desire to share the power and peace, in surrender, that can be found when I am dancing for love.
A simple connection to ‘one’ and ‘self’.
Active meditation. Alive in each beat.
This practice is found in many societies, cultures and rituals. Within Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, a ceremonial meditation practice is performed within the ‘Sama’, or worship ceremony, through which ‘dervishes’ aim to reach the source of all perfection, or kemal.
This is sought through abandoning one’s ego, by listening to the music, focusing on God
and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles. A symbolic imitation of the movement of the planets.
I have often found in dance; escape, connection, lessons and power.
I have learned to surrender. To the rhythm. To life.
So ‘why do people dance’? According to a research study, part of investigation into ‘dance confidence’, by Dr. Peter Lovatt; principal lecturer in psychology at University of Hertfordshire:
“People dance for social bonding and mate selection purposes. It’s also good for your health and fitness and people dance to enjoy themselves. Others dance to show strength and fearlessness, like the traditional Maori ‘Haka’ dance. There is power in dance. We have practiced the art for all of human history.”
We are born in motion. In soundwaves and heartbeats.
We have danced through history.
We have danced through fear.
We have danced through joy.
In the utterly edifying and enlightening TED talk by Wade Davis; ‘Dreams from endangered cultures’, Davis speaks of one of the delights of ethnographic research being the opportunity to live among those who have not forgotten the old ways.
“Just to know that Jaguar shamans still journey beyond the Milky Way, or the myths of the Inuit elders still resonate with meaning, or that in the Himalaya, the Buddhists still pursue the breath of the Dharma, is to really remember the central revelation of anthropology, and that is the idea that the world in which we live does not exist in some absolute sense, but is just one model of reality.”
Yet within the myriad of varied realities there are many similarities. Similarities that we often forget.
It may be a different beat. But we are all still dancing throughout our existence. We are all one.
In this we can find a deep connection and understanding. Of each other and of ourselves.
“We’re all born. We all bring our children into the world. We go through initiation rites. We have to deal with the inexorable separation of death, so it shouldn’t surprise us that we all sing, we all dance, we all have art.
But what’s interesting is the unique cadence of the song, the rhythm of the dance in every culture. It is as important to the well-being of the planet as indeed is the biological web of life that you know as a biosphere. And you might think of this cultural web of life as being the ethnosphere, defined as being the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness.”
We are born in motion. In soundwaves and heartbeats.
We dance through history.
We dance through fear. We dance through joy.
We dance in a myriad of varied rhythm.
We dance together. We dance with intuition.
We dance to speak truths. We dance to learn.
We dance for our dreams. We dance in thought.
We dance for love.
Can I ask you for the next dance?
Author: Fiona Hunt
Aloha Ke Akua <3
Peace, love and veggies xXx