Archives for posts with tag: dance

Last night I stepped on to the Rainbow Bridge. In laymen’s terms, I let go of what no longer serves me, what keeps me stuck and fearful and manifested a deeper connection with myself, with the universe and with the love and compassion which binds us together. Yes, it was 12.12.12 and this was something worth marking, with a special ceremony of meditation, chanting, dance and sound in Brixton. How fitting that this should take place in a former nightclub that I frequented on a regular basis in my early twenties. This time round I didn’t need drink or drugs to get me dancing, nor to reach that euphoria and feeling of oneness and clarity. And today rather than having a hangover I woke with a feeling of power and purpose. 21.12.12 – the so-called End of the World – bring it on! I’ve stepped onto the Rainbow Bridge and I’m ready for whatever comes.

This picture depicts the seven major Chakras w...

This picture depicts the seven major Chakras with descriptions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had learned about the Rainbow Bridge only the day before, whilst reading Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith. I was engrossed in the chapter on the Third Chakra, situated in the solar plexus. We cross the bridge when we move from individual to universal existence, from connecting with our deeper energy to the energy which surrounds us. In order to do this, we need to be stable and grounded in our first three chakras. The third chakra is the portal, which gives us the inner strength to take a quantum leap into the middle of the Rainbow Bridge, where the individual and the universal meet in perfect balance. This inner strength emerges when we break away from old patterns and habits that we have previously defined ourselves by – what Carl Jung calls ‘individuation’. In Anodea Judith’s words, individuation ‘is about daring to be unique, risking disapproval for the integrity of your own truth…Individuation is the unfolding of our unique destiny, the unfolding of the soul’.

I’ve realised that the third Chakra – symbolised by the Fire element, and associated with energy, autonomy, self-esteem and power – is where most of my blockages have been in recent years. A blockage in this area manifests itself through low self-esteem, emotional coldness, passivity, attraction to stimulants and a victim mentality. Those with weakened third Chakras struggle to identify their inner truth, and define themselves by what they think others expect. They operate with a great degree of self-control; those with third Chakra issues are often called ‘Endurers’, because they may be hurt by what they see or experience in their daily lives and interactions with others, but they consciously or unconsciously keep a strong and steady demeanour.  They refuse to let go of anger or grief, instead choosing to bottle it up inside, often leading to pain in the stomach or bowel area. Rather than act on instinct, they obey the will of others. But, as Anodea Judith remarks, ‘As natural instincts can never be fully repressed, they periodically erupt in shadow forms that only incrase the shadow and inadequacy. When we misbehave, lose our temper, fall apart, or have lapses in our vigilant self-control, we are driven to deeper shame’. Shame is the demon of the third chakra; we are quick to blame and punish ourselves when we lose self-control, when actually what we should be doing is laughing at ourselves, admitting our mistakes and learning from them.

I recognise this behaviour well, and have certainly been in situations where I’m in battle with my ego over what I really want, at times leading to mistakes and excess – usually involving drugs and alcohol, followed by a period of shame and regret. Overcoming the feelings of shame and low self-esteem requires a genuine leap of faith and, most significantly for me, a transition from our thoughts and concerns about those around us into our inner, deeper self. Stabilising the third chakra is all about feeling the transformative power within us and not being afraid to let our inner spirit, rather than our peers, be our guide. Once we regain that power we are ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge which connects us to the deeper love and compassion that lights up our world.

For many spiritual seekers, yesterday – 12.12.12 – signified the gateway or portal to the 5th dimension; the end of our current age, marked in the Mayan Calendar as 21st December, and the beginning of a whole new spiritual realm here on this Earth. It will be characterised by the letting go of grief, anger and hatred, and the birth of positive energies manifested through our upper chakras which have the power to transform our planet and manifest love, unity, balance and harmony.

What does this all mean? I’m beginning to realise that there is little point in trying to understand or intellectualise what is said and written about 2012. Ultimately, we either feel something or we don’t. And if we are willing to go deep inside ourselves, feel our transformative power and take a brave step forward and away from old habits which damage us and our universe, perhaps we can indeed be part of a shift for the greater good of this planet.

Two weeks have past since I wrote my blog. Apparently this is very bad practice for a blogger, if you want to keep your audience interested. But what’s a girl to do when she’s spending half the time knee-deep in mud, the other half cleaning it all off? This will be explained below…

And I keep reminding myself that ultimately the purpose of this blog is to see how writing it helps me in my journey of transition. I am truly touched and so reassured that some people want to follow me on that journey, as they go through similar experiences and can offer support or words of encouragement and understanding. But no transition is the same, and there may be times when what I have to say doesn’t really resonate with anyone. I’m still going to say it anyhow.

So here goes….

The last two weeks have mostly been about pleasure-seeking and connecting with old friends. But given that I took a conscious step back from job-seeking, and from reading any bad news, I somehow filled the resulting extra time with other thoughts, experiences and lessons learned. Here they are:

1. I learned how to survive a muddy festival – whose unfortunate name and tagline was ‘Sunrise Celebration – another world is possible’. OK, so this wasn’t the first muddy festival I’ve been to. Glastonbury 1997 was probably the worst, followed by Bestival 2008. And, like previous festivals, survival relied mostly on tequila, cider and whatever else we could lay our hands on. This was unfortunate, as I had gone to Sunrise full of good intentions – to take advantage of the array of yoga, life-coaching and healing that was on offer in the Serenity Field , and maybe go to the odd talk on how to make the world a better place in the Village Green. But when faced with endless rain, wind, and a thickening mud soup which we had to wade through to get anywhere, we went for the easier option – the nearest tent with some live music and a patch of warmth and dryness. I did however dance a lot (albeit in wellies covered in what felt like several kilos of mud) – always a good release for me. And big respect to the organisers and all the talented musicians for keeping the punters happy and upbeat despite the weather conditions. There were moments of darkness and despair, but these were matched by moments where the mud didn’t matter anymore.

2. I saw the Dalai Lama at the Royal Albert Hall. It was quite a privilege to see His Holiness in the flesh – this modest and funny figure, who talked gently and cracked jokes to a mixed audience of several thousands. I have to admit, I went there with rather high expectations after having read his book ‘The Art of Happiness’ when I was in Thailand. I was hoping that he would lead us into a group meditation and have the entire audience sitting in contemplative silence. This wasn’t the case, and in many ways the content of the book was far more rewarding than the content of this two hours with His Holiness. The focus of the talk was on bringing positive change in the world, and how this can only happen from the heart. The message was clear, and a familiar one if you’ve read his book: no political, social or economic change is possible until we work on ourselves and our own sense of love and compassion. This entails releasing anger and seeing each and every person on this planet as one of us – with the same desires, fears, hopes, and insecurities. The emphasis was on the importance of having love and affection in our lives in order to give love and be compassionate. This must start from childhood if we are to succeed in playing a role in changing the world for the better – the love and affection our mothers give us is fundamental to how we relate to others and the world we live in.

Above all this, I think what I was most moved by was seeing in real life how, despite all the tragedies and injustices he has no doubt witnessed as the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people, His Holiness applies modesty and humility every step of the way, stooping down to help the stage assistants clear the space for him after some Tibetan performers had left the stage. He was able to hold his audience as if we were sitting together in a small living room drinking tea; the polar opposite to the formality of the politicians and their rhetoric that we’ve become so accustomed to in the West.

“When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just our individual selves or some immediate convenience. When we are able to recognize and forgive ignorant actions of the past, we gain strength to constructively solve the problems of the present.

Dalai Lama XIV

3. Now on to a few more personal and emotional ruminations. I still feel moments of anger and pain. Certain names, conversations, places, leave me with an aching heart, bringing back good and bad memories from my recent past – in Uganda, in Palestine, in London. When the memories arise, then follows questions of whether I truly want to put the past – my work, my relationships, my lifestyle choices – behind me and move on to something completely new and different. I still find myself dwelling on my past as if it’s some indicator of my future and what I should be doing next. The past is so familiar, and I’m still not sure what I truly need to let go of in order to embrace this transition. Is it OK to turn my back and walk away from situations and conversations that no longer serve me?

4. I need to get out more. For the last few months I have spent most of my time at home with my parents – helping them around the house, baking cakes, cooking interesting recipes, watching TV, reading. I’ve ventured out for Tai Chi and belly dancing classes (more on that later) and for the odd cup of coffee or glass of wine with friends. Going to a festival, and a few days after that going out in Brixton for the first time in a while, has made me realise I seem to have lost the ability to socialise and talk with strangers. And yet this is very important if I want to move on with my life and form new relationships. My ability to talk about myself and what I’m doing with confidence, and to the opposite sex in particular, needs further work!

5. In an ideal world, there are two possible things I’d secretly like to be when I grow up (as, being a thirty-something in transition, I’m essentially like a child discovering a whole load of new exciting and scary things). One is a writer. Well, many of you could have guessed that one. I also would secretly like to be a dancer. This realisation has been a long time coming – starting from when I was eight or nine years old and fell in love with Hollywood musicals from the 1940s and 1950s, and developing recently whilst going to Five Rhythms in Vauxhall and weekly belly dancing classes. Last week in class we performed a dance sequence all the way through from start to finish for the first time to the Arabic song Zaalni Mennak by Carole Samaha. My effort was as clumsy as I would expect given my lack of co-ordination and ability to pick new skills up with any speed or grace; but this was an achievement nevertheless. Part of my transition seems to involve being like a child again – trying to let go of the embarrassment and fear that comes with learning something new, and just embrace the fun of being carried along by the experience.

Use what talents you possess. The woods would be a silent place if the only birds who sang were the ones who sang best.

Henry Van Dyke (Writer, poet and essayist, 1852-1933)

The Thesis Whisperer

Just like the horse whisperer - but with more pages

An Activist Abroad

philosopical musings for the curious mind

mindfulnext.org/

Building resilience and preventing burnout in aid work

Mindfulbalance

An Irish Mindfulness Meditation Blog: Self-care, resilience, meaning and personal development.