"One thing is necessary here in this hard world

of homeless and outcast people.

Taking residence in yourself.

Walk into the darkness

And clean the soot from the lamp

so that people on the road

can glimpse a light

in your inhabited eyes. “

(Hans Børli)


When I was assisting my teachers on an intensive called Initiation this June, a participant shared this poem. In so few words it shares so much about what it means to be alive and to be human at this time on planet Earth.

It makes me reflect on the many moments when I am not present in and for myself or others, when I shut down and choose the seeming comfort and safety of numbness at the expense of my own aliveness. It reminds me how challenging it is to be fully alive, because it means including all of who we are, all of our experience and our feelings. And if we allow ourselves to feel, we feel it all, the joy and the grief, the beauty and the terror, the clear direction and the not knowing. And that can be quite overwhelming and terrifying. We all have our coping strategies, some we consciously choose, some that are habits that kick in without us even thinking about it. Many involve 'checking out' of our bodies because this is the place where we feel. Often, we also withdraw and disconnect from each other because when we are connected, we not only feel our own but also each other's pain.


But the poem also alludes to the medicine for our human condition. It speaks to how much we need each other. We need each other to be present, awake, connected to our own life and light (and by light I don't mean positivity or some new age notion of an enlightened state of equanimity. No, I mean connected to who we are, how we are, and in touch with what animates us, and with our own heart and soul). We need each other more than we would like to admit. We need each other in the same way we need sunlight, water, air. But we have been so deeply conditioned to fear dependence and vulnerability.

Yet, the connection with another who is willing to show up and show themselves like this, in their vulnerability, with all that they are and bring in this moment, their strength and their challenges, their knowing and their questions, can be like coming home after a long time out on the road. A place of arrival, a place of comfort and inspiration. Like water for our parched hearts.

Again and again, on Movement Medicine dancefloors I am reminded how much we need this welcome from each other. How much we long for both the being welcomed and the opportunity to welcome each other. Malidoma Somé, a West African writer and healer, talks about the perverted view we have adopted in the industrial world, that needing others is somehow bad, weak, to be avoided at all cost. Many indigenous societies, including the Dagara tradition Somé comes from, recognize that needing each other is the basis and sign of a healthy community.

In order to create space and possibility for letting others in, for inviting connection, we need to be 'at home', to 'take up residence' in ourselves. For me, it has much to do with moving back into the house of our body and being in touch with the life force that is animating it. More often than not, we are absent, letting the body transport us through life until pain or illness rudely awaken us from taking it for granted.

Movement and embodiment practices play an important role in helping us with this process of 'moving back in' and 'taking residence' in ourselves. They bring into our awareness the level of our disconnection and offer us tools to reweave the connections, to experience ourselves and each other differently. But perhaps even more importantly, if used repeatedly over time, they become regular experiential reminders of the wisdom, support, healing potential and fulfillment that reside within us and of the reality and medicine of our (inter)connectedness. And let's face it, as humans we need all the reminders we can get: we remember and forget, and remember and forget...


So I leave you with these questions I am pondering...
* how can I remember more often to switch on the light and inhabit my eyes fully as I go through my day?
* where do I resist needing others?
* where are the places and people with whom I feel safe to be myself, to acknowledge my needs and ask for support?
* how can I be more generous in my listening to and receiving of others in the expression of their needs

Until we next meet on a dancefloor,

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