Body, Breath, Spirit, Learning, Reclaiming and Dancing our Blessings!

I woke this morning with a yearning for movement within community, for movement with meaning and intent.

 As you probably know, I DO love to move in almost any way, but sometimes my desire has a very specific quality.

A bit of history:

When I first moved to Columbia I was part of a community that freely and easily moved with Spirit, dance was part of our ritual practice.  It was within the nurturing support of this community that I learned that I was not alone in knowing that movement transforms and heals. It was also within this environment I learned that, for me, there often existed a conflict between the desires of my Spirit body and the abilities of my Flesh body which sometimes (more often that I liked) resulted in physical injury.  It was also within this environment that I learned the psychological impact that can happen when one follows the energy of Spirit without the appropriate tools or awareness to stay connected to the flesh Body and the physical Space of the Earth. It was, in part, a desire to learn how to negotiate these challenges in myself and how to support others to do the same that prompted me to pursue the education in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis (LMA) that I have dedicated myself to these last eight years.  Studying this framework of movement was my path toward knowing how to invite and be fully immersed in the healing actions of movement, safely, wholistically, wholly, integratively. Moving BodyMindSpirit as an integrated whole: learning to live life more fully has been the goal all along!

But long before I knew about LMA, I discovered the drum.

At a time when my knees could no longer tolerate the demands of dance, it was the drum that allowed me to move with Spirit.  When my physical Body could not support me in moving how my body parts felt called to move, I funneled the desire through the drum.  Drumming required me to learn to stay grounded and aware of myself, the other drummers, the movers, and the Space around us while also being lifted and moved by energy. The music of the drum was a balm to my aching body. Drumming taught me so much.

And I was so very fortunate to discover the drum in that same community I mentioned above, and to get to know and study with Pam Fleenor-Benton, to play with the women’s drum ensemble Divine Rhythm and to be supported as a woman drummer within a community of talented women drummers.  But my relationship with the drum has been somewhat neglected these last few years, for various reasons, including my pursuit of career change and education as well as those before mentioned health issues. I sometimes thought I had lost that relationship…

And yet...

as I have studied and then embodied the framework and mysteries of movement offered by LMA and as I have added the experience of so many other supportive, somatic-based psychological and physical modalities, I have learned so many ways to find the places where/when/how physical body and spiritual body are integrated. I have learned to be psychologically and physically curious and safe while exploring the unknown and the energetic.  And within this process there has been and is and will always be rhythm. My ventures that changed my focus from the drum have also informed, deepened and inspired me. Drumming. Healing. Spirit. None of it has been too far away because it is all movement.

Without movement, there is no sound, and sound invites us to move.  Movement and Sound are the essence of Life. With movement and sound we enliven!  Movement and Sound are the opportunities to see,hear, feel the energy of Spirit as it moves in all embodied things.  Without the energetic impulse of Spirit, the physical is simply matter, the human body just tissue, and yet a divinely organized, exquisite system of tissue that is made to develop and organize, to move three-dimensionally within our personal kinesphere and on this place we call Earth. Our lump of tissues that is us is designed to respond to and to make sound!

Bringing it to the present moment…

Those of you who have followed this blog in the past may have noticed that it has been a while since I’ve last posted, four months to be exact.  In these last four months I have been on a Hero’s journey of sorts, a healing crisis of physical and spiritual import.  Invited by my Higher Power, my Guides, the Divine Mother and various wise friends to slow down and meet myself, I began the process of weaving together more closely the past and the present, the inspirations of my spiritual foundation with the structures of my educational pursuits.  In other words, these past months I’ve been invited to remember “me” and join her with “me” to allow the resultant elixir of “me”. All the same person and yet transformed.

Although I have made several efforts to write about this process before this post you are reading, I could not find the words to explain what was happening...and even though I am obviously making an effort to do so with this post, I believe I am still exploring how to put the awareness offered to me these past few months into action and into the written words…if you are intrigued, stay tuned. Join me. Check in. Ask. Invite. It is a glorious adventure!

Back to the beginning of this blog…

 I woke this morning with a yearning for movement within community, for movement with meaning and intent.  And what prompted this blog post was a feeling of such thankfulness that I will have the opportunity to do exactly this on Thursday when Pam Fleenor-Benton joins me in offering a Dancing Our Blessings Tranceformotion and a desire to share my gratitude for the journey as well as all the people and community who are a part of it, now and then.

For those who might not know, Tranceformotion is the movement form that I have created out of my personal experience and the works of other creative beings that gives space to intentionally moving physically with the energies of Spirit within a trance-state.  One of the forms of work that has long inspired me is called Trance Dance: it was developed by Wilbert Alix and taught to me by a woman named Leyla Castro. For many years I shared this form of trance movement in Columbia but I stopped when I no longer felt that my skills met my expectation for the kind of support that I believe is important when guiding folks into this sort of ritual and/or spiritual experience, especially folks with history of trauma and/or physical limitations.  Although Tranceformotion is greatly influenced by Alix’s work, it is also my own creation based on the expectations I have of myself listed above and informed by my extensive training. Tranceformotion is a ritual experience that invites the participants to be embodied and present in their physical selves while also opening themselves up to energy and Spirit through their conscious use of breath. The structure of this movement form invites and supports participants to be psychologically and physically curious and safe while exploring the unknown and the energetic. Tranceformotion is a ritual, inviting deep wisdom to make itself known to the mover through breath, darkness, intention, rhythm and movement.

It is moving with community, with meaning and with intent.

In this upcoming Tranceformotion, I am thrilled to be joined by the above mentioned Pam Fleenor-Benton.  Pam and I have worked together in many creative ways over the years, in ritual and in performance.  She brings a powerful energy and committed passion to drumming. She understands intention, rhythm and movement.  This is a unique opportunity for anyone interested in ritual, trance or healing movement.

As I began the process today of preparing myself for holding, inviting, creating the vessel of intention for this upcoming ritual, I was reminded of a video that Pam shared with me some time ago which you can view here.

This video helped me find the words to the intention for this upcoming event:

Every step we take is rhythm.



We take

Is rhythm.

Our actions, our movements, our breath

all opportunities to BE the music of our lives.

She asks, “What will change if you slow down, take the time to

 listen to your every movement, hear your rhythm, move to your own beat?

With this ritual, we move

to express our gratitude for the blessings and existence of our daily lives.  

We Dance Our Blessings.

if you have a yen to move within community, to move yourself with meaning and intent and think that this event will satisfy that desire, please contact me as soon as possible to schedule a time to meet for the required pre-interview. A thirty minute pre-interview is required to ensure the safety and support of all involved.


Harmony and the Hoberman Sphere: Living Life More Fully with Space Harmony!

If you are interested in health, whether it is attaining it or keeping it, whether it is of the mental or physical type, and whether it applies to you as an individual or more widely organizational, I invite you to watch this video with a curious mind and then to read my response below.  I would LOVE for you to comment as well!

Here is the link to the video

What is interesting for me as a Certified Laban Movement Analyst (CMA) about what he says in this brief video about Systems Analysis is made so because I know that the Hoberman's Sphere is the result of the intersection of a Cube and an Octahedron.  This relationship of these geometric forms is important to me on several levels.

In Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) the Cube is the Platonic Solid that we use as our movement template for exploring CONSTANT CHANGE because the movement scales created from this geometric shape are always moving on a 3D Diagonal, which never includes a straight Vertical orientation. This is a challenge for humans, as we are very attached to our Vertical posture!

The Octahedron, on the other hand, is the movement template for exploring Stability because the movement scales created from this geometric form always assume the Vertical as one of the three orientations.

When we explore Space Harmony like we do in my Movement Fundamentals workshop that I call Moving Sacred Geometry we are inviting ourselves to move our bodies, A PHYSICAL STRUCTURE THAT CHANGES SHAPE AND FORM, in accessible ways that also gently nurture escapes from standardized modes of behavior.

Standardized modes of behavior are the movement patterns that we rarely consider or question until something goes awry.  These are also sometimes known as the basic activities of daily living.

When we EXPAND our awareness of our own movement capabilities through a practice like the scales offered in Laban's exploration of Space Harmony, we transform our perspective, expand our consciousness of what it means to be a fully alive human and deepen our resiliency and ability to respond to CHANGE!

This approach to life enrichment is one of the reasons why I resist when people try to call what I do dance because it simply is not just dance. Dance, in its many forms, is one aspect and one way of exploring the deep wisdom and complexity of what I have to offer as a CMA; however, LMA is an overall framework and approach to explore and expand one's abilities related to ALL movement, whether mental, emotional, spiritual, intuitive or physical, not only the act of dancing.

Space Harmon is specifically explored in the Movement Fundamentals workshop Moving Sacred Geometry; however, it is also present in some way as an inspirational and organizing principle in all of my offers, whether it is explicitly stated or not.  This is because living life more fully is not just a tag-line for me.  Supporting others to safely expand their awareness and ability to move themselves with more diversity in a wide-range of experiences IS what my work is all about.   Consciously actively exploring Laban's Space Harmony theory as a personal practice is one way I do this!

I do hope you will join me soon in some way for your own part of the exploration!


Essence of Breema - What can I do to be more available?

An inspirational excerpt from one of the Breema Center books:

What can I do to be more available? 

At any time, you could ask yourself, “What can I do to be more available?” For one thing, you could bring the attention of your mind to the process of inhalation and exhalation. When your mind registers the effect of inhalation and exhalation on your body, it becomes quieter. The quiet mind is like gold, but we exchange it for noise and rubbish. If someone is sitting quietly near you, you may think they don’t like you, because we’re addicted to noise. But inner quiet makes us receptive to what is given to us, moment by moment, by the flow of the life force within us. The life force is like the sap that flows through all plants. Without it, they all die. For the sap to flow correctly, we have to be in touch with it—we have to experience it. We experience it through taste. Taste begins with body and mind working together in harmony. 

For the full audio, please listen here:

Today's Thought Provoking Quote

Sometimes I see something I want to share but I have no time to write a blog post on it.  I realized today that I could just, simply, share the quote and its source, and then trust that if you are inspired, you will seek out more on this topic and will, hopefully, comment thoughtfully below!

The short quote:
"Dance belongs to the people as an ecstatic practice that expresses the Divine, and not just to the universities or art schools as a cultivated art form to be performed by the few."

Part of a much longer section from the chapter To The Dancer Belongs the Universe from the book Women Healing Women by William Keepin and Cynthia Brix.  The speaker in this longer quote is Ila Tiwari.   I don't believe that this perspective is a comment only on Indian classical dance, but that is the specific movement form of the speaker.

Here is the whole quote:  

"Dance is not just an art form reserved for the cultivated and the elite. It is for everyone. Dance inspires the soul, and through dance, the human body becomes transformed into a temple inhabited by the gods. We are in grave danger of losing the depth and true purpose of our profound dance heritage in India. As the Western dance forms and attitudes gain ever more prominence here, our tradition of classical dance is eroding and vanishing, or else it gets watered down into some glamorous performance spectacle...

It is through our dance heritage that the true spirit of India comes fully alive. We must preserve this tradition and pass it on so it can sustain and inspire all those who embrace and practice it! Dance belongs to the people as an ecstatic practice that expresses the Divine, and not just to the universities or art schools as a cultivated art form to be performed by the few...

The true purpose of dance is not to show off oneself or one's talents, but to allow the Divine to reveal itself, using the human body as its instrument. For that, the dancer's self-importance and personal ego have to go. Yet much of what's happening today in professional dance is just the opposite - building up the dancer's ego. Indian classical dance is thus in danger of becoming an outer spectacle of artistic glamour and technical virtuosity, rather than an inner communion with God."

Breema - my experience and why I want to bring it to CoMo

On the surface, Breema looked like it was going to be something like Thai Massage.  After my initial paperwork and some conversation about what I was hoping to work on, Katherine invited me to lay down fully clothed on a very cushy pile of rugs and blankets.

Unlike my experiences with massage, I can't tell you what exactly happened during the session.  I remember being very aware of my breath as she gently moved my various body parts here and there.   It was comfortable.  I was relaxed.  I felt wholly supported. And yet, I do not remember anything of any certain significance happening.  I remember thinking "this is nice" but...

then I sat up after the session was over.

There really aren't words sufficient to describe my experience, but I will try. 

My chest was filled with a palpable, vibrating oblate spheroid of SELF-LOVE.  I was unable to speak.  It was, for me, feeling the presence of the Divine inside of me.  I just sat quietly for many minutes, reveling in this experience of bodily sensation unlike anything I'd ever known.  It wasn't just a thought of self-love or of feeling good.  It was solid, moving, living, embodied divine energy.  It was whole bodymind healing.

I want more.   And I'd really love to have a community of people in Columbia, MO who can share in this experience with me.

Because of these desires I have invited Katherine to bring Breema to our hometown!  As of today, three of us have committed to make this happen.  To ensure that we can cover the costs for her to come, we need at least four more people to register with payment by August 1st.  The space will hold twelve of us.

I do hope you will help me make this happen.  Click HERE for the details.