"Thirty spokes together make a wheel for a cart. It is the empty space in the center of the wheel, which enables it to be used. Mold clay into a vessel. It is the emptiness within that creates the usefulness of the vessel."
"Cut out the doors and windows in a house. It is the empty space inside that creates the usefulness of the house. Thus, what we have may be something substantial but its usefulness lies in the unoccupied empty space. The substance of the body is enlivened by maintaining the part of you that is unoccupied."
The Dance of Life
As the dancer disappears and only the dance remains the body, mind and soul embrace. We watch the body let go, respond and move to the rhythm of an invisible dance of life.
The dance of life originates from emptiness. Everything in our body is moved by its mysterious life source, playing in every cell.
The Dance of Soma
The word "Soma " is defined from the Greek definition meaning the body experienced from within. The bodies non verbal language and its own unique intelligence is different to the intellect and linear nature of the mind. The bodies’ language may be directly experienced through the perception of movement.
The following story demonstrates how a participant rediscovered the delight of being at home in her own body.
“Your first cell is still in the body” I heard her say “the imprint is still within”. My mind and alertness jerked to full attention. “The body remembers it” she continues, “we can access its natural intelligence”.
“Hmmm” I wondered “Which button to press?”
“Through movement you learned to grow, so through movement you have a direct connection to that source and its innate intelligence.”
I was then guided to sense the movement of that original cell… that is still hanging around inside my body. That original cell has passed onto and affected all the billions of cells within my body its inherent script its message of life. Something in my system was definitely being stirred. We began to move, to pulse, to rhythmically expand and contract. It began with a sense of emptiness, a vast space that I contracted into. It was not a barren emptiness; it was full of life potency. From here by following its natural rhythm the next response was to expand, unfold, reach out and move into an equally vast space, where there was an urge to connect, to communicate, express and create. At some point once this was satisfied or complete, the movement returned once again into contraction gathering itself home where there was sense of restfulness and integrating. It was a natural dance. The dance that curled in on itself, then again gave equally as powerful a momentum to reach or push out.
It gathered momentum and continued dancing life into being, reaching out from within and returning to the source, contracting and expanding. As the sensing deepened it became clear the movement was unfolding from emptiness. Something shuddered alive. Growth was awakening. Through sensing the cellular movement I was remembering and experiencing the original source of dance unfolding from stillness. At the same time, I was feeling welcomed in my own body.
Different to how I had been “trying” to welcome my body as I had heard so often “you should love your body” and had been making a relentless effort to prove to someone - including myself -that I could do it. This time it was the other way around, through sensing it, I had re-found its language and the body was welcoming me home inside. I belonged inside my own skin. It was a joyful rediscovering of a place of space where the dance unfolded from emptiness.”
The Dance of Embodiment
In this next sharing, the dancer reclaimed embodiment and humor and begins to heal her ideas about herself – to discover the pure delight of movement.
It was the day before a 4-day group. I sat on a bench under a tree and faced an older woman who had requested to meet me. We introduced ourselves and she began with “I am stuck. I am depressed and sometimes even consider suicide.”
I wondered and waited.
“I’ve been on the growth and meditation path a very long time and I’ve lost all the bliss that I once had.”
I responded simply “Oh” and then trusting what ever came out of my mouth, following the feeling in my guts “You believe this for sure? Or is it an idea?”
Her reply was also simple “Well it’s now not possible any other way, except to be miserable.”
“Hmmm. You enjoy that?” I felt she could handle that.
She actually grinned… and I laughed with her… we looked into each others eyes and I could see a sparkle flicker on.
Whoops….gone…”Better hide it” you could almost hear her head think. She dropped her head and moaned….
“Well that’s quick isn’t it?” I giggled.
She looked up and again smiled and the sparkle was still there.
After some more of her “I’m depressed” labels and ideas, I inquired, “There must be something you enjoy?”
“Oh yes … I love to dance” came the lively response.
I smiled and asked whether she wanted to join the dance group.
“No” she answered, “I am to old. And besides… I’m too depressed to dance.”
“Think about the word” I exclaimed “Why does this label ‘depressed’ stick on some people. After all, when you think about the word ‘DE-Pressed’, then it’s clear there is something ‘pressed IN’ and it could also be your life source, fun and creativity. So then to unstick it, must be easy. You just give the ‘Pressed-in’ energy space to flow and to ‘EX-press’.”
I breathed out and waited.
" Just a possibility.... " I suggested she could at least have a day to explore the support of dance in the group. Again she mumbled, “Oh, no way – I’d just get more De-Pressed when I saw how everyone else danced so well and of course much better than me. Besides I’m really lost!”
“OK. We have a juicy problem” I said, looked in her eyes and we both had a good laugh together. Her humor was delightful.
I recommended a psychosomatic therapist living in her area and she said she was touched that I “bothered to take care”. You could see when she was touched, that precious light in her eyes glowed.
I stepped back and gave her space. The next step she had to make herself.
The next day she had booked one day … and I wondered.
The music began to play and a little older contracted, befuddled lady began to find her dance. Very close to "now" a huge smile came across her face and her body seemed to be awakening out of a slumber. She took support – a little guiding and coaching here and there during the day and soon she realized age, fitness and what she expressed, didn’t matter. The dance was about something else. She belonged to the dancing tribe. Joy seemed to melt out from the ‘Pressed-in’ place from her inside. In fact it was also overflowing humor. The group were laughing and playing with her.
She booked another day.
This day became more grounded and we practiced replacing the negative comments with an orientation on experiencing the natural embodied supports recognized and found in the dancing body.
While we were dancing and exploring the physical heart and its magical beat she suddenly blurted out “I don’t have a heart!”
“Oh really?” I exclaimed. There was a pause while the group and I compassionately listened to her. After the silent gap I made a suggestion. “Has to be somewhere! Maybe you look somewhere else in the body other than the usual place in the chest.”
In this moment I felt a subtle shift in her energy, something expanded. She was accepted, had not been separated or judged for her habitual attempt at expressing “I’m not OK”. We had simply taken the offer and decided that there could be a creative alternative.
Here happened a pregnant silence. It was an alive stillness and the group was totally present. She was docking into her own body and realized that she was not alone. The group was seeing her and she was included. Being present to sensing herself and at the same time being witnessed and being part of the dancing community tribe , she was supported validating her new pleasurable bodily experience.
She begins, with turning the head from side to side; the movement seemed to pull her attention inside her body all the way to the feet. A voice spoke from somewhere inside herself … inside her own body. It seemed to be coming from the space where it had been ‘Pressed’ which appeared relieved and some ‘Pressure’ was out.
“Seems my heart is in my feet” she whispered it and then repeated a long forgotten language louder. “My heart is in my feet” .Re-claiming an inherent wisdom that was rightfully hers. A huge smile spread across her face. Delight swept through the whole group. She spoke from her new perception and bodily experience, witnessed by the group. “Remembering the depth of my bodies wisdom makes me feel safe”.
Dancing her embodiment… a precious moment of eternity.