- the day after the night before -
Rachel Kurtz, Saturday 7th May
If you're old enough you might remember the Vogons saying that in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. If not, and you're curious, you can find out about Vogons here. Resistance to Vogon capture is understandable but often we resist things that are in our own interests. Resisting nourishing practices does not serve us and brings us closer to a Vogon-esk existence of monotony and loss of perspective. This type of resistance is best dismantled.
I have been dancing 5 Rhythms since winter solstice 1997 - that will be 25 years this winter - and I can still be blind to how easy it is to get in my own way. Then my resistance was suspicion and my own insecurities. I had seen Gordon and Joy who led the local 5 Rhythms group, many times around Whitley Bay but had never spoken to them. I was projecting all sorts of things onto them that I felt I wasn’t - cool, confident, unconcerned by other people’s judgements and I was intimidated by this.
When a mutual friend suggested I try 5 Rhythms I was very glad that having two young children made it possible to say no without admitting my resistance - either to her, or myself. Eventually the girls spent a rare weekend with their dad before Christmas and I had no credible excuse, so in a rather noncommittal way rolled up to a day of dance shortly before lunch… in the middle of the third rhythm - Chaos! I don’t remember what was playing but there were a dozen or so dancers flinging themselves around wildly to loud, energetic music. This may have put some people off, but I had always been one of the few females regularly found in the mosh pit at gigs (strangely I was once bitten on the shoulder by one of the others… perhaps a territorial thing?!). This was no mosh pit - there was a respectful distance between the dancers and there was definitely no shoulder biting! Everyone seemed so liberated and comfortable and absolutely unconcerned at my sudden late arrival. They were totally absorbed in their own experience and it was a tantalisingly infectious state. My resistance evaporated instantly and I hurled myself in with total abandon, knowing in every cell of my body that I had finally found home.
After that I set aside £10 of my Income Support each week to attend the regular Wednesday evening session. I knew I needed to dance - looking after two young children on my own made this very clear. By Tuesday evening each week I could feel the build-up of stress and notice my dwindling patience with the girls. Dancing lubricated my soul leaving me more playful and easy-going and much nicer to be around, which was better for everyone.
These days my resistance is less easy to spot. I have fewer daily interactions as a yardstick for monitoring cumulative stress. When the opportunity to dance comes along or when bookings for my classes are slow to arrive it’s very easy to rationalise my resistance: “I have so much to do”; “I need more space in my life”; “I don’t have time for all the admin and promotion.” There is of course some truth in this - I have a very busy life but even after all these years it's a regular revelation to feel the benefits when I do push through and dance.
This happened for me last night and I am catching the moment to communicate it to you while it is fresh. After several weeks of relentless busy-ness I was quite relieved that bookings were low for Friday night's Darlington class. Cancellation seemed likely so when Emma messaged with the go-ahead, I had to gather my resources to fulfil the commitment. It was, of course, a delicious dance. We transitioned together from various states of anxiety, tension, armouring and suchlike to a softly open, connected soul-quenching peace.
Gorgeous as this is, the effects will not be permanent. We are not static beings and balance requires regular practice. Lyrical, the rhythm of maturity, teaches us to carry responsibility lightly and with joy and having a practice supports this. As Julia Cameron says, practice makes time to 'fill the well' leaving us better resourced to navigate life's challenges. It is a responsible thing to do. Mahatma Ghandi, confronting a particularly busy day, once said “I will have to meditate for two hours instead of one!” It takes wisdom to self-parent in this way.
And so to you dancers! If you value the opportunity to dance, please take a moment to remember why it is important to you, put your resistance to one side and make the commitment to prioritise yourself. Without you registering and dancing, my resistance is fortified by logic and practicality and cancellation becomes a tempting option. There are always good reasons not to dance/teach and when I am stretched, cancelling classes offers the promise of an easy life. Sometimes this is genuinely what is needed. We all have to be discerning in our choices but easier is not always better. Sometimes practice is more nourishing than rest and in the main, I feel so much better when I do dance. I suspect you do too.
Have a fabulous weekend!
Much love, Rachel