It was hot outside, my air conditioner wasn't working, and I was lying on my kitchen floor because my internet is slow and my laptop has to be tethered to the router. Also because my left hip and lower back had been hurting since I'd spent a week sitting way too long at my computer.
But I'd registered for an online continuing education course through the Tamalpa Institute and wasn't about to miss this day's Body Mapping course featuring the spine and more specifically the ligaments supporting it.
Our facilitator led us through the usual visual information about anatomy and cell structure and then guided us in checking in with these ligaments and the surrounding structures. And then the music started and we were invited to let these ligaments and anything else in our bodies speak through the movement.
I typically love this facilitator's choice of music, but didn't resonate with any of this session's music - at all. He'd invited us to just ignore it if it didn't resonate with us and so I continued my body exploration while lying on my back, thinking I was doing just that when an amazing thing happened.
My body took on a life of its own and began to move in ways that surprised me. "Shelly" might not have liked the music, but my body clearly knew what to do with it. (I have been dancing and moving on and off for over twenty years as part of my personal healing process and knew firsthand the power of allowing the body to move and heal itself, but this was different).
As I lay on my back, putting my attention on my spine and its supporting ligaments, my hands and arms slowly and gently extended over my head, doing feathery sort of rhythmic, repetitive, serpentine movements. Then my sacrum started to move, rocking my pelvis more deeply into the floor, and at some point my left foot led my left leg out to the side, extending it way beyond what I thought was possible, stretching something attached at my pubic bone. And all the while I marveled in awe as other seemingly unrelated parts of my body responded to the attention I was placing on my spine, which seemed to be conspiring with the music, the energy of the other group members doing the same, and that unspeakable, unnameable force - the bigger Dance - that contains, informs, and is the very essence of it all.
My back and hip loosened and felt much better after that. But more impressive than that was how deeply I felt my body and its cells and structures as one with this greater Dance. I, ego-personality-Shelly, had very little to do with the process. it was clear that she was merely a mind-made concept and that my true self was the Dance Itself.
I hope to be offering conscious dance and movement experiences like this soon: workshops intended for body exploration, dance and movement as meditation and healing practice, dances for women - whether just for fun, emotional healing, or for awakening libido/sexual energy. If this is something that you're interested in, please let me know.
In the meantime I wanted to tell you about my best, most healing dance ever - lying flat on my back, in the heat, on my kitchen floor, to music I didn't like.