Yesterday I went to ecstatic dance for the first time in months.
I’ve been avoiding it.
But yesterday I got a feeling I should go, and for some reason I listened, and that’s how I got there.
At ecstatic dance. I’m stretching on the floor (in a corner behind a bunch of stuff…hiding) and getting more and more frustrated with myself.
I want to be dancing! But every time I make a move to get up, my throat chokes and tears come to my eyes and I start shaking like a leaf. I can’t dance right now. I can’t dance.
Really? I can’t dance?
I’ve never been someone who doesn’t dance. I teach dance. I love dance.
Dance takes all my love for music and for movement and mixes it together into something all-encompassing and rich and passionate. Sometimes just watching dance brings me to tears. It was a point of honor in my childhood and teenage years that I always be the first one to stand up and dance at a concert.
And yet there I was, too scared to even stand up. Too scared to take one step onto the dance floor.
All the fears
Terrified of people in my space. Judging me. Pushing me. Scared I can’t hold my boundaries. Scared I can’t tell them a big enough no. Scared that someday I’ll learn to say that no loud enough and I’ll never say yes to anyone again. Scared of how easy it is to see into someone’s soul when they dance. Afraid people will see the pain in mine and rush over to fix/stuff/cure it, all unconscious.
And it’s not easy to argue with those fears, because it’s all happened so often. It continues to happen so often. I don’t know how to express one honest thing about myself and where I am without being inundated with advice/worry/invalidation/concern/fixing and sometimes attempts at hostile takeovers of my process. And the people doing it? Always good kind wonderful well-meaning people.
Being visibly pregnant on top of it? I don’t even have to say anything before people are jumping up to tell me everything they’re certain is true about me. Where did my voice go? Where’s my space?
Which is often where I’m at lately. It’s my story, my stuff, a part of a painful pattern. Nothing new.
All my interpretations are more connected to distortion than to Truth.
The crazy thing yesterday was that I realized that
Some voice inside of me rose up and whispered Truth.
There is a way. You don’t have to know the way to find the way.
I sat down in one of the “witnessing chairs” and started paying attention to what I was needing.
I so want a Rhiannon-shaped piece of safety on this dance floor. I can’t find it right now, but someday there will be space for me to dance.
It kills me that I’m sitting and not dancing, but someday there will be space for me to let go. There will be space for me to dance with other people. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I am planting the seeds.
My monsters did their own jig, the usual litany of all the ways I am less than every other woman in the room, the ways I imagine all of them would judge me. Her gorgeous hair. Her super cute dress. The way she swings her hips. The fact she just did a flip in the air. Her carefree open smile. I can’t do that. I can’t be that. Everyone wants them, no one wants me, I can’t dance…
Just like the story of “everyone in my space,” I know that none of those things are true. I always know that. But yesterday it was like someone lifted the rug and I saw underneath it that I was overwhelmed by beauty. By how much I’ve missed dancing. By how beautiful people are when they just let go, even when they don’t know how to let go and hop in place instead.
So I started saying instead: “Isn’t she beautiful?” And with the guys too. And the kids. Everyone. “This is their dance right now. This is where they are. It’s breathtaking. Isn’t it beautiful?”
Dancing without dancing
I never did get up and dance. I wish I had. I almost did a few times.
And even though you’re not supposed to speak, and even though I was totally enjoying my solitude, one of those well-meaning strangers came up and sat next to me for two minutes to ask me a thousand questions about pregnancy until my crankiness ran her off.
And when she left I spontaneously screamed, which helped a little, but after that I had a headache and nothing was very much fun.
But for a while in the middle, I got to dance without dancing. I got to be every person out on that dance floor. The goofy ones and the sexy ones and the scared ones. The lady sobbing in the middle of the floor (no one bothered her). The people dancing with other people, awkwardly or well, for a long time or a short one.
They moved their entire bodies. I tapped my feet.
They were beautiful. I was beautiful. We were all beautiful. We were all dancing.
So today I am trying to align with possibility instead of pain. Yes, the pain is there. I’m really mad and it’s not going away.
I’m mad that I can’t find space for myself. I’m mad that I don’t have better boundaries. I’m mad that I can’t dance.
But there is space for me in this world. I’m going to find it. I’m going to find the ways to lovingly protect it. I am planting seeds!
And in the meantime, I will be here moved by the beauty of it all. Everyone going through their world dancing their dance.
So obviously it would be ironic and hilarious in a really awful way if someone started giving me advice on a blog post where I’m working on my stuff about receiving unsolicited advice. (It has happened in the past!) Don’t do that, please.
I would love to hear your stories about dancing, and about beauty. Seeds you are planting (may you have it sooner and more easily than seems possible!). Wishes for space! Other kind, sovereign things.
And a whisper announcement
The Mindful Sexuality Blanket Fort is now available as an e-course! Might be helpful water for seeds of passion, peace, aliveness and enjoyment.