The dance-meditation of 5 Rhythms was ending for the evening and I lay sprawled on the floor in exquisite stillness, wanting nothing, needing nothing, knowing that there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. Once again I had remembered what I often forget, that life is essentially simple and living it can be very very simple.
As I sat in the silence of the closing circle I remembered the words of my teacher Adam, when I thanked him for the retreat I’d done in Portugal, telling him that it was one of the richest experiences that I’d ever had. He said: “It was a rich experience, because you were there for it”.
I reflected on the moments in the dance when just for a moment I fall totally in love with the way that my arm is moving or the angle my foot makes when it touches the ground, and how that moment feels precious and perfect, and was reminded that what Adam had said was spot-on. My experience was satisfying because I was there, loving it.
And this goes for difficult or painful experiences as well. That same evening, I heard a dancer in the circle speak this very clearly when she spoke of a transformative and joyous experience of loving the pain and heartache that were arising for her and how this allowed her to appreciate love and joy simultaneously, and knew that I’d similar experiences of opening to what I often push away and how seeming lead was transformed instantly into gold.
I reflected on those times when although I was dancing my heart out I metaphorically had my fingers crossed behind my back, willing my painful experience to go away, or the times when rather than feel the discomfort I distracted myself by getting very interested in what other people were doing, judging them or letting my mind develop strategies for getting close to them. Of course, what I was doing was leaving the reality of myself in order to meet an idea of them. No wonder it didn’t feel satisfying.
I also reflected on the times when people have said to me “wow, I so loved your dancing tonight” and how if I hadn’t been loving my dancing, no amount of praise from others could turn an empty experience into a full one. If I had been loving my dancing their love and appreciation would always be the icing on the cake.
The blindingly obvious truth is: the only one who can be there for my experience is me.
And if I’m not there for it, either because I’m pushing it away or distracting myself from it using thoughts the result is that I feel “split”. The lights are on but there’s no-one at home. My experience feels dissatisfying.
I realised sitting in that circle of silence, that I often under-value my experience, having a “hard wired” assumption that what’s happening somewhere else in the room is more interesting than what’s happening here, leaving myself to go on a fruitless search for salvation. The flip side is that when I don’t, when I dare to be there for myself, I discover infinite riches. From that place of being truly at home I can go out into the world and meet other people in a different sort of way and to have something exquisitely valuable to share with them. Me.
After the circle broke up, I accepted an invitation to drink tea with some friends at a local café - we left in separate cars. Driving there and sitting at the red traffic light I had a choice of two directions – left to the café and right for the road home. I'd chosen my lane and the indicator was blinking left. Surprisingly, I found myself in a conflict about whether or not to join my friends having accepted their kind invitation only minutes earlier.
I checked in with myself to discover what was going on inside and the answer was clear. I realised that I wasn't feeling sociable - there were some painful feelings bubbling and what in fact I wanted was to spend some time with myself gently feeling them. With relief, I recognised that I could simply do what felt right in that moment - my friends would understand. As the light turned green I changed the indicator from left to right and headed home.