Archives for the month of: March, 2013

I want to thank Paola Blanton for her inspiration in the article: In the Wake of Adversity – Movement to the Rescue.

This morning I noticed my own “post-trauma” in the body due to an experience from over 6 years ago. I felt it in my body when I woke up and I immediately felt like “moving it out” of the body.

When I first began, I felt afraid that I would throw up, because I felt a lot of energy in my stomach area, this is where a lot of the movement was coming from. I just kept with it, yawned a lot, and it moved itself out until I found a place of peace. I feel there is more to move here and I will move as I feel it, even right now, and allow this energy to move, as I, like Paola says in the article, focus “on the void in the center”, the “I am”.

Thank you for witnessing and awakening with me.

Heart Aloha, Sarah

In the Wake of Adversity – Movement to the Rescue, by Paola Blanton

How embodied knowledge came to my aid in a natural disaster.

In “Dancing in the Streets”, Barbara Ehrenreich examines the most primal motivations for rhythmic synchronized movement among primitive peoples.  She suggests (and I agree) that the ability to respond to danger by springing into united readiness, action, and synchrony could have been a survival tool for tribes facing predators much larger than the average human being.  A saber-toothed tiger, for example, could easily take one man down.  But an entire tribe moving together and waving its arms and yelling could look like much bigger adversary, better left alone in favor of smaller, easier quarry.

A few weeks ago, I didn’t face a saber-toothed tiger, but I was completely shocked and ambushed by a freak flash flood that tore through the region I live in.  The coastal Atlantic rainforest of São Paulo, Brazil, is where I’ve made my home and studio since 2010 – an open glass and wood house high up on hardwood beams where I meditate, dance, think, teach, create, and commune with the vast wild green and creatures of the jungle.  It’s a crucible of creativity I’ve named Casa Musa, in honor of the Muses and the gifts they bring.

I remember the kind of Friday it was – sweltering and stagnant, the kind of day when you would take your own skin off to try to cool down. It had been that way the whole week, just scorching and breezeless. Word on the street was that a cold front was coming in from Argentina; great news for the surfers, and the last time I will ever ignore the words “cold front”.  What that cold front did was to activate all that hot air that hung at the top of the mountain ridge, causing it to dump its content all over our region in a flash lasting about 45 minutes, yet wreaking havoc that we are still reeling from. Now add to the mix the fact that it’s a full moon AND the initiation of a Mercury Retrograde!

When the water came, I was sitting on the couch in my second-floor living quarters, working on my Gabrielle Roth 5Rhythms project for Brazil.  Happy and enthused, it was the perfect Friday evening activity for me, alone with my cats, cable TV, and a cup of tea.  I remember how strongly the rain came on – howling winds and lightning filling the sky as the downpour began.  I battened down the hatches for a storm, as usual, and went back to my work, oblivious to the fact that a meter and a half deep lake had formed around the house, drowning my car and infiltrating the ground floor.

My neighbor’s frantic screams brought me onto the second-floor veranda, where all I could see was swirling brown water filled with furniture, yard tools, branches, uprooted plants, and bicycles.  Shock and disbelief gave way to frantic calls to Brazilian 911, which proved typically frustrating and fruitless.  I realized I was alone, completely alone in the jungle, with nothing but my wits to calm me in the middle of a freak maelstrom.

As it turned out, my wits came from my body.  For the past few months, I’d been working on spine and leg consciousness, inspired by Martha Graham’s writings on the spine as the “tree of life”.  My practice and moving meditations had been focused on projecting the spine down through the core of the Earth, and projecting the legs and feet into a deep root system, firm and strong, conscious and stable.  As I circled through the house, observing the water climbing up the stairs, my body took me to the center of the house.  I felt myself spread my feet, planting them firmly onto the floor with ujai pranayama seemingly self-initiating.  I started to project my consciousness down my spine, legs and feet and into the actual legs of the house.  My consciousness descended like a scuba diver into the submerged depths of my house, checking the beams, rooms, and foundation.  The message shot back: “This house ain’t going NOWHERE!”

The waters receded as quickly as they came, and there was really nothing more to do that particular night except try to gain some uneasy sleep in preparation for facing the chaos in the morning.

And chaos it was.  Inches-thick mud covered ever surface imaginable.  The pool was full of mud and dead animals, the car was inundated, furniture in the trees, clothes and sheets filled with mud, debris everywhere, ravaged trees and plants and pieces of broken cars and houses everywhere.  A team of my friends showed up to help me with the initial push, which is the removal of the mud.  A few days of mucking and washing would follow as we had to push about four inches of mud from every crevice of the ground floor.  My emergency crew of friends worked with me tirelessly till we had finished mucking my house on day one.

But I could not leave my neighbors’ houses without intervention.  They are absentee owners and if the mud was left to dry, it would cause serious rotting and damage.  So I had to rally the troops I had left to the task at hand. Problem was, my “troops” had dwindled down to the terrified 20-something couple that work as the “caretakers” of our “condominium”.  Blankly they stared at me as I instructed them as to the mud removal.  Completely out of sorts, they would wander about, brushing here and there, moving randomly, totally unfocused and getting absolutely nothing done.  I wanted to cry.  I was tired, but quitting was not an option.

Then, a flash of insight happened, just like the scene in “A Clockwork Orange”, when “sweet music came to Alex’s aid”.  I went to my stereo system and blasted Bolshevik Revolution music and said to the caretakers, “Let’s get into a rhythm!  I push, you pull, you push it out the door. Let’s go one room at a time and just keep the rhythm of the music, and the rhythm of our movement.”  By god, it worked! Lulled by the marching rhythm, we entered a sort of trance and worked long into the night until mucking day number one was finished.  I laughed to myself at the utter comedy of the situation, which helped lift my spirits in that horrid situation.  I imagined Russian farm workers on a collective, singing work songs and keeping the rhythms of the scythes going until the harvest was complete.  Rhythm gave me strength and humor at a time when I needed it most.

And I was to need a LOT of strength and humor, because in vintage clusterfuck style, a LOT more was to go wrong in the weeks to follow, simply due to the ineptitude of companies and institutions here.  Telefonica, the Brazilian national telecom fiasco, decided to cut my service the next day, due to some “bank clerical error”, which here – guess what, is YOUR problem.  I went over ten days with no phone service and no way to call for help except to wade my galoshes through the enswampment to a nearby store.  Bandeirantes, the Brazilian national energy fiasco, decided to cut power several times for “systems upgrade”, the absurdity of which I will not waste more words.  Time and time again, help promised never came.  Workers contracted would either not show up or try to gouge for absurdly high day rates meant to capitalize on misfortune.  The mechanic I hired to dredge my car ended up killing it through inexpressible incompetence – even I knew you don’t start a car the same day it had been in a flood – and then had the audacity to charge me obscene sums for destroying my car.  Garbage piled up along our street and raised an infectious stench as the trucks were nowhere to be seen.  When the phone finally came back on, I fought with the waste management company until they finally came and collected the trash.  On and on it went.  I simply went ahead with all of the post-flood recuperation work and kept my nose to the grindstone, unable to even cry it out, just slogging onward day after excruciating day. And every time it rained, I would panic.

I dreamed of rain and floods, reliving the fear and panic over and over again in dream-state until I realized “I’m post-traumatic!”  The experience had lodged itself in my psyche, bones, and cells.  My energy reserves were so low that I began to fear illness.  With nowhere to turn, another flash of insight came to me: I had to exorcise the trauma, or I would spiral downward until it defeated me.

An ipod shuffle brought on “In the Wake of Adversity” by Dead Can Dance.  I kid you not; that is the song that came to my rescue! I played that song over and over with eyes closed and simply allowed my body to do what it needed to do to express the trauma of the past few weeks.  Repetitive movements came out like ticks – I let them come and let them go until their stories had been told, remembering what Gabrielle Roth wrote about repetitive movement being the body’s way of cleansing the soul. I contracted and writhed, head heavy, hands searching, crawling the floor and pushing up against unimaginable weights.  I reached and clawed, allowed myself to morph into animal shapes that came over my body in succession.  Expanding and contracting, concentrating on the void at the center, I finally cried – a flash flood of cleansing tears that washed away the buildup of stress, effort, fear, exhaustion, frustration, betrayal, and panic of the past few weeks.

I cried myself empty, then lit a candle to my Guardian Angels, past, present, and future.  I thanked the Source for the gifts of center, movement and rhythm, for the wisdom living in my bones and cells that helped me pull through adversity and the wake of adversity.  From this, I circle back to my philosophy of the dance as the culmination of embodied knowledge.  Never justify the practice of dance or movement. Because movement is the only verifiable state of the Universe, and when everything else is stripped away, all you have left is your ability to move through the void.

I remember Palm Sunday in the sunny, warm weather of Hilton Head.  Churches breezy, blown open, sun shining in through the stained glass windows of a large, A-framed church.  Everyone dressed in Easter colors of light pinks and blues, yellows and greens.  This was when we were really young.  Young girls in white dresses, boys in suit coats, ties and khakis.  You remember, don’t you?

The feeling of Spring, warm weather, essence of the beach just around the corner.

Sun light streaming in, warmth of the sun, smell of the salt water, palm fronds blowing in the wind.  Beautiful.

Yesterday, my Mom told me it was the children who welcomed Jesus back into Jerusalem with palm fronds.  This is where Palm Sunday came from.

It is the children.  Yes, we were children.

They say Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey symbolizing peace.  The Prince of Peace they said.  I am touched by this interpretation and wonder, what kind of peace am I willing into my life right now?

Last night, I watched part of a documentary called Awake In the Dream.  Mooji, a Spiritual teacher, guided us viewers through a meditation around “I am”.  He kept bringing us back to the awareness of “I am”.  That is it.  “Any thoughts that come through, any emotions, anything, just keep coming back to ‘I am’,” he said.  It is true, this is peace.

So today I am practicing the awareness of “I am” in order to experience more peace and stability within myself and in my relationships with others, and I am experiencing results!

What would it be like to keep coming back to the “I am” in your life?  How can this create the space you need for peace?  And what’s important about this space for peace?

Love, Sarah

Today I did something new, I stepped out of my comfort zhone.

Time and again, I am living my life, fully, each step at a time.

I am here.  Both feet in.

The water is warm, even though I can’t always see through it, I find that I am touching the bottom with my head way above water and enjoying the view.

What about you?  How are you living on your edge, riding the edge of life, exploring something new, contributing in a new way?  I want to know.  Share with me here, below.

Love, Sarah

 

I met a young woman in Toronto a few weeks ago.  She enlightened me with some free words flowing from her mouth.

 

“Breath in love, breath out love,” she said spontaneously.  “Surround yourself with pink light, think pink light,” were her words as we walked away from each other on those snowy, busy streets near rush hour in Toronto.

 

Last night, as I lay in bed reading The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield (I wonder what he’s up to these days), and how he talks about discovering what our control drama’s are so that we can eventually come into our purpose in this life, a thought came over me:

 

My life’s purpose is to be love.

 

I remembered what this woman in Toronto said to me.  Then,  I remembered Eckhart Tolle saying to me, through a tape deck in an old car on Maui several years ago, “Bring love into everything you do.”

These are one and the same:  “Breath in love, breath out love,” “Bring love into everything you do.”

Be love

I am love.  I am evolving into this purpose more fully now.

What is your life’s purpose?

What are YOU here to bring, do, be?

 

Love, Sarah

 

 

Today my twin sister and I sat in her room working on business stuff.

It was fun, it was easy.

The sun streamed in the windows and we both focused on what we worked on with a laugh and a giggle here and there.

Competition is an easy game to get into and I’ve played it a lot with my twin sister.  When I decided recently that we are not in competition with each other, but on the same team, things have gotten a lot easier between us.

I am grateful for this: celebrating her’s and my accomplishments.

 

How can generosity in relationships support your own growth and well being and that of the relationship?

 

Love, Sarah

I laid on my bed this morning, tears streaming down the sides of my face, as Deepak Chopra led me through a meditation geared towards sending love and gratitude to my physical form.  This one really touched me deeply.  He said, “Imagine all your 50 trillion cells receiving nourishment right now and releasing what no longer serves them.  Give thanks to these 50 trillion cells in your body for doing this great work.”

I have never thought about giving thanks to all 50 trillion cells in my body at once.  This brought my idea of gratitude into a much bigger light.

Give thanks.

Gratitude has and continues to change my life.

I love you.

 

Sarah

Hello All~

I am an official blogger at OwningPink.com.  Come check out my very first blog on the site:

 

Thank you for so much support : )

It is amazing.

 

Love, Sarah

Dance into Spring

Yesterday, I followed the energy I was feeling to drive up to Toronto for the final day of a Latin/African/Lusophone dance festival TBF.  Feeling a bit stuffy and run down, I kept telling myself, “I am healthy” and became as spacious as I could around all the stories I wanted to tell myself about the things I “should” do or the “what if’s”.  I trusted the energy and went for a ride.

Just a night or two before, I was at work and realized how touch deprived I was when my co-worker was playing with my hair and rubbing my back in a friendly way.  I thanked her and said, “Wow, that feels really good.  I guess I’m feeling a little touch deprived!”

As I drove up to TO yesterday, I wasn’t even thinking about this experience from the other night, however, as I began to engage in the Kizomba class at the dancing festival, I noticed how my needs for touch were being met in a platonic way that felt good and positive.  Another benefit of partner dancing!  Kizomba is especially special because it is literally like being hugged or hugging someone the whole time you are dancing and when the connection is right, it feels respectful, balanced, easy and love-full.

I also continued to co-create the experience I wanted yesterday by letting go when I sensed I was “trying” or “wanting” something to happen from a graspy place and, on the contrary, asserting myself more when I sensed myself stepping into an old pattern of  “being nice” by waiting in the background and giving people so much space that I was losing out on opportunities.

The balance was there and though I felt challenged at times, I kept following the energy, checking in with myself and my truth and moving through it all!

What does it mean to “follow the energy”?

Where are those moments in your life where you sit in the background and may want to come up more to the forefront?

Happy Spring,

Sarah

Today I stood outside in the late afternoon, white-yellow sunlight, which glowed behind soft clouds in a most beautiful, light snowfall.  I looked up close at the flakes landing on my car and marveled at the intricacy of their shapes!  I stood out there for moments wondering what my parents next door neighbors would think if they saw me out there peering closely at my drivers side window and the door of the car as new flakes fell constantly, trying to see the best shaped one!

I tried to walk away a couple of times, but something just kept me there looking at these amazingly formed flakes of snow.

I noticed how the ones landing on the window would begin to melt quickly because of the heat of the car.  There was a most delicate shape and it would fade into water in just seconds.  The ones on the side view mirror would sit there in their beauty effortlessly on the cold, metal exterior of the car.

The quite, the silence, the soft silence of a soft snowfall.

Ahhh, bliss,

peace.

Real.

I wondered at how each individual snowflake is SO beautiful and how each one piles up to create huge piles of snow.  Gosh, I never really thought of that before.  All those piles of snow, that we sometimes curse, are comprised of billions, maybe trillions, of tiny, intricate, delicate snowflakes, each as unique as the next.

When I left the house after dinner, I asked my Mom if she ever looked at snowflakes up close, as she closed the door behind me.

“Yes,” she said, “When I used to teach pre-school we’d look up close at the snowflakes.  Did you know that each one has 6 points and is unique?”

She closed the door behind her as I peered at the mailbox to see if I could spot a few good ones.

Walking out to the car I looked at the layer of freshly fallen snow under a bush by the side of the house. It was as if each flake was gently laid there by hand randomly.  They were softly and gently sitting there without a bother in the world.  Just there.

I praised the abundance of softly fallen snowflakes that lay at my door step when I arrived home.

Yes, the abundance of snowflakes.

Thank you for the abundance of snowflakes.

Thank you for the abundance.

Thank you.

Thanks,

Sarah