Movement, touch, breath, awareness, stillness, wildness, play, connection, community —these are, as far as I can tell, languages of love. Longed for, familiar, bittersweet soulful doorways into the awkward grace, the vulnerable empowerment, of self-acceptance and liberation.

My life is only meaningful to the extent I am a servant of THAT.

Church in Ocean Park —deep in the Dance Tribe zone!

Church in Ocean Park —deep in the Dance Tribe zone!

After a powerful night, in which I had the thought that there is nothing else that absorbs and focuses me in entranced attention and fluid creativity as holding space for dance, I feel so much love and gratitude for our beautiful, soulful, open, playful, supportive community.

rocking, swaying, undulating
carried by the rhythm
ride the ecstatic wave into
a sublime fusion
of passion and peace…

~Radiance Sutras

I have taught meditation and yoga for almost 25 years —for 10 of those years I offered (inspired by Michael Molin-skelton and Jo Cobbett) a yoga & dance event once a week, after starting to combine the two on my twice a year retreats to Ojai.

But the truth is, even the type of yoga (and bodywork) I have practiced and taught for so long was always heavily infused with the idea that whatever the form or technique is, its ultimate purpose is to create the opportunity for those spontaneously arising moments of alchemy, healing, liberated expression, shared flow states in which individual experience is respected in the context of our common humanity and essential goodness.

Though I always had my own love for these elements, being (especially) in Michael’s dance space for about 18 years very much influenced how I used music, poetry, and rhythmic speech to hold space and support a kind of unfolding trance state in which there is permission to explore whatever arises.

This became as much a part of my sensibility with yoga as with facilitating dance, or practicing bodywork —and of course it got me a reputation in some purist circles for not teaching “real” yoga..

Like many in our community, I have read voraciously my whole life, and studied, practiced and explored a multitude of perspectives, practices and theories regarding mind-body process, healing, East/West philosophy, psychology and spirituality.

Of course this included both of Gabrielle Roth’s wonderful books, as well as many others on shamanism, altered states, tantra, psychedelics, breath-work, developmental psychology, anatomy, neuroscience, healing trauma, and so on…

dogmaAs with yoga and meditation, and any other discipline, I found that there were always competing theories and dogmas —that this school said you had to do it this way, and that school said you had to do the opposite!

The funny thing?

For the most part, people in both schools did just fine…. and the ones for who one method did not work, or amplified their imbalances, tended to find their way over to another method that fit them better and vice versa —sometimes it even went in stages, depending on what they needed at a given point in their journey.

For years I had a very, very authoritarian teacher —a rebellious iconoclast in her own right, but now dead set on a very strict way of doing things, and actually quite shaming and invasive in demanding obedience from her students. (Later I would see this as a kind of false confidence that actually was hunting continual validation through conformity..)

In the earlier days of yoga in LA there was a very feudal, clique-ish mentality… a lot of emphasis on lineage, who had studied with who, and what the “real” yoga was. Needless to say, everyone thought the people on the other side of the street were terribly misguided and doomed to spiritual failure!

In my experience of ashrams, satsangs, massage schools, and intentional communities this was often the case as well..

This seems to happen in every discipline, especially in the initial decades of mysterious, novel, specialness, and the idealizing of certain figures as carrying super potent energy that no-one else knows about..

The more I grew and healed and studied, the more I realized that this was not my path… The more i grew to respect and revere the rare spaces in which our vulnerable humanity, our authentic expression, and the intelligence of embodied, intuitive, emotional process could unfold.hands of light

That is what I humbly and imperfectly seek to offer. It comes from an essentially tantric disposition that basically says there is nothing “in the way” —that the sacred is discovered through an active embrace and exploration of our humanity, and that it is as present in stillness and ecstasy, in play and in contemplation, in passionate embrace as in splendid solitude.

That (yes!) the sacred is as present in thumping electronic beats, remixed Marvin Gaye, electro-swing hoedown, and dubstep wobbles, as in a tribal percussion jam, a stripped-down resonant om, heartfelt acoustic confession, acapella 4-part harmony, or Sheila Chandra incantation.

What I have found is that there are many experiential truths that, while perhaps they can be talked about to some extent, ultimately are only discovered in those precious and deeply personal moments of magic that occur when we are open to our fluid, luminous, intelligent, embodied process —and how we get there may be through a variety of doorways.

Movement, touch, breath, awareness, stillness, wildness, play, connection, community —these are, as far as I can tell, languages of love. Longed for, familiar, bittersweet soulful doorways into the awkward grace, the vulnerable empowerment, of self-acceptance and liberation.

My life is only meaningful to the extent I am a servant of THAT.

Just some thoughts…. if they are interesting or inspiring to even one person I am happy.

Below is perhaps one of my favorite poems ever, read by the author, David Whyte —who’s influence you may notice in the way i recite my favorite poems as well!