For me its dancing. But not any kind of dancing. I love a type of dancing known as "trance dance" or its cousin, "ecstatic dance." There are no steps to memorize, and no rules to follow. There is simply deeply rhythmic music and occasional structures to help guide the dance.
Trance dance is a form of meditation for me. I nearly always dance with my eyes gently closed. It helps me shut down my consciousness and simply feel. When I'm trance dancing, my consciousness falls away and I just become a mass of body and spirit. It is deeply spiritual in a way that no sermon or Bible story or memorized prayer or mass can ever touch for me. I love this type of dancing so much, I've looked into becoming a whirling dervish, which is a sect within the mystical branch of Islam known as Sufi.
I learned about trance dance through the magic of Kripalu Danskinetics, and its spinoffs Journey Dance and Shake Your Soul. I used to Journey Dance once a month at a Unitarian church about 30 minutes from my home.
And then I moved an additional hour away from the class.
And then the instructor moved. To Canada.
That was more than six years ago. And I haven't danced since.
I recently met a woman who leads monthly ecstatic dance sessions 90 minutes away from my home. On Friday nights. Starting at 8:00 PM. Ugh.
To get to a session I would need to:
- Overcome the sluggishness that I put on every Friday when I get home at 3:30 PM; my typical end-of-the-week sluggishness is compounded by the fact that I get up at 4:30 in the morning to exercise before I'm due at my desk at 7:00 AM.
- Once I actually make it out of the house, fight weekend commuter traffic for 90 minutes to get there
- Manage the exhaustion I predict I'd feel throughout the weekend after being active for at least 19 hours of the day (see "overcome sluggishness" note above)
- Overcome the fear that I would put all the effort to get to the class, and it would be a bust. Either because the music or energy weren't right, or the other dancers were too handsy or geeky, or cliquey.
Take a step back.
If I can remember that the WHOLE POINT of dancing is to have the experience of being filled with the light of God. And then if I can remember that the worst that can happen is I waste an entire evening at an event that does not fill me with the light of God. And the best that can happen is I have an amazing experience and feel light enough to float home when it is over, and inspired to go back the next month.
I can probably will the fear away. At least long enough to get myself to try.
Luckily, Ecstatic Dance Providence has been on hiatus all summer, so I've had months to perseverate on this. The next dance is on the third Friday in October. My challenge until then? To focus on the possibility of love, rather than fear.
Wish me luck.