Last summer I was invited to my very first dance/cacao ceremony. I didn't really know what to expect but I was excited to be there. I was pregnant, full term, with Callan. Knowing that this was a very special experience to be a part of, plus being in my blooming belly, I imagined that the whole focus would be our near birth. It wasn't, however.
Everyone in the group was partnered and we were given a question to answer and talk about, and without judgment or words, the partner listened with full awareness. I was blown away by the depths that I dove into that night. Something that I wasn't expecting to do was to face myself. This exercise allowed some stirring and loosening, and as I opened up about myself, and things I was dealing with at that time, emotions surfaced.
Next came a blindfolded dance. The partner was an observer, support and protector. The dance served to let these emotions flow and move if they were blocked somewhere in the body. The blindfold allowed to be with oneself. The moves that I made or that others made didn't matter, I wasn't looking, everything was a feel. The dance was magical. Being in dance was like being in meditation or deep prayer. In that state, it is easy to shift the frame of mind or let things go or find solutions. It's not something done intentional, it's something that happens naturally.
The second dance ceremony I attended was themed Death and Rebirth. Death of old habits, of old relationships, of old lifestyles or places and rebirth of so many things that we'd love to birth or bring our lives to. Ironically for me, the theme was literal. I was in the middle of having just given birth to my child and experiencing the crushing reality that my brother had just passed a few days before. I was in between two wide open portals, I felt. I didn't even know if I was going to make it to the ceremony, being in the terrible state that I was in.
After the news of my brother, I remember going over 48 hrs without a lick of sleep. I had not been sleeping before that either, since I had a newborn at home, who had been born with an issue (all resolved now) so we were watching him 24/7 without a blink. I was a complete restless wreck, with full blown anxiety and on the brink of insanity. I could not cope. It was all too much, I was in a turmoiled, shocked state, shattered into pieces. Feeling the urge to take action or do something where I was helpless to myself and my family, didn't have the control or ability to do anything, I went to the ceremony. I sobbed uncontrollably, cried my heart out. I spilled myself dry before the dance even began. I wrote a letter to my brother. I asked for my baby to be okay. I was as fragile as I could be. This dance was so different. I saw how I was stretched out far. My thoughts, my heart, my fears. I was so far out of myself. Seeing that while blindfolded, I realized that's how crazy people are, they're just normal people, stretched far away, way in a past, or in a future, or far in an imaginary world. I felt how I was collecting myself. I was so, so gone but I was coming back into my body. There was no solution in my dance, there was nothing that made the situation better. I was able to be come back to myself though, I hadn't even been aware that I was gone. I was able to safeguard some energy, that was draining out of me like an open faucet, to get on a plane and go home to be with my family.
I remember seeing the Aztec Dancers in Mexico City years ago. They made me feel a certain way, I thought the dancing and the outfits was all beautiful. And I thought I was watching a show of the culture of the past. After being part of, now three, dance ceremonies, it's dawned on me, that the Aztec Dancers were showing more than what the eye could see, they were showing their meditation and prayer through movement. Dance ceremony has been a part of human culture since the beginning of time. It is an medium through which one can express emotion, clear the mind, or charge the internal batteries after a burnout. The state that one falls in while dancing varies. It all depends on how much you let yourself go, the intentions that you bring, and other factors. I've always been open and flow through all thoughts and emotions that come up. I feel an expansion in my field of awareness when I'm dancing. This is where one can find solutions to a problem, a shift occurs in a frame of mind, or acceptance is easier. The more common ways to celebrate an achievement, cope and decompress nowadays is through food and alcohol. Dance is a beautiful and powerful alternative to process such situations. Dance is useful where one has hit a wall on an issue because the mind can't make sense of it. It is a break, a breather. Dance can also just be a way to express thanks and gratefulness for the blessings we have and the life that surrounds us.