Friday, November 26, 2010

Slow Travel

I wrote the following while I was on my way to my sister's for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I write this from a train car headed to my Thanksgiving destination. I am headed there slowly. And I am ok with that.

Don't get me wrong. I am very excited about the prospect of high speed rail. But right now I am on a low speed rail, made slower by a freight train derailment that delayed the arrival of this train by over 6 hours, but for me those hours were found time spent at home, not endless hours trapped in a train car, as was the fate of the passengers around me who boarded the train earlier from points west.

Now, I sit by the window, the jostling of the train moving along these old tracks lulls me to sleep. When I wake, I read some, write some, grade some papers, listen to music and at times just sit and think.

I like this pace.

I get nervous on airplanes. I still fly, but when I took my first train trip I realized that when the train began to roll it did simply that; it gently rolled. Absent was the fear in the pit of my stomach that begins as soon as the airplane engines roar to life, a fear the accelerates at the same pace as the speed of the plane as it prepares to lift off.

Someone just inquired and it seems that we have three hours left until we arrive. "Just three hours!" she said. Piece of cake.

Sometimes you are forced to slow down and if you don't fight it, it can be quite delicious. It can be just what you need.

Wishing you balance,


Monday, November 22, 2010

What If?

This weekend I happily attended another Trance Dance Yoga session, led by Teresa Principe at Physikos in Village Gate. For more information visit the Physikos website. To save you from the reams of writing I could do on the healing power of dance, I condensed my thoughts into the following poem. Enjoy.

What If?

What if you held yourself and whispered:

It will get better

And what if you chose to believe your whisperings?

What if you let go of that hot coal you grasp so tightly,

and you spoke the words:

Forgiven, Forgiven,

and what if you really meant them?

And what if you danced?

What if you danced wildly until
all that mattered was the dripping sweat,
the beating heart, the ripples of life
moving your bones, enlivening your flesh?

Wouldn't that be something sweet indeed?

Wishing You Balance,


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing

I wanted to share this poem that showed up on my Facebook feed. It is by Hafiz, whose given name was Shams-ud-din Muhammad (c. 1320-1389), said to be the most beloved poet of the Persians. This poem was translated by into English by Daniel Kandinsky.

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing

I know the voice of depression

Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life

Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now

And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way

And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun

From your prayers and work and music

And from your companions' beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun

From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved

And, my dear,

From the most insignificant movements

Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins

That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,

But then drag you for days

Like a broken man

Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.

Learn what actions of yours delight Him,

What actions of yours bring freedom

And Love.

Whenever you say God's name, dear pilgrim,

My ears wish my head was missing

So they could finally kiss each other

And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun

From your prayers and work and music

And from your companions' beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements

Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,

Be wise.

Cast all your votes for Dancing!

Republished from: Hafiz Unofficial FB Fan Page

Wishing You Balance,


Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Teaching Dance

Twelve children balancing peacock feathers on their hands, moving in concert with their graceful partners. They excitedly call my name, inviting me to share in their amazement, their discovery of a great accomplishment, of what, until that moment, they didn't even know to be possible.

It is magic.

I am the dance specialist in an elementary school.

Do I teach children how to dance?


It isn't about the moves, the balance, the point of the toe, the positioning of the body, the beat or any of those things we tend to think of when we think of dance, even though those are all things I teach.

What is it then?

I have spent my life trying to answer the question, "What is dance?" And maybe the problem is the way in which that question is expected to be answered.


I can't answer it with words.

The answer to that question is in the body's domain.

And when the children that I teach feel the answer in their own bodies, the magic in the room is palpable.

One student says, "I am dancing with the feather. We are partners! I look at it and it shows me how to move." This expressed both with excitement and with a seriousness that conveys the profundity of her discovery. This dance is a big deal.

I was recently at a conference and when I told a fellow conferee that I worked with young children teaching dance, she cheered. She told me, without the benefit of ever seeing me teach, or meeting the children, that what I did was important. That it made a difference in their lives.

I can see that it does, sometimes more clearly than other times.

What is dance?

Let your body answer that question.


Wishing you balance,