I happened upon Biodanza during a very low point in my life. I was seven years into my fourteen year journey in Africa, having given up my secure, independent life in the US and a tenured teaching job that defined me. I had married and had two children, but had lost myself somewhere along the way in the morass of new motherhood and the difficult task of adapting to new and challenging environments in poverty stricken African cities.
BIODANZA, poetry of human encounter
Discovering Biodanza was the product of pure serendipity in the form of a flyer on a gym wall. With trepidation, I made my first encounter, pregnant with my third child, in an outdoor Biodanza class.
I was initially taken back by the personal connections during the sessions, staring into someone’s eyes or holding hands with a stranger during the walking exercise. However, as the facilitator wove specific exercises into each class, I began to develop a comfort level with these connections and in time, a deep desire for this authenticity. The constant pulsation from me to the group and back helped me acknowledge that in my own adventurous and nomadic life, I was indeed strong and quite capable of embracing life’s authentic flow.
Peeling off the layers
With passion in my heart and a newly born baby, I decided to join the Biodanza School in Johannesburg. I was challenged by the level of intimacy that was carefully and progressively introduced. However, I felt safe connecting first with myself. What is that mask I am hiding behind? How is this showing up in my dance? As I began to peel away the layers with self-regulation and feedback, I felt the emergence of the real me within every dance. These are two important concepts reinforced in the Biodanza space. Self-regulation allows you to care for your physical needs in the dance—if you need to slow down, speed up, or even rest, you need to make the decision. Extending this concept to the other dancers, being in communication with them through awareness of their space, gestures, and need for contact is also stressed.
Connecting to presence
Next, and perhaps the biggest challenge, was learning to be present with others. Not superficially present as we tend to be in our busy Western society, but really connected with someone else in the dance. Holding hands, gazing into the “eyes of humanity” as Biodanza creator Rolando Toro describes it, or lying in a warm nest or “puppy puddle” on the ground, I felt increasingly comforted, contained, and liberated from cultural constraints of how we are supposed to relate to one another.
Deepening this ability to be authentically present with myself and others also allowed me to connect more profoundly to the Divine. When I dance now, I am filled with the presence of the numinous and feel this awesome energy in dancers with whom I ignite on the dance floor.
As a wife and mother of three, I am more connected in mind, body, and spirit ways that replaced the distraction I felt before. I look people in the eyes, focus on them, and don’t answer my ringing phone or look away with disinterest. I can say that I know what it truly is to be present with someone and I know that each moment of life is sacred and precious My “poetic encounters” now extend beyond the dance floor and spill over into my daily life.
Biodanza, the dance and blessing of my life...
(the original article first appeared in Conscious Dancer Magazine)
"Yo, dog. Why do you have to be all up in my grill?" says the teenager to the parent or Randy Jackson to Simon (American Idol pop culture reference for all you non reality show peeps!)
I've been thinking a lot about one of the main tenets of the life coaching program offered by Martha Beck, the "mother" of heart-based life coaching and monthly columnist in "O" magazine, although she doesn't exactly refer to it with this hipster jargon!
In fact, the more I contemplate this guiding principle, and see it working in my own life, the more I stand firmly in the belief that the understanding of this concept is the spring board of one's ability to get emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually healthy and happy.
It's really easy to suss. Here goes:
There's my business, your business and God's business and the only business I should meddle in is my own.
Pretty straight forward, heh?
The problem is we all LOVE to entwine ourselves à la Downton Abbey and solve other people's problems or we seem to have people who just need to interfere into ours. Such drama on which we humans thrive!
There's the "should have" type that is forever trying to tell us what we should do and how we should do it (my least favorite word in the dictionary) because "they know", or there exists the rescuer who is constantly trying to "save" someone's disastrous life, or heaven forbid YOURS and let's not forget the enabler who has no intention of setting you free.
How many of us know, or perhaps are, the "monster parent" (this is a real term!) who refuses to loosen the noose and let the child risk and take chances in life? Or are we part of an institution that harps on what we should do, believe, how we should act to survive, etc...and the list goes on.
We are lured by outside intervention and buy into the dramatic "game of thrones" readily from a very young age. Makes for messy business, indeed.
They're all in YOUR BUSINESS or YOU'RE IN THEIRS! One hot mess!
For sure, it's really challenging to have someone in your business droning on, giving you relentless, unsolicited advice.
What do you do that won't be harmful to them nor you? :)
Chances are these people are so wrapped up in your business, precisely because it's too scary for them to take a look at their own lives and/or you allow them ear space! It can be oppressive for you, but then again, maybe you like the constant drama and it frees you up from taking any kind of responsibility for your actions. You can always blame someone else for your tragedy, right? Something to ponder.
Let's not forget those who are bargaining with God for something or blaming God for something tragic in the world or even willing it all to the great Creator taking no responsibility for his/her own part in the situation at hand.....the state of the environment, religious/ego wars, our health, politics, the "bad stuff" that goes down in life, etc.
They're all in GOD'S BUSINESS.
It's mighty presumptuous of us, mere mortals, to even try to be in God's business. If you even believe in God, know that He/She/Divine One/Creator, Allah, Yaweh, whatever moniker you embrace, the ultimate I AM reigns supreme and knows what He's doing. Stay outta GOD'S BUSINESS! The ethereal one's got your back if you can surrender and open to love!
This only leaves one place for us to meddle....we need to get more up IN OUR OWN GRILL!
Admittedly, it's hard to go there...stay there...dwell for a while and/or repeatedly 'cause it's so damn HOT in our messy interior world, but alas, this is what needs to happen.
It's much easier to meddle in other people's lives and micro-manage them than to dig deep into our own psyches or to let others meddle in our affairs creating unnecessary drama. (I exclude babies and small toddlers who need attention for life threatening situations... like my brother who thought he was Superman at the age of 5 and with towel tied around his neck as a cape wanted to "fly" off the garage roof!... or teens in whose business a parent sometimes needs to meddle a tad to avoid total disaster!)
When it comes down to it, my friends, in our own intimate lives is really where we belong and where we need to begin to make changes in the world. We must begin with little ole "me". We need to be micro-managing our own thoughts and feelings and coming full circle with our own dirty business.
Occupy self, of sorts. We can start a new rEVOLution . :) Come on...I'm game!
2014 COACHING TOOL
Whenever you find yourself in a questionable situation wanting to jump into someone's drama and put in your two cents and save the day without being asked, ask yourself....
WHOSE BUSINESS AM IN NOW? WHY?
I can tell you that if you're not up in your own grill, get out fast before you get burned! Why not let people tend to their own issues unless they ask for some good, solid advice and you can actually come up with some?
And what happens when someone is interfering with your life, even if they have the best intentions and even if you are one hot mess?
You must explain gently the very simple concept of my/your/God's business and tell them to VACATE the premises with assertiveness. The good old expression, "It's none of your business" can be thrown out for a more forceful stance! The accused probably won't get it and you may offend some, but that's okay.
You get it and that's enough to get you started down the right path for you creating patterns of communication that serve you.
Set yourself on the right path in 2014 and GET MORE IN YOUR OWN BUSINESS!
You'll find that your hot mess of a "grill" will be cooking just right within time and life will be more pleasant, peaceful and mostly drama-free.
Sending you all peace in the new year,
"small talk about rEVOLutionary