Only a few hours left to the end of the year on this calendar we have all learned to go by, that we have printed and digitalized and to which all clocks in the known world are officially synchronised. It feels important to return to this page, to gather and share some thoughts, a sense of the time passed through what has felt a very special, transformative year, one that seemed to require the breaking (and loss) of old patterns, securities, attachments, and all the threads of established ‘wiring’ that had guided our choices (or at least mine), our predictions, expectations and sense of identity. This has felt like a tough and beautiful, intense, demanding, surprising and all round very different year.
As I traveled to meet family, last week, I have started to read one of the latest books by Paulo Coelho, ‘Aleph’. I seem to have found myself drawn to one of his books at every significant point of transformation throughout my life journey since my twenties, where something of a core message was crystallized for me in his simple, heart-ful, down to the bone honest and straight to the point style, a no-messing-about summary of what I need to keep from the lessons learned. This one speaks about time. There is no such a thing as time ‘passing’ – there is only constant change, and to resist this, to want to keep things as they are, or push them ahead, hold on to anything, is seen not only as a source of suffering but actually not possible.
I am in the business of often returning to the past – you could say. Ah yes, but only when this has planted itself into the present as a boulder in the way of change, requiring healing, facing, resolving (in whatever form possible, including acceptance) so that we can ‘return’ to ourselves, our home in the centre of who we are, reconnect to our purpose & meaning, make our own path, dance our dance. This too is to serve the inevitable ever changing nature of things, to offer it the best possible chance to be growth-ful, creative, life bringing, and life nourishing. This is the hope and belief I signed up to, I’m sure, much longer ago than I can remember. Everything flows…
So, at the closing of the year that in some traditions had been designated (literally or symbolically) as the End of the World, I am wanting to honor ‘change’ – for those parts of our lives and of life on this globe where it truly feels as though this World the way we know it had ended, and we were left facing the New Time, where deep healing, individually and collectively, and the freeing of forgotten and chained spirit has become urgent, necessary and – like never before – uncompromisingly crucial.
I also wish to share, acknowledge and give gratitude for my own healing, my own ‘returning‘, long preparing and come to ripe in the course of this year, and those beings (as Nature and all things alive and people are part of this) who have shared, supported or even instigated (consciously or not) the alchemy of a new path making, a new home-coming for me.
Dance was the vessel and the shell breaker.
The body never forgets. The sounds and language and rhythms of my native Land (the South of Italy) had been making their way back through, deep inside my soul, in the spaciousness left by old ghosts dissolving away, almost as if brought by the wind (I remember actually seeking the wind all the time at the point), and by wind-like, soulful presences walking into my life.
I had been longing to reconnect, to follow the call, a profound sense of belonging and purpose. The Wind sweeping through seemed to reawaken a dormant, long abandoned fire. The ignition was tangible, felt at the cellular level, inside some kind of matrix. Everything shifted, energy changed. A chain of contacts and a trip later I had re-approached some dance traditions of my roots, I was re-taught their steps, reminded of their history and significance, I begun to dance to and drum those sounds, those rhythms, those spirits.
On the face of it, this was all pretty new and fresh, really entered up-close for the first time, but in my body it all was familiar, long missed, absorbed with the thirst of a desert traveler who after the journey of a life time, has found a settlement at last in the sea of sand, and water, trees, a tribe and food: nourishment. Delicious and known.
My soul dancing its way back, cellular healing, remembering, a chain reaction of re-arrangements and re-wiring, not without some staggering, some tackling of the old boulders which had suppressed and hidden the fire all that long ago to begin with, turning them into the allies for building the brand new path for the dance to step on. Daring to be – entirely – who I always was. Daring to dance again…
The dearest to me of these traditions, the most potent healer, is what is often known by the name of Taranta. The myth of the tarantula bite this dance is based on, the poison of which can be healed through dancing to the rhythm and melody, with the colors and spirit of the specific spider that caused the intoxication and distress, always seemed to me like a solution to dealing with trauma and human ‘unhappiness’ that beats all our modern world’s fear, segregation and demonizing of ‘madness’.
Like other traditions of healing through ecstatic rhythm and dance, this offered a role, meaning and purpose, a ‘voice’ to the person carrying the unhappiness, supported and ‘heard’, ‘witnessed’ by the community, as ultimately those struggling with all forms of happiness are not only trying to come to terms with their personal myth, but carry something of the collective myth, channel it, point at it, as we all create those and are all responsible, wherever they manifest and true healing is only possible within the collective.
In the part of my work that supports others in metabolizing trauma, through and with the body, this is a constantly re affirmed experience and increasingly recognized by those approaches to healing the soul that engage with it right there, in the body, the only reliable history book we own.
Much more has been written and is known about this elsewhere and some day I shall write more too, as I dance, travel with it, and bring it out there in the forms that are available to me and that can express its healing, ecstatic heart.
It is the gift of my Ancestors.
The study of this, and of my other root dances, the embodying and unraveling of their spirit continues: I have married it for life.
And so today I am thankful to the new and renewed Life-Rhythm Tribe I have found, to the Drummers, the Dancers, to the new and familiar People, the Sisters and Brothers, to the Dreaming that has been freed to create new possibilities, to the determined resilient dancing Child I was, to the One that is in us all, to the Worlds I have stumbled on and that now are my Home, the Teachers, the Wind and the Warriors that have carried parts of my soul back and who have danced with me for a time.
My heart has been cracked open and filled with a whole new brand of Love, and I am grateful to you YOU ALL.
I also offer this to my family, and to the best, most generous brother, the coolest most ‘sisterly’ sister-in-law and friend, the most beautiful, talented, big-hearted niece I could be gifted with and with whom I spend the close of this year.
The New Time wants us DARING TO BE, so these are my whole hearted wishes for you all:
May you each Dream into form your brand new Path.
May you know the blessings of Healing, the joy of Returning
the gift and courage to share this with the World.
May you live, love, cry, laugh, embrace the light and the shadow, dance, play, BE
FULLY, UNRESERVEDLY, with Passion and Trust.
May you meet Life right where it is
and find your Home Land there and never feel alone.
May you find your own Dance
Cross well into the New Flow we call
Come and meet the healing spirit of ‘my’ Dance in the new year in Scotland.
Dancing our Souls back Home, here