‘Recapitulation’ —in the context of healing— is the process of releasing patterns that have been holding us, stuck in the past in some way. There’s lots of advice out there on how to do this on purpose; identifying something you feel is holding you back, and doing some kind of exercise to let it go. The danger with this is that your ego remains in charge, and ego will always choose a version of change that feeds its own agendas.
There’s a way of recapitulating our past that cuts deeper though, with a strong element of unpredictability. This happens courtesy of life if you stay quiet, dwelling in the silence within your breath and letting the stream of life do its work on you. If you stay in your silence, then the parameters of your inner restrictions and old baggage will inevitably collide with the events of your life in such a way as to strip you of those burdens.
If you let it.
Instead, we all too readily resist, blame, avoid, deny, reinforcing the carapace we know by listening to the incessant nagging of our internal dialogue rather than our inner silence, moved by ego’s distractions rather than the body’s flow. That voice will always try to stop the process, blaming circumstances or other people or our own failings to avoid letting the impact of our experience reach our core and change us from the inside.
All of this is accelerated on the dance floor. When your attention is awake upon the fullness of your body and the emptiness within your breath, free movement will bring up all that is not free for recapitulation. This is especially so when that movement is going through the rhythms which are such a powerful natural catalyst for change. You often won’t even know what it is that’s being released, though sometimes a knowing will arise from the experience you’re having.
The nub of this release process happens in two phases:
The first is through a Chaotic vibration. It could be via physically chaotic movement which is your body letting go, or via sadness which is your heart’s way of letting go. Either of these can happen within any rhythm of course: for example, you could be deep in Flowing when it comes, with your Flow acquiring a chaotic quality.
The second is through a Lyrical vibration, without which your recapitulation will become mired in self-importance and the carapace that was being set loose will re-embed itself within your self-image, appearing to be different but in reality just wearing a new mask. There needs to be a lightening, a laughter (or at least a rueful smile), a tender gratitude despite the pain, or a phase of creativity where something is offered to others; something like that.
This letting go, and then the lightening, are the heart of the matter. To complete, there needs to be a peaceful return to the grace of silence and stillness, where there is no issue to deal with, and never was. That way the change finds a healthy integration into your psyche.
However, as in the rest of life, this process can be sabotaged or blocked on the dance floor, as in life. We often resist the stages that come before the grieving, when there’s a period of struggle: of tossing and turning internally, wrestling with our demons. We have to give ourselves wholeheartedly to such times when they arise, allowing our feelings to bend us out of the shapes we know. We have to be willing to become as twisted as the patterns that are coming up for release, and often that’s not pretty. We may need to make weird sounds, drool, tear at our clothes or hair, flung to the floor or rampaging through the room.
And before even any of that happens, there’s the first phase of all, which is related to fear. The trouble begins here. Usually, the first sign of fear is flicked away before it can be felt as such because our automatic avoidance systems click into gear so fast. Before the alarm can become conscious, our internal dialogue is already telling us that ‘something is wrong’, and the solution requires stepping out of our practice in some way. We’ll become strangely tired, or we just have to drink some water, or look at a flyer, or the music isn’t right, or we just space out and pay more attention to that nagging voice than to our silence and movement.
The way out of all that, or rather the way into what’s really going on, is to move into your experience within the practice. Dance tired, or dance thirsty, or dance “I can’t dance to this music”, or dance spaced out and dreamy — and with commitment and dedication to as much artistic excellence as you can manage.
Make it your practice to be that dedicated, and you’ll set a template for the rest of your life, and develop resilience for the process of change: not to protect yourself against it or engineer it from the level of ego, but to have the courage, persistence, and creativity to go with the flow of life and become bigger than you were.
With thanks to Marc Silvestre for creating and holding the space