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Welcome to my blog page. It’s mostly about the 5Rhythms practice and insights and experiences that come from it.

I hope you enjoy the posts and find them useful. You can see a list of all the posts if you click on the word “List” above here.

You can sign up below, then you’ll get new posts by email as soon as I write something.

Adam

Recapitulation on and off the dance floor

‘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.

butterfly

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.windmill-day1

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

 

 

 

 

Power and vulnerability

There is a dark-light power

Given to us from above and below

To use as we choose

For a few short yearscandle

 

When we fully stand in that power

Allowing it to stream through

And be seen by the world

We expose our deepest vulnerability

 

Let’s shine

And dare

To dream

Turning the page

To all those of you who have shown up and surfed through waves with me, co-created so many incredible moments of work that feel as though they genuinely make a difference, not just in our own souls but in the world as a whole… Thank you for teaching me over and over again what this dancing path is about, and what my own nature is revealing to me. Thank you.

To anyone I have hurt or invaded, been arrogant or impatient with, whom I have misunderstood or ignored… even in the smallest way… I’m sorry.

Like everyone, I’m learning: wounded, half-blind and just plain foolish sometimes… Please forgive me.

Within the One that we are in truth, the One that moves through us all, breathes through us all, unfolding through every moment on and off the dance floor… I Love.

What a beautiful, extraordinary, humbling year.

Blessings as we turn the page, everyone.

(thank you Ho’oponopono)

A blindspot, a teaching, and a laugh

There’s only one thing Gabrielle told us during our teacher training that I really remember, but 23 years later it’s still as clear as a bell: “Get ready. You’re going to be doing your healing in public now.”

I’ve found that to be true a thousand times in front of a room of dancers, but since choosing to have a blog as a teaching forum that ‘public’ thing has become way more so.

I trust the flow of my feet, listening for my next step pretty spontaneously, both in life and in my teaching. It’s not a very safe way to move, but I rather like that. Often the consequences seem miraculous and magical, and sometimes I land flat on my face in the mud. That has just happened, so I have a disclosure to make, in order to set things straight and allow the field — including myself — to rebalance. It’s a deeply held principle for me that when I’m teaching and I mess up, then I will be transparent about that and make amends. In a room of dancers that might be as subtle as allowing a shift in my stance and perspective, or at the other extreme it might involve me literally explaining what I see and apologising.

In this case it’s about my previous blog post; the one about contact improv in a 5R space, within which I’d ebulliently pointed the finger at two dancers, criticising them for being caught in the shadow of Lyrical, the ‘Impresario’. A couple of good friends were kind enough to contact me and gently suggest I take a look in the mirror.

contact

As I did my homework, what I saw was so funny that I literally laughed out loud. There in the mirror I could see myself strutting around in exactly that same character, and not only generally so, but even specifically in the way I’d written that blog post!

What a classic.

Another of Gabrielle’s gems was to remind us to be a teaching rather than a teacher. I hope that offering up my blindspot as a giveaway like this will serve; that my mis-step and now this adjustment gives you a chance to smile, and breathe the sigh of relief that usually comes with the truth.

One last thing: I totally stand by the substance of what I said about mixing CI and 5R. It was just the way I said it that was off. I don’t think they mix together well, both because of the subtle quality of presence that’s different for each, and for physical safety. CI is a great practice, and as I said, I am very grateful for having some of those skills, but using them within my 5R practice (which can work really well) is very different from actually shifting modes and essentially practicing CI whilst everyone else in the room is practicing 5R. I’ve now edited the original version of that post to remove the finger pointing, having had conversations with both the dancers I was referring to, and acknowledging my foolishness personally with a good few laughs about it. 

With big thanks to Ya’Acov and Kinga.

Contact Improv and 5Rhythms?

 

This is a subject that comes up every now and then between 5R teachers — many of us find it annoying when people are basically doing a different practice on the dance floor, and contact improv is the one that shows up most often. If I was leading a Christian service and someone was chanting prayers to Krishna I guess I would find that annoying too, but that would probably have some dogmatic stuff in it which isn’t really what this is about.

Actually I love dancing in contact with people sometimes; I studied contact improv when I lived in Bristol where it was a big thing in the 90s, and have countless times been glad of those skills on a 5R dance floor, but then sometimes I’m dancing with someone and I can feel them suddenly shift into ‘doing contact’. There’s a subtle rigidity I can sense in their thinking which then affects their movement. I can feel it switch on as soon as they realise I’m up for moving in touch with them. Something about expectations, so there’s a listening for certain moves that might come next out of a repertoire. The emptiness of the moment is gone, filled with something else that is more like control than meditation.

GabrielleFreeSpiritThis touches into a wider question that I know many many people around the world struggle with on a 5R dance floor:
“Isn’t this about being free? And isn’t freedom just about doing what I want to do? What’s the problem?” And this is the rub: No, freedom is not just about doing what you want. That doesn’t work. It leads instead to moving in small circles within what’s familiar, trapped in your own ego.

Part of my job is to care for the whole field in the room. By caring for it, I mean to keep opening doors and tending to edges so that it expands as wide and deep as possible whilst staying focussed within the moment. This creates a space that facilitates connection: for each dancer within themselves, with each other, and with the One that moves us all. As individual dancers we all get into our shadows, caught by our own ego trips, and I’m as fallible as anyone so I’m not casting stones. But as group leader for the day, I take it as my responsibility to sometimes attend to a dancer individually if they’ve got caught. Partly to help them personally, but also because each individual’s consciousness affects the whole.

What I often see in contact improv dancers on 5R floors is a subtle pride, and a performance, mixed in with a whole lot of control. It’s a kind of shadow Lyrical dance masquerading as freedom, and it’s a drag; a sort of psychic lump in the room. Lumps in the room are not the end of the world, but… Added to which it’s physically dangerous — I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard of someone getting whacked by a stray leg of a CI dancer on a 5R floor. They don’t go together on a physical level or on the level of consciousness. So please don’t do it. Go do contact improv in a space where that’s the clear intent and beautiful practice which it is. Or even, allow your contact skills to soften and become less programmed so that you’re not ‘doing contact improv’ but rather letting that technique dissolve in the emptiness, then dance in contact with others by all means, attentive to the unfolding moment that is always calling to us through the unknown, quiet as a whisper.