Thursday, September 24, 2009
Dance Out of Your Box & Into the Real You
I admit it: I am a bit obsessed right now.
With what? Isn't it obvious?
Dance, of course, but more specifically with the work of Gabrielle Roth. Right now, I'm reading her book Sweat Your Prayers, and it feels like, to me, that I am reading some ancient lost religious text.
I'm only in the introduction, but I can't bring myself to read too fast. Have you read books like that? They're so good and feel so important that you force yourself to go slowly?
This part of the introduction, where she is writing about first starting to teach, struck me and I wanted to share it:
The more I taught, the more I realized that this was not going to be simple. Most of us were deeply afraid of the body; some people controlled every gesture they made; others abandoned themselves to food or drink or just cut themselves off and spaced out. We were big time head-trippers, drifting far way from any real self, with no idea that there was something holy and profound happening inside of us. I'd watch people moving completely expressionless to the wildest rock n' roll song...Cool is cool but frozen is another thing entirely. I wanted to put my hands on their hips and melt them down. I wanted to wake them up from their collective inertia. I wanted to rattle their bones and shake their souls.
Did you recognize yourself in there anywhere?
This makes me think of the yoga that the majority of us do and how part of the reason we love it might be how safe it makes us feel. There are these poses and we're all expected to look pretty much the same doing them. There's no risk that we'll look silly. Not really.
There's no risk that we'll look...different.
(There are some sorts of yoga out there that are trying to create more freedom in movement but they are a small minority at this point.)
We have been taught to mistrust our bodies. That much we know for sure.
We diet them into acceptable shapes. We clothe them in acceptable ways -- ways that don't threaten or challenge people's ideas of us.
We are uniformed in so many ways.
Try this: Close the curtains, get some private space, do this in the dark if you are embarrassed. Put on your favorite music from when you were 18 and dance until the sweat is streaming over your body. Dance until you forget that you are dancing.
Try this: Imagine what you would wear, do, be if you no longer felt the need to control everything, to meet others' expectations, to fit in.
(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)