Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no results, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.
Simone Adolphine Weil ( February 03, 1909 – August 24, 1943)
Saturday was the first warm sunny rainless day in almost two weeks. So the last thing I wanted to do was to spend all day in a Dance & Movement workshop. Being the loner I am it would have been easy for me to just stroll the grounds, sit under a tree to read or just hide in my room, but I wasn’t here for a vacation nor to hide. I came to Esalen to continue my own self exploration. To get “Closer To Root, Further Into Sky” with my being. Previously my self exploration was carried out in the realms of the intellect. At Esalen I would find my body and my soul.
Anyway, I did not think at the time a dance class would be of any value to my self exploration, but then sometimes I think too much. I came here to stretch my self imposed boundaries and not to keep them where they have idled for so long.
The theme of the dance class that morning was dance as a metaphor for relationship. We all began to move around the room to different rhythms and beats. I later learned the movements were based upon the Five Rhythms of Gabrielle Roth. I had always loved dancing but today my body felt stiff and old. I became more vigilant of the others in the class. They were moving almost effortlessly around the room. They danced smoothly and erotically with themselves and with each other. In the dance we acted out the various stages of relationship: leading/following, active/passive, pleasing/rejecting. About half way through the class, we were told to select a partner.
Mo and I approached each other and without words we became a couple. The theme of this segment was “alone and with you.”One person of the couple would close their eyes and allow the seeing partner to move their body in any fashion they wanted. The movements started out slowly with the arms and torso. The seeing partner then led the non-seeing partner around the room, sometimes walking, sometimes running… A strong sense of trust must develop in the non-seeing partner to believe the partner will not lead him/her into walls or other dancers in the room. After each member of the couple participated in both roles, we danced as a couple looking the eyes of the other person.
As Mo and I looked into the eyes of the other, I experienced a deep feeling of intimacy. The feeling was lightyears beyond any feelings of intimacy I had shared with my former lovers or friends. I experienced wholeness, a sense of connection with my body and with every other body in the room. I was fifty years old and feeling body connections for the first time. It was one long continuous orgasm without climax. Although I express my feelings with sexual terminology, the intimacy I experienced was not sexual. It felt universal and continued long after the class ended. If I had died in the moment, I would have died totally fulfilled with life. The feeling was a new experience for me. My mind was not involved in the process. My body was, but not in the usual way I was with others.
I thanked Mo and later shared with the group my experience of intimacy as best I could. At that point of my life it had been the most intimate encounter I had ever had and it all took place on a dance floor with thirty other people, all fully clothed. During the next two years I participated in various dance classes as often as I could. I sweated, I cried, I laughed but most of all I just danced with myself as if no one was watching.
Post Script: Even now, twenty five years later, I still do not have adequate words to present this experience. It has returned just in the writing and memory of that day. Since that time, I have had other encounters for which there are no words to fully describe the experience. Sweating Out My Demons While Dancing With Angels was one of the first of many such experiences
The Laundry Crew And Dance Angels
…to be continued.