My Declaration Through Dance


This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop led by Kate Shela called ‘Revolution.’ The workshop was a version of the heartbeat map in the practice of ‘5 Rhythms Dance.’ It was designed to help us connect and remember what we stand for. What do you stand for? What is the medicine bundle that we bring into the world?  Who are our heroes? Who are our sheroes? We were taken on a journey through fear to courage, anger to joy, and into a declaration of who and what we stand for.

A lot came up, so here are the lessons I learned and what I was reminded of. First off, there is no teacher or other person out there who is above you. You know deep within. Your body contains a deep intelligence. When you are embodied—when you allow yourself to be in yourself, two feet on the ground, rooted, present—you know. Listen to that knowing and let it guide you. We each have a unique path. Be discerning of anyone who makes you feel inferior or claims to be more wise then you. Wisdom is humble. Wisdom is confident in its statement and truth, yet is never overpowering or controlling. Allow yourself to receive the message when you feel the volume rise in your beating heart. Trust in that. But also know that just because something is true for you doesn’t mean it is for others, and be okay with that. There are many diverse perspectives and truths. Listen to them, respect them, learn from them, but never adopt what does not ring true to what you know in every cell of your body. 

Within our greatest wounds reside our gifts. The pain, anger, shame, and emotions that arise around the wounds are there to be felt fully. Sometimes I have stop myself from feeling the truth of those emotions—just to be nice, or not to create drama, or because I’m fucking scared.

I walked onto the dance floor. I was feeling so much judgment for myself for signing up, for all of the people who I saw, and then I zoned into a man in a kilt. From my perspective, he appeared to resemble a Viking. He carried a very loud and intense (I had thought) type of energy. He scared me and I didn't want to dance anywhere near him. I felt as if he would get more intense and aggressive in my presence. During the first day, Kate guided us into our fears. She asked us to grab a partner. At first I got nervous, hoping I wasn't near the man I felt so scared of. Then I saw another man beside me, who was supposed to be my partner. I felt really scared and upset, and I didn't want to dance with him. Tears streamed down my face as I felt so many of my fears rising to the surface, like the release of a bunch of weights or anchors thrown deep into the sea. They all rose to the surface. All I could do was move. So I let my body take on the shapes it needed to express. Instantly, one of the space holders came close and started to dance with me. She was my partner until my sister Sarah came to dance with me. Their warmth made my heart smile and I felt safe. That is good space holding. From the depths of my fear, I found a place of deep sadness. I felt the fear of abandonment, being left out, being lonely, unworthy, apologetic, worthless. I found a place that didn't truly believe in me. I called bullshit on myself. I took the shit and smeared it on my body like a mud bath. 

Kate’s words then echoed in my mind. “Smear yourself with the shit of your wounds, cover yourself in seeds, and grow from it.” I covered myself in hundreds of sprouting seeds and I started to feel the volume rise. I could hear my heartbeat again. I followed the leaf as we sprouted from the seed of my dreams. The music rose within me. Together a wave of courage, belief, and fearlessness started to climb, like multiple parts and instruments in a beat. I embodied the feeling of standing in the face of my fear. I could feel a power. A strength. A vulnerability, but a crazy amount of strength. 

Suddenly, I started to notice when the man in the kilt was around and I stopped running and hiding. I stood in the energy of the fear I had been scared of. I suddenly began to stand in myself. Not just stand in it but dance in it. My movements said “this is me! Fucking take it or leave it.” I started to see that the man in the kilt was a good person after the mask of fear was torn off. Thank you to the man in the kilt, and to the dance floor for helping me to feel in my body what it’s like to be a survivor, to rise out of fear and sprout into power, vulnerability, and strength. At the end of the 3 day workshop, the man in the kilt approached me. He shared with me that when he first saw me, he thought I was a beautiful woman who wouldn’t give him the time of day. I may have come off as stuck up, or a closed off girl. He shared that after being on the dance floor, he had realized that I wasn't what he had projected. He apologized for making me into something I was not. He also took full responsibility for raising the volume of his intensity around me. I shared my perspective and we left human to human. We had the understanding and mutual respect of two people who would have stayed separate in the real world.

I declare that I am a visionary, leader, and storyteller. 

The time has come to own my gifts fearlessly.

What do you declare? What do you stand for?