In 2007, I facilitated an event where as a group we were swept into exquisite ecstatic bliss. It was joyous, thrilling, yet grounding, deeply healing and even more miraculously, an experience of embodied Oneness. I will describe this experience in more detail in this post and express how this shared experience sparked the creation of Sensual Embodied Awakening Bellydance.
This post is the second in a series exploring Bellydance as not just a physical practice, but also as a spiritual awakening path.
I have experienced transformational healing through bellydance first hand as well as witnessed many others transform. So many times when I was teaching basic technique classes I witnessed women and men who would enter class shy and disconnected to their bodies and then see them after a few classes stand taller and be more present. But there was more, as a radiant beauty and power from within started to emerge and move through them.
There is something about bellydance that supports deep transformation and spiritual healing.
There are of course many physical benefits and an increasing body of research on somatics and psychological growth that would support how bellydance among many other movement modalities catalyze healthy growth. The transformation and healing that I am intimating to is even deeper than physical and emotional fitness.
In 2007, I held a small dance event in the Berkshires. I had booked the upstairs studio on that hot July day. The soothing sauna like scent of the sunny wooden floor, the gentle summer breeze, the whispering of poplars through the wide open windows and a deep grounded sense of peace welcomed us. Everything was perfect and was as if time and space were waiting for us to step in.
We were 5 women, all quite fluent in movement and all very free with bodily energies and processes. Everyone seemed to feel safe with each other and with me. I felt honored and humbled with the gift of their openness and attention.
I guided us first through a slow breath practice while sitting on the floor. The breath pattern helps by setting a path for energy to move through. When a lot of energy is raised it can cause headaches or other discomforts, so setting a circular path seems to be very helpful to keep a healthy flow moving.
Then I shared a very simple movement practice which forms the foundational vocabulary of Sensual Embodied Awakening Bellydance and we danced these along with the circular breath practice.
First we swayed our heads from side to side to free the neck and shoulders. This is also a body cue to let go of our rational mind and create an intention to be open and available. We moved the torso to feel into the throat, heart and solar plexus, welcoming in more warmth and openness. The movements could then massage and relax any places that felt constricted like a kind of moving acupuncture. Tears were shed as a sense of mutual compassion for the human experience arose.
We stood up and danced the hip shapes. When we started with hip circles I felt a palpable change in the air. It was the same feeling as when in 2005 I was graced with what I’ve called the Jasmine Flower miracle. (I will write about this one soon.)
The air seemed to thicken. We danced as if we were stirring warm golden honey with our hips, all the while breathing up the back and down the front of the body. There was a feeling of interconnection, a softening of borders, that grew as well as a gentle mutual awe about this “something” we were experiencing.
Ecstasy started to seep through the cracks. Like serpents we started to undulate with embodied, yet indirect pleasure. I personally experienced our five moving bodies as one. I couldn’t tell where my pleasure started and where it ended. It didn’t feel like my pleasure, it was just pure pleasure and We Were That. It seemed we were present for something that is always here. Our mutually created sense of safety and our availability allowed ourselves to be swept into the Bliss that Is.
It wasn’t urgent or desperate like chasing after a physical orgasm. The rippling waves of pleasure felt grounded, full bodied, deep and deeply satisfying. Open hearted, healing, safe and blissful. But we were not simply receiving the experience, we could actually change it by breathing deeper and relaxing more. There was an in-betweeness where we weren’t controlling the energy, but we still were affecting it.
Afterwards we shared our experiences. All five of us revealed that energy was palpably sensed. Three of us had the experience of intersubjective energetic oneness that I described above. When I talk with those women, we all still deeply affected by what happened and just remembering it energizes us. The experience is like an energetic touchstone that continues to revitalize and inspire us almost 10 years later.
Since that day, I have been working to develop opportunities for embodied awakening healing experiences such as this. Experiencing our inherent continuity of being, our Oneness, in the all-pervasive bliss of spiritual ecstasy is delicious soul food. And even more exciting are the possibilities that emerge from experiences such as this. What kind of world is possible when we experience and live as a vibrational field of Oneness that is pure bliss?
My next post will be about exploring reality as a dance of vibrational relating, the invisible patterns that shape us and how to break the spells that no longer serve us.
If you are curious about an embodied awakening path and would like to learn more, I am hosting an experiential event on July 2 called Be the Temple. It is for all women, with “no to pro” bellydance or other dance experience.
This event is designed to be both an introduction to this spiritual path as well as a monthly recharge for us busy NYC warrioresses of love. It would be a delight to dance with you. Here’s the link for more information and to register Be the Temple.