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SOUL is an eco-friendly centre situated in Titirangi in the lush rainforest on the west coast of Auckland.

It is created as an environmentally friendly space to pursue a holistic, artistic, integrated organic lifestyle. Enjoy weekly classes, weekend workshops, monthly programs, teacher training opportunities and lifestyle packages that support and integrate dance, art, creativity and spirituality into everyday life.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Notes on Becoming Whole

When we are concerned about being dancers, we are really concerned about being human. About being whole, how to dance with our whole selves.

We have all had the experience of witnessing an amazing technician whose skill is highly developed but whose performance just doesn’t pull our souls. Then there are dancers who are not really doing anything at all, but whose movements seem to come from our own souls – they draw us into their world as if it were our own.

What is at play? They are connected. They are dancing with their whole being, they are whole enough to be empty, empty enough to let the universal spirit of grace move them in a dance that moves us all.

What is it to be a whole human being? What is it to be a human being in alignment?

Joan Skinner talks about natural primal grace that everyone is born with ­– this is the tri brain process. Where our primal animal nature is working in alignment with the cortex – which controls our body movements and functions and our limbic brain, which connects us to grace.

It is a mystical process as well as a logical, anatomical alignment that happen s in the structures, fluids and spaces that form the being that is us.

“Us” as our individual selves and as a community.

Akira Kasai suggests that we can’t grow apart from our community body. And I believe this to be true. We are collectively moving towards wholeness or destruction in every moment, it depends where our focus is, in the same way that our individual selves are with the very choices we make on a daily basis.

As we transform ourselves, the collective is also transformed – we do the work for each other – as we move towards wholeness we bring our collective towards a more whole being. This includes our human community as well as the community of the earth.

So what stands in the way of us living in this “wholeness”, living our fullness?

Our unconscious belief systems – that iceberg that looms underwater, a large and ominous unkown that lurks under the surface of our selves threatening to sink the Titanic.

The Titanic is our ego self, what we show to the world. It also has its upper and lower decks. But what can sink this beautiful vessel is not the sometimes unruly lower deck inhabitants, or the upper deck decadence – but the unseen iceberg out there in the dark sea of our limbic systems. Our unconscious.

Imagery and movement, I have found, is one of the most profound ways to assess and transform this icy unknown. Skinner’s work, as well as some forms of butoh and movement theatre including Al Wunder’s Theatre of the Ordinary can, through surpassing our “control centre” re-configure subconscious patterning through allowing the body kinesthesia to experience a new way of “being” or “experiencing” the world, re-patterning our soma and re-integrating the nervous system and muscular system in the new configuration. Loosing tension in our musculature, our thoughts and our “being”. Tension that have sometimes been there for a lifetime of experiencing. We are in that moment transformed.

This transformation requires preparation.
Who makes the choice who heals and who doesn’t? this is the mystical question, but in the long-term we do need to be willing.

Willing to trust, willing to dive into that icy sea, wiling to be in the dark, cold stillness of the deep sea and to wait…

“Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought…….and the darkness shall be the light and the stillness the dancing” (T.S Elliot)

What is willingness? Willingness is giving permission, saying yes to something outside yourself, perhaps the rhythms and fluctuations of the universal dance, the deep sea tidal flow, and allow your being to soften enough to allow grace to slip in between our cells and occupy our deep spaces.

And what are we waiting for? Not for some cosmic explosion of cells – although this does happen. But most often it is something soft, something childlike, like the flutter of a butterflys eyelid, the foot fall of a wolves paw as it pads out from the shadows.

This is surrender. It is surrender to the nothing without the nothing having to “be” something.

It is cold here, and the moon is dark, the rocks whisper to each other in secret sign language. You are alone and the stillness begins to ….move….

Wilhemeena Isabella Monroe, Melbourne Workshop 2012

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