The workshop ran from Saturday evening (Dec 29) through to Tuesday afternoon (Jan 2). There was dancing every day, but also ritual – notably on new year’s eve – and several opportunities to share what was coming up for us, in pairs or in small groups. The dancing helps to break down barriers and makes the sharing easier and deeper, and vice versa.
My friend David had been there on Saturday and Sunday; but for a bundle of reasons his wife Francoise didn’t make it, and neither of them were there on new year’s eve or new year’s day. He told me afterwards that he’d ended up going to the restaurant that owns in Glastonbury, La Terre, for a new year’s eve party. He had really noticed the difference between dancing as one of a group of people who were sober and consciously opening up to each other, and dancing with a group who were drinking and ‘celebrating’ in the way that our culture has made out to be normal.
Several years ago, about the time that I began dancing the Five Rhythms, I decided to give up drinking as well as smoking. I had come to the conclusion that enjoying life did not have to involve consuming things that would shorten it – in fact that doing so is profoundly irrational. Some people said that I had become boring, but I have been enjoying life more.
At the Medicine Dance we brought our past with us, both the things that we wish to change and the things that we are proud of. And we brought our hopes and dreams for the future. This is what we were working with at the turn of the year, as well as, of course, our selves; and I think it’s true to say that as the time went by we became more and more authentically ourselves.
Now, I’m back in my office – working through a list of things that could be (and were) put off till after Christmas and new year. I like my office and the working environment that I’ve created for myself, but it doesn’t satisfy all of me, there’s always something missing (especially on sunny days). Next week I’ve got a book-keeping job to do. I’m comfortable, but not opened up and buzzing.
So it’s very good to remember the weekend, and to borrow Bernadette’s words from the email she sent us afterwards: “Whatever awaits us in the year ahead, stepping forward with such clear and beautiful intention has to be the best of ways to begin.”
Thanks once again to all those who I was with on that all-too-short part of the journey.