This blog consists of my own subjective experiences on the 5Rhythms® dancing path, and is not sanctioned by any 5Rhythms® organization or teacher.
In the last post, I wrote about the intensive Mirrors workshop, Jane Selzer’s 5Rhythms class at my local YMCA, and a subtle prejudice that had crept into my mind—craving the “depth” that I experienced in the Mirrors workshop and believing the comparatively brief weekly classes were not as “deep.” In Tammy’s weekly class on Friday night, I found fathomless depths, the brief dissolution of my mind’s limiting stories, and the unbound capacity of breath and spirit.
I arrived a few minutes late to the first truly hot session of the summer. I spent a moment stretched out on the floor, but felt compelled to start moving through the room almost immediately, finding my Flow in relationship to the other moving bodies around me.
That afternoon, I heard an interview with the actress Maria Bello on NPR, who just published a book called, “Whatever…Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves.” When her son finally asked why she was spending so much time with her best friend, who had become her girlfriend, she told him they had become a couple. He responded, “Whatever, Mom! Love is love,” prompting the title of the book. She said she felt compelled to write about her own relationships when she was at a party with her son, her son’s father, her girlfriend and other friends and family. She was moved by how much love filled the room, and wanted to share her experience.
Flowing on Friday was nothing less than delicious. I was drenched within the first half hour of class, and my muscles quivered with all they were letting go of. In the previous week, I had been through a serious professional crisis, had graduated with my second master’s degree, and had been entangled in red tape, working through various issues and obstacles. As I moved around I met many people’s eyes, smiling, adapting a practice of Thich Nhat Han’s and saying internally, “I see you dancing there, and I am grateful for it.”
It wasn’t totally clear to me when Staccato arose based on the music, but once it was undeniable, I partnered with a woman I love to dance with. Our exhales became sharp, almost erotic and we used the directions—to find a way to define the empty space between us—as a jumping-off point for our investigation. Staccato found me creative, expansive, eager to experiment; and I carried that deep-hipped, close-in dance to my next partnership.
Usually I can remember many details of how the wave evolved and unfolded, but this time, it remains a blur, even as I read my notes from Friday. I took on Tammy’s suggestion, that we dissolve, that we let the dissolving happen. Chaos welcomed me then and I slipped completely inside—occasionally delighting in an arising edge, then moving again into spinning, rising, falling effortlessness.
Maria Bello was speaking my language. When I was in my early 20’s a psychic read my tarot cards. He listed several loves and lovers, including “Angela.” I had only dated men; and I couldn’t figure out what he meant. Shortly after our meeting, it hit me. “Angela! Oh! I know who he means by Angela!” Angela was this beautiful girl I had danced with at an all night party. She came up to me and said, “I think you are cute; and I want to dance with you,” smiling mischievously and looking me right in the eye. Our dance lasted a long time, and was as erotic an exchange as you could possibly experience. It hit me that that was love, too. After that experience, I went through a period of identifying as queer—I had more than one girlfriend, frequented women’s bars, attended Pride events, and even joined a social group for bisexual women. In the 1990’s, it felt important to stand up and be counted. It was, and still is, a political movement facing a lot of prejudice and hatred. Even then, I only very briefly took on a particular label. My relationships were very fluid and dynamic—even if I was with one person for a brief period. When I met the father of my son with whom I shared a monogamous, committed relationship for eight years, I continued to believe in the fluid, alive nature of relationships; and we collaborated in creating our alliance with this in mind. I still don’t mind if anyone wants to claim me as LGBT, but defining my sexuality—just as defining any other part of me—has not been an important concern for the last many years.
I had all of this in mind when I stepped into Tammy’s class on Friday—which is perhaps why Chaos had so much appeal. Tammy’s invitation to dissolve brought to mind the labels we put on sexuality; and I stepped across the threshold into Chaos with abandon—letting labels, stories, definitions, ideas of separateness and my own beliefs about who I am fly around in the air about my spinning body.
Chaos opened seamlessly into Lyrical. There was no dialogue in my mind. Several dancers who appeared to be in a similar energetic state magnetized together; and we moved in the same field, eventually finding the ground and moving with it as another partner. I felt quivery, liquid-like, whispery as Stillness manifested.
Tammy did not hold us in a pause to deliver verbal instructions between the two waves as is the usual custom, and instead moved us from this extraordinary space right into the next wave and into Flowing. I found movement easily and could palpably perceive that my energy field was intermingled with everyone else’s—the same “passing through” that I wrote about in a recent post.
Before class, I had showed a room for rent to a man who was going through the break up of a long-term relationship. We sat in the back yard chatting at length; and he shared that he wanted to establish a strong friendship with the mother of his two children, though they would no longer be a couple. I said, “Yes, I relate. My son’s father, my recently former partner (I have never found a phrase that feels right) and I have a beautiful friendship. It is not easy! There is so much cultural pressure to hate your ex.” He agreed, and I said, “The thing is, it really isn’t that important what form the love takes.” (Which prompted him to say he had just heard about this great interview with Maria Bello…)
I remain committed to the position that depth is anywhere you care to find it, and propose, in addition, that love exists anywhere you care to look.
May 31, 2015, Brooklyn, NYC