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Invitation to Dance: Call to Newness

button-danceThis autumn at the Abbey, we are adding two new features to our regular contemplative and creative invitations to the community. First was the lectio divina practice (this month with Isaiah 42:6-10) and this week we introduce an Invitation to Dance (seems appropriate for a Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks!)

Our theme this month (emerging from the scripture text) is “Call to Newness.” Make sure to stop by this month’s Photo Party and Poetry Party on the theme as well, you can continue to post your poems and images there.

Dance is about being willing to awaken and show up fully to life as it comes.  Dance can also offer us a powerful source of wisdom as we make time to listen to the voice of our bodies which we barely hear in the rush of our days. As monks in the world, dance is one way we can enter this holy temple with reverence and deep attentiveness.

I invite you into a movement practice.  Allow yourself just 5 minutes this day to pause and listen and savor what arises.

  • Begin with a full minute of slow and deep breathing.  Let your breath bring your awareness down into your body.  When thoughts come up, just let them go and return to your breath. Hold this image of “Call to Newness” as the gentlest of intentions, planting a seed as you prepare to step into the dance.
  • Play the piece of music below (Dustin O’Halloran‘s “We Go Lightly” from his album Lumierelet your body move in response, without needing to guide the movements. Listen to how your body wants to move through space. Remember that this is a prayer, an act of deep listening. Pause at any time and rest in stillness again.
  • After the music has finished, sit for another minute in silence, connecting again to your breath. Just notice your energy and any images rising up.
  • Is there a word or image that could express what you encountered in this time? (You can share about your experience, or even just a single word in the comments section below or join our Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group and post there.)
  • If you have time, spend another five minutes journaling in a free-writing form, just to give some space for what you are discovering.

To extend this practice, sit longer in the silence before and after and feel free to play the song through a second time. Often repetition brings a new depth.

You can see the fall calendar of invitations here>>

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8 Responses

  1. Waking, opening to the light that heals, clarifies and removes the fog.
    That cloud of worry, weight, and fear flakes off like dry skin.
    What remains is a heart, a little more open, a mind a little less fuzzy and an openness to breathe a bit freer.

    Why do I wander like I’m in a desert when your Oasis is always within reach?

    T.L. Eastman/ September 2013

  2. the music called me to sway like a supple tree dancing in the wind. Facing north for the first half of my dance, my heart then called me to turn, turn toward the south, turn toward the autumn, turn toward my heart-leading connection to the earth. I then read the comments from other dancers and find joy that another felt the pull toward the south and one the call to her heart center. All the while I danced, a crow called to me from my neighbor’s yard.

  3. In the beginning, folded on the floor, the first notes wash over me like ocean waves gently lapping on the shore. The gently spiraling notes and chords lifted me up into movements that seemed to spiral out from my heart – a recurring theme in meditations, expressing a longing to live more out of my center (rather in response to external pulls and demands). At times, I felt like a tree, feeling it’s roots anchoring it to the earth, its branches swaying in the breezes, reaching toward the Heavens, as sunrises, sunsets, storms, night skies pass overhead through the seasons. At last, feeling the heart open in prayer, listening….

    ‘Spring Snowfall’ came to mind, with the lilacs and chokecherries in blossom, their branches swaying in the wet cold wind, snow beginning to cling to the blossoms…. new life sometimes comes with a struggle, and yet…… there is beauty and joy in time.

  4. Butterfly wings at Montana de Oro lift me from grief to newness… from death to Risen Life…from Ocean Mother’s vastness and deep blue serene beauty to skies fluttering wonder and healing. Week end of Long Dance unites hearts longing for a peaceful and harmonious world into dance of prayer all night around Brother Fire and the heartbeat of the drum. Let us continue the dance this day….

  5. I was drawn, physically drawn upwards into the warmth and light of my beloved God. Beckoned, restful, bathed in Light, loved…

  6. On this second morning of autumn, I found myself moving in response to a mental image of a bird waking to day and rising high up above earth, circling and then heading off on a long journey south. The movements “woke me up” in my body and I can see how my own “journey south” will be actively preparing for the cold days ahead, even anticipating them as part of the cycle of life. Thank you for this lovely invitation and the music.