Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Invitation to Dance: The Call to Our True Selves

button-danceWe continue our theme this month of “The Call to Our True Selves” which arose from our Community Lectio Divina practice with the quote from Merton’s poem and continued with this month’s Photo Party and Poetry Party.

Last month we explored the possibility that dance could help to soften the armoring of our bodies and yield to the impulse of life moving through us moment by moment.  In learning this kind of surrender, we deepen into the life that is truly ours, not the one we construct for ourselves. We learn to release the expectations of others and playing roles to please those around us.  We grow into the selves we were called to be.

I invite you into a movement practice.  Allow yourself just 5-10 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 “The Call to Our True Selves” as the gentlest of intentions, planting a seed as you prepare to step into the dance. You don’t need to think this through or figure it out, just notice what arises.
  • Play the piece of music below (“Nuvole Bianche” by Ludovico Einaudi) and let your body move in response, without needing to guide the movements. Listen to how your body wants to move through space in response to your breath. 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>>

*Note: If this is your first time posting, or includes a link, your comment will need to be moderated before it appears. This is to prevent spam and should be approved within 24 hours.

You might also enjoy

Monk in the World Guest Post: Kate Kennington Steer

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to our Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Kate Kennington Steer’s reflection Heart of Stone. I arrived at February 2023 in a post-viral fatigue fug, feeling beset by depression, with

Read More »

Soul of a Pilgrim Video Podcast Day 2

Blessing for Packing Lightly*Winnowing God, you ask us to release, let go, surrender, and yield all that we canin service of making space for what is most essential. The more we set aside that which burdens us and takes up too much spacethe more room

Read More »

Monk in the World Guest Post: Mary Camille Thomas

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to our Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Mary Camille Thomas’s reflection Sitting in Paradise. “Sit in your cell as in paradise,” St. Romuald says in his brief rule for

Read More »

10 Responses

  1. The beauty of nature but also the beauty of man going about his business. This fall I was on Iona and spent time in communion with a snail holding on to a reed of grass. The simplicity and clarity of nature. Thank you for triggering me to recall this image.

  2. so gorgeous this music and invitation ~ i felt myself twirling across the room with love and abandon and deep gratitude for this dancing moment ~

    aaah ~ rejoice! love and peace to each one and all~

  3. “Breakthrough”. The music evokes a “breakthrough” for me. Something is on the verge of happening in my life; I don’t yet know what it will be – but it will be a great ‘breakthrough’ for me. Praise God!

  4. Hi Christine,
    I practiced holy yoga to this piece and it was absolutely beautiful how it flowed. My heart felt like it was soaring! Can you please let me know what the name of this song is? I would like to use it in my daily practice and with others.
    Thank you!

    1. Beautiful piece of music! Can’t help but move to it!! Just wondering about “holy yoga”… I’ve heard it mentioned in other places before, but it is not offered in my area of Canada – is there a instructional dvd that I could purchase to learn it? Thanks, Beth

  5. the dance is embodied in a poem from this week:

    A numinous dream awakens the day
    I am grabbing my pink robe
    Pink picture of the Monarch butterfly
    And walking out into the starry night
    Is it the blue butterfly I am following
    After a trip through Amazon’s magnificence
    Am I following comet Ison
    As it flies by the sun/son
    The bubbling, singing stream of Jim’s death
    Whirrs in evaporative swirls of the comet
    O life, O Great Mystery, where is our origin
    Where is our completion
    Pull me along in your tail
    In the luminous dance among the stars
    And the blue and white blossoms
    Stars on the flag
    Jim’s radiant countenance in the skies

  6. The word that immediately came to mind as the music began was ‘offering’ as in offering myself to God. As I moved to the music, I moved through feelings of resistance and struggle How difficult this offering can be at timesA Then I felt the release and joy of actually giving myself over to God. Just an fyi for you, Christine. I was unable to view the video you provided due to copyright restrictions. I was able to find other versions on YouTube, though…none that looked like it had the visual elements, however, that yours provided.

    1. Hi Evelyn, I am sorry to hear that, must be a limitation in France, because I was able to see it in Ireland and Austria. The visuals are lovely, with some nice time lapse photography, but I am delighted to hear the images which arose for you.