As you get older you become the person you always should have been.
Do you like to dress up for Halloween? Is your shadow side happy to have fun poked at it once in a while? Does wearing your alter-ego feel more like home than your day-to-day attire?
Here in the States we’re on the eve of Halloween, our annual holiday dedicated to fancy dress and debacle. Signifying the arrival of Fall and also a harbinger of the seasonal shift to Daylight Savings Time, Halloween has grown from a simple ritual of Trick-or-Treating for kids to a full-blown highlight of the year for grownups.
It’s an opportunity to shift shapes, shed shells, and masquerade. Inhabiting an alternative persona, even for one night of the year is a enlightening and transformative experience. For kids of course, big sacks of forbidden candy are a lure, and the tingles of excitement that come from the spooks and surprises add to the appeal.
Here in the West, we draw from various cultures in the celebration of our shadows. There’s the Wiccan thread of European witchcraft and Hollywood’s interpretation of classic horror tropes such as Zombies, Vampires, and Warlocks. There’s the Latin tradition of Dia de los Muertos, which pays tribute to those who have passed with a wealth of art and beauty.
We’ve got a wide world of fantasy literature and films to emulate, everything from the mythology of Star Wars to the world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts. And then of course there are the visual puns, walking memes, and current political and cultural appropriations that are guaranteed to be good for a laugh.
For me, Halloween has had a checkered past. As a child, it was all about the big bags of sweet loot gathered door to door with my friends. My folks were much older than most of my friends, and definitely not the sort to dress up and prowl with me, so I would mob along with small groups of my peers.
Then in my teen years as I was developing a taste for trouble, it was a time to push the envelope and see how much debauchery I could discover on the one night of the year that the rules became blurry. So much so in fact, that for a good number of years I came to associate this time of year with a sense of impending doom and predictable disaster, with so many of my highlights of delinquency happening around the Halloween holiday.
Occasionally I outdid myself with a memorable outfit, such as me in the guise of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, as seen in the surviving snapshot shown above, somewhere around 1979 or ’80, complete with my feathered mullet and ubiquitous plaid cap.
Then there was a long phase of life, probably through most of my 30’s, when my post-recovery self took my persona way too seriously, and I smugly held Halloween at arms length, avoiding all forms of costume and make believe, sneering at all the parties and hoo-haw as amateur night better to be avoided.
Once again, life intervenes, and somewhere in my 40’s fatherhood found me, and my long-held judgements about the holidays began to be questioned. There’s nothing like seeing a special day through the eyes of a child to melt your assumptions!
What I discovered that I’d never tapped into earlier is the hilarity of being fully incognito. For several years running, I put together outfits that fully obscured my identity. One time I was a long-haired biker, another I was a crazy clown. This year I’m slated to play the part of Hagrid from Harry Potter’s universe. It’s always a priceless moment when folks figure out it’s me in character.
So if you sometimes find that you’re taking yourself too seriously, perhaps it’s time to take your shadow out to play. Embodying your soul’s polar opposite for an evening or so can be a very enlightening experience. Keeping your tongue in cheek and levity in your laugh will help you bring your inner prankster’s spirit out of the dark to spoof on your family and friends.
Take advantage of this hallowed holiday to enjoy a dance with your alter-ego. It’s a great excuse to subvert your dominant paradigm and play with a new reflection in your life’s mirror. When you inhabit a new role in the world, you may learn something about yourself that you never knew!
Much love till next week!
Dance First Member Spotlight – Breema!!!
Breema is one of the foremost embodiment practices in the world today. Primarily a partnered form, self-Breema is also a dynamic method.
To an outside observer, Breema appears to be somewhere in between partnered yoga, Thai massage, and Contact Improvisation. However, with a foundation of ‘The Nine Principles of Harmony, Breema is much more than the sum of those parts.
You can attend Breema trainings and workshops all around the world, as well as be educated directly from the source at their headquarters,The Breema Center, in Oakland California.
Be sure to look for one of their free intro to Breema days and check out their calendar to find a training or workshop near you.
We’re proud here at Dance First and Conscious Dancer to be a long-time promoter of the Breema wisdom. We highly recommend the practice to embodiment enthusiasts everywhere!
Thank you so much Alexis, and all the rest of the fine folks carrying the torch for Breema around the world. We’re so happy and grateful to serve you!
Visit the Breema website to learn more.