This week’s Dance First Member Insight is from 5Rhythms Dance, Dharma, and Meditation leader Lucia Horan.

Grief Dancer: Resource & Renewal in the time of the Pandemic

Many things have been learned during the time of the Pandemic. We have been asked to address the collective grief and come to terms with the fact that almost everyone is exhausted. So: how do you deal with grief? How do you attend to your exhaustion?

As a teacher of Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms® and the Buddha Dharma, I have found this work has become more precious and needed than ever before in my lifetime.

The power of the practice allows one to simply view the body as a vessel to move energy. As we channel our own energy, we attend to the grief within and empty it. As we connect to our own suffering, we often are lead to the suffering of others. In doing so, we tap into the power of empathy as we channel and release the grief of friends, partners, communities, and allies. This grief that we are experiencing now should not be held alone. Instead, we must find ways to connect safely and together hold on to what is too big for any one person to bear.

This is a time not to shy away from grief. If we do so, it will distort itself into neurosis, confusion, depression, and destructive behaviors.

If we dare to lean in and face what we are most afraid of, we can free ourselves of the weight of sadness. It is time to empty the rivers of tears for the world’s injustices and begin the sacred work of healing, repatriation, and reconciliation.

Grief moves in waves—wave after wave washing through us. It is held. It brims to the threshold of the heart. It spills over. Then the process repeats, again and again, until it has done its job and left us washed clean by the sacred waters of its essence. Trust the process and be patient. Mark the increments of change, and in time you will find yourself a part of the sweeping change you wish for.

Dance is a powerful medicine in this time. It allows us to move stagnant energy, emptying while acting as a place of sacred renewal.

If we trust grief to wash the shores of our hearts like a storm over sand on a beach, it will reshape us. This is the sacred duty of grief. This is the result of becoming strong like water and fluid with the tides of the heart. After the storm, the clouds part. There is an opening.

We make space to be with that opening and the emptiness, the aftermath.  Joy may not come when you want it to. But in time, glimmers of appreciation may slip in between the cracks of your sorrow. And eventually, with time, a sense of gratitude may awaken in your heart. Not for what has happened to you, but for who you have become because of it.

From joy, we open. And from the opening, we can reconnect with others once again. In this dance, in this time, realize that we are not alone. We are connected to all those who are going through what we have been through. And here, the door of compassion may open in your heart. Others may see in their own glistening eyes the possibility of survival. They may see the possibility of healing and wholeness. This is the gift of your living testimony, which should be shared with the world in this time of need.

Grief is exhausting. From it, we are all experiencing the collective trauma of the pandemic, the ongoing social injustices, and the expanding environmental destruction. It is of the utmost importance to tend to self-care. It is crucial to create an environment around yourself that cultivates rest, healing, balance, and well-being.

Remove yourself from the toxic spaces and relationships and use the fertile ground of this moment to spread your roots deep. Tap into the nurturing you most need.

Dance allows us to meet the truth under the surface of distraction and disassociation. It will enable us to move, empty, and transform. It invites us to catalyze our most powerful selves and enter into rightful action, compassionate motivation, and ongoing service.

The stillness of quiet introspection invites us to find peace among the storm of chaos that surrounds us. It teaches us that there is a place within that is always available as a refuge. All we have to do is learn how to turn the compass of the heart-mind in its direction so that we may return to this place anytime we need.

All that is required is one breath. In that one breath rests the key to release us from crisis and unlock the kingdom of tranquility.

Meditation and movement together mirror the dance of life, from birth to death. The same is true for each breath as it directs us to the beginning, middle, and end of each moment, birth, life, and death.

With love,


Coming off of her first in-person retreat in the post-COVID world, Lucia Horan was excited to share her experiences with grief and movement throughout the ongoing challenges – and in response to the more than 2,000,000 deaths worldwide. She has two upcoming retreats, Moon Lodge (for women+) and Resource & Renew (with 2 retreats, virtual and in-person). You can sign up for these retreats at

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