"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
Do you ever ponder your modes of communication? How do you know what method or format to use in any given circumstance? What’s your best way of getting your point across?
There’s a wide variety of methods by which we communicate in today’s world, from the most distilled and boiled down texts and tweets to old fashioned hand-written letters to telephone calls and now the wonders of FaceTime.
Still, even with all of these time-and-space saving inventions, there’s nothing so direct as having a face-to-face conversation with someone. There is so much more context and subtle information that is conveyed when you’re in the physical presence of another person.
Everything from the micro-muscles around the smile to the overall posture and body language of the person we’re talking to lets us know much more of the whole story. Simply being in the somatic field of energy with another person enables us to “pick up on their vibes” in a way that is increasingly lost as the level of abstraction in format increases.
If you’ve been living in the modern world, and not under some Luddite rock, then you’ve certainly encountered snafus of communication. Just the fact that you’re undoubtably reading this online or in your email box means that you have to navigate the digital world in one way or another.
Cues in communication such as an eyebrow raised in irony or a subtle smirk of sarcasm are very much missing when it comes to texts or tweets or comments on a social media stream. Hence the rise of emoticons, those quirky little graphics designed to add feeling and color to dry letters and digits. Many are the misunderstandings when a teasing text or glib email is read at face-value and taken all-too-seriously.
Like so many technological advances, the compression and convenience of modern modes of communication is a double-edged sword. On one side, there’s the velocity and distance-collapsing nature of electronics that enables us to connect and collaborate with each other from virtually everywhere.
On the other, the ability to compress a conversation into a few characters on a screen, and avoid the difficulties of speaking face-to-face is all too easy. How many times have you seen couples or families sitting together in silence, with the glow of their individual screens in all of their faces?
As we humans navigate the surface of Planet Earth with our partner in evolution, technology, in hand, it’s useful for us to consider it a dance, and that it’s up to us to lead. Timing is always important. And fortunately, many of the time-tested maps that have developed over time remain relevant as modes evolve. The Four Agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz come to mind: Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.
Another handy aphorism worth carrying into conversations is the series of questions attributed to everyone from Socrates to Rumi to the Quakers. “Before you speak ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? If the answer is no to any of these, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.”
But as B.P. Morton philosophizes, “It’s possible to err on the side of over-caution as well. Sometimes we must risk saying the wrong thing, in order to say the right thing at the right moment.” And, as he points out, “ Much poetry, song, art, and even daily praise is surely true and kind, but not necessary… Silliness is rarely necessary at any given time, but some level of silliness IS an important part of coping with the world we live in. It is almost never necessary that I say “I love you” to my wife or kids at any given point, but it is needful that I say it to them a lot, over and over, frequently.”
For me, perhaps because I’m a Libra, my default mode is to seek balance and harmony, with fairness being one of my core values. Diplomacy is my middle name, I’m widely known as a peacemaker. In fact, these are the traits people credit for my ability to remain at the helm of Dance Jam. Managing the needs and personality styles of the various powers-that-be, from studio owner to building manager are as important as promoting the dance and managing the crew for the long-term health of the event.
This topic has been top of mind lately, partly due to a remarkable movie I saw with Teresa on Saturday night. We went to see the sing-a-long version of Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of rock-n-roll legend Freddie Mercury and his band Queen. First of all, the idea of a musical film being released with rolling subtitles for the songs is a brilliant innovation, it was great to join with everyone in the theater in raising our voices and waving our hands in the air.
But the story itself surprised me, it was far more than just a rise-and-fall-of-a-rock-star picture. Mercury was a complicated figure, at times needing to use incredible force, charisma, and wit to lead others along with his vision, in other situations he had to marshal the methods of diplomacy and humility to keep things from falling apart.
Ultimately, I found it to actually be a heartwarming family film, (although I wouldn’t say it’s appropriate for pre-teens). Seeing him led astray from his band-mates and the folks who cared the most by sycophants only attracted by his surface image and fame is yet another rendition of a familiar tragedy. Watching him awaken and cast them aside, (albeit unfortunately too late), then finally find a real relationship and clear the air and come to terms with his family is a tale of redemption for the ages.
Communication is a two-way street, (or to borrow a dance metaphor, it takes two to tango!) There’s a number of different balances to strive for, and it’s not always easy to speak your peace without ruffling a few feathers. But sometimes it’s better to blurt than to bottle things up, and let the chips fall where they may. We’re all only human, and it’s worth remembering that we’re all actually doing the best that we can.
At the end of the day, we are meant to shine our light and be ourselves. Occasionally needing to apologize when we fall short of doing our best is not to be confused with being boldly unapologetic about who we truly are.
May your dance with your world be warm and filled with heart! Wishing you well from the Railroad Museum in Coos Bay Oregon, have a great week, and I’ll see you next Monday!
Dance First Member Spotlight :: Brietta Leader and her Wildcore Movement Fuel Your Passion and Creative Empowerment Retreats!
This week’s Conscious Dancer Community Spotlight shines on Brietta Leader and her signature Wildcore Movement program and retreats! We’ve been so fortunate to count Brietta in as a Dance First member and help build awareness for her work. She’s based in the mountain town of Sagle, Idaho, which is something of a conscious hotspot of the region.
All of the Wildcore Movement practices are built around a consciousness of nature and an awareness of the natural world. She leads regular classes and retreats in Idaho, Alaska, and Mexico, as well as her training program that has both in-person and online modules. Wildcore comprises a number of overlapping themes, Britta describes it as “an exploration of choreography, conscious dance, breath-work and belonging.”
You’ve got plenty of time to make plans and reserve your spot to attend her upcoming “Fuel Your Passion” retreat at Mar de Jade in Chacala Mexico coming up March 2nd through 9th. With ritual, journaling, relaxing in nature and using the lens of Wildcore Movement you will travel through the five layers of Fueling your Passion; unwinding, clearing, fueling, firing, and integrating.
Here’s what one of Brietta’s participants Debi Knight Kennedy had to say, “Like a muscle you don’t know you have until you try something new, through dance I discovered the wide-eyed wild creature in the core of my being. Raw and terrified. Joyful and free. My whole body feels more alive. I have always loved dance and loved to dance but never realized the power of it, in fact I never even knew I had my own Wild Core! Thank you Brietta!”
You may be more inclined to make a trip to the Eureka Retreat Center in Sagle Idaho for the “Creative Empowerment” retreat happening April 23rd through 28th. Although this retreat is a pre-requisite for theWildCore™ Teacher Certification, you are welcome to take Creative Empowerment to expand your personal practice. During these five days of dance & somatic education you will gain personal tools, experiences and a connection to your Wild Core’s wisdom by opening the wellspring of your inner, authentic, creative juice.
Each of the five days will focus on one of the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Space in order to balance your daily life and practice. Brietta is well-respected for her ability as a guide and her knack for creating a positive container for transformation. Recent participant Julianne summed it up well, “I found a crucial place in my body – trust and trusting myself. I had the expectation to have access to my WildCore and I realized there was no access to that territory. Creative Empowerment was a safe environment to explore.”
WildCore is a practice that you can teach, Brietta offers a year-longTeacher’s Training that is comprised of online self-guided study modules, the Creative Empowerment Retreat in April, Summer Mentorship from June to October, culminating with a five-day Teacher Training held at Embody & Yurt from October 22nd through 27th.
Thanks for all your inspiration and enthusiasm Brietta! You’re making a huge contribution to the field of somatics and conscious dance! It’s our honor and pleasure to recommend your offerings to our global community!
Fuel Your Passion :: WildCore Movement Retreat
March 2nd – 9th, Mar de Jade retreat Center, Chacala, Mexico
Creative Empowerment :: WildCore Movement Retreat
April 23rd – 28th, Eureka Retreat Center, Sagle, Idaho