Do you have an overarching belief system? Is there some philosophical underpinning to your existence? How do you reconcile the great mysteries of the universe with your daily life?
Much like politics, the subject of faith or religion is one that is often avoided in polite conversation among mixed company around the dinner table. With this Monday coming on the heels of both Easter and April Fools Day, it seems like one of those elephant-in-the-room topics.
Fun fact! Easter hasn’t coincided with April Fools Day in 56 years, but the two will line up again in 11 more. Whether you celebrated either one with a prank or a prayer is up to you, in any case it’s a moment for meditating on the magic, miracles, and mystery of the universe.
Perhaps you have someone in your family or close circle of friends who is extremely devout in one way or another. Perhaps that person is you, and there are some people in your orbit who are entirely agnostic or atheist.
Regardless of where you land on the spiritual spectrum, it’s fascinating to ponder the varieties of mythology and belief that form the world of wonders for different cultures. Some historians talk about “Earth Cults” vs “Sky Cults” or how the early Pagan religions would simply add more deities to the pantheon while the later more monotheistic faiths would elevate one above all others.
Arjuna Martí, the founder of Soul Motion (a Dance First member modality) has a great saying on the topic that I like to paraphrase — that the varieties of spiritual practice “are like many different fingers pointing at the moon.” We’re all looking at the mystery through our own set of eyes.
For me, tolerance is an important marker. The more a particular faith claims that it is ‘the one true religion’ and that all non-believers must either be eradicated, converted, or rot in some eternal nightmare, the less relevant they seem to be in the modern world.
I have a long-time acquaintance in San Francisco who is a charming anachronism. His stage name is ‘Smelly Kelley’ and he is the chain-smoking singer in a country western / punk rock / honky tonk Americana band called Red Meat. Folks who know him well count him as one of the most radical and counter-cultural people out there.
And yet Smelly is a full-on, bible-thumping, Jesus-quoting Christian through and through. But the very first plank of his spiritual platform is tolerance. He balances his faith with a genuine love for humanity, so he’s able to count among his dear friends every flavor of freak San Francisco has to offer under the gender-culture-religious rainbow. He may be devout, but he’s not out to convert anyone.
When tolerance is combined with common sense about the common good, cultures can co-exist and society can succeed as a diverse place where all can flourish. Consensus about the common good can be elusive, and this is where we co-existing peoples of the earth would do well to err on the side of caution. Any system that claims it’s adherents are entitled to more than their fair share has serious problems.
It’s one thing to base a spiritual philosophy on legends, myths, and allegory, it’s another to deny scientific facts and simply pretend things like resource constraints, climate change, and environmental pressures don’t exist. If there’s a peaceful and healthy way forward, it’s going to require a tolerance for belief balanced with an acknowledgment of the limits and capacity of our natural world.
Chances are that if you’re on my list, you have some level of understanding about dance. It might even be the central pillar in your spiritual practice. Regardless of your level of activity, you can easily conceptualize the idea that the universal wisdom of the universe is more readily received when we energize and attune our physical bodies.
Natural sound moving our natural bodies helps us get in tune with nature. Any of your beliefs or imaginary constructs come into sharper relief when balanced with the living felt experience of your moving body.
So remember, dance is contagious in a good way! When you move your body and raise your consciousness, it rubs off on everyone around you! Only you can tune your mojo and make sense of your own myths and mysteries. When you shine the light of tolerance and respect for the common good, you rise above our petty differences and become a driving force in the movement for a better world.
With magic and mystery till next week!
DANCE FIRST MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Brietta Leader and WildCore Movement!
This week’s Dance First member spotlight shines on Brietta Leader, one of the great Pacific Northwest’s most well-loved and dynamic movement leaders!
Based in Sandpoint Idaho, Brietta offers a wealth of nature-based somatic movement classes, workshops, and retreats centered around her signature WildCore Movement practice.
With a diverse background including training as a Soul Motion leader, performance art choreography with Gypsy Divas Dance Troupe, and work with student and youth groups, Brietta has a knack for “getting women of all shapes, sizes, and ages to express themselves in a positive way.”
With WildCore Movement she is taking all the elements in her palette and bringing them together in a nature-infused movement method, to create and offer a transformational teacher-training program that is much more than a typical retreat/training scenario.
Participants will engage in several months of guided self-study in creative inquiry followed by a 5-day Immersion called Creative Empowerment Module 1, to be held at The Eureka Retreat Center in Idaho. Eight different elements of creativity and somatic expression will be explored and developed over the course of the training.
In the fall of 2019, another module of the WildCore Teacher Trainingwill be offered to complete the cycle, with an additional Summer Mentorship in between. Participants will form a tight community, learning and sharing the wisdom of the Four Pillars of WildCore, Choreography, Conscious Dance, Breath-work, and Belonging.
You can learn lots more about Brietta Leader and WildCore byvisiting her websites, and coming soon are some great opportunities to experience her work first hand.
The Earth Day Dance Odyssey is happening on Friday April 20th, from 7 – 8:30 pm. All the proceeds from this event go to Kaniksu Land Trust’s project to purchase and preserve Pine St. Woods, 160 acres of forests, meadows and gently rolling hills just minutes from Sandpoint.
WildCore classes are held every Tuesday and Friday morning from8:30 to 9:30 am at Embody Studio in downtown Sandpoint.
Don’t miss the NorthWest Yoga Feast where Brietta will be offering WildCore 5 Elements classes as well as Gypsy Diva Dance Troupe performances from July 20-22.
And this years epic WildCore on the Middle Fork of the Salmon Riverrafting retreat is being held from August 29 to Sept 2nd. Join Brietta with Pend d’ Oreille Winery as Middle Fork River Tours guides you on a 5-day rafting adventure of a lifetime.
Thanks so much Brietta for all your hard work and innovation in the field of somatic movement and nature-based learning! You’re doing a great service to the field and I highly recommend your work to everyone!
Visit WildCoreMovement.com and check out her videos and full schedule!