“Almost every sane person is at least two different people.”
Have you ever played with your alter ego? Do you have a hidden persona that you bring out to dance from time to time? Are you flexible enough under the surface to have fun with your shadow?
In case you haven’t noticed, we are smack in the middle of Halloween week! With the big night on the horizon Wednesday, this past weekend was the height of costume party season.
Halloween is full of treats, but it’s also one of the trickiest holidays as far as our psyche is concerned. No another season gives us permission to dance with our unseen archetypes in the same way. From the fantastic to forbidden, whimsical to wacky, we are invited to bring our alternate selves out of the closet and into the moonlight. (Or blacklight as the case may be.)
Traditionally, it’s an annual opportunity to explore our polar opposites. When we go out into the world as an alternate version of ourselves, we get to experience a different set of feelings and social reactions than we do in our normal lives.
Of course, if you have kids you are well aware of the candy canvassing craze that is a huge motivator for the little ones. It’s a rare opportunity to explore your neighborhood door-to-door and meet the people who join in the fun with open doors and a welcoming Jack-O-Lantern out.
Granted, some folks avoid Halloween like the plague. It can be very disconcerting to involve yourself in an activity where no one is who they appear to be, and nothing is as it seems. Go to any gathering on this holiday weekend and you’ll find people who run the gamut.
Some folks have costumes in characters that are so elaborate you have no idea who they are, while on the other end of the spectrum people in ordinary street clothes put on a glow stick necklace and call it good.
I can totally relate to that sentiment. There was a period in my life when I wasn’t nearly comfortable enough with myself to even begin to play with an alternate version. It wasn’t until I worked through some internal issues that I was able to start having fun with my shadow side. In fact, there were some early years for me when Halloween loomed like a disaster on the horizon. My dance with doom was like an annual event, trouble always seem to find me in the fall.
As I dealt with my drama and grew into an identity I was comfortable with, the idea of pulling a prank with my persona on Halloween became more palatable. Last Saturday night I was invited to DJ at a friends house party, so I showed up in full regalia in the spirit of the occasion.
“Long-haired biker dude” is a character full of opposites for me. I don’t ride motorcycles, I’ve never been able to manage having long hair, and bright red biker caps are just not my thing. So when my daughter found this crazy hat with long black stringy hair attached in a Halloween store a few years ago, it became my instant Halloween switcheroo.
Together with Teresa rocking a little black dress and platinum blond bombshell bangs, we played the part of an underworld power couple to the hilt. The other thing that’s really great about Halloween if you’re a DJ like me, is that you get to pull out all of those silly songs and ridiculous records that really can’t be played any other time of the year.
Five hours of solid spinning, (plus three on Friday night at Dance Jam), added up to eight hours behind the decks DJing this weekend, which is just how I like it. There’s few things more fun for me than getting people in the groove with good records, and lifting spirits with levity.
So I suppose the takeaway from all of these years of observation is that it’s hard to get out of your comfort zone with a crazy costume if you’re not comfortable inside your own skin in the first place. It’s easier to bring your shadow out to play if you are well grounded inside your soul to begin with.
When you inhabit another identity, you can let your interactions with others be a barometer of your well-being. Halloween is the one time of the year when we can have fun with our fears. Nothing is scarier than our shadows if we never bring them out to dance.
May your All Hallows’ Eve be enlightening and your Day of the Dead filled with spirit!
Much love till next Monday!
Dance First Member Spotlight – Liz Diaz from Toronto and her Conscious Dance Parties, Events, & Retreats!
This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on Toronto-based movement leader Liz Diaz! Canadian-born to Peruvian parents, she has been leading community rituals and conscious dance events since 2012. With a broad background in wellness and expressive movement arts such as yoga, reiki, and crystal mediation, she brings a holistic healers touch into her work as a Spiritual Life & Wellness Coach.
She is also the founder and creator of Conscious Dance Parties Toronto which happen monthly and is a resident DJ with Ecstatic Dance Toronto. Her music selection can be described as conscious global grooves, which she uses to skillfully create transformative, transcendental dance experiences.
You can plan way ahead right now and journey with Liz and two of her Awakened Yoga colleagues to her spiritual home in the Sacred Valley of Peru next June 8th through 14th for “Pachamama – Awaken the Elements ” a ritual retreat of ecstatic dance, yoga, and meditation. Together with Rachelle Harvey and Julia Forest you will explore the elements of earth, water, fire, air & ether through conscious embodiment.
Using the Andean Medicine Wheel, the ‘Chakana’ which is the foundation of Andean Cosmology, as your anchor on your journey, you’ll rediscover the creative expression of your body and release what no longer serves you in order to create space for more ease, grace and flow in your life. Dive deep into the wisdom of your own body in the heart of the Sacred Valley, surrounded by ancient Inca sites and the Andes mountains on this rare and magical retreat!
For women in the Toronto area, Liz has a dynamic six-week series starting soon! Dance Temple ~ 6 Week Women’s Dance Ritual & Circle starts on Tuesday, November 13th, and runs for six consecutive Tuesday evenings. Since 2012 when she became a certified Dance Our Way Home facilitator, she has been leading women’s-only circles that incorporate goddess wisdom & expressive art.
These exclusive circles are limited to 12 women only, and book solid in advance. Designed for “the woman who wants to reclaim the wisdom and power innate to her body and spirituality” this is your opportunity to embrace an open landscape of fertile ground to rest in, to play, to rediscover, and create a new reality through movement and intention.
Watch for a special upcoming online program that Liz will be offering in January that will make her special sacred somatic approach available worldwide.
Dance Temple ~ 6-Week Women’s Dance Ritual & Circle
Starts Nov 13, SMPLFY Studio, Toronto, Ontario
Pachamama – Awaken the Elements Retreat
June 8-14, 2019, Sacred Valley, Peru