“What a long, strange trip it’s been!” ~ Robert Hunter (for the Grateful Dead)
How many different chapters has your life had? Have you been around the block a few times, or are you just getting started? Have you always stayed true to the same path?
My older brother Rafi once said to me, “Life is like a movie, it wouldn’t be very interesting if it was just one reel.” Whether you’re an adherent to Rudolf Steiner’s notion of ‘ages and stages’ or simply believe that perspective changes as you grow, it’s fairly obvious that life’s journey takes many twists and turns along the way.
Some of you who are reading this are probably on your 3rd or 4th career. Some of you may be fresh out of school and just starting out. Maybe you found yourself in your current life circumstances by accident, or perhaps it was 100% intentional.
Here at Conscious Dancer we give credence to various theories such as Spiral Dynamics, the aforementioned work of Rudolf Steiner, and logarithmic scale of levels of consciousness devised byDavid Hawkins.
All of these bodies of work point in one way or another to the idea that as we grow and develop greater powers of perception, we are able to access higher levels of understanding and function better in our own lives and the world in general.
I’ve often said that life, (and by extension, consciousness) is like a circular escalator that can either go up or down. The sooner you can learn which activities, habits, or states of mind lead you one direction or the other, the better. And if you find yourself spinning around in circles, zoom out to the big picture and ask yourself what needs to shift so you can rise up out of your rut.
It’s no coincidence we use the term ‘upshift’ a lot here at Conscious Dancer. The word is a driving metaphor repurposed to signify mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual elevation to a previously unknown level. Coined for our usage by Laura Cirolia , our Creative Director, resident consciousness expert, and fellow DJ (Lolly!) atDance Jam, the word ‘upshift’ gets to the heart of what so much of our work is all about.
We believe that dancing and moving your body, (especially in a field of live music or analog sound) is a key element that loosens things up and allows you to shift. We help our Dance First members promote a vast range of somatic practices and modalities designed to foster connection and nourish embodiment.
And under our own umbrella, we’re busy doing our part. Laura’s one-on-one and group work guiding ReSet Epigenetic Meditations goes deeply into limiting or unhealthy beliefs ingrained in the DNA. I teach families, teachers, and kids about Analog Awareness, helping folks understand why the electromagnetic resonance of non-digital audio recordings actually contribute to our health and well-being.
The Grateful Dead were pointing at a universal metaphor in their 60’s anthem “Truckin” Your life is no doubt a ‘long, strange’ journey, unique to you and remarkable in your own way. That’s why the photo above of me with Larry Ching brings back to mind so many different reels in my life’s movie.
The shirt he’s wearing is made from ‘Crop Circle’ fabric I designed in the early 90s for Ameba, the clothing and music store I owned in the Haight-Ashbury of San Francisco in those years. Larry was an avid raver and stalwart member of the ‘Friends and Family’ rave crew that was central to the underground music scene in that era.
For those of you who missed it, the ‘rave years’ of the early 90s in San Francisco and other urban centers of the world were a special time, sometimes referred to as the Summer of Love of the 60s turned upside down. People called me ‘the Timothy Leary of the rave scene’ and that’s when I began writing about dance and consciousness in earnest.
There was a highly unique and rare expression of human exuberance and energy that flowered in that last decade before the Web came along and changed everything. For those of us who were deeply involved in the late-night underground psychedelically infused dance culture of say ’87 to ’97, it was hard to imagine that the entire world wasn’t involved in the movement. It was a colorful and optimistic time of hope and we welcomed the future with open arms.
As that era became years-gone-by and my social circles shifted and expanded, it was remarkable to realize just how many people had completely missed it. Much like folks who never experienced a live Grateful Dead concert, it’s easy to wonder what all the fuss was about. It just goes to show that influential social movements can happen right under our noses, sometimes it seems like we blinked and we missed it!
Larry is now on the crew at the Silicon Valley Ecstatic Dance where I played records yesterday. He sets up the sound every Sunday in Palo Alto, and when I come down for one of my special all-vinyl appearances, he brings out his pair of immaculately maintained Technics 1200 turntables which makes spinning records there a breeze!
Regardless of where you are in your life today, you bring a piece of your past with you to inform the present. Knowing what’s worth hanging on to, and what’s better left behind is one of the keys to making sure your journey through the levels of consciousness shifts up and not down.
Bringing you the best until next week! Keep dancing and much love!
Make plans for Dance Camp Northwest!
Dance Camp Northwest re-convenes for a sixth year on August 19 for a whole week of dance, community and transformation, two hours northwest of Seattle on the shores of Puget Sound at historic Fort Flagler State Park. Enjoy a blend of movement with everything from acro-yoga to qi-gong plus a plethora of cross-modal community dances and workshops.
Check out the website for a full list of presenters and dance-artists, and reserve your spot as soon as possible. Meals and snacks are included, and dorm beds and tent sites are still available.
Make your travel plans now, and invite your friends! This is going to be a Pacific Northwest adventure not to be missed!
Dance Camp Northwest
August 19 – 26, Fort Flagler, WA