Saturday, September 04, 2010

Body and soul, reconnected

I was Googling on Wednesday for a tune that was stuck in my head, and in my wanderings I found a Dances of Universal Peace circle in Sacramento that met Friday night. I used to do them back in Olympia, before I moved south for seminary. They were an important expression when I was searching, knew I didn't want to deal with the church and the patriarchy, but needed to be connected with God. I was involved with an interfaith circle up there for eleven years. My minister was really into them. She’s become a dance leader since.

I thought, you know I miss these. The cancer-body-dance connection (duh) didn't even occur to me. And I walked into the Quaker meeting house on 57th and H last night to check them out. The first thing we did was something in Arabic that meant, "taking refuge in God." I got that. And I was twirling around with people I’d never met, doing movements that are not at all part of the tradition I’m primarily committed to—and body and spirit found each other again. They just clicked back together, like they didn’t know why they’d been apart. It felt like coming home to a house I used to live in, and finding my clothes still in the closet.

I'm just not going to do Tai Chi. I don't have the discipline to seek that out and learn it. But I can do this. It's mostly Sufi and totally hippie—and it works for me. It's redemptive for my body, that's been assaulted so much and is under siege right now, and that needs a space to pray in. Standing/sitting/kneeling just never will get me there.

I’m not athletic. At rare points in my life, I’ve focused somewhat on care of my body: swimming in college because using the rec center was free, yoga when too many of my friends sang its praises, riding my bike because I have one and oh look, it’s Lent and I need a practice. But honestly, I’ve largely neglected my body. There’s no malice in that; it’s just happened because my interests were elsewhere. And now my body is being invaded by cancer cells, and again by chemotherapy which I’m cooperating in. I could almost hear it say, “Thank you; you remembered me!”

They did a dance for Quan Yin, who is something like a Buddhist Mother Mary. We were supposed to hold prayer in our hearts for whomever needed compassion. I was exhausted, so I sat on the floor in the center of the circle, almost underneath the dancers’ feet. I felt everything, and I held people I love who are in hugely difficult and emotional transitions. It was right.

When the owl flew across my path a year ago, one of the things that scared me was that I knew nothing of the Red Road. But I knew where that owl came from, and on a level beneath words I understood it. Was I being called away from everything I was committed to? No, I wasn’t then and I’m not now. These are not distractions. The Great Being That Matters gets the point. If God speaks to me in an owl that gives me shivers, or in the confluence of chant and movement, there we are. Jesus is always Jesus. I cling to the Resurrection like I always have. This all flows from the same Love. Forgotten parts of me are remembered, and they pray too. There are many ways of weeping and rejoicing.


Ann said...

I went to a Dances group in Jackson -- it was lovely - we also did group drumming which is quite powerful - all using the same drum - following one another through the patterns - never quite sure who is leading and who is following.

Two Auntees said...

Thanks for sharing this. I think my body and soul need a reconnect. I have allowed things to get too caught up in busy. I see that there are a couple of DUP within 2 hrs. of where we live. We may check them out.

Thinking of you and sending prayers and love.

Paul said...

What bliss.

I need to get myself reconnected too.

Prayers and love coming your way from here.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Kirstin, I'm so pleased for you. I wondered at the times you spoke of your body as seemingly "other" - truly, as though you were having a conversation with someone else. I believe firmly that my body speaks to me, but the conversation is between me and me. And now your conversation will be between you and you.

Forgive me if I misunderstand you, dear Kirstin.

Body and soul, reconnected


Kirstin said...

Ann, that sounds fabulous.

Auntees, do. They're great.

Paul, thank you.

Mimi, you did misunderstand me. And please don't tell me what will happen in my relationship with my body. Let us find it. (You told me once that I'd never be afraid again. Which created that expectation--and for me it wasn't true.)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Kirstin, I am very sorry. Please forgive me.

Kirstin said...

Of course.

Kat said...

I'm glad you stepped into that circle and felt the reconnection. This, though: "...riding my bike because I have one and oh look, it’s Lent and I need a practice," gives me pause. Have you been reading my diaries? That is SO me. ; )

Love and hugs...

it's margaret said...

Hippie!? --I knew it.

I am thrilled for you Kirstin. Dance dance Sister. Amen.

Kirstin said...

@Kat: [prescient grin] I am so glad we're connected again. Love you.

Margaret, you had doubts?
[mischievous smile]