Navanita is reaching new depths and new heights in her work with movement and healing and shares some of the processes.
Thirty spokes together make a wheel for a cart.
It is the empty space in the center of the wheel,
which enables it to be used.
Mold clay into a vessel.
It is the emptiness within
that creates the usefulness of the vessel.
Cut out the doors and windows in a house.
It is the empty space inside
that creates the usefulness of the house.
Thus, what we have may be something substantial
but its usefulness lies in the unoccupied empty space.
The substance of the body is enlivened
by maintaining the part of you that is unoccupied.”
Dance is my life, my love, path, career. There is such ecstasy of watching the body and being (the life source) let go, move and blissfully respond to the inner and outer music of life. Dance is a way of embracing the body, mind and soul. The dancer disappears and only the dance remains.
The dance of life originates from emptiness. Everything in our body is moved by a mysterious life source that dances in every cell. Movement is life and through movement we grow.
The dance of unfolding silence
The following story demonstrates how a participant in one of my groups experienced the beginnings of embodiment through somatic dance (‘soma’ from Greek, meaning ‘the body experienced from within’):
“Your first cell is still in the body,” I heard her say; “the imprint is still within.”
My mind and alertness jerked to full attention.
She continued, “The body remembers it, we can access its natural intelligence.”
I said, “Through movement you learned to grow, so through movement you have a direct connection to that source and its innate intelligence.”
She continued: “I was guided to sense the movement of that original cell… that is still hanging around inside my body. That original cell has passed onto and affected all the billions of cells within my body, its inherent script, its message of life. Something in my system was definitely being stirred.
“We began to move, to pulse, to rhythmically expand and contract. It began with a sense of emptiness, a vast space that I contracted into. It was not a barren emptiness; it was full of life potency. From here the natural response was to expand, unfold, reach out, moving out into an equally vast space, where there was an urge to connect, to communicate. At some point this also returned into contraction gathering into home. It was a natural dance. The dance that had curled in on itself, then again gave equally as powerful a momentum to reach or push out. It gathered momentum and continued dancing life into being, reaching out from within and returning to the source.
“As the sensing deepened it became clear the movement was unfolding from emptiness. Something shuddered alive. Growth was awakening. Through sensing the cellular movement I was remembering and experiencing the original source of dance unfolding from stillness. At the same time, I was feeling welcomed in my own body. Different to how I had been “trying” to welcome my body as I had heard so often “you should love your body” and had made a relentless effort to prove to someone – including myself – that I could. This time it was the other way around, through sensing it, I had found its language and it was welcoming me. I belonged inside my own skin. It was a joyful discovery experiencing the place where dance comes from emptiness.”
The dance of embodiment
In the next sharing, the dancer reclaimed embodiment and humor and began to heal her ideas about herself – to discover the pure delight of movement.
It was the day before a 4-day group. I sat on a bench under a tree and faced an older woman who had requested to meet me. We introduced ourselves and she said, “I am stuck. I am depressed and sometimes even consider suicide.”
I wondered and waited.
“I’ve been on the growth and meditation path a very long time and I’ve lost all the bliss that I once had.”
I responded simply “Oh,” and then trusting what came out of my mouth, following the feeling in my guts, “you believe this for sure? Or is it an idea?”
Her reply was also simple: “Well it’s now not possible any other way, except to be miserable.”
“Hmmm. You enjoy that?” I felt she could handle it.
She actually grinned… and I laughed with her… we looked into each others eyes and I could see a sparkle flicker on.
Whoops….gone…“Better hide it,” you could almost hear her head think. She dropped her head and moaned….
“Well that’s quick isn’t it?” I giggled.
She looked up and again smiled and the sparkle was still there.
After some more of her “I’m depressed” labels and ideas, I inquired, “There must be something you enjoy?”
“Oh yes… I love to dance,” came the lively response.
I smiled and asked whether that’s why she wanted to join the dance group.
“No,” she answered, “I am too old. And besides… I’m too depressed to dance.”
“Think about the word,” I encouraged her. “Why does this label ‘depressed’ stick on some people. After all, when you think about the word ‘DE-pressed’, then its clear there is something ‘pressed IN’ and it could also be your life source, fun and creativity. So then to unstick it, must be easy. You just give the ‘pressed-IN’ energy space to flow and to ‘EX-press’.”
I breathed out and suggested she could at least have one day to explore it in the group.
Again she mumbled, “Oh, no way – I’d just get more DE-pressed when I see how everyone else dances so well and of course much better than me. Besides, I’m really lost!”
“OK. We have a juicy problem,” I said, looked in her eyes and we both had a good laugh together. Her humor was delightful.
I stepped back and gave her space. The next step she had to make herself. I recommended a psychosomatic therapist living in her area and she said she was touched that I “bothered to take care.” I could see when she was touched, that precious light in her eyes glowed.
The next day she had booked… and I wondered.
The music began to play and a little elderly contracted, befuddled lady began to find her dance. A huge smile came across her face and her body seemed to be awakening out of a slumber. She took support – a little guiding and coaching here and there during the day and soon she realized age, fitness and what she expressed, didn’t matter. The dance was about something else. She belonged to the dancing tribe. Joy seemed to melt out from the ‘pressed-IN’ place inside of her. In fact it was also overflowing humour. The group were laughing and playing with her.
She booked another day.
This day became more grounded and we practiced replacing the negative comments with an orientation on the embodied supports recognized and found in the dance and the body. While we were dancing and exploring the physical heart and its beat she suddenly blurred out, “I don’t have a heart!”
“Oh, really?” I exclaimed. There was a pause while the group and I compassionately listened to her. After the silent gap I made a suggestion: “Has to be somewhere! Maybe you look somewhere else in the body other than the usual place in the chest.”
In that moment I felt a subtle shift in her energy, something expanded. She was accepted, had not been separated or judged for her habitual attempt at ‘I’m not OK’. We had simply taken the offer and decided that there could be a creative alternative.
Here happened a pregnant silence. It was an alive stillness and the group was totally present. She was docking into her own body and realizing that she was not alone. The group was seeing her and she was included. Being present to sensing herself and at the same time being witnessed and being part of the tribe – the dancing community supported validating her new pleasurable bodily experience.
She began by turning the head from side to side; the movement seemed to pull her attention inside her body and went to the feet. A voice spoke from somewhere inside herself… inside her own body. It seemed to be coming from the space where it had been ‘pressed’ which appeared relieved and some ‘pressure’ was out.
“Seems my heart is in my feet,” she whispered and then repeated a long forgotten language louder. “My heart is in my feet,” claiming an inherent wisdom that was rightfully hers. A huge smile spread across her face. Delight swept through the whole group. She spoke from her new perception and bodily experience, witnessed by the group. “Remembering the depth of my body’s wisdom makes me feel safe.”
Dancing her embodiment… a precious moment.
A sannyasin since Pune 1 days, Australian-born Navanita has always been a very active person, from being a sprinting champion to teaching somatic movement, dance, stretching classes, and ‘Divine Dancing Drunkards’ meditation among several others. After being severely injured in a bus accident in India in 1994, she took her ‘Talking to the Body’ practices and embarked on her own healing journey which ultimately led her to the present work she teaches – healing on a cellular level. www.navanita.net